Monday, May 14, 2007

A Look Back: The Draft of S1

It has been almost three years since the first-ever Amateur Draft in the GAP. With the S4 draft coming up, this seems an appropriate time to review. Here are the first five picks:

#1 Matt Moore
Moore was selected by sergei back when his franchise was the Louisville Sluggers. He certainly looks worthy of being the first top pick of the GAP. Moore made the big show this year in San Diego and appears to be well on his way to an outstanding career. After his selection, Moore tore up the Rookie league with a 1280 OPS, including 17 HR, 99 RBI, and 94 runs scored in just 65 games of the short season. Texas (formerly Louisville) moved Moore to San Diego, and he started S2 in AA. A 1096 OPS in 96 games (37 HR and 127 RBI!) got him a quick promotion to AAA. He finished S2 there getting in 16 games and then starting S3 in AAA again at age 20. In a full year there, he posted a 1039 OPS with 35 HR, 128 RBI, and 128 runs scored. He finished his minor-league career with a ridiculous 370 RBI in 293 games!

Out of the gate in S4, he has started 335 games as the Padres' SS, putting up a very nice 976 OPS. With 11 HR and 8 SB, he could be on his way to a 30/30 season and possibly the NL ROY.

However, Moore's path to San Diego and the ripples since then aren't so easy to follow. Moore was shipped to San Diego in S2, for Charles Shinjo and Kyle Milton, two decent pitchers. Milton is 21-15 with a 3.69 ERA in 83 games for Texas since then, while Shinjo was turned right around and sent to Arizona along with speedy CF Walt Wall in exchange for Gene Stevenson. Shinjo has a good ERA (4.19) and WHIP (1.39) but is just 24-35 in 103 starts for Arizona. Stevenson isn't a Ranger either, of course, as he was moved to San Francisco for SP Juan Brito and RF Enrique Roque. Stevenson is a decent ML CF, good defensively but nothing special at the plate. Roque has been a star MLer, with 117 HR and a 942 OPS in 3+ years, and now just 25 years old. Brito was released at the beginning of S3 and has bounced to Baltimore and now Seattle, where he toils as a 28 y/o SP in AA.

So what sergei ended up with in exchange for Moore is Milton, a serviceable SP/LR and Roque. It is certainly less than Moore, however, the move to get Milton and Roque in S2 helped propel the Rangers to a 96-66 mark and a surprising AL West title when they edged both Tampa Bay and Kansas City in the tiebreak. They may not have Moore anymore, but they have a division title flag to fly in Texas.

#2 Damion Scarsone
Scarsone, 21, is also not with the team who drafted him. Picked by the Mets, he was moved in a deal to St. Louis in S2. He went along with 100-HR Club member Jeff Cuyler and a throw-in for Chuck Hoover and two throw-ins. It looks to be a bad deal for New York in hindsight. Hoover and Cuyler have had simlar numbers at similar ages (Hoover a bit better and two years younger) but not too far apart. Hoover was just a rental, leaving for Minnesota via free agency after S2. It's not like cap space was cleared, as Cuyler was only locked up through S2 as well, also leaving his new team via FA after the season. The Mets did win the NL East and made it to the NLCS in S2, but they likely would've done so anyway without the trade.

Meanwhile, Scarsone is putting up some eye-popping numbers. In S1 he did even better than Moore's amazing numbers above. In just 66 games, Scarsone hit .393 with 16 HR, 109 RBI, and 113 runs scored. His OPS of 1334 (!) was sick. In S2, he had a 1033 OPS with 13 HR in 79 games in AAA for New York before the trade. St. Louis started him off back in Rookie ball for the last 12 games, then had him start S3 in AA. A 1037 OPS in 33 games got him bumped to AAA, where he wrapped up the year with a 956 OPS in 56 games. After one AAA game this year, he got the call and has gotten some action at both 2B and C. A great all-around defensive player, Scarsone has a PC of 30, just good enough to handle some spot duty behind the dish. In 21 games he has an 1125 with 5 HR in just 63 AB! No SB yet, but with his 98 speed rating that is sure to get to 100 before long, he could be another 30/30 guy as soon as he gets a starting spot.

