Sunday, April 27, 2008

Welcome and Welcome Back

30 owners return for Season 8, and we welcome two (three, really) into the fold. Welcome back to the H.J. vets, and welcome to domiisgod and kingcryptic (the two-headed monster of Jack and zubs). We also lured leppy into permanent residence, after taking on babysitting duties last season. With the efficient way a poor situation was dealt with last season and the addition of our new owners, all signs point toward Happy Jack becoming an "elite" HBD World, and sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SLC Hammers - Trading Block

Here's a summary of players on the Salt Lake City Hammers trading block. No stupid contracts. Nobody who does not belong in the ML.

Some of them have team options or are up for arbitration. You'll have to move fast on those, as I won't be waiting around for the best possible offer.

Ages are Season 8. "Last Season" is 7.

John Scarsone - SS - 31 - 1 yr @ $4M. Top SS 3 Range Factor. Top 10 Fld%. 16-63-.291-.461 w/ 12 SB. Fielding range & hitting ratings improved last season. If you're looking for a SS to hold down the fort for a few seasons so you don't have to rush your SS Of The Future to the ML, here's your guy. Will consider tossing in some $$ for this year's salary.

Taylor Fisher - DH/C - 33 - 1 yr @ 4.2M - Crushes LHP (hit cleanup for the 1st place Hammers). OK vs. RHP. You don't want him behind the plate much, if at all. DH or big bat of the bench. Not looking for much. Will consider helping with salary.

Norman Lombard - C - 28 - Yr 1 Arb - $1.4M arb - 5 yr / $20M long term - If you're looking for a no-hit, defensive stud, this is not your guy. Ave behind the plate. 4th in the ML in Caught Stealings in Season 7. Middle of the pack Caught Stealing %. High durability & health, so he plays every day. 85 makeup, so there's no reason he won't still improve some. Expect low 20s HR, .290 Ave, .480 SLG..

Pedro Manual - CF - 28 - Yr 1 Arb - $1.6M arb - 4 yr / $19.2 M long term - Over 80 Range and Glove. Hits .300. Steals some bases. If you think you need an all-star at every position to win, he's not your guy. If you need a leadoff hitter who can run and field, he might be.

Harry Banks - 1B - 26 - Yr 1 Arb - $895K arb - 2 yr / $4.4 M long term - Averaged 20+ HR & .300 BA over the past 2 season. Was stuck on a messed up team for 4 years, so his development has been slower than it seems like it should have been. Still young. Got his health. And I'm obviously not going to be asking for a whole lot in return.

Anthony Borbon - 2B,3B,OF - 26 - Yr 1 Arb - $1.4M arb - 4 yr / $19.2M long term - This might be the best young player you have any shot at trading for this season. He ain't gunna be cheap, but he can be had.

Butch Brooks - 3B/COF - 31 - $456K - Arb elig. next season - Solid hitter vs LHP. with great power. If I don't trade him, he'll start every game vs LHP for the Hammers.

Rafael Santos - RF/3B/LF/1B - 30 - Signed for 3 years - $7M, $6M, $5M (mutual option). One of HJ's premier sluggers. Good for 40-60 HRs a season. Rifle arm in RF. I'm not really looking to trade him, but I'll consider offers.

Milton Cunningham - SP - 26 - Yr 1 Arb - $1.8M arb - 4 yr / $26M long term - Here's your chance to stay out of the FA bidding frenzy and pick up a solid SP. Had a rocky Season 7. Looking for a change of scenery.

Dan Brumfield - SP - 25 - $378K - RHPs who don't keep the ball on the ground have a hard time in SLC. Used as a spot starter on the road last season and was good. Not OK. Good. Almost all his bad outings were in the short RF of SLC. He's young, he's cheap, and he's improving. I'm not going to give him away, but if he can start every 5 games at home for you, he's worth more to you than he is to me.

Vince Borland - RP - 26 - $340K - Got to be able to setup, if not close, on any team. I've got one young RP to deal. He's the best of the lot who are not untouchable. Which means there are other's I'd trade, too.

Jeff Berry - RP - 26 - $378K - Former Rule 5 guys. Not well developed his first 4 seasons. High potential. Still improving. The kind of arm it's good to have in that 9-10 spot when a pitcher goes does midseason.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Classmates Season in Review

At the end of the 7th season of the Santa Clara Classmates under the helm of Marsrover21, let us examine how well (or poorly) the team faired.

* For the fourth time in as many seasons, the Classmates are going to the playoffs. Despite having the second best record in franchise history, the Classmates will again have to play in the first round. Hopefully, this year's team will fair better than last season's early round exit. And with a healthy Tanyon Walls, there is no reason to think they can't get past the first round.

