Thursday, July 31, 2008

*Prospect Watch*

Charlie Adams
Age: 24B/T: L/L
Born: Page, AZ
Position(s): P (SP3)
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It was time... With Minnesota's season slipping further and further away every day, Maulers first year GM Nick Carita saw that it was time to turn a corner and plan for the future.

"Our pitching staff was not performing to the level we expected coming into the season," Carita explained. "At this point in the season, it's time to give some of our 'close-to-major-league level' prospects the chance to get some big league experience."

Enter Charlie Adams. After being drafted with the 26th overall pick in the Season 2 amateur draft by the Philadelphia Wings, Adams earned his first promotion after his first three professional starts, going from Low A up to High A ball.

After three years in High A ball in the Wings' system, Adams was the victim of not one, but two Rule 5 picks. He was chosen by the Sycamores in Season 6 and with Toronto in Season 7.

"That was a tough time," Adams recalls. "As much as I enjoyed my time with the Sycamores and Blizzard on the major league level, I knew that I needed more time in the minors. Unfortunately, Rule 5 Draft pick rules prohibited me to go back to the minors with my new team right away."

Adams struggled in his first two seasons in the majors. With Pawtucket (recently relocated to Syracuse), Adams only started five games, posting an 0-4 record. Adams pitched only 26 innings all season, posting a 6.58 ERA and a 1.92 WHIP. When chosen by the Toronto Franchise (recently relocated to Minnesota), Adams had the worst season of his professional career, going 2-9 with an 8.03 ERA and a 2.03 whip.

"Those seasons were definitely tough ones, but I was able to recover from those two seasons pretty quickly," Adams reflects. "I had a great talk with the major league franchise front office, and I'm really blessed that they had faith in me."

Adams started Season 8 with Minnesota's AAA Franchise, the Nova Scotia Scoots of the Canadian League. After posting a 4.03 ERA along with a perfect 4-0 record, it was only a matter of time before the big league ball club called Adams to give him the good news.

The call arrived on 7/28 at 12:19 pm. This time around, Adams wasn't about to stumble out of the gates as he did in Season 6 and 7.

"Mentally, I was ready."

Adams has been spectacular in his first two starts, going 2-0, giving up two runs to the Brooklynites and one run against the Red Birds. How was Charlie able to stay focused mentally?

"I attribute my success to my role models. I've followed Darryl Strawberry's carrer, and wow... what a class act he was. He was a player that, no matter the circumstances, kept moving forward in his career. Jose Canseco showed me how to be unrelenting in any pursuit. Roger Clemens showed me how to keep my game face on, no matter the circumstances. Manny Ramirez showed me that, as long as I stay focused on the game of baseball, nothing can get in my way."

With such great role models, there is no way that Adams can fail. Adams' next test will be on 8/2 AM, when he takes on the Anaheim Rangers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

7/24 PM Game Recaps

Toronto, Canada: In there fourth straight game of seven matches against Toronto, the Louisville Lions won their third of four matches Friday afternoon with a 7-3 victory over the Kids in the Hall in Toronto.

Diego Martin scored the first run of the game with a rare solo inside-the-park home run into left field. The ball was hit down the third base line and bounced off of the wall which directed the ball towards center field. While Martin is not known for his speed, he was on his horse on this play, eventually completing his run around the bases.

The Lions would make it 2-0 in the top of the third inning when Lion SS Joseph Lee scored on a Toronto CF Juan Lee error.

With Toronto scoring a run in the bottom of the third, Louisville DH Chan Martin would put the game out of reach with a three-run home run to right center field off of Toronto starter Felix Gardner (3-3). Gardner was pulled after allowing his sixth earned run of the game.

Louisville starter Wayne Barker (2-0) pitched five innings and gave up only one earned run while striking out six to earn his second win of the season.

Austin, TX: Vincenzo Gordon (3-2) threw eight strong innings and CF Edgar Borges drove in four runs as the Timbermen defeated the Healeys, 5-2, at the Dell.

With the game knotted at two in the top of the seventh inning and two men on base, Borges hit a flyball three-run home run straight away to center field to put the Timbermen ahead for good.

