Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Season 21 Off-Season

This post will be updated with important information during the off-season.

Common "New Owner" Mistakes

1. Understanding the impact of splits for hitting and pitching. There will be more RHB and RHP than LHB and LHP, so keep in mind how important "splits" (R v. L) can be.

2. Keep in mind how "advanced scouting" works. It will be average in your first year ($14M), so the accuracy in which you see player ratings will be impacted. If another owner has an advanced scouting of $20M, he will see with much greater accuracy a player's true current and projected ratings. This is important with free agents and trades.

3. It is almost NEVER beneficial to "release" a player. Typically, "waiving" a player is a much better option. When you "release" a player, you will continue to pay his salary no matter how long the contract is, and another owner can sign him and only pay him the minimum.

4. Understand the importance of setting your budget. It's the first thing you have to do so fire by trial. Please spend time reading the FAQ section, the player's guide, and ASK OTHER OWNERS if you have questions about the budget.

5. Dont' be fooled by the "overall" rating. The best closer in the game can be a 60 overall because a pitcher is "penalized" for having low stamina. A SP can be a 75 because he has a low LHB split, but he can be a great pitcher if he has a very high RHB split. Overall ratings should be taken with a grain of salt in some cases, and it takes a while before you understand what individual ratings are important for different positions.

6. Know how arbitration works. A player will have 2-4 years of player minimum salary (typically 3, depending on when you call them up) and then 3 years of arbitration. If you go to Arb 3, a player may or may not re-sign after the 3rd year. If you go to Arb 2, you have a much better chance of re-signing the player long-term. You can sign before Arb 1 if you want and it will reduce long-term salary commitment, but player might not re-sign and you'd lose years of service.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Season 21 Pre-Offseason

Hello out there...

After a season in which I changed jobs and had to worry about moving to another state, my team made it to the world series. So, I will no longer be an active commissioner since clearly the less time I put in, the better my team plays!

Just kidding...

Here is a recap of Season 20:

World Series Results: Kansas City over Charleston (4-2)
AL MVP - Aurelio Arias (Har)
AL Cy Young - Koji Chang (Chr)
AL ROY - Jarod Valentine (Far)
AL Fireman - Emmanuel Lopez (Jax)
NL MVP - Sven Owen (KC)
NL Cy Young - Shin-Soo Ishida (TB)
NL ROY - Andre Lee (CSP)
NL Fireman - Javier Sosa (Ana)


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Way too late Midseason Power Rankings

American League

Overall Team Rankings
1. Salem Silver Bullets (55-21)
2. Hartford Pit Bulls (56-20)
3. Charleston Country Boys (54-22)
4. Richmond Poormen (52-24)
5. Jacksonville Jackers (44-32)
6. Portland Beavers (44-32)

Best Pitching Staff
1. Charleston
2. Richmond
3. Hartford

Best Lineup
1. Charleston
2. Richmond
3a. Hartford
3b. Salem

Mid-Season AL MVP
*Aurelio Arias (HAR)
*Polin Guerrero (CHR)

Mid-Season AL Cy Young
*Adam Halladay (CHR)

National League

Overall Team Rankings
1. Tampa Bay Orange Crush (50-26)
2. Kansas City Mythbusters (48-28)
3. Las Vegas Lightning (45-31)
4. Pawtucket Washouts (46-30)
5. Mexico City Margaritas (44-32)
6. TBD

Best Pitching Staff
1. Kansas City
2. Tampa Bay
3. Pawtucket

Best Lineup
1. Kansas City
2. Tampa Bay
3a. Las Vegas
3b. Pawtucket

Mid-Season NL MVP
*Sam Knotts (CIN)

Mid-Season NL Cy Young
*Bengie Salvador (MC)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Season 19 Best Off-Season Move

The poll is located on the right hand side of the page. You hover your cursor over the sidebar on the right and then the poll will show up.

Season 19 Way too Early Playoff Predictions


1. Salem (106-54) - NL WEST DIVISION CHAMPS
2. Charleston (103- 59) - NL SOUTH DIVISION CHAMPS
3. Hartford (98-64) - NL EAST DIVISION CHAMPS
4. Montreal (82-80) - NL NORTH DIVISION CHAMPS
5. Jacksonville (101-61)
6. Richmond (97-65)


1. Kanas City (110-52) - NL SOUTH DIVISION CHAMPS
2. Las Vegas (96-66) - NL WEST DIVISION CHAMPS
3. Pawtucket (96-66) - NL NORTH DIVISION CHAMPS
4. Cincinnati (85-77) - NL EAST DIVISION CHAMPS
5. Tampa Bay (108-54)
6. Mexico City (95-67)


Charleston vs. Kansas City

World Series Champ

Kansas City

Season 19 NL Predictions


Key Additions: Oswaldo Ortiz (minors)
Key Subtractions: Kenneth Whitten, Rex Mintz, Gabby Sefcik
Summary: Pawtucket lost a lot of ML talent, but paid the price to get a future ace in Oswaldo Ortiz. They now have a bright future with Harley Owen, Garland Bryant, and Ortiz. I think the division is Pawtucket’s to lose as the other three teams in the NL North didn’t make a whole lot of improvements in this off-season.
Prediction: 96-66

Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Buffalo did not make a lot of moves this off-season. It will be tough to predict a record here, but I see a step back due to Pawtucket being the best team in the division.
Prediction: 76-86

