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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Season 2 Draft - Picks 1-11

Pick 11
Cam Blake
Kansas City
Monarchs
Age: 20B/T: L/R
Born: Cicero, IN
Position(s): C
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Hailing from Cicero, IN, Cam Blake drove west in his 1984 Toyota Celica towards Kansas City (where the Monarchs, interestingly enough, have all 6 levels of their baseball organization located). Abdullah Woodward, his agent, informed him that he'd be assigned to Hi-A, and should be ready to hit the ground running. With $3,000,000 in hand, Cam Blake looks to make a huge impact in the ML with his defense, power, and impressive speed for a catcher. Look for Blake to jump into the Major Leagues in the next couple years.

Pick 10
Lou Rubel
Atlanta
Braves
Age: 21B/T: L/L
Born: Nederland, TX
Position(s): P (SP3)
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With the 10th overall pick, Atlanta landed college phenom Lou Rubel out of the College of Saint Rose. Relying more on his control than velocity, Rubel confuses hitters with a combination of sinkers, sliders, and change ups. He's also got an average cut fastball, and is working on developing a curveball. Rubel is ready to pitch in the Majors now, and has little patience for the Braves organization moving him slowly, so his maturity, along with his ability to avoid injury, will play a role in when we get to see his ML debut. But make no mistake...it's "when", not "if".

Pick 9
Derrick Smalley
Milwaukee
High Life
Age: 19B/T: R/R
Born: Grapevine, TX
Position(s): P (SP1)
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One of the 6 pitchers taken in this year's top 10, Derrick Smalley has surely impressed in rookie ball. Limiting hitters to a .211 average while striking out 63 in 65 innings, Smalley looks to progress through the Milwaukee farm system quickly. He has good velocity on his cut fastball, and does a nice job with a slider/curveball combo to keep batted balls on the ground. If he can stay away from the High Life Beerfall (the famous "waterfall" of beer in center field in Milwaukee), Smalley will be a key piece to ensuring a deep playoff run for the High Life in the future.

Pick 8
Roger Willis

What can we say about Roger Willis? Well, not much really. My scouts got lost on their way to Sun Valley, ID to visit his family. But we know what we see on film, and that's incredible speed, great power, a good understanding of the strike zone, and a decent glove that needs a little work to stay at 2B. Willis has had a little trouble with his propensity to strikeout, but he is sure to find his way to the big show soon enough.

Pick 7
Tito Doerr
Minnesota
Miracles
Age: 19B/T: R/R
Born: Brimfield, IL
Position(s): P (ClA)
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Hey, Tito! Scout for Minnesota, Andrew Corey, knew he had to have this guy the first time he saw him pitch...and he hasn't disappointed thus far. In 19 innings in rookie ball, Doerr has yet to allow a run! He's given up 7 hits, walked 3, while striking out 30. Yes, folks, that's a 3/30 BB/K ratio. The only issue with Tito Doerr is that his idols growing up were Rob Dibble and John Rocker. So he sometimes gets a little too fired up when he takes the mound. If you want to see him flip his lid, just say two words..."paint chips." No one is sure why, but it sends him into orbit! But even with some anger management issues, Doerr is a top-notch pitcher who will be closing for the Miracles in just a few short years.

Pick 6
Dave Bryant
Santa Fe
Rattlers
Age: 18B/T: L/L
Born: Rock Island, IL
Position(s): P (SP2)
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Santa Fe made Dave Bryant a Rattler with the 6th overall pick in the Season 2 draft. Bryant was ready to get out of town after attending Assumption HS (and we all about assumptions). During his time of assumption, he dominated his peers. He entered the draft as the 5th best amateur player in the country, and his potential shows us why. He has impressive control for an 18 year old, with a nasty slider and an equally nasty screwball. High schoolers were completely man-handled by him, but professionals are having a little more success. With great makeup, it'll be up to Bryant to work with the coaching staff to turn potential into reality.

