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Offline Chappy

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Previewing the 2069 Freedom Organization
« on: December 21, 2016, 09:12:26 AM »
Now that the draft is complete, I'm going to work my way up from the bottom, previewing the starting lineups and key contributors for each team in the Pennsylvania system.

Pearl Wolfpack 2069 Outlook
Wolfpack looks to rebound from 53-87 season

There was a time when the Pearl Wolfpack was both the pride of the Rigs Rookie League and a model for other rookie league clubs, while also being the butt of many jokes.  During the 2040's, the Wolfpack was dominant in the regular season, posting 100-wins seasons 5 times and winning 8 straight Mississippi Division pennants.  However, they won the RRL title only once during that span, dropping the championship series 7 times in a row before coming out on top in 2049.  The Wolfpack were the Buffalo Bills of minor league baseball, but much worse.

Since the 40's, the club has won 2 more division titles and their 2nd RRL championship, but after winning 98 games in 2067, they fell to 63 wins in '68 and 53 wins a year ago.

This year, the league has undergone a bit of an overhaul.

Instead of 2 divisions of 12 teams each, the RRL has split into two leagues, each with 3 divisions.  The Mississippi Division is now the Mississippi League, and the Alabama Division is now the Alabama League.  There will now be 8 RRL teams participating in the postseason instead of just two.

The Pearl Wolfpack has been placed in the Mississippi League's Central Division with Clinton, Jackson, and Tupelo.  Last season, the Clinton Rail Raiders went 80-60, the Jackson Golden Gators went 72-68, and the Tupelo Psycho Squirrels went 44-96. 

Pitching

The staff ace to start the season is Cesar Lopez, a 17-year-old scouting discovery that split last season between Pearl (R) and Reading (A).  He was roughed up a bit in the Developmental League (A), going 3-3 with a 6.42 ERA in 11 starts, so he'll try to get off to a good start back in the Rigs Rookie League.  At 17, the club is pleased with his performance thus far.

Another scouting discovery, Jorge Cordero, will be the team's #2 starter.  The 18-year-old started 22 games in Pearl last year, going 4-9 with a 3.64 ERA.  The club has high hopes for Cordero and sees him as a big league player someday.

Javy Torrez is projected to be the team's #3 arm.  Torrez was just drafted in the 2nd round (43rd overall) and will make his pro debut this season, after going 8-1 with a 1.12 ERA for his high school team in the San Diego area.  As a 2nd round choice, the Freedom is hopeful Torrez will eventually become a big league pitcher.

The 4th starter is another new acquisition, 4th round pick (#91 overall) Jack Harris.  Harris was 4-1-1 in 16 games (8 starts) for his High School team in the Lewiston, NY area.  Scouts like Harris' chances at eventually becoming a big league reliever.

Wrapping up the rotation is 6th round choice (#139 overall) Randy Price.  Like Harris and Torrez, Price will be making his pro debut this season.  He, however, has pitched at the collegiate level, where he was 5-8 with a 4.75 ERA in 19 starts.  Price is a long shot to make the big leagues, but he's only 20 years old and a lot can happen if he keeps working at his craft.

Entering the season as the closer is William Blankenship, last season't closer in Pearl.  He was the team's 3rd round pick, #72 overall, in last year's draft.  If he continues to pitch like he did last season (15 saves, 2.75 ERA), he will be moving on to the Developmental League very soon.  Blankenship is a 4.5 star prospect and figures to be in the Pennsylvania bullpen within 3-5 years. 

Alonso Rivera moves from the International Complex to the primary setup role, as he makes his pro debut this season.  Scouts rave about the 18-year-old prospect's curveball, but not much else.  He's going to have to develop some other areas of his game if he will make it to the show.

10th round pick Lorenzo Villalobos will be featured in middle relief, as he makes his pro debut this season.  He's got the upside you'd expect from someone drafted 235th... that is to say, not much.

Ron Taylor returns for his 2nd season in Pearl after being drafted with the 144th pick (6th round) last season.  He went 1-7 with a 5.98 ERA in 11 starts, so the team's going to see if he can be a little more effective coming out of the pen.  Ron is not projected to be big league material.