#3 Miguel Paz
Straight out of high school and now just 21, Paz is on the Charlotte slow-track to the bigs. He split the end of S1 between Rookie (3-3/1.34/4.22) and Low A (5-0/1.34/2.72). Owner mdukes kept him in Low A for all of S2, and he posted a 12-4/2.26/1.19 mark in 25 starts. This wasn't enough to earn him a promotion, however, as he started S3 with the same club. After a 8-4/1.07/3.52 start, he finally got the nod to High A. There a 7-5/1.29/3.59 got him bumped to AA for one start at the end of the year, a nice 8-inning effort with only one unearned run allowed.

Paz is still in AA here in S4, with a 4-2/3.20/1.01 to show for his efforts so far this year. His ratings are climbing but slowly. His lack of control and too many fly balls will always be a problem for him. Could it be that his slow rise, which of course means lower-rated coaches at the lower levels, has stunted his progress?

#4 Charles Young
Young, a starting pitcher straight out of HS, is progressing nicely. About a year per level, he is now in AA. There have been some bumps along the way, however. In S1, Young went 2-10/1.75/7.83 mostly at Rookie but also a little Low A. He got settled in during S2, getting 29 starts in Low A while spending the whole season there, going 11-11/1.46/4.28. He started S3 in High A, and really shined, putting up a 10-1/1.20/2.56 in 18 starts. Then dmaxie made a strange move and promoted him to AA while moving him to the bullpen. He was 32 durability/74 stamina at the time, a really strange move. He finished S3 with 30 relief appearances in AA, going 2-3/2.46/10.40.

Management wisely moved him back into the rotation in S4, and Young is off to a 5-2/1.20/3.24 start. He is a workhorse (33/80 on his way to something like 35/90), averaging 7.3 innings in his 8 starts.

#5 Ernest Sellers
Sellers was the first non-high schooller selected. He was a 20-year-old college sophomore who was tabbed by Kansas City with their first pick. He just got the call to the bigs a couple weeks ago, and appears to be at the start of a solid, if not spectacular, career in the GAP. He has steadily put up good numbers, starting with a 4-1/1.50/3.46 in Low A at the end of S1. After a 3-0/0.89/2.08 dominating performance in 6 starts in Low A in S2, Sellers jumped to High A and stayed for just 4 starts. His 2-0/1.06/1.19 got him bumped quickly to AA. In AA for the rest of S2, he stumbled to a 3-5/1.69/5.09.

In S3, he looked ready to star in AA, and in 10 starts Sellers went 5-1/1.11/2.34 and moved on to the AAA club. He held his own there, at 6-8/1.46/4.30. A solid 2-1/0.95/1.89 start in AAA in S3, combined with an injury to Royals' ace Tony Hudler, gave Sellers the opportunity. He has started off well, going 2-1/1.15/4.15 in 6 starts.

He's shown steady improvement, conquering each level in a year or less, but his ratings are not jaw-dropping. It remains to be seen if he can dominate ML hitters within a year like he has other levels. But at just 23 years of age, if he can perform, there could be a spot for him in the KC rotation for 10 or more years to come.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

GAP Breakdown: NL East Part 2 of 2

Philadelphia Phillies
These Phillies have the same unfortunate problem as their MLB counterpart, or shall I say, two problems. Philadelphia has a tall order, trying to pass not only one elite team, but two in the Braves and Mets, which might be near impossible, as both teams look stacked for the future. If anyone is up for the challenge, it's the ownership in Philly, and thanks to them, there looks to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Season 1 - 60-102 (.370)
Season 2 - 75-87 (.463)
Season 3 - 65-97 (.401)
Season 4 - 13-21 (.382)

4 Season MVP - Pedro Segui [.282 AVG - 113 HR - 358 RBI - 260 Runs - .904 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Earl Rhodes [26-27 - 3.93 ERA - 1.31 WHIP - .245 OAV]

Core of the Future
1B Tino Springer (19) High A
LF Artie Webster (25) ML
LF Jolbert Uribe (20) High A
SP Harry Maradona (19) Low A
SP Sam Bibby (19) Low A
SP Earl Rhodes (26) ML
RP Bartolo Vega (24) ML
RP Rolando Melendez (20) Low A
RP Greg Waters (24) ML

Washington D.C. Senators
A true reclamation project, the Senators are gradually growing into what should one day be a formidable foe for the rest of the NL East. Similar to the Indians in the movie Major League, the ownership in Season 1 looked to be destroying all hopes of winning in Washington...but after he was disposed of, the Senators are looking towards the future and have dreams of division titles dancing in their heads.