Pick 5
Gene Clark
Baltimore
YardBirds
Age: 19B/T: R/R
Born: Osterville, MA
Position(s): SS/IF/OF
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As the third position player selected in the draft, Gene Clark plans to utilize his excellent glove and above average bat to turn the Yardbirds into contenders. Clark boasts blazing speed to go with his glove, and is working on his command of the strike zone. When Clark makes his major league debut, it will likely be due to his speed and defense, but make no mistake about it...he has the ability to turn into a threat with the bat too. If he can become a smarter baserunner, look for Clark to steal 50+ bases every year. Folks in Baltimore can't wait to see this kid under the bright lights and gaze of 40,000 screaming fans.

Pick 4
Matthew Hernandez

Matthew Hernandez was arguably the best position player in this year's draft. Unfortunately, he won't see any action with Rochester. With nearly all of their prospect money spent on Joaquin Paz and Juan Rivera in the international market, there wasn't the $3,720,000 left to ink Hernandez. Hernandez is shocked, as he was very anxious to get started with Rochester, but he plans to finish up college this year and see what other opportunities he can find after that.

Pick 3
Clay Brooks
Las Vegas
Outlaws
Age: 20B/T: L/L
Born: Lynn, MA
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Clay Brooks looks to continue his success with Las Vegas after being the 3rd overall pick. A prodigy out of high school, he mowed down hitters with an amazing fastball/slider combination. During his time at Northern Essex Community College he developed a curveball and change up, though those are still being worked on. He's got great control for a 20 year old, and handles even professional hitters with ease. It won't be long before we see Mr. Brooks announced as the opening day starter for the Las Vegas Outlaws.

Pick 2
Scott Hurst
Detroit
Bombers
Age: 18B/T: L/L
Born: Johnston, IA
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Scott Hurst is regarded as the pitcher with the most potential in this year's draft, but he's got a long way to go. He's got the tools to be an elite starting pitcher for many years, and Detroit is hoping their investment in him pays off. At Nevada High School he set the school record for most innings pitched, most wins, most strikeouts, and most girls taken to prom. He's had some arm trouble, so he'll have to train hard to stay healthy, but if he can keep the 'Ace' bandages off his golden left arm, he'll keep the 'Ace' label next to his name for many years.

Pick 1
Curt Hogan

Curt Hogan. Curt. Hogan. How I love to say thy name! Alright, I got nothing on this guy. All I know is that he's got beady eyes and a strange goatee. But Anaheim must know enough about this high schooler to make him the top pick in the draft. It's unknown at this time whether Hogan is holding out, or if Anaheim has yet to send him an offer. But if anything's going to happen, it's going to have to happen in the next few days.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Season 2 Draft - Picks 12-22

Pick 22
Patrick Hartman
Texas
Long Riders
Age: 22B/T: L/R
Born: Paterson, NJ
Position(s): C
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At 22 years old, the 22nd pick of the season 2 draft was Patrick Hartman, catcher out of Chadron State College. With this pick, Texas decided to go on pure talent, even if it means limited playing time. Hartman was a premier hitting in college, but was diagnosed with TLS, Tired Leg Syndrome. Any over-exertion on his legs causes them to go numb. He's got a decent arm, handles a pitching staff well enough, and has a great eye for the strike zone, but with his playing time severely limited, his value will be limited also.

Pick 21
Johnny Blackmon
Wichita
Learjets
Age: 21B/T: R/R
Born: Progreso, TX
Position(s): 3B/MIF/RF
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With the college ranks dominating the first round of the draft, Johnny Blackmon brings his speed, defense, and decent bat to Wichita. Johnny played shortstop all throughout high school and college. Given the right fielding coach, he may be able to break into the Majors as a shortstop, though it's more likely that it'll be at the hot corner. It all hinges on the fact of whether or not he can stay healthy enough to get there. When his mother was a child, she had a terrible experience with dairy products while touring Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, and thus never gave Johnny any milk while growing up. This lack of calcium has led to brittle bones, so more often than not he's got some part of his body in a cast. Training will be important, but he could prove to be a huge part of the Wichita franchise.

Pick 20
Hooks Daubach
Toledo
Mud Hens
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Lore City, OH
Position(s): P (SP3)
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The Toledo Mud Hens plucked Hooks Daubach right out of their backyard. Hooks has a dominating fastball that he used to overpower his high school peers, but he didn't get in the weight room until his Junior year, so he has some room to improve his strength and velocity. Last season his coach taught him how to throw a forkball, so he's working on that pitch in his first professional season. He's also got some work to do with his control, but if he can get that to a reasonable level, he'll be a Major League household name in no time.