Key Additions: Christopher Malone
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Malone should help stabilize this rotation, but there just isn’t a lot of major league talent on the ML team. Should see a similar record as last year as Buffalo, Rochester, and Scranton should beat up on each other.
Prediction: 78-84

Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: I feel like a broken record over the last few team summaries, but when you weren’t very good last year and you don’t make many moves to improve your roster, there isn’t much different to say. There is a chance that Scranton could call up Trent McNamara, and that might move Scranton into position to contend for 2nd place, but that’s about it.
Prediction: 80-82


Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Huntington didn’t make many moves this off-season, but they won statistically the weakest division last year. With a 77-85 record, Huntington squeaked into the playoffs and then made a quick exit. They still have one of the best teams in this division, but they better watch out for Cincinnati.
Prediction: 80-82

San Juan
Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: San Juan didn’t make too many moves this off-season either, and I’m not sure I see much room for improvement. I think there is a long-term rebuild plan in place, and this division is weak enough to do so. Should see a decline in wins due to the rise of the mighty Stingers.
Prediction: 62-100

Key Additions: Felipe Torrealba, Willie James, Jack Stafford, Sam Knotts, Elston Park
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: If you like spending money, Cincinnati wet your whistle this off-season spending a combined $107.8M on 5 FA’s (listed above) for a combined 13 years of playing time. What does that mean? Cincy has a 2-year time frame to JUST WIN BABY! I look for them to win the division pretty easily, and then in 2 years have a complete rebuild.
Prediction: 85-77

Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Things can’t get much worse for Philadelphia, but then again, there isn’t much talent on this ML roster either. I look for an improvement on the win total because ewells seems to be in it for the long haul, and they won’t start the season with an abandoned franchise.
Prediction: 52-110


Tampa Bay
Key Additions: Earl Shields
Key Subtractions: Julian Grabowski, Danny Darwin
Summary: Tampa Bay lost 2 very good position players, but softened the blow by re-signing arguably the best FA in the class in Angel Bennett. They also landed Earl Shields in FA to help with the loss of Danny Darwin. Part of me says that TB’s SP over-performed last year with 50 different people winning 15 games (at least it seemed that way). If that comes back down to reality, the win total might decrease slightly, but they will still be up there fighting Kansas City to the very end.
Prediction: 108-54

Kansas City
Key Additions: Saul Bonilla
Key Subtractions: Benji Reyes, Vic Villafuerte,
Summary: The rich keep getting richer. Kansas City seems to add another 1-2 future stars to its farm system every year while keeping all of its ML talent. This off-season was no different by adding Saul Bonilla. Bonilla’s value lies primarily as a DH, but KC can use him as a C for now. Losing Reyes and Villafuerte won’t hurt too bad as it’s who’s up next for the KC team. I look for another strong regular season performance followed by another deep playoff run.
Prediction: 110-52

Mexico City
Key Additions: Davey Wilson
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Mexico City did the impossible last year, outlasting Tampa Bay and Kansas City in the playoffs and making it to the WS. Richmond make quick work of them, but with the addition of Davey Wilson’s bat, MC might have enough to take on TB and KC in the regular season as well.
Prediction: 95-67

New Orleans
Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions: Hank Boskie
Summary: Well, what can you say about the BIG easy, except that playing in this division is anything but easy. New Orleans should take advantage of what appears to be several high draft picks over the next few years and look to build up its farm talent in what is the best division in this world.
Prediction: 70-92


Las Vegas
Key Additions: Matthew Serrano, Howard Cox, Hank Boskie
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Las Vegas continued to make improvements to its team by adding SP depth and a solid bat in Boskie. Serrano and Cox are versatile enough to start or add LR depth. I still worry a little about Vegas’ lineup, but statistically they were pretty good last year.  With Colorado Springs going through a semi-rebuild and the California teams struggling to compete, Las Vegas run on this division will continue.
Prediction: 96-66

Colorado Springs
Key Additions: Benji Reyes
Key Subtractions: Davey Wilson
Summary: Colorado Springs continues to hang in their in terms of talent to compete on the ML level, but losing Wilson really hurts their lineup. This owner is very good and will have the team competing for division titles again very soon. Look for them at the top in the very near future.
Prediction: 84-78

San Francisco
Key Additions: Dante Golub
Key Subtractions: Earl Shields
Summary: San Fran did a great job in trading for a talent like Golub. He should dramatically help the SF offense. Still not sure if there is enough SP to compete with Las Vegas or CSP, but this team plays good defense and with timely hitting, they will continue to be competitive.
Prediction: 85-77

Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Anaheim has plenty of money to spend but didn’t quite go all Cincinnati on this off-season. Look for them to make some mid-season moves to acquire some talent. Other than the hope for a better future, not a lot of bright spots on the Anaheim ML roster right now. They didn’t have a pitcher win more than 9 games last year, which makes it tough to compete for a division title.
Prediction: 61-101

Season 19 AL Predictions


Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions: Slick Rolls
Summary: Montreal continues to go through a slow rebuild. You have to admire a team that has dominated its division like Montreal has (9 straight division titles) and is still finding ways to re-stock its’ farm system. There is always the potential for some mid-season trades to occur (assuming Griffey spends more than 30 seconds on the site in one sitting) that will further show the fact that Montreal is in rebuild mode. Is there enough in the tank for a 10th straight title?
Prediction: 82-80