Gordon threw eight strong innings, giving up only two earned runs while striking out five and walking two for his second straight win. Gordon has been on fire in his last four starts going 3-1 with a 1.28 ERA.

Seattle, WA: The Hartford Posse earned their fourth win in five games on Thursday, taking down the Seattle Earthquake, 6-3, at Safeco Field in front of 28 fickle sports fans.

With the Posse up 2-1, C Justin Paige crushed a solo shot to centerfield to tie the game. All 28 fans went wild.

After Posse CF Sergie Sanford knocked in two runs on a double down the leftfield line, fourteen fans left the stadium... little did they know (or care) that Seattle LF Russell Girardi would bring the Earthquake back to within one run on a solo homer to left center field.

Though the Eartquake stayed within one run for most of the remainder of the game, Posse LF Justin Clark put the game out of reach with a linedrive two run home run to left center field.

Posse starter Wallace Moore (4-2) earned his third win in four games while Micah Smith earned his league-tying tenth save of the season.

Albuquerque, NM: The Apaches got on the board early and often, scoring seven of their 11 runs by the third inning, on their way to an 11-7 victory over the New York Metros at Isotopes Park. Four players accounted for two ore more RBI's in the game. Albuquerque has won six of their last eight games.

The Apaches played small ball in the first inning, scoring four runs on four individual hits. CF Mitch Rivera, the first batter New York faced, hit a flyball solo homerun to left field to start the scoring. After a walk to C Rob Costello and a single by SS Sammy Cruz, LF Luis Rincon hit a groundball single to bring in Costello. 1B BC Rivera scored Cruz on a line drive single. 2B Juan Prieto capped off the first inning with a double to score Rivera.

Though the Metros scored their first run in the top of the third inning on a solo home run by 3B Pedro Johnson, Albuquerque answered in the bottom of the third with a two-run home run by RF Jocko Ducey and a solo shot by Prieto.

Though New York would add three more runs to their total in the sixth, seventh, and ninth innings, Albuquerque scored four more runs to take the game, 11-7.

*NOTE: Luis Rincon now has 10 RBI's in his last five games.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

*International Prospect File*

International signings have become a major part of today's sports business. Just look at teams like the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, and the Boston Red Sox. What do these teams have in common? They've shelled out mega-bucks to each international players off-shore teams JUST for the chance to negotiate a contract to bring the player to America.

Hideki Matsui was offered a three-year, $21 million contract to sign with the Yankees. Matsui was a free-agent in Japan, so the evil empire did not need to pay his former team, the Yomuiri Giants, for the rights to negotiate with "Godzilla".

The Seattle Mariners offered the Orix Blue Wave $13 million just for the RIGHTS to talk to Ichiro Suzuki. How much more did the Mariners spend on Ichiro? They offered him a three-year, $16 million contract, to play for the North West ball club.

The Red Sox invested over $102 million in Daisuke Matsuzaka, including $51.1 million for the rights to negotiate with Dice-K to make the switch to America.

Though the HBD international signings do not have as much impact as the aforementioned players did on their respective teams, international signings still do play a key element in the progression of a ballclub from good to great. Throughout the season, we will be visiting these first year prospects and find out how their brand new career is unfolding.

Osvaldo Cedeno
New York
Age: 19B/T: S/L
Born: Ingenio Quisqueya, DO
Position(s): P (SP1)
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OSVALDO CEDENO (P) New York Metros: Now known as the $20 million kid, the New York Metros opened their wallets for 19 year-old pitching prospect Osvaldo Cedeno, out of the Dominican Republic.

Son of former big leaguer, Roger Cedeno, Osvaldo was one of the most sought-after International free agents in this early season. Boasting a five pitch repetoire, Cedeno had many teams willing to use their entire international budget to land the young man.

"The day I knew that my son had big league potential was when he was five years old," Roger Cedeno reminissed. "We were having a catch in our back yard, and he threw a ball right into my 'private area'. I couldn't walk for days... after I woke up from my coma, I knew he had potential."