Pick 19
Ryan Taylor
Toledo
Mud Hens
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Cathlamet, WA
Position(s): SS
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With the first of Toledo's 2 consecutive picks, they selected Ryan Taylor from Wahkiakum HS. A slick fielding shortstop who hits for average, Taylor will progress together with fellow Toledo high school draft pick Hooks Daubach in a race to the top. However, Taylor will have to work on his temper. He grew up in a wealthy household where his parents had little limits or boundaries, so he's used to getting whatever he wants. He's probably the only 18 year old kid who won't notice the additional $2,300,000 in his bank account after his signing bonus. While celebrating his draft selection at a local restaurant, he threw his plate of surf and turf back at the server because his food was touching! If he can keep from alienating himself in the clubhouse, he'll help Toledo's big league club in a few short years.

Pick 18
Hawk Wilkerson
Burlington
Northern
Age: 21B/T: R/R
Born: Garden Grove, CA
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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Slugger Hawk Wilkerson goes from Purdue University to the Burlington Northern with the 19th pick in the season 2 draft. Wilkerson is an all-around player, boasting above-average 3B defense and a big power bat. As a leader for his Boilermakers, he's looking to bring that leadership quality into the clubhouse in Burlington. Hawk should shoot through the farm system like a greased pig, and will find his way to the Majors in 2 shakes of a lambs tail. (That's for all you Burlington farmers!)

Pick 17
Clint Latham
Durham
Outliers
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Mount Vernon, IA
Position(s): P (ClA)
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Clint Latham, the 17th overall pick by Durham, dominated in the closer's role at Oral Roberts University. Fastball hitters aren't going to see any while facing Latham, as he relies on a devastating sinker and an equally nasty curveball. Many scouts believe he will develop pin-point accuracy, but he does stay around the strike zone which allows good hitters to put a bat on the ball. They can't do much with his pitches, but he'll have to rely on a good defense behind him. Look for him to make his Durham debut in the next few years.

Pick 16
Darrell Park
St. Louis
Cardinals
Age: 19B/T: R/R
Born: Albion, IN
Position(s): SS
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Darrell Park cashed in after being selected 16th overall to the St. Louis Cardinals. The definition of a 5-tool player, Park has solid speed, has a good understanding of the basepaths, hits for average, hits for power, and provide versatile, solid defense. His defense needs some work, and he may not make it in the bigs as a shortstop. He has also shown some durability issues. Never before being asked to play more than 100 games in a season, Park will need to work with the trainers to be able to play full time during a 162 game season. But don't look for this to slow him down, as he'll be a star when his number is called. You'll be hearing from Darrell Park before you know it.

Pick 15
Al Lecuona
Tampa Bay
Acers
Age: 19B/T: L/L
Born: Nashville, TN
Position(s): P (SP1)
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"I couldn't be happier to be taken by Tampa Bay!" said an excited Al Lecuona the morning after being drafted. "When I started to Volunteer State Community College, I had to decide if I was going to stick with my baseball career, or pursue my budding music career. My band is a little disappointed, but they understand. God bless baseball. God bless country music. And God bless America. Peace out!" Given Lecuona's talent and performance, many scouts were shocked that he was even considering a career outside of baseball, but Tampa Bay will now get to reap the benefits of his decision, as he combines control of his fastball, curveball, and slider to blow away hitters. Don't forget about Al Lecuona.

Pick 14
Greg Hendrick
Cheyenne
Cattle Prod
Age: 19B/T: L/L
Born: Priest River, ID
Position(s): LF
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Greg Hendrick is an incredible talent, setting all kinds of records at North Idaho College. He bucks the normal convention of lefty hitters have less success against lefty pitchers compared to righties. But Hendrick actually prefers the southpaws. In high school he hit an astounding .561 against left handed pitchers, and he looks to continue that success in his professional career. Also an above average base stealer, he'll prove to be an incredible asset for the Cattle Prod. His only liability is his work ethic. He's been known to rest on his talent, while failing to put in the work necessary to rise to the top. Time will tell if he can do what it takes to be not just a good major league player, but one of the best.