Season 1 - 55-107 (.340)
Season 2 - 57-105 (.352)
Season 3 - 47-115 (.290)
Season 4 - 8-26 (.235)

4 Season MVP - Tori Valentin [.249 AVG - 133 HR - 331 RBI - 253 Runs - .849 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Patrick Kirkland [22-38 - 4.18 ERA - 1.44 WHIP - .273 OAV]

Core of the Future
C Rafael Park (19) High A
SS Neil Moyer (25) ML
2B Edgardo Matos (19) Low A
2B Ryan Schmidt (26) ML
LF Rico Benitez (24) ML
1B Al Santiago (20) AA
1B Valerio Rivera (19) High A
RF Kelly Acosta (25) ML
SP Guillermo Cordero (21) High A
SP Jeff Butler (25) ML
SP Garry Valdes (21) ML
SP Stuart King (25) ML
SP Ryan Dixon (24) ML

Friday, May 11, 2007

GAP Breakdown: NL East Part 1 of 2

Atlanta Braves
After cruising to division win in Season 1, Atlanta has been an interesting team to watch, showing signs of that same dominant team, but also flashing signals of a slight talent drop off in recent seasons. The Braves look to have the kinks worked out through 27 games in Season 4, compiling an impressive 19-8 record and challenging division rival New York for the league-best team ERA.

Season 1 - 101-61 (.623)
Season 2 - 94-68 (.580)
Season 3 - 88-74 (.543)
Season 4 - 19-8 (.704)

4 Season MVP - Joe Linden [.305 AVG - 62 HR - 285 RBI - 312 Runs - .991 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Malachi Carson [48-22 - 3.10 ERA - 1.18 WHIP - .231 OAV]

Core of the Future
2B Joe Linden (29) ML
2B Jorel Collins (22) Low A
3B Mark Moore (27) ML
LF Freddie Grieve (24) ML
SP Tanyon Flanagan (22) ML
SP Ralph Duncan (26) AA

New York Mets
After squeezing into the playoffs with the 2nd wild card in Season 1, the Mets have been on a tear since. The pitching has been simply outstanding, but like most big budget teams, there is a lot of future being sacrificed to win now. But win now they have, and should least for a couple more seasons.

Season 1 - 87-75 (.537)
Season 2 - 101-61 (.623)
Season 3 - 102-60 (.630)
Season 4 - 19-9 (.679)

4 Season MVP - Ted Hogan [.294 AVG - 88 HR - 296 RBI - 284 Runs - .917 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Cliff Simms [59-27 - 3.34 ERA - 1.15 WHIP - .236 OAV]

Core of the Future
1B Turner Davis (24) ML
3B Ted Hogan (23) ML
SS Jim Young (25) ML
CF Earl Garcia (22) AA
RF Eugene Betemit (27) ML
SP Jason Ray (24) ML
SP Sal Floyd (27) ML
RP Julio Saenz (24) ML

Thursday, May 10, 2007

GAP Breakdown: NL North Part 2 of 2

Milwaukee Brewers
After taking the North the first two seasons, the Brewers have since struggled to stay above .500, going 74-88 in Season 2, and currently sitting 4 games under after 26 games. Carlos Campos and Jimmie Iglesias have been studs, but the rest of the team has struggled mightily since their consistent early success started to drop off.