The now grown-up Cedeno fielded many offers and calls from prospective organizations, but one team stood out.

After the New York Metros came out the highest bidder, New York GM "njcomet" felt he needed to start Cedeno's progress slowly, assigning him to his Low-A ballclub.

"With a pitcher that could be the next Fred Allensworth, we, as an organization, felt we needed to start Cedeno off slow, " njcomet asessed. "Nothing is more damaging to a teenage prospect than starting him at too high of a level. That could shatter his confidence which, in turn, could ruin his career even before it starts."

It seems that Cedeno has other ideas. In Cedeno's first professional appearance, the youngster dominated the Hartford Posse, earning the victory in seven innings, giving up only five hits, and one earned run ( on a "welcome to professional baseball" solo shot by 2B Eddie Walker), while striking out eight. In fact, Cedeno struck out the very first batter he faced in LF Will Tanner. Not a bad start!

In his second start of his young career, Cedeno continued his domation, this time, at the expense of the Dover Destroyers. He held the Destroyers to four hits over seven strong innings, while striking out five.

While the New York organization was pleased with Cedeno's first two starts, they also knew that reality would eventually settle in, and Cedeno would return to earth. Cleveland would be the team to bring Cedeno back to reality. In that game, Cedeno gave up ten hits and five earned runs in six innings.

Over the next two games, Cedeno would give up two and three earned runs respectively

If you take away the burp he had against the Red Sox, Cedeno sported a 2.00 ERA in the Low A level, prompting the New York brass to give him a promotion to High A ball.

Though not the start that Cedeno had hoped for, he did put up a respectable performance, giving up three earned runs in 5.2 innings of work.

"Cedeno is making good progress," njcomet commented. "He's really starting to come into his own."

When asked what Cedeno needs to do to continue to make progress, njcomet joked, "he needs to get learn to bat so we can use him off the bench! If he learned to bat, he'd be the most feared pitcher in the game."

"In all reality, Cedeno is on a great pace as he is. If we can develop his mental game along with his velocity, he will be an unstoppable force."

If Cedeno continues to progress at the pace he currently is, don't be surprised if you see the youngster in the big leagues at age 21.

If this is the case, then his dad will really have to watch his 'private area'.

Friday, July 18, 2008


In most sports. offense helps you win championships... but in baseball, things are a little bit different.

Each team needs a staff of strong pitchers to help keep their team in the game. Let's take a look at a few of the pitchers that are making an early name for themselves for the NL Cy Young Award for Season 8:

Fred Allensworth
Age: 35B/T: R/R
Born: Boone, NC
Position(s): P (SP2)
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FRED ALLENSWORTH - (4-0, 1.00)
Allensworth has been the most dominant pitcher in the league since its inception, and this season is no different. Having never sported an ERA below his first season result of 3.39, Allensworth is continuing his dominance through his first four starts, earning an ERA of 1.00. His WHIP has never been below 1.18, and, as it stands, it is sitting at a sultry 0.93, good for 11th in the league.

Not known for his velocity, Allensworth has a master level of control on all of his pitches and continues to be one of the top pitchers in the game, even at age 35. He's currently holding teams to .190, good for tenth in the league. If Allensworth can keep up these types of numbers, don't be surprised if he ends up the NL Cy Young winner for the seventh time in eight years.

Brett Collier
Kids in the Hall
Age: 28B/T: L/L
Born: El Paso, TX
Position(s): P (SP1)
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BRETT COLLIER - (1-0, 0.00)
Don't let his win/loss record fool you... Brett Collier is the real deal. In his first four starts, Collier has yet to allow an earned run. In fact, his WHIP is as low as the Seattle City Government's combined IQ, sitting at 0.82.

Now, you may ask... "why is his win/loss record at 1-0 if he hasn't let in an earned run?" If we look at Toronto's run production in Collier's three no-decision games, we see that Toronto averaged under one run per game while Collier was on the mound. If Toronto can produce some offense while Collier is on the mound, and Collier continues to allow his OAV to be at .156, don't be surprised if he wins 20 games this season, well on his way to his first NL Cy Young Award.