Pick 13
Phil Koh
Chicago
Pale Hose
Age: 20B/T: R/R
Born: Niles, MI
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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The Chicago Pale Hose made Phil Koh of Niles, MI the 13th overall pick. This speedster has plus defense, and has mastered the art of the slap hitter. He occasionally gets a hold of one, but he'll earn his paycheck with his keen eye of the strikezone, his ability to fight pitches off and avoid the strikeout, and his Rickey Henderson-esque basestealing technique turning singles into doubles or triples. Scout Jared Ramsay was asked about his most recent find. "I was visiting my family last year when Phil was a freshman, and I got lost trying to find a beer spot. I turned down a dirt road and ran into a baseball field used by Ancilla College. He was putting on a hitting clinic for his teammates, and it was at that point I knew we had to have him." Look for Phil to make his mark in the next couple seasons.

Pick 12
Max Bell
Honolulu
Sharks
Age: 21B/T: S/R
Born: Tipton, IA
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Brainiac Max Bell from Tipton, IA, educated in New Jersey at the acclaimed Princeton University now finds his home on the island of Honolulu, Hawaii. Graduated with a pre-law degree after just 3 years, Bell was just as impressive on the pitcher's mound. He's got the stuff to crack the major league rosters of several teams right now, but he's got room to grow, and the Sharks are looking forward to seeing him blossom into what they think he can be. As the 12th overall pick, and $3,000,000 richer, Bell is ready to buckle down and make his alma mater proud.

Coming up next...Season 2 Draft - Picks 1-11

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Ballpark Effect

Guest Post

Author - bjshumacher


I’m always looking for ways to analyze teams and their performances. I’m an engineer by trade, so I’m a numbers guy. I love playing with and analyzing statistics, looking for the next big edge. I also love sports. I guess that’s why I love baseball so much. THE best sport for statistics geeks like me.

Recently, I was curious to see which teams are performing the best so far this season - more than just looking at their current W-L records. But since each team plays their home games in different parks, this was difficult to do just by glancing at their Team OPS or ERA numbers. Playing in Albuquerque is much different than playing in Seattle. So I decided to come up with a ‘normalized’ performance rating for each team, compared to the ballparks they played in. I looked at both hitting and pitching, 83 games into the season. Here’s how things went:

The Ballparks

In order to come up with a somewhat normalized method of comparing home field performance, I first looked at the ballparks. As we know, each ballpark is rated for production in singles, doubles, triples, and home runs. Using this, I gave each park an overall rating in terms of total bases. In other words, each rating point for singles is worth 1 point, each rating point for doubles is worth 2 points, etc. I added all these together to get a total “O” Rating, or Offensive Rating. I then ranked the parks from 1 to 32 based on their O Rating. Finally, I flipped things around and ranked the parks from 1 to 32 in terms of pitcher friendliness, or “P” Rank. That is, the ballpark with the lowest O Rating is the highest ranked park for pitcher friendliness.

As you can see, with an O Rating of 53, WhatifSports Field in Santa Fe is the best park to hit in, by a fairly large margin. And contrary to what some people might think, Isotopes Park in Albuquerque is not the second best park to hit in. Durham Bulls Athletic Park gets that distinction, with an O Rating of 37. Isotopes is third.

The best park to pitch in, by far, is Mustain Stadium in Burlington, with an O Rating of -51. Burlington is followed by Wichita and Seattle as having the best ballparks to pitch in (and worst to hit in).

BALLPARKS

Ballpark

Franchise

Park O Rating

Park O Rank

Park P Rank

WhatIfSports Field

SFE Rattlers

53

1

32

Durham Bulls Athletic Park

DUR Outliers

37

2

31

Isotopes Park

ALB Albatross

28

3

30

Herschel Greer Stadium

NAS Sound

18

4

29

Ameriquest Field in Arlington

TEX Long Riders

16

5

28

Fenway Park

BOS Black Sox

14

6

27

Humphrey Metrodome

MIN Miracles

10

7

26

Volcanoes Stadium

SAL Eruption

8

8

25

Miller Park

MIL High Life

6

9

24

Turner Field

ATL Braves

5

10

23

U.S. Cellular Field

CH2 Pale Hose

2

11

22

Alliance Bank Stadium

SYR Siege

0

12

20

The Diamond

RIC Pine Riders

0

12

17

Nat Bailey Stadium

VC Wolf Eels

0

12

19

Frontier Field

ROC Red Wings

0

12

18

Waterfront Park

TRE Thunder

0

12

21

Kauffman Stadium

KC Monarchs

-2

17

15

Tropicana Field

TB Acers

-2

17

16

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

BAL YardBirds

-3

19

14

Yankee Stadium (II)