Key Additions: Nigel Nicholas, Danny Darwin
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Detroit did more good than bad in this off-season, but it’s going to take a lot for a team to recover from being near the bottom in the AL in hitting, pitching, and fielding. Nicholas and Darwin should provide some much needed help defensively. The good news is that Montreal is not the team that it once was, and there is some room for a new team at the top. Is Detroit that team… we will see!
Prediction: 74-78

Key Additions: Preston Brantley (minors), Nick Varitek
Key Subtractions: Frank Denham, Lenny Fassero (sentimental reasons only)
Summary: Burlington made a couple of moves including the release of one of the all-time greats Lenny Fassero. His18-year career in Burlington has finally come to an end. Other than that, Burlington made one move for the future acquiring Preston Brantley, a talented young SS, and one move for the now by replacing Fassero with Nick Varitek. Burlington probably didn’t do enough to challenge for the division this year, but the future looks bright with Fernando Polanco and Preston Brantley up the middle.
Prediction: 75-77

Key Additions: Kevin Burns
Key Subtractions: Oswald Ortiz, Matthew Serrano
Summary: Wichita made 2 trades that really didn’t do much for the team. Additionally, there were some small FA signings, including John Whitehead and Trever King, that proved lackluster. While this team isn’t prepared to compete for a division crown this year, Andrew understands that this is a marathon and not a sprint. I think that this Wichita franchise is in much better shape than it has been in the past, and I see a bright future.
Prediction: 64-98


Key Additions: Leon Ramsey
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Hartford is still the team to beat in the AL East. Like Montreal, Hartford has dominated this division as of late, winning 7 straight titles. Not sure I see much different in Season 19 with Hartford taking control of the AL East for an 8th straight time.
Prediction: 98-64

Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions:  Gerald Grim, Scott Sauer, Christopher Malone
Summary: Augusta released a couple of players in what I guess is an attempt to clear salary. The cupboard is a little bare at the ML level; however, you can never underestimate the power of a rebuild. I’m not sure much changes for Augusta, except for a higher number in the loss column.
Prediction: 67-95

Key Additions: Ralph Wells, Chuck Ankiel
Key Subtractions: Saul Bonilla
Summary: Indianapolis should experience the biggest change in W/L’s from last season to this season. They have legitimized their bullpen by adding the star RP of the FA class in Ralph Wells. They also added depth with Chuck Ankiel. The rest of the roster has remained in tact, except for the young stud Saul Bonilla. His bat will definitely be missed, but Indy did receive some defensive help with Donne Bay and Russell Hamlin. All in all, I expect big things out of Indy this year… enough to overtake Hartford, we’ll see!
Prediction: 84-78

Key Additions: Vic Wallace (promotion)
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Trenton is still looking to add ML talent to its roster and really did so with the promotion of Vic Wallace. Vic is a serious talent and should boost a lineup that had issues swinging the stick. Hopefully, this will be enough to put fans in the seats because there is not much else to look at in Trenton. Should be another tough season.
Prediction: 64-94


Key Additions: Elmer Barker, Jose Reynoso,
Key Subtractions: Howard Cox
Summary: Jacksonville won the second best division in all of baseball last year but fizzled out in the playoffs. They suffered a key loss in the rotation but subsequently replaced Howard Cox with an upgrade of Elmer Barker. The addition of Jose Reynoso should bolster an already impressive lineup. The Jaguars keep getting older but that doesn’t mean they aren’t getting better.
Prediction: 101-61

Key Additions: Benito Franco, Vic Villafuerte, “Over-the-hill combo” (Len McGowan, Louis Williams, and Lawrence Kydd)
Key Subtractions: Chuck Ankiel, Bob Moreno
Summary: Charleston made a huge trade early on sending Bob Moreno to Seattle for Benito Franco. Charleston was without Moreno all of last year and had the 3rd best ERA in the AL. The addition of Franco to the 4th best lineup in the AL leaves very few holes for opposing pitchers. Charleston also added Vic Villafuerte to provide some stability at 3B and put another bat in the lineup that can hit LHP. Look for Charleston to push last year’s division winner Jacksonville and World Series champion Richmond to the brink.
Prediction: 103-59

Key Additions: Kenneth Whitten, Rex Mintz, Frank Denham, Gabby Sefcik
Key Subtractions: Sam Knotts, Oswaldo Ortiz (minors)
Summary: The first thing that needs to be said is Richmond will be without 3-time Cy Young winner until around the AS Break. That is a huge loss for the defending champs. With that said, Richmond has been busy making moves improving the ML ball club by trading for Whitten, Mintz, Denham, and Sefcik. Veteran Sam Knotts has left but has since been replaced. Richmond should be stronger, but how will they survive the first half of the season without Uribe?
Prediction: 97-65

Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions: None
Summary: Durham is in the final stages of rebuild mode, and we could see a few of those future stars around the AS Break, but this team is still 2-3 years away from their 3-time WS Champion form of a few years back.
Prediction: 58-104


Key Additions: Slick Rolls, Steve Hartman (minors)
Key Subtractions: Elston Park, Elmer Baker, Dante Golub, Benito Gongora
Summary: Salem should take a step back this year after losing Park and Baker. Slick Rolls should ease the loss of Dante Golub, but Salem does have enough in their farm system to make a move for starting pitching during this season. Regardless, Salem is still the cream of the crop in the AL West.
Prediction: 106-54 

