Welcome to the Season 17 of the USMLB.

Friday, May 30, 2008

USMLB Manager of the Year - Semifinals

The first round of voting for the USMLB Manager of the year is in the books, and the following teams/managers have made it to the semi-finals:

Anaheim Beefpound - beefpac
Texas Talley Whackers - awilley14
New York Highlanders - yanksrule11
Atlanta Brave Vawts - vawt
Tacoma Pioneers - tomjames
Colorado Sky Sox - knucklebones
New Britain Fisher Cats - jway11
Detroit Demolition - yanks0218

The manager write-ups for these managers are accumulated below. The team records and other changes over the past week have been updated. Semi-final voting will select the final four from among these managers.

Team records
ML: 82-58
AAA: 79-61
AA: 73-67
HiA: 74-66
LowA: 64-76
Rookie: 20-54


ML team: A- Anaheim should win the AL West. They are a team bound for the playoffs, and will fight for a first round bye. Veteran closer Hank Epstein continues to blow hitters away, and is tied for the AL lead with 38 saves.
Minors: B The minor league teams for Anaheim are having solid years. Their AAA team is a lock for playoffs, while solid teams at LowA, HiA, and AA are in position to make runs at postseason berths.
Draft: C-
Trades: A Anaheim was one of the more active traders this season, and came out on the positive end of many moves. Young SP Herbert Brandt is a huge acquisition for Anaheim, and is the current E.R.A. leader in the A.L. Anaheim also hit the jackpot bringing in SP Gil Ventura. SS Juan Amaro, RP Carson Shaw, and RP Lyle Myatt are very nice additions. Anaheim will miss DH Kenneth Bryant, 1B Erubiel Sanchez, SP Bernie Castillo, and 3B AJ West.
Player acquisitions: B RP Darryl Schmidt is a solid pick up for the Beefpound in the Rule 5 draft. Free agent signee Francisco Manto is having a great season. Signee Harold Morton is having a disappointing season, but comes off the books after this year. Anaheim also nabbed international free agent SP John Wang. Wang looks to have great splits and average pitches.
Player development: C+ The Anaheim franchise is loaded with young talent. While slumping a bit this season, RF/1B Vin Cordero is a future superstar. Similarly, SP Miguel Martinez has yet to live up to his potential, but huge things are expected for the hurler. Young SS Junior Lui is having a very solid season, and big things are expected ahead. At 12-1, SP Delino Maduro is a Cy Young candidate this year, and Beefpound fans hope this season will be the start of a long successful career.
Record compared to talent: B+ Anaheim has one of the most talented teams in the majors, and along with it, has one of the top records in the game as well. The biggest challenge for Anaheim in the future will be making wise economic decisions with their young talent in arbitration and free agency.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green


Team records
ML: 88-52
AAA: 77-63
AA: 82-58
HiA: 64-76
LowA: 77-63
Rookie: 38-36


ML team: A Texas is battling it out with Atlanta and Colorado for the top record in the Majors.
Minors: B+ The minor league teams for the Tally Whackers are having respectable campaigns. The best of the group is the AA team, which looks to go deep in the playoffs.
Draft: D
Trades: B- Texas got solid RP Ernie Torres in their only trade of the season.
Player acquisitions: B+ International free agent Jimmie Navarre is a solid pick up and projects to be a future everyday RF. 30 year old free-agent LF Grant Barker has been an excellent catalyst for Texas for this season. Free agent SP Yamil Guzman was one of the biggest signings in the offseason and Guzman has delivered for Texas with 13 victories.
Player development: B Already in his 3rd year in the big leagues at 21, OF Glenn Matheson is becoming one of the best pure hitters in baseball. After a .389 batting average and an injury last season, 2B Tim Rooney was the subject of a lot of talk this offseason. Rooney has responded with a solid, but unspectacular campaign. Texas fans anticipate bigger things ahead for Rooney. Texas fans look for great things from SS Henry Anderson, who made his ML debut this season.
Record compared to talent: B+ With a $90.9 million payroll, Texas is having an outstanding season. Everyone expected the Tally Whackers to be the class of the AL South, but few expected them to battle for the best record in baseball.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green