NY1 Yankees

-5

20

13

McCoy Stadium

PAW Fire Cats

-8

21

11

Conte Yard

CHY Cattle Prod

-8

21

12

Comerica Park

DET Bombers

-9

23

10

Fifth Third Field

TOL Mud Hens

-10

24

8

Angel Stadium

LAA Tiger Blood

-10

24

9

Cashman Field

LV Outlaws

-12

26

7

Aloha Stadium

HON Sharks

-13

27

6

Busch Stadium (II)

STL Cardinals

-17

28

5

Rosenblatt Stadium

OMA Oracles

-24

29

4

Safeco Field

SEA Penguins

-26

30

3

Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

WIC Learjets

-29

31

2

Mustain Stadium

BUR Northern

-51

32

1

Home Offense

Now that I’ve compared the ballparks, I can now compare the teams’ offensive production on a more level playing field. I looked at each team’s OPS, and ranked them from 1 to 32. I then compared the teams’ OPS Rank to the ballpark O Rank, and took the difference of the two. For example, for St Louis, they hit in the 28th best park for offense, but they have the 10th best team OPS. So their Team Offense Power Rating is 28 – 10, or 18.

Using this simplified method of comparing offenses, the St Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, and Wichita Learjets have the most potent offensive teams, whereas Atlanta, Trenton, and Nashville have the least potent offenses. Durham, Albuquerque, and Boston have a Team Offense Power rating of zero, which means their offenses perform exactly as any average offense should perform in their ballparks.

OFFENSIVE POWER

Franchise

Ballpark O Rank

Team OPS Rank

Team Offense Power

STL Cardinals

28

10

18

NY1 Yankees

20

5

15

WIC Learjets

31

16

15

PAW Fire Cats

21

10

11

OMA Oracles

29

19

10

HON Sharks

27

20

7

KC Monarchs

17

12

5

RIC Pine Riders

12

7

5

TEX Long Riders

5

1

4

BUR Northern

32

28

4

SYR Siege

12

9

3

LAA Tiger Blood

24

21

3

SEA Penguins

30

27

3

MIL High Life

9

8

1

DUR Outliers

2

2

0

ALB Albatross

3

3

0

BOS Black Sox

6

6

0

TOL Mud Hens

24

26

-2

ROC Red Wings

12

15

-3

SFE Rattlers

1

4

-3

SAL Eruption

8

13

-5

BAL YardBirds

19

24

-5

TB Acers

17

23

-6

LV Outlaws

26

32

-6

CH2 Pale Hose

11

18

-7

MIN Miracles

7

14

-7

DET Bombers

23

30

-7

CHY Cattle Prod

21

29

-8

VC Wolf Eels

12

22

-10

NAS Sound

4

16

-12

TRE Thunder

12

25

-13

ATL Braves

10

31

-21

Home Pitching

Now let’s look at the pitchers. Using the same method as I did for offense, I compared the ballparks’ P Rank to the home team’s pitching performance, using team ERA as the comparing statistic. Again, I took the difference between the Ballpark P Rank and the Team ERA Rank to get a Team Pitching Power rating. The Durham Outliers, playing in the second toughest ballpark to pitch in, have the league’s third-best Team ERA. This gives them an impressive Team Pitching Power rating of 28. Durham is followed by Salem and Vancouver as having the best team pitching at home, at least up to this point in the season.

And St Louis, who had the best Offensive Power Rating, has the worst Pitching Power Rating, with a score of -20. St Louis is followed by two teams in the AL North – Seattle and Detroit – as having the least effective pitching to date. New York, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe have very ‘average’ pitching staffs compared to their home ballparks.

