TOLEDO TORNADOS – mab444
ML team: F With twice as many losses as victories, it’s been a long season in Toledo. Toledo is one of the youngest teams in the league, and it has shown this year.
Minors: B Aside from a poor campaign at AA, the Toledo minor league teams are having solid seasons at every level. The HiA and LowA teams in particular look to make deep runs in the playoffs.
Draft: C DRAFT GRADE REVIEW
Trades: B+ Toledo wins the award as the most active trader this year, with 16 trades and 50 total players moving around. The biggest moves for the Tornadoes included getting rid of huge salary veterans like DH Todd Borkowski and SP Howard King. SP Willis Howell, SP Benjamin Ross, 3B Felix Davenport are nice additions. Among those that will be missed include SP Benjamin Connelly, SP Eduardo Rivera, and C Peter Holmes.
Player acquisitions: B Brandon Blanton was among the best prospects in the Rule 5 draft, and was claimed off waivers by Toledo. Blanton has struggled this season, but projects to be a contributor in the future. Toledo was able to claim some players this season and then get value for them in trades. International free agent signee Pasqual Blanco is a very good addition, and projects as a solid RP for the Tornadoes.
Player development: C While most of the ML team is new this season, 1B Terry Ward has been with the franchise for a while. He is having a solid rookie campaign. 2B Geraldo Santana has been promoted to the big league club this year, and is performing well. Fans expect Santana to be one of the top 2B in the league.
Record compared to talent: C With little talent at the big league level and a $64.5 million payroll, fans didn’t expect a whole lot for Toledo this season. New management has been active and serious about rebuilding the franchise. Some veteran players with big contracts have been moved and new prospects have been added. While still a few years away from competing at the highest level, fans are happy to see the immediate work toward that end that has begun this season.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green
ST. LOUIS CORNERSTONE – kk73
AAA: 77-40 (top record in AAA)
LowA: 80-37 (top record in LowA)
ML team: C- The NL East is the place to be this season for St. Louis. Despite their losing record, they are within reach of the playoffs in the East. Veteran Closer Ed Jefferson is having one of the best seasons of any pitcher in the game. He is simply mowing hitters down and has a miniscule 0.82 WHIP this season.
Minors: A+ Not only are the Cornerstone teams successful at every level of the minor leagues, they are absolutely dominant. Their AAA and LowA clubs have the best records in baseball. Clubs at other levels are not far behind. Look for the Cornerstone minor league teams to go deep into the playoffs at every level.
Draft: B- DRAFT GRADE REVIEW
Trades: C- In their only trade of the season, St. Louis exchanged lower level players with Cleveland.
Player acquisitions: B SS Melvin Howard was a very good signing for the Cornerstone. Howard is signed to a reasonable contract and is a leader on the field and in the dugout. St. Louis claimed 1B Donaldo Felix off waivers. Felix was a Rule 5 draftee and is having a solid season.
Player development: B+ SP Ronn Hoyt was one of the top candidates for Rookie of the Year until an injury. Still, he has shown that he is one of the top young hurlers in the league. 25 year old SP Mark Barkett is among the league leaders in WHIP and ERA, but has been a hard luck pitcher this season with a 10-10 record. Barkett and Hoyt combine to form one of the best young pitching tandems in the game. In his 3rd full season, SP P.T. Ramirez is having a disappointing season all around. Fans hope he will get back on track next year. LF Jason Frazier looks like he could develop into a solid run producer in the middle of the St. Louis lineup for years to come. Cornerstone fans look forward to the ML debut of catcher Gabe Serafini, who should be ready sometime next season.
Record compared to talent: B With a $52.1million payroll and a lot of talent developing in the minor leagues, I don’t know if St. Louis really expected to be a playoff team this season. However, in the NL East, anyone that can get to .500 is a contender for the division. If the Cornerstone can finish strongly, they could find themselves in the playoffs. They also have the pitching to do well in the playoffs, so making a run is not out of the questions. With or without the postseason, there is a lot of young talent and the future in St. Louis is bright.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green
RICHMOND WRECKING CREW – jasonguru
ML team: F With a mix of prospects and veterans, Richmond is struggling at the ML level this season. Veteran SP Stu Doster is a bit below his career numbers this season, but is still a solid player at the top of the Richmond rotation.
Minors: D+ Richmond minor league teams are typically a little bit below average. The clubs at AAA, HiA, and LowA are still in the race, but probably longshots to reach the playoffs. Their rookie and AA clubs are having terrible seasons.
Draft: D+ DRAFT GRADE REVIEW
Trades: B Richmond has been an active trader this season, with 7 different deals made. The big name of the group is Todd Borkowski, who was added in a move that saw salary trading on both sides. Borkowski can still hit, but at 35, he has seen his best days pass, and is owed a lot of money in the next 2 years. Richmond was able to acquire SP McIntosh and P Tuck Erdos in the deal, and both are solid prospects. CF Max Wood was also added. Wood is a solid hitter from the CF position, but is owed a lot of money over 4 years. He is still young enough to be productive throughout his contract. C Josh Bunning and SP Heath Thomas are nice additions as well. 2B Matt Corey will be missed.
Player acquisitions: A- SP Emmanuel Navarro was claimed off waivers this season, and has filled his spot in the rotation admirably. International free agent SS Juan Alomar is a huge pick up. He projects to be a top SS, and is possibly best position player among the IFA’s this season.
Player development: B In his first full season at the ML level, 1B Bill Rain is having a great year at the plate and is a solid run producer in the middle of the lineup. In his second full season, SS Patsy Lincoln is improving upon the solid numbers he put up last season and should be a solid part of the lineup for years to come. Super prospect SP Wilson Fisher is having a terribly disappointing season in his sophomore campaign. After a promising rookie season, Richmond fans were sky high on Fisher. Even with his struggles this season, he projects as one of the top SP prospects in the league.
Record compared to talent: C- New management assumed a lot of salary this season, with a payroll of $100.2 million. With that much money invested in veterans, the season has been a disappointment at the ML level. Many players have underperformed for their talent level. Management has looked to some younger guys and is slowly beginning to focus on rebuilding.
Coach hot seat ranking: Green
LOUISVILLE COLONELS – brentblades
AAA: 11-106 (worst record of any team in any league)
ML team: C- Louisville is right in the thick of things in the NL East, even with a losing record. Veteran pitchers Sidney Musial and Jim Buckley are both in the final year of their contracts, and have been solid this season. They will each leave Louisville with a difficult decision about whether to resign them.
Minors: F While Louisville teams are struggling at every level, their AAA club takes ineptitude to a whole new level. With only 11 wins in 117 games, it’s amazing that they continue to even put a team out there. What’s even worse? They have mostly road games left this season, where they have been even worse than they are at home. They are on pace for a truly historic season.
Draft: D+ DRAFT GRADE REVIEW
Trades: D+ None
Player acquisitions: D+ None
Player development: x Young C Phil Takada continues to punish ML pitching in his 3rd season. Takada has proven that he is one of the best young offensive catchers in the game. Closer Magglio Salinas is one of the best young closers in the game. Salinas is having a decent season, but fans expect him to become one of the best closers in the game.
Record compared to talent: B- With an $87.4 million payroll, Louisville finds themselves with a mediocre record. Still, they are right in the middle of the division race in the NL East. New management this season has followed the path in place for them from last season. Fans are a little bit concerned about the terrible AAA record, and a perceived lack of moves. However, if they can make the playoffs, it will be a good season for Louisville.
Coach hot seat ranking: Yellow