Key Additions: Julian Grabowski, Archie Omlansky
Key Subtractions: Ralph Wells
Summary: Portland added some major firepower to their offense with the addition of Grabowski and Omlansky. Losing Wells will hurt but expect Pedro Mateo to step into that role. I think the SP is still a little light, but I expect Portland to push Salem early on.
Prediction: 93-69

Key Additions: Bob Moreno
Key Subtractions: Benito Franco
Summary: Seattle’s big move was to sure up their SP which the definitely did by adding Moreno through a trade with Charleston. The issue is that they traded away their best bat in Benito Franco. Getting out of Tacoma will naturally help all hitters for Seattle, but this team will struggle to score runs without Franco.
Prediction: 74-88

Key Additions: None
Key Subtractions: Archie Omlansky
Summary: Oakland did a great job of locking up a lot of young talent on their current roster in Jimmie Fonville, Enerio Perez, Richard Lawton, and Timothy Brea. However, the biggest issue for this team was not addressed… starting pitching. Oakland should continue to rebuild over this next year, and I look for them to be a force in the AL West as Salem gets a bit older and they start to acquire SP.
Prediction: 61-101

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Season 19 Off-Season

Well... we filled in less than a week (I think). Thanks to all that helped on the classifieds forum keeping the thread higher on the list for more visibility. My hope is that we start cutting the list of available teams from the 8-10 range to the 2-4 range and eventually nobody wants to leave. I'll try and make the league better as a commissioner, and lets all make the league a good one for new owners to High Fives.

Moving on... here is a list of the new owners to High Fives, and a Season 18 wrap up / Season 19 introduction.

New Owners / Movers and Shakers

AL North

Wichita Wookies (andrewp97) - formerly Chicago Holy Soxs
*andrewp97 is new to Hardball Dynasty but takes over a team that has some pieces to build around. Very fortunate to take over now while the Mighty Montreal Royals are rebuilding. When you feel someone sneaking up behind you, it could be Chuck Norris, but it is more than likely Montreal (9 straight division titles) rebuilding to once again take his thrown in the AL North.

AL East

Indianapolis Fire Starters - formerly Pittsburgh Rust Rangers
*cubs_4_life has 44 seasons under his belt in Hardball Dynasty with 11 playoff appearances. He takes over a Pittsburgh team that has had an identity crisis over the past few years. There is enough stuff there for cubs to make a run or to get a head start on a rebuild. Look out for Hartford, 7 straight division titles.

AL South

Richmond Poormen - formerly Atlanta Aliens
*ewd330 takes over the reigning world series champions' franchise. The former owner always talked about going out on top and did just that. Well, as a fellow AL South owner, I had hoped that someone would come in and demolish this franchise but ewd330 comes in with a .635 winning percentage and 21 world series titles in 104 seasons. This division just keeps getting tougher.

AL West

Seattle Pilots - formerly Tacoma Ninja Squirrels
*kwheeler decided that he had enough in Chicago and jumped ship to take over the underperforming Tacoma squad. There is a lot more to work with in this franchise than there was in Chicago, so we'll see how kwheeler reacts to the wild west and Salem.

NL North

Buffalo Dons - formerly Cleveland Mistakes
*matt28 is new to Hardball Dynasty and takes over a franchise that was 1 win away from the playoffs last year. This has traditionally been the weakest division in the High Fives world, but Pawtucket has started to claim this as his division with a first or second place finish in the last 5 years.

Scranton Mifflinites - formerly Toronto Blues
*awyborski is also new to Hardball Dynasty. Although he was the last owner to allow us to roll (THANK YOU!), I actually think he got a great team to start with. I mentioned that Crespo and McNamara are good position players to build around, and I think awyborksi will do just that.

Rochester Bulldogs - formerly Columbus Eagles
*bulldog25174 has 9 seasons under his belt and has made the playoffs 2 times. That's not a bad start to HBD life for bulldog, and I think he may be able to continue this trend in the "traditionally" weak NL North.

NL East

Philadelphia Stars - formerly Baltimore Stars
*ewells54 took over an abandoned franchise last year and Big Ern will get the number one pick this year. He moved the franchise from Baltimore to Philadelphia and plans on turning this puppy around.

San Juan Smugglers
*reefer124 also moved his franchise from New York (and the dreadful previous owner) to San Juan where the air is clear, the sun is shining, and the drugs are flowing freely. This division is up for grabs as this franchise looks to turn back to its dominant ways that lead them to 10+ division titles as Richmond.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Season 18 World Series Preview

6. Atlanta Aliens (99-63) vs. 6. Mexico City Margaritas (92-70)

Game 1: Pritchett (ATL; 17-8, 2.75) vs. Ausmus (MC; 14-10, 3.32)
Game 2: Uribe (ATL; 22-5, 2.22)  vs. Salvador (MC; 15-7, 4.00)
Game 3: Atchley (MC; 13-11, 4.79)  vs. Crosby (9-6, 2.81)

*PredictionWell, just as predicted both #6 seeds advance to the world series. First, I just want to say that I think Atlanta has the deepest team in the AL along with Salem, so they are not your average #6 seed. Mexico City, all I have to say is I believe I am the sole reason you are in the world series... every time I pick you, you win! Well, that and the fact that you have to be slipping your opponents some of that "Mexican water." Back to baseball, I have to believe that ratings will prevail here and Atlanta will make quick work of Mexico City. I think Atlanta takes this in 4 or 5 games. One last thing... you are welcome Mexico City.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Season 18 League Championship Series Preview