PITCHING POWER

Franchise

Ballpark P Rank

Team ERA Rank

Team Pitching Power

DUR Outliers

31

3

28

SAL Eruption

25

4

21

VC Wolf Eels

19

1

18

SYR Siege

20

5

15

ATL Braves

23

8

15

KC Monarchs

15

2

13

RIC Pine Riders

17

10

7

TRE Thunder

21

14

7

CHY Cattle Prod

12

6

6

NAS Sound

29

23

6

TEX Long Riders

28

24

4

CH2 Pale Hose

22

18

4

ROC Red Wings

18

17

1

TB Acers

16

15

1

NY1 Yankees

13

13

0

ALB Albatross

30

30

0

SFE Rattlers

32

32

0

TOL Mud Hens

8

10

-2

MIN Miracles

26

28

-2

MIL High Life

24

27

-3

BOS Black Sox

27

31

-4

LV Outlaws

7

12

-5

BUR Northern

1

7

-6

WIC Learjets

2

9

-7

PAW Fire Cats

11

19

-8

LAA Tiger Blood

9

20

-11

OMA Oracles

4

16

-12

HON Sharks

6

21

-15

BAL YardBirds

14

29

-15

DET Bombers

10

26

-16

SEA Penguins

3

21

-18

STL Cardinals

5

25

-20

Overall Power Ratings

So as a final comparison in all of this number-crunching, I added the Team Offense Power and the Team Pitching Power to get the overall Team Power Ratings.

Durham, who has an offensive power rating of zero, more than makes up for it with their team pitching rating of 28. This gives them the best overall score, with an Overall Team Power rating of 28. Durham is followed by Syracuse and Kansas City, coming in with an overall score of 18. And I’m sorry, Detroit. Your Overall Team Power rating of -23 comes in dead last. Baltimore is not much better at -20, followed by Seattle at -15.

Who is the most ‘normal’ team in the league? Yes, it’s Albuquerque. With an offense rating of zero, and a pitching rating of zero, their Overall Team Power rating is…..zero. Albuquerque is the quintessential average team playing in that ballpark.

OVERALL TEAM POWER

Franchise

Team Offense Power

Team Pitching Power

Overall Team Power

DUR Outliers

0

28

28

SYR Siege

3

15

18

KC Monarchs

5

13

18

SAL Eruption

-5

21

16

NY1 Yankees

15

0

15

RIC Pine Riders

5

7

12

TEX Long Riders

4

4

8

VC Wolf Eels

-10

18

8

WIC Learjets

15

-7

8

PAW Fire Cats

11

-8

3

ALB Albatross

0

0

0

BUR Northern

4

-6

-2

STL Cardinals

18

-20

-2

CHY Cattle Prod

-8

6

-2

ROC Red Wings

-3

1

-2

MIL High Life

1

-3

-2

OMA Oracles

10

-12

-2

CH2 Pale Hose

-7

4

-3

SFE Rattlers

-3

0

-3

TOL Mud Hens

-2

-2

-4

BOS Black Sox

0

-4

-4

TB Acers

-6

1

-5

TRE Thunder

-13

7

-6

NAS Sound

-12

6

-6

ATL Braves

-21

15

-6

HON Sharks

7

-15

-8

LAA Tiger Blood

3

-11

-8

MIN Miracles

-7

-2

-9

LV Outlaws

-6

-5

-11

SEA Penguins

3

-18

-15

BAL YardBirds

-5

-15

-20

DET Bombers

-7

-16

-23

Summary

So how does all of this compare to the teams’ current winning percentages? Durham, who has the best Overall Team Power rating, also had the best winning percentage in the majors up to this point (83 games played), cruising along at a .675 winning percentage. Syracuse and Kansas City have winning percentages of .651 and .663, respectively, and each lead their respective divisions.

Detroit, with the lowest Overall Team Power rating, also has the lowest winning percentage, at .325. Baltimore and Seattle are winning games at a .373 clip. And Albuquerque, who leads their division, only has a record of 42-41. Very ‘average’.

How can we use all of this information? Heck, I don’t know, but it was fun to do. Like I said, I’m a numbers guy. I guess owners can look at these results to help determine where they need more help in the future, or just bask in the glow of having the best power rating in the league.

bjschumacher

Chicago Pale Hose