Welcome to the Season 17 of the USMLB.

Saturday, May 24, 2008



Team records
ML: 70-47
AAA: 61-56
AA: 55-62
HiA: 47-70
LowA: 59-58
Rookie: 25-27


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: 66-51
AAA: 61-56
AA: 75-42
HiA: 58-59
LowA: 48-69
Rookie: 23-30


ML team: B+ Stuck in the ultra-competitive AL East, the Kansas City Dirtbags find themselves looking up at both Atlanta and New York in the standings, despite a successful campaign. Veteran closer William Hanson is paving the way for the Dirtbags, and leads the AL with 33 saves.
Minors: C+ The Dirtbags have one of the better AA teams in the league, and find themselves fighting for the playoffs in AAA and HiA. LowA and Rookie teams are struggling.
Trades: C+ In their only trade of the season, Kansas City acquired SP Rondell Borbon and cash for a prospect. Borbon was off to a solid start until getting injured. If he returns and pitches well through next year, this will be a good trade for the Dirtbags.
Player acquisitions: B+ Free agent signee SS Victor Santiago was one of the biggest names signed in the offseason. Santiago has had a solid campaign and is signed to a reasonable contract. RP Craig Rivers signed on the line for Kansas City, and has had a productive season. Rule 5 selection SP Napolean Fordham is having a huge season for Kansas City with a 12-3 record. He may be the most successful selection in the Rule 5 draft.
Player development: A- 24 year old RF Alex Lee continues to build upon his huge campaign last season with incredible numbers again this year. Lee will be a premier hitter in the league for many years to come. 26 year old SP Walt Davenport is quietly becoming a star. C Scott Rapp continues to show why many consider him one of the top young catchers in the league. Young SP Jayson Christensen has made his ML debut this season and has had both flashes of brilliance and growing pains. Still, fans are excited about the potential of the young players for the Dirtbags.
Record compared to talent: B Kansas City has done an excellent job of balancing veterans with young talent. They have signed some veteran free agents to short contracts that won’t impede their home grown talent. With a $98.8 million payroll this season, the Dirtbags should be on their way to the playoffs.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green


Team records
ML: 50-67
AAA: 61-56
AA: 46-71
HiA: 60-57
LowA: 63-54
Rookie: 31-22


ML team: D Veteran SS Rich Hale is having another productive season, albeit not as productive as years past. After receiving a contract extension at the beginning of the year, Cleveland fans hope that with his solid makeup he will continue to be a great player for the next 4 seasons. Similarly, CF Lonny Hughes got a contract extension this season, and thus far is having a disappointing campaign. Fans expect him to bounce back to his career norms next season.
Minors: C+ Only a dismal campaign for the AA club keeps this grade from being higher. The Barons should complete for playoff berths at every other level.
Trades: C The Barons have been active traders this season. RF Tommy Crede, SS Alex Roque, and 1B Heath Brown are very good pickups and should be solid players for many seasons to come. Pitchers Benjamin Ross, Heath Thomas, and Carson Shaw will be missed.
Player acquisitions: B Free agent 1B Chad Nathan was resigned by the Barons after applying for free agency. He is having a very good season for the Barons, and should be a solid fixture in the lineup for the duration of his contract. SP Pablo Alfonzo is a great international signee for Cleveland and projects as a #1 or 2 starter.
Player development: C- After tearing up AAA for part of the season, LF/3B Matty Rodriguez has made it into the ML lineup and is off to a good start. Cleveland has a host of pitchers that are a year away from making it to the big leagues.
Record compared to talent: C- Under new management this season, Cleveland is trying to keep its best veteran players, while at the same time developing young talent for the future. With a payroll over $90 million, fans were hoping for a better year, but are to this point showing patience with ownership. Some big contract extensions were given out this season. Much of Cleveland’s success over the next couple seasons will depend on those players having productive seasons.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green


Team records
ML: 74-43
AAA: 48-69
AA: 56-61
HiA: 61-56
LowA: 64-53
Rookie: 28-25


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 every level except AAA.
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