5. Charleston Country Boys (101-61) vs. 6. Atlanta Aliens (99-63)

*This matchup features the first wildcard team vs. the second wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the World Series to play the Tampa Bay / Mexico City winner. The two teams split the  season series 5-5. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:

Game 1: Chang (CHR; 20-6, 2.77) vs. Uribe (ATL; 22-5, 2.22)
Game 2: Halladay (CHR; 15-11, 4.16) vs. Pritchett (ATL; 17-8, 2.75)
Game 3: Crosby (9-6, 2.81) vs. Taylor (CHR; 19-10, 3.80)

*Prediction: It doesn't matter how you get to the dance, as long as you're dancing. Atlanta has struggled in 2 previous series while Charleston is 6-0 in the playoffs this year. Based upon expected win % for most of the regular season, Atlanta had the better team. They've got arguably the best SP in our world, and if that isn't enough, I asked my wife this morning and she said Atlanta is going to sweep my team 4-0. She said 2 of the games will be close and 2 of the games will be blowouts. When asked why she felt that we, she responded with "Uribe has struggled so far in the playoffs, and he's too good of a pitcher to let that continue. Plus, the algorithm has to start kicking in at some point." Ok, we all know she didn't talk about the HBD algorithm, but she did predict a sweep for the other guys. If there is one thing I've learned in my marriage, happy wife = happy life. Atlanta sweeps Charleston to represent the AL in the World Series.


1. Tampa Bay Orange Crush (110-52) vs. 6. Mexico City Margaritas (92-70)

*This matchup features the NL South division champions vs. the second wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the World Series to play the Charleston / Atlanta winner. Tampa Bay won the season series 9-1. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:

Game 1: Washington (TB; 19-8, 2.38) vs. Ausmus (MC; 14-10, 3.32)
Game 2: Mesa (TB; 17-4, 3.24) vs. Salvador (MC; 15-7, 4.00)
Game 3: Atchley (MC; 13-11, 4.79) vs. Arnold (TB; 17-6, 2.89)

*Prediction: Tampa Bay has been as consistent a team the NL has seen since the Richmond team that has since been dismantled. They are ranked 3rd in the NL in hitting and 1st in pitching. Despite not having a true ACE of the staff (at least based on ratings), TB has an amazing 5 SP's with over 16 wins. That type of depth will serve them well in a 7 game series. Mexico City has been like the little engine that could this year. They held off CSP for the final playoff spot. I picked against them vs. Pawtucket and they took care of business. I picked against them vs. Las Vegas, and they proved me wrong. So, behind the sound logic behind your current commissioner, I am going to pick Tampa Bay in 5 games (YOU'RE WELCOME MEXICO CITY!).

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Season 18 Division Series Preview


1. Salem Silver Bullets (110-52) vs. 5. Charleston Country Boys (101-61)

*This matchup features the AL West division champions vs. the first wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the  League Championship Series to play the Jacksonville / Atlanta winner. Salem won the season series 6-4. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:

Game 1: Park (SAL; 16-10, 3.70) vs. Chang (CHR; 20-6, 2.77)
Game 2: Harris (SAL; 8-12, 4.45) vs. Halladay (CHR; 15-11, 4.16)
Game 3: Taylor (CHR; 19-10, 3.80) vs. Barker (SAL; 13-8, 2.80)

*Prediction: I hate having to predict games involving my own team. This is a rematch from last year when Salem swept the series. However, it wasn't pure domination, Salem won in the final inning in each game. Charleston got some much needed rest by sweeping Montreal in the first round, and will come out firing winning Game 1, but Salem has too much experience and will take the series in 5 games due to poor fielding by the County Boys.

2. Jacksonville Jackers (105-67) vs. 6. Atlanta Aliens (99-63)

*This matchup features the AL South division champions vs. the second wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the League Championship Series to play the Salem / Charleston winner. Jacksonville won the season series 7-3. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:

Game 1: Stokes (JAX; 20-8, 2.25) vs. Uribe (ATL; 22-5, 2.22)
Game 2: Cox (JAX; 15-7, 3.31) vs. Pritchett (ATL; 17-8, 2.75)
Game 3: Jung (ATL; 14-4, 3.03) vs.  Armas (JAX; 12-10, 4.08)

*Prediction: Atlanta has a very good team. Jacksonville also has a very good team. I honestly don't know what gives here. When Atlanta played Hartford, I chose Atlanta b/c I didn't think Hartford could beat Uribe twice. Well, I feel the same way about Dion Stokes. I'll say the wildcard here is the Jacksonville bats (Butler, Parnell, and Nicholson). Jacksonville wins a couple of close games closed out by Emmanuel Lopez, and they win the series 3-1.


1. Tampa Bay Orange Crush (110-52) vs. 5. Kansas City Mythbusters (104-58)

*This matchup features the NL South division champions vs. the first wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the League Championship series to play the Las Vegas / Mexico City winner. Tampa Bay won the season series 9-1. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:

Game 1: Washington (TB; 19-8, 2.38) vs. Carew (KC; 19-9, 3.38)
Game 2: Mesa (TB; 17-4, 3.24) vs. Riley (KC; 16-5, 3.69)
Game 3: Anderson (KC; 15-9, 4.36) vs. Arnold (TB; 17-6, 2.89)

*Prediction: First, this will be a great battle! I think KC pulls this one out in 5. I honestly don't feel great about this pick, but it boils down to one thing... KC has Sven Owen and Tampa Bay does not. 