Season 1 - 88-74
Season 2 - 90-72
Season 3 - 74-88
Season 4 - 11-15

4 Season MVP - C Carlos Campos [.317 AVG - 161 HR - 450 RBI - 351 Runs - 1.016 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - SP Lorenzo Tabaka [52-29 - 4.00 ERA - 1.23 WHIP - .255 OAV]

Core of the Future
C Carlos Campos (29) ML
SS Marino Cordero (21) AAA
LF Ricardo Melendez (22) AAA
OF Omar Arroyo (23) AAA
SS Eric Scott (24) AAA
SP Hideki Koh (23) ML
RP Will Andrews (25) ML
SP Arthur Hayes (19) AA

Pittsburgh Pirates
The new class of the NL North, the Pirates have risen from obscurity to become the team to beat in one of the most competitive divisions in all of the GAP. The scary thing is, the ML team is pretty much all relatively young, and the farm system has a couple of very impressive prospects. The Pirates should be a force in the North for years to come.

Season 1 - 81-81 (.500)
Season 2 - 88-74 (.543)
Season 3 - 94-68 (.580)
Season 4 - 15-11 (.577)

4 Season MVP - Chris Baker [.290 AVG - 131 HR - 391 RBI - 324 Runs - .924 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Jake Payton [54-33 - 3.15 ERA - 1.17 WHIP - .242 OAV]

Core of the Future
3B Quinn Hundley (25) ML
SS Al Martinez (21) AA
CF Denny Greenwood (19) Low A
OF Sammy Ordonez (20) AA
RF Carlos Alvarez (20) High A
RF Troy Decker (22) High A
SP Scot Weston (23) AAA
SP Alex Sparks (25) AAA
RP Glen Wise (25) AAA

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

GAP Breakdown: NL North Part 1 of 2

The NL North has been very interesting and competitive to say the least over the first 3+ seasons of the GAP. In Season 1, the Brewers edged out the Cubs by a game to win the division, and the Cubs lost the wild card to the Mets in a tiebreaker. Season 2 belonged to the Brewers as well, but the division looked even closer, as every team was .500 or better, and the Pirates showed promise, finishing only 2 games behind the Brew Crew, and gave the North 2 playoff teams for the first time in the short history of the GAP. Season 3 was a dogfight most of the Season, as the Pirates and Cubs traded off turns in first for most of the season, until the Cubs fell apart in the 2nd half and the Pirates cruised to the North title in the last 2 weeks. Season 4 once again has the Cubs and Pirates in what looks to be an epic battle for the title.

Chicago Cubs
The Cubs have been consistently inconsistent, streaking to large division leads at time, then falling hard and needing to rebound to get back to .500. This is still a very young team, and has the talent to be dominant in the future years (as long as the young core stays intact)

Season 1 - 87-75
Season 2 - 81-81
Season 3 - 81-81
Season 4 - 15-7

4 Season MVP - RF Victor Parra [.294 AVG - 121 HR - 375 RBI - 353 Runs - .906 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - SP Richard Hyun [34-19 - 3.77 ERA - 1.25 WHIP - .255 OAV]

Core of the Future
SP Johnny Buck (23) ML
SP Willie Ordonez (21) ML
SP Rich Allen (23) ML
SP Pete Frascatore (20) AAA
SP Carlos Gutierrez (18) Low A
RF Victor Parra (27) ML
1B Joey Norman (23) AAA
3B Kevin Watson (24) AAA
3B Stan Harper (21) AA
SS Jose Campos (19) High A

Cincinnati Reds
The Reds looked to be going places after a promising 82-80 end to Season 2, but things suddenly turned sour in Cincy, and the Reds ended up with a 49-113 record in Season 3, only 2 games better than the obviously rebuilding D.C. Senators. The team has some serious young talent, but it's starting to look like it's still gonna be a couple more years before they have a chance to reach .500 again.

Season 1 - 66-96 (.407)
Season 2 - 82-80 (.506)
Season 3 - 49-113 (.302)
Season 4 - 9-13 (.409)

4 Season MVP - Andres Mieses [.272 AVG - 105 HR - 310 RBI - 286 Runs - .858 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Nolan Schmidt [26-31 - 4.63 ERA - 1.48 WHIP .271 OAV]

Core of the Future
SP Thomas Davis (22) AAA
SP Bey Wainhouse (21) AA
SP Enrique Guillen (24) AAA
SP Alejandro Guerrero (22) High A
3B Andres Mieses (22) ML
SS Grover Lyon (23) High A
OF Horace Ross (24) AAA
1B Pinky Glavine (24) AAA

[Brewers/Pirates next]