Joaquin Ayala
Santa Fe
Age: 21B/T: L/L
Born: Bani, DO
Position(s): P (SP2)
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JOAQUIN AYALA (3-0, 1.37): Ayala, acquired by the Slammers from Louisville in late June for 3B Don Woo, is showing the world why Santa Fe GM "7Yankees7" had faith in his young pitcher to excel in the big leagues in only Ayala's fourth professional season.

After earning a 3.09 ERA in the minors in his first three professional seasons, Ayala is sporting a 1.37 ERA in his first four starts. Holding opponents to a .200 batting average, Ayala is making his case early in the season for an NY Cy Young award. He's only given up one earned run in each of his first three starts and blanked the Rangers on June 18th in his fourth start, giving up only one hit.

If Ayala keeps this up, he will be the youngest pitcher in history to earn an NL Cy Young award.

Leaders as of 7/18 PM

Dennys Cheng (NOR) 11
Santos Duran (SWB) 10
Charles Ueno (SFE) 9
four tied with 8

Dennys Cheng (NOR) 26
Charles Ueno (SFE) 23
Bryce Stoops (HEL) 21
three tied with 20

Jae Dong (NOR) 14
Ron Kennedy (DOB) 11
Javier Pena (HOU) 10
Adam Wheeler (HOU) 10
Max McGowan (WIC) 9

Thursday, July 17, 2008


It's only fifteen games into the season, but we're already starting to see some of the more hot teams come running out of the gate!

PHILADELPHIA WINGS (11-3, 1st Place, NL East): After going 12-6 in Spring Training, it was obvious that the Philadelphia Wings had only one thing on their mind... winning the Season 8 championship.

The Wings started out white hot, going undefeated in their first eight contests at the expense of the Scranton Ironmen and the Washington D.C. Crooks. Philly suffered their first loss against the Bo Knows of Kansas City but were able to take two games of the three game series.

In a rematch of last season's Division Championship series where we saw Norfolk take the tilt 3-2, the Wings were looking for retribution against Southern early in Season 8. After being outscored in the first two games of the series three game series, 10-4, the Wings were able to pull off the 10-7 win in the rubber match behind second baseman Cyrus Snelling's inside-the-park homerun in the sixth inning. With the victory, the Wings were able to avoid their first sweep of the season.

The Wings have won their first game against the Jackson Hunters and will look to continue compiling a perfect record on the road as they go into game two of the three-game series.

HOUSTON CAVALIERS (11-3, 1st Place, NL South): Unlike Philadelphia's fortunes, the Houston Cavaliers started out a bit slow out of the gate, compiling a record of 4-3. For those doubting Thomas' out there who thought that the slow streak would continue, the Cavs proved the world wrong, now riding a seven-game winning streak, catapulting them into first place in the NL South.

After the Cavs dominated the Hunters by a combined score of 21-7 in their three wins in the series, Houston hit a small roadbump in Nashville. The Sounds took two games of three for the series win.

After a tough loss in the rubber match of the series against Nashville where the Cavs lost in the bottom of the ninth inning, Houston took out their frustrations by sweeping both Montreal and Little Rock, starting them on their winning streak.

With a win against Scranton, the Cavs' winning streak stands at seven, and there is no sign that Houston is going to let down.

Sante Fe Slammers (11-4, 1st Place, AL South): The Santa Fe Slammers nearly completed the perfect Spring Training season, having lost only two games out of fourteen spring training games. The Slammers look to continue their winning ways, compiling an 11-4 record in the early goings of Season 8.

Leading the league with 35 home runs and currently sitting in second in the league with a .316 batting average, the Slammers look to avenge a Season 7 first round exit out of the playoffs at the hands of Charleston.

After going 3-2 in their first five games, the Slammers found their stride, winning their next seven straight games at the expense of the Louisville Lions, a series sweep of the lowly Minnesota Maulers, and the Austin Healeys. The winning streak saw the Slammers surpass the Austin Healeys for first place in the AL South after Austin earned a 4-1 record in their first five games.

The Slammers look to start another extended winning streak as they welcome the New York Metros to Santa Fe.