Team records
ML: 83-57
AAA: 76-64
AA: 64-76
HiA: 61-79
LowA: 76-64
Rookie: 36-38


ML team: A- The Highlanders find themselves as one of the best teams in the AL, but looking up at Atlanta in the standings. Still, they should make the playoffs with ease. Veteran 1B Luis Nunez is having an MVP caliber season, and continues to be one of the best sluggers in the game. Along with Nunez, 2B Bobby Henry helps to form one of the top hitting tandems in the game. RP Ryan Figueroa is one of the best setup men in the game.
Minors: C- New York’s minor league teams are average. The AAA team is the best of the bunch and leads the East in the playoff race. Aside from HiA, teams at other levels have some work to do if they want to make the postseason. The HiA team is out of the race.
Trades: C+ The Highlanders just acquired SS Cy Ryan for a couple of prospects. If Ryan can help NY go deep in the playoffs, this will be a good move. If not, the $29 million over 4 years is a gamble for someone that to this point has been solid but unspectacular.
Player acquisitions: B+ While they haven’t been active, NY did sign one of the top international free agents this year. Signee Jorge Rojas projects as a future all-star slugger in RF.
Player development: B 25 year old SP Tracy Bowie is building upon the start he had last season, and is among the top pitchers in the AL this season. After starring in AAA for more than 2 years, SP Mark Kwon has made it into the big league rotation. Fans are excited about his potential. AAA closer Donne McClellan continues to dominate minor league hitting, and is poised to make his ML debut soon.
Record compared to talent: A- With a $78.1 million payroll and a mix of talented players, the Highlanders have exceeded expectations this season. Nunez and Henry are carrying the team on their back, and fans are excited about the team’s chances in the playoffs.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green


Team records
ML: 86-54
AAA: 58-82
AA: 68-72
HiA: 72-68
LowA: 77-63
Rookie: 38-36


ML team: A Atlanta’s success is led by great pitching, and veteran SP’s Ray Jackson and Larry Rath are having great seasons. At the plate, budding superstar Frank Surtain gets most of the attention in Atlanta, but veteran RF Nick Collins has quietly put up what may be his best season yet. Collins is among the league leaders in AVG, OBP, and OPS.
Minors: C Atlanta’s minor league system matches that of a team trying to win it all this season. The best players have made it to the big league club, while younger guys are developing at lower minor league levels. They are in the running for a playoff spot at most levels.
Draft: A
Trades: B+ Atlanta made a great trade to bring in veteran SP Howard King and add depth to an already solid pitching staff.
Player acquisitions: D+ No significant acquisitions this season
Player development: A- After a successful rookie season last year, 23 year old 3B Frank Surtain has improved this season and lays claim to being one of the top young hitters in the game. Atlanta fans have been expecting great things from 25 year old SP Andruw Dunston. While Dunston is having a solid season and could reach a new career high in wins, Brave Vawt fans still wait for him to put together an all star campaign. On the mound, Phil Nitkowski is one of the best young hurlers in the game and is just dominating hitters this season.
Record compared to talent: B+ With a $90.1 million payroll and a lot of talent at the ML level, Atlanta is right where many expected this season – leading their division and battling for the best record in the league.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green


Team records
ML: 70-70
AAA: 78-62
AA: 82-58
HiA: 93-47
LowA: 72-68
Rookie: 30-44


ML team: B- The Pioneers are on the outside looking in for a playoff berth. Still, fans are happy with new management this season and a significant increase in wins.
Minors: A- Outside of a poor showing in the Rookie team, the Tacoma minor league teams are having excellent seasons. They are in the running for a playoff spot at every other level. The HiA team has been particularly good this season, and looks to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Draft: B-
Trades: B Tacoma has been one of the more active traders this season, seeing lots of players move in 9 different deals. Most of the deals have involved moving veterans for prospects, and a whole lot of money has come off the books. RP Lonnie Rizzo is the best addition to the club, and projects as a top closer.
Player acquisitions: A- Peter Baek is all smiles this season after going from the pitching wasteland in Santa Fe to the huge park in Tacoma. Baek was the top free agent off the board this offseason, and has delivered for Tacoma with excellent numbers this season. With a strong finish, he’ll be in the running for the Cy Young. Veteran closer Nicholas Fox was signed in the offseason, and has come out of nowhere to rank among the lead leaders in saves. International signee C/DH Miguel Marquez is a nice addition and projects to be a very good offensive catcher.
Player development: B+ CF Ray Hines has seen the ML club in parts of three seasons, and with his recent promotion, hopes he is up to stay. Hines tore up AAA pitching, and is off to a good start in the majors so far. While Baek got most of the attention in the off-season, young hurler Tommie Relaford has actually been the best starter for Tacoma this season, and he will be in the Cy Young race with a good finish. 25 year old SP Peter Webster has been a tough luck pitcher all season. Webster has posted a losing record, despite good peripheral numbers and great stuff. Tacoma fans expect Webster to be one of the top pitchers in their rotation for years to come. 3B Brook Diaz is having an excellent year in his first full season in the majors. 1B Victor Cruz has tormented pitchers his entire career in the minors. Fans are excited about his recent promotion to the ML club, and expect him to be in the middle of the order for a long time.
Record compared to talent: B Tomjames has been delivering all year in his first season for Tacoma, and has turned over the roster to young talented players. The future is bright for the Pioneers. Oh, and his work on the blog is pretty impressive as well.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green

COLORADO SKY SOX – knucklebones

Team records
ML: 91-49 (top record in the league)
AAA: 59-58
AA: 55-62
HiA: 43-74
LowA: 39-78
Rookie: 32-21