2. Las Vegas Lightning (94-68) vs. Mexico City Margaritas (92-70)

*This matchup features the AL West division champions vs. the second wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the League Championship Series to play the Tampa Bay / Kansas City winner. Las Vegas won the season series 6-4. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:

Game 1: Bennett (LV; 18-4, 2.55) vs. Ausmus (MC; 14-10, 3.32)
Game 2: Brush (LV; 14-6, 3.10) vs. Salvador (MC; 15-7, 4.00)
Game 3: Atchley (MC; 13-11, 4.79) vs. Ordonez (LV; 12-7, 2.75)

Prediction: I went against MC in round 1 and got burned. So, this round I'm gonna go with... you guessed it, Las Vegas. On the arms of Brush and Bennett, Vegas win the series 3-1. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Season 18 Division Play-in Series Preview


4. Montreal Royals (87-75) vs. 5. Charleston Country Boys (101-61)

*This matchup features the AL North division champions vs. the first wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the division championship series to play Salem. Charleston won the season series 6-4. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:

Game 1: Easley (MON; 16-10, 3.70) vs. Chang (CHR; 20-6, 2.77)
Game 2: Benoit (MON; 8-12, 4.45) vs. Halladay (CHR; 15-11, 4.16)
Game 3: Taylor (CHR; 19-10, 3.80) vs. Franco (MON; 13-8, 2.80)

*Prediction: Charleston wins 3-0. This is not your father's Montreal team. Charleston had the second best record in the AL, and Montreal does not have the firepower to compete.

*Results: Charleston wins the series 3-0. 

3. Hartford Bulldogs (94-68) vs. 6. Atlanta Aliens (99-63)

*This matchup features the AL East division champions vs. the second wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the division championship series to play Jacksonville. Atlanta won the season series 7-3. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:

Game 1: Berg (HAR; 8-5, 2.68) vs. Uribe (ATL; 22-5, 2.22)
Game 2: Neal (HAR; 7-7, 3.56) vs. Pritchett (ATL; 17-8, 2.75)
Game 3: Jung (ATL; 14-4, 3.03) vs. Franco (HAR; 6-8, 4.68)

*Prediction: Atlanta pulls this one out in 5 games. Hartford is really tough at home, but it's tough to think that Hartford can beat Wladimir Uribe twice.

*Results: Atlanta wins the series 3-1.


4. Huntington Knights (77-85) vs. 5. Kansas City Mythbusters (104-58)

*This matchup features the NL East division champions vs. the first wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the division championship series to play Tampa Bay. Kansas City won the season series 7-3. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:

Game 1: O'Brien (HUN; 8-5, 2.68) vs. Carew (KC; 19-9, 3.38)
Game 2: Valdez (HUN; 7-6, 4.11) vs. Riley (KC; 16-5, 3.69)
Game 3: Anderson (KC; 15-9, 4.36) vs. Navarre (HUN; 8-7, 4.02)

*Prediction: Kansas City sweeps this series with relative ease. Huntington was fortunate to play in the NL East and will have fun being in the postseason but it won't last long.

*Results: Kansas City wins the series 3-0. 

3. Pawtucket Washouts (86-76) vs. Mexico City Margaritas (92-70)

*This matchup features the AL North division champions vs. the second wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the division championship series to play Las Vegas. The two teams tied the season series 5-5. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:

Game 1: Bryant (PAW; 4-7, 4.76) vs. Ausmus (MC; 14-10, 3.32)
Game 2: Franco (PAW; 11-11, 4.26) vs. Salvador (MC; 15-7, 4.00)
Game 3: Atchley (MC; 13-11, 4.79) vs. Owen (PAW; 9-8, 4.30)

Prediction: My brain tells me to go with Mexico City as they won more games than Pawtucket in a tougher division, but a team that gets lucky like Pawtucket to make it into the playoffs had to do so for a reason, right? Pawtucket wins in 5.

*Results: Mexico City wins the series 3-1.

Season 18 Season Wrap Up

Season 18 Wrap Up

Well... Since I only did season predictions for the AL, I'll compare how I did and then offer commentary on how the NL teams finished.


AL North
* I was pretty spot on with this division. The most I missed by was Chicago and Detroit by 3 wins. Montreal took the division which was to be expected, but what was more impressive was that he did it while improving his minor league system as much as he did. It was a quasi-rebuild. Chicago, Detroit, and Burlington pretty much performed status quo.

AL East
* I did a pretty good job here but underestimated Hartford's rebound by 10 wins. Augusta also outperformed my projection by 9 wins to take second place. I thought with all the offseason moves Pittsburgh made that they would have a chance to compete, but fell short. Trenton hung around there and has some minor league studs just around the corner.

AL South
* Well, when you go out on a limb, sometimes the limb breaks, and that's what happened here. Jacksonville's massive payroll made the U.S. Government jealous, but it paid off with a division crown, his 6th in 9 years. Charleston and Atlanta made VERY strong pushes but could never get closer than 3 games. Predictions for the AL South were spot on: Atlanta -1, Charleston -1, Jacksonville -8, and Durham dead on.