* Rookie sensation Bart Martin was as good as advertised, and currently sits as the favorite for ROY voting. Martin put up fantastic numbers in his first full season, going .295/.361/.557 with 32 dingers, 46 doubles, 62^ stolen bases (vs. just 11 CS) and 102 RBIs. He is also an MVP candidate, and a Silver Slugger at third base.

* Another player making his ML full-season debut was Al Reid. Although he did not show up with as much fanfare as Martin, Reid was for the bullpen what Martin is for the offense. Indeed, Reid currently shows as second in ROY contention. As solid a closer as is in the league, Reid finished the year with 84.1 innings pitched, 32 saves (vs. 37 opportunities), 1.17 WHIP, 3.20 ERA, and 78 Ks. A big closer is what this team was looking for last year, and so far Reid has been a big upgrade.

* Tanyon Walls was again fantastic. After a down first season with the Classmates, Walls has run off three-straight .300 AVG seasons with an OPS of at least .950. Walls (along with Martin) was one of two players on the team to join the 30/30 club this season going 36/31. His fielding pct. improved for the second straight season to a very respectable .989. Although he will never win an MVP in the pitcher's friendly Municipal Stadium, Walls is again in contention for the award. And why not? Afterall, no other SS in the league will give you .300/30/30 and a .989 fielding pct.

* Ismael Ordonez was probably the most pleasant surprise on the team. Acquired at the beginning of the year from the Tacoma Lynx, Ordonez set career highs in HRs (51^), RBIs (149^), BBs (54), and OPS (.971^). Ordonez was worth it, and then some. However, with a career low 19 2Bs, look for some of those HRs to turn into two-baggers next season. Let's just hope they stay HRs throughout the playoffs.

* Defense. Led by two-time Gold-Glover Alfonso Pujols, the Classmates were second in fielding percentage (.991), and led the league in + plays by a wide margin (52). Pujols led the league with 28.

* Speed. The Classmates were second in league stolen bases behind the Rainers (the departing deanroy team had an amazing 494, while the Classmates had a much more humbling 238). The Classmates had a very respectable .758 steal percentage.

* Other role-players. Brian Torres, Hipolito Ferrer, and Felipe Rodriguez all played vital roles coming down the stretch playing only part-time. These players will again have to come up big in the playoffs for the Classmates to advance.

This was probably the best all-around team the Classmates have ever had throughout a full regular season. Although injuries to starting pitchers Randall Griffin and Einar Lee threatened to derail the season early, luckily the Classmates found some depth and were buoyed by great seasons from veteran pitchers Endy Messmer and Jaime Decker. Although neither has pitched particularly well in the playoffs before, the 'Mates are counting on them to push us into our first World Series. It is certain that this team can hit (for the first time in a long while). Now we are looking for them to win four straight series.

NOTE: "^" Denotes a franchise record.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

He's Done It!

In a feat that will surely go down as one of the worst accomplishments in history, famed not-so-great player Nick Morton has finally done it. In Wednesday's AM game, the kid nobody believed in lost to the lowly Ice Nuts in grand fashion. Giving up 8 runs in just three innings of work, Morton asserted himself as one of the unluckiest pitchers in the history of his franchise. It's only fitting that his historic achievement would come while getting mitchslapped.

Now all Morton has to do is hold onto his winless streak to enter the record books. Should his current record stand, Nick Morton will be the first player ever in Happy Jack history to go 0-20 on the season.

Only 25 years old, it seems all Morton can do now is get better. However, no matter what his future achievements, two numbers will remain: 0-20. The Slut will most likely pitch his last game vs. the Las Vegas franchise in the AM, or PM. Like the Giants, should the Pit Boss lose to this now-infamous pitcher, the club shall go down in history as a record-breaking franchise. We should all be on our seats.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Race to Mediocrity Update: Morton Two Away

Perennial loser Nick Morton continues his historic streak into history. In this morning's game, Slut Morton put up his worst line of the season going 1.2 innings, giving up 8 runs on 9 hits while throwing 43 pitches. This historically semi-adequate pitcher is now only two losses away from the famed 0-20 record. At this point, ESPN has assigned two reporters to follow every Morton start from here on out. Should Morton accomplish the feat, it is believed he will be the first ever to be so daring as to try for such an honor.

One thing is clear at this point, and it is that Morton is not in danger of losing his job and will most likely get the chance to pitch for the record. Slut owner (who would only give his initials for this interview) nws has intimated that he will continue to go to Morton despite his apparent inadequacies. Mr. Morton, the Nation is watching you, make us proud.

Vegas gets 77th win!!

And sets franchise record. With the young team and more talent on the way, we should contend for many seasons.