ML team: A Colorado is fighting with Atlanta and Texas for the top record in the ML. Veterans RF Earl Williams, 3B Vicente Domino, LF Tony Armas, and SS Gus Wilkins are all having monster seasons at the plate. Several of these guys will be in the running for the MVP. When you post an E.R.A. below 4.00 in Colorado, you’re doing something special. That’s exactly what SP Gil Henson is doing this season for the Sky Sox. While he may not have the numbers for the hardware at the end of the season, Henson is having a Cy Young type season in Colorado.
Minors: D+ Colorado’s rookie team is the best of the bunch, and should make the playoffs with ease. AAA and AA clubs are having average seasons, and teams at HiA and LowA are among the worst teams at those levels.
Draft: A-
Trades: B+ Colorado has made several trades to help their team this season. C Ricardo Ramirez was off to an incredible start until he got injured. 2B Odalis Montanez was a huge addition and is having an excellent season all-around. SS Rickey Mitchell and C Davey Calvo will be missed.
Player acquisitions: Free agent C Max Ransom was signed to a small deal. In limited action, Ransom has performed admirably.
Player development: C- In his sophomore campaign, C Frank Cooper is having a huge season at the plate, and fans are excited about his potential. RF Manny Vanguri is having a solid rookie season.
Record compared to talent: A Ownership made a great decision to move the franchise to Colorado this season. With a veteran group of great hitters, the team is taking full advantage of the Rocky Mountain air. Colorado is among the most talented teams in the league this season. With their $84 million payroll, and $15 million invested in coaches, fans expected a good season and the team is delivering. Colorado can make a run in the playoffs if the pitching can hold up at all.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green


Team records
ML: 75-65
AAA: 89-51
AA: 95-45 (top record in AA)
HiA: 66-74
LowA: 88-52
Rookie: 45-29


ML team: B- Even with a solid record, New Britain finds themselves looking up at Detroit and Fargo in the NL North. Veteran 1B Hoss Boone is putting together another solid season. With Boone and Erik West in the lineup, the Fisher Cats are a threat to put up big offensive numbers every game. Veteran Closer Cameron Holt has a career high in saves this season.
Minors: A- Throughout the minors, the Fisher Cats have solid teams. Aside from an average club in HiA, their minor league teams should make the playoffs at every level. The Richmond AA team is particularly impressive, with the best record in the league.
Draft: A-
Trades: D+ None
Player acquisitions: C New Britain signed a handful of free agents this season, but none look to be difference makers. Rule 5 SP’s Ricardo De La Vega and Carmen Leiter are having a solid season for the Fisher Cats, and are solid pick-ups.
Player development: B+ For New Britain, it all begins with C/DH Erik West. West is having an MVP-type season, and is among the league leaders in HR’s and RBI’s in only his third season. The future is bright for West and fans expect him to be a force in the middle of the lineup for a long time. RF Kevin Montgomery provides help to West in the lineup, as he is on pace to exceed 100 RBI’s for the 3rd straight season. In his second full season in the ML, SP Horacia Segui is coming into his own and is having a great season. Fisher Cat fans are excited about what he will bring to the rotation in the future.
Record compared to talent: A- With a payroll among the lowest in the league, New Britain is having an outstanding season at the ML level. They also have a good amount of talent developing in the minor leagues. The future is bright in New Britain.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green


Team records
ML: 84-56
AAA: 66-74
AA: 78-62
HiA: 77-63
LowA: 78-62
Rookie: 47-27


ML team: A- Detroit is among the top teams in the game this season. Veteran SP Luis Encarnacion is having another solid campaign in the Detroit rotation. Closer Roger Newfield leads the league in saves, and is having a great season for the Demolition.
Minors: A- Detroit’s minor league teams are solid throughout. With the exception of the AAA level team, every level is a lock for the playoffs and has a chance to advance.
Draft: B
Trades: B-
The Demolition have completed 7 different trades this season. Matt Corey has been a huge addition for Detroit. Corey is hitting .400 so far in his time in the Motor City, and looks to be in the middle of the order for a long time. SP prospect Dickie Wells is a great addition, and figures into future plans in the rotation. RP prospect Domingo Estrella should become a nice piece in the bullpen. Detroit will miss CF Heath Fitzgerald, SP Mitch Epstein, and 3B Rex Ross.
Player acquisitions: C+
Free agent SS Vinny Menechino has been a solid performer for the Demolition so far. SP Gerald Wallace got a 4 year deal with Detroit, and has had a very solid season.
Player development: A-
After two good seasons, young SP Raymond Pavlov has put it all together this season and is among the league leaders in wins, WHIP and ERA. He is the odds on favorite to win the Cy Young award in the NL and should be a dominant pitcher in Detroit for a long time. After an injury last season, 24 year old Cookie Valdes has stayed healthy this season and is putting together an incredible year. Valdes is among the league leaders in batting average.
Record compared to talent: B+
Led by young SP Raymond Pavlov, the Demolition are among the best teams in the league this season. With a $91.2 payroll, fans are happy to see their team headed for the playoffs. They have a solid mix of veterans and youngsters at the ML level. Detroit has a lot of young talent, and should be a force in the NL for many years to come.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green