AL West
* This is the division I missed the worst on. My best prediction came with Oakland with -5. Salem, Tacoma and Portland were complete misses.  Apologies to Salem who claimed home field in the AL and Portland who far exceeded my prediction. And then there's Tacoma... well buddy, I sure tried. I thought your offseason moves would have put you over the top.


As I mentioned, no predictions here, so instead, I offer some thoughts...

NL North
*Pawtucket and Cleveland battled it out for the division crown, and it came down to the final day. On paper, Cleveland was in the driver seat... won head to head (8-2) and had a better division record; however, none of that matters when you lose and the other guy wins. So, Pawtucket took the division and drew a tough matchup with Mexico City.

NL East
*The NL East was the winner this year for Mr. Irrelevant. Huntington won the division for the first time since Season 1 with a record of 77-85. The rest of the division, shame on you, although not really fault. New York and Baltimore had replacement owners (and both coming back, which is great).

NL South
*As powerful as the AL South (top 3 teams had 305 wins), the NL South was even stronger (top 3 teams had 306 wins). Tampa Bay continues to dominate that division winning 110 games. You wonder if they'll be some turnover in the offseason, but for now, they take home field advantage. Kansas City takes a tough 2nd place but as a consolation prize gets Huntington in Round 1. Finally, Mexico City (like Atlanta in the AL) takes the 6th seed for the playoffs.

NL West
*Las Vegas took down the NL West for the second straight year, but I think the bigger story is that we will be having a playoffs without Colorado Springs. They did a good job of getting rebuilding the farm system while still having a strong ML team. SF and ANA put up a good fight, but it's tough to compete in the wild NL West.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

AL Season 18 Predictions

I want to preface this post by saying this is for entertainment purposes only... however, if I manage to get any of these predictions right, I may immediately book a trip to vegas.

Here we go...


Montreal Royals

The defending World Series Champions have finally decided to tear the dynasty apart (kind of). With massive offseason trades heading in the direction of a complete rebuild, we saw Tom Kershner (FA signing by Har), B.C. Canseco (traded to Chr), Pascual Rodriguez (traded to Chr), Adam Halladay (traded to Chr), Elston Park (traded to Sal), Osvaldo Guillen (traded to Sal), Raymond Pierre (traded to Pit), and Orlando Familia (traded to  Pit). Through all the offseason turmoil, Montreal managed to keep players like Vince Easley, Tony Franco, Chuck Ankiel, Rico Brito, Slick Rolls, Armando Coronado, and Trent Hernandez. This is still a pretty good haul for a ML team. I expect Montreal to make several other mid-season moves, but if he keeps this team together, then I think he has a great shot to repeat in a traditionally weak division.

Prediction: 85 - 75

Chicago Holy Soxs

As a new owner looking to rebuild, kwheeler has done a good job of shedding bigger salaries like Jason Butler, MattSottlemyre, and Macbeth Parnell while getting a decent return enabling them to compete right away. The problem that I see with Chicago's team is the lack of star power. He added Matthew Serrano, Rigo Valentin, and Len McGowan but there isn't enough there to compete for this division this year.

Prediction: 70 - 92

Detroit MonsterTrucks

On paper, Detroit has good potential. The problem is that they are a very young team that hasn't reached their potential yet. They have the youngest team in terms of ML Service time in the AL. Last year, Detroit was 70 - 92 and made no major additions to their ML team. They did lose Eric Husky to FA and did not replace his solid bat. For the reasons listed above, I don't see much improvement.

Prediction: 66 - 96

Burlington Green Mountain Boys

Burlington has a couple of star players, but I don't see enough on this team to compete for the division or make a playoff run. They have a couple of horses in their staff with Marcus Grove and Bruce Loretta, but not much depth after that. They also have a couple of nice position players with Polanco, Burks, Rivera, and Santana, but the one thing I question is the Luis Santana signing last year. Burlington paid him a max deal, and then one season later decided he was in rebuild mode and wanted to trade him. Santana's value lies within his fielding which took several hits, with his makeup of 54, and only investing $11M in training in S17 and S18, he should continue to see declines. Overall, no key additions or subtractions, so I expect a similar record as to last year.

Prediction: 70 - 92


Hartford Bulldogs

The Hartford Bulldogs severely underperformed last year, and I expect a much improved record in Season 18. Hartford added key players like Tom Kershner, Wilfredo Hernandez, and Edgardo Izquierdo. Since they didn't lose much, and still have major star power with Auerelio Arias, Brent Valdes, and Daryl Berg, the Bulldogs should continue their domination of the AL East with their 7th straight division title.

Prediction: 95 - 67

Augusta Kennebecss

New owner mmeier takes over an Augusta franchise thats seen 3 owners in 3 years. With all that turnover, it makes it difficult for a franchise to have a single direction. There are some nice pieces on this team with Miguel Gutierrez, but the problem with this team seems to be starting pitching. Until there are some good arms in Augusta, I don't see much improvement occurring.

Prediction: 68 - 94

Pittsburgh Rust Rangers

With the exception to maybe Charleston, no team improved their ML roster, in the AL, more than Pittsburgh. Ole bgood finally decided to make a huge splash by trading for and signing the likes of Hal Duran, Garret Martin, Don Hiljus, Raymond Pierre, Orlando Familia, and Vladimir Julio. With these additions, Pittsburgh will finally get back to competing the way his franchise once did. The trio of Mercado, Duran, and Pierre should provide some stability in the rotation while the move to Pittsburgh from Louisville will also help pitching numbers. There is only one problem with Pittsburgh winning the AL East this year... HARTFORD!

Prediction: 80 - 82

Trenton Primetimers

There is one question that everyone will be wanting to know about the Trenton Primetimers this year... when will we see Vic Wallace. The guy is an absolute stud and is in AAA this year. The ML team however will struggle without an influx of quality starting pitching. There are some solid position players on this team and the addition of Charles Garcia was a very nice pickup.

Prediction: 70 - 92



The reigning AL South Champ and owner of the best record in S17 has the majority of the pieces from last years team. There were some key losses in the offseason with Del Armas, Edgardo Izquierdo, and Shin-Soo Shida; however, there were some small but effective FA signings and internal promotions that should make up for those losses. With the improvements to Charleston and Jacksonville, Atlanta won't reach their 103 win total from S17, but they will get close. The biggest addition that Atlanta will see is the return of Felipe Barrios. A health Barrios is better than any FA signing Atlanta could have made. Expect big things from Atlanta this year.

Prediction: 98 - 62


I'll attempt to be as objective as possible, but I expect BIG things out of the Charleston franchise this year. Next to Salem acquiring Osvaldo Guiellen and Elston Parks, the biggest trade in the AL this offseason involved Montreal and Charleston. Emptying their farm system, Charleston traded its best 3 minor league prospects to acquire 2 time CY Young winner and 5 time all-star Adam Halladay, 3 time Silver Slugger and 5 time all-star B.C. Canseco, and all-time saves leader Pascual Rodriguez. With these additions, Charleston boasts the best starting rotation in High Fives with Koji Chang, Adam Halladay, Bob Moreno, and Jerad Taylor. Charleston will employ a defensive catcher strategy to replace the loss of Charles Garcia. I'm predicting Charleston to win only its 2nd division title in franchise history.

Prediction: 100 - 62


Jacksonville addressed it's biggest offseason need: OFFENSE. Last year, Jacksonville had a run differential of +51 compared to Atlanta's +222 and Charleston's +149. Jacksonville addressed those needs by trading for Jason Butler, signing MacBeth Parnell, and signing Bob Swisher. Adding that offense to Dion Stokes, Howard Cox, Vince Mota, and Del Armas makes Jacksonville a serious playoff contender... the best money can buy!!! With all that being said, the AL South might just be the toughest division in High Fives.

Prediction: 97 - 63


Durham's rebuilding project is almost complete. Joepa has most of his minor league studs waiting in AAA. He has several major power hitters that will play well in his ballpark. He has a decent amount of pitching to go with it. The only problem I see with Durham regaining its prowess it had when they won 3 straight world series titles (S7 - S9) is the rest of the teams in this division. Eventually, Jacksonville might need to rebuild but Charleston and especially Atlanta are built for the long-term. If there is any owner in this league that knows how to win championships, it's Joepa. He'll need to make sure he abides by the new win rule this season, but that won't be an issue for much longer

Prediction: 52 - 110



Salem has enjoyed 6 straight division titles but loses the ace of his staff in Dave House. The worst part about it, his biggest rival in Tacoma signed him. Salem, as all good owners do, immediately replaced House by trading for Elston Park. In addition to losing House, Salem lost key contributers Calvin Kwon, Alberto Bennett, and Vinny Cho. Once again, Salem added almost more than he lost by also trading for the best catcher in the game, Osvaldo Guillen. Guillen returns to the franchise that signed him as an IFA. The additions of these two studs along with what Salem returns: Dee Piper, Dante Galub, Rip Harper, and Cy Harris means Salem will be a playoff contender once again.

Prediction: 97 - 65


I think Tacoma finally realized, "if you can't beat them, then steal their players." Tacoma made big FA splashes by signing Dave House and Calvin Kwon away from Salem. In addition, Tacoma added Hank Boskie and Matt Stottlemyre. Adding these guys to Benito Franco and Carter Edwards, signed in S17, means that Tacoma will finally have some offense to go with their pitcher friendly park. I think this is finally the year Tacoma overtakes Salem. The AL West division crown will come down to the final series where Tacoma hosts Salem. They win the series and the division.

Prediction: 99 - 63


Portland lost one of the best closers in the game in Ruben Jose but will replace him with Ralph Wells. There were 2 key additions with 3B Ruben Bocachica and SP Humberto Moreno which will help Portland compete in the wild AL West. LF Matty Martinez continues to be one of the league's premier leadoff hitters. Add in Tito Chang and Cliff Fischer and you have some solid pieces... however, there is just too much fire power with Salem and Tacoma for Portland to win the division this year.

Prediction: 68 - 94


This franchise has been one of the most intriguing to me in the AL. They have been rebuilding for quite some time and built up quite a bit of position player talent; however, starting pitching has not been a real focus. Names like Jimmie Fonville, Enerio Perez, Timothy Brea, Richard Lawton, and Archie Omlansky make you think Oakland can compete with anyone. However, the starting pitching cannot compete with the big boys. There is a lot of talent on this team and new owner chrisjanning has 4 WS titles to his name which makes me have confidence he can turn this franchise into a winner. I just don't think it will be this season.

Prediction: 60 - 100

AL Playoff Preview

1. Charleston
2. Tacoma
3. Hartford
4. Montreal
5. Atlanta
6. Jacksonville / Salem

What was the best Season 19 off-season move in High Fives?