19-year-old scouting discovery Oliver Prieto will look to get a few more innings out of the pen.  This will be his 3rd year as a pro, but he has not found much playing time in the first 2 seasons.  He bounced between Pearl, Reading and even AA Allentown as a 17-year-old, but totaled only 8 1/3 innings on the mound between those 3 clubs.  Last season, he split time between Pearl and Reading and found his way in to 16 games, pitching for 34 1/3 innings.  He's got a 5.27 career ERA and a 7-2 record in 42 2/3 career innings of work.  The organization sees Prieto as a career minor-league player.

Angel Arce saw a lot of action in his first pro season last year.  The 18-year-old scouting discovery was 3-3-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 35 games with Pearl and 2-2-2 with a 7.67 ERA in 19 games for Reading.  Odds of Arce making the bigs are very slim.

Yet another scouting discovery will occupy one of the long relief slots.  Gonzalo Rodriguez looks like he will develop big league stuff with big league movement, but control looks like something he'll never really get a grasp of.  He was 3-3 with a 2.56 ERA in 26 appearances for Pearl last year, his first as a pro.  He was called up to Reading where he struggled, posting a 7.63 ERA in a dozen appearances.  Welcome back to the RRL.

The final member of the Pearl staff is Matt Johnson, the team's 8th round selection (#187).  He was very good in High School, going 7-2 with a 1.56 ERA, but the talent level in Maine isn't what it is in other parts of the country.  While Matt is a long shot to make the bigs, he does is pretty mediocre, so he'd only have to improve a little bit to make that dream a reality. 

In summary, there are 14 pitchers on this staff and 7 of them will be making their pro debuts.  Let's move on to the guys in the field.

Hitting

Leading off and starting in RF is Thad Parker, last season's 8th round pick (192 overall).  Thad hit .231 in 78 games last year in his pro debut, stealing 18 bases along the way.  He projects to be a decent AA outfielder, and will need a miracle to amount to more than that.

Last year's 4th round pick (#96 overall) will hit 2nd and start in CF.  Alfonso Cruz is still only 17, and with a 2.5 star rating, projects to become a decent big league outfielder someday.  He hit .224 with 14 doubles and 1 HR in 534 AB last year, starting 134 games for Pearl as a 16-year-old.  He's very raw, but the talent is there.  He needs to work on his defensive play, but he could prove to be a very solid player for a 4th rounder.

30-year-old veteran Jose De Jesus will hit 3rd, play 1B, and manage the team.  Jose hit .333 in 125 AB for the Pittsburgh Pirates of the Pioneer League (AAA) last season.  He agreed to become manager of the Pearl Wolfpack only if he could pencil himself into the lineup, so that's what he's going to do.  There are no big-league aspirations for De Jesus, but the 2056 6th round choice (122nd overall) of the Freedom has had a very successful minor league career, being named an All-Star twice and winning 4 minor league championships (3 with Allentown, 1 with Reading).  While he's never spent a single day with the big league club, he's got a career .312 average.

Cleaning up and playing 3rd base is Derek Patey, last year's first round pick (24th overall).  He hit .262-5-72 in 136 games in his pro debut with Pearl.  The club hopes to see more power out of him this year.  He's 19 and on pace to be a star player (4 star prospect right now).

Batting 5th is left fielder Felipe Escamilla, a 4th round pick back in 2067 who is starting to look like a potential big leaguer as he enters his 3rd pro season.  Escamilla did not get into many games in his first pro season back in '67, when he started 32 games in Pearl and another 23 in Reading.  His average fell from .290 in Pearl to .239 in Reading, so he returned to Pearl for the start of 2068.  He started 63 games there before being called back up to Reading, where he started 62 more games and hit .264.  This year, he returns to Pearl, where coaches would like to see him develop his power.  He has hit just 5 HR in his pro career, and scouts feel like he could get that up to 13-18 per season.  He will probably be back in Reading before too long.

Hitting 6th is catcher Pedro Cruz, a scouting discovery who turned pro last year and hit .281-1-16 in 60 games with Pearl as well as .265-1-19 in 56 games with Reading.  Cruz has the potential to be a backup catcher at the big league level primarily due to his catching ability and arm, but doesn't project to have the type of stick you want from an everyday catcher.

Phillip Reardon, a scouting discovery from Australia, comes to America for his first season of pro ball and will start at SS and bat 7th.  He's only 17 so it's hard to get a read on him, but he seems to have big league bench potential. 

Jorge Herrera, yet another scouting discovery, returns to Pearl after a rough start to his pro career last season.  He hit a paltry .193 in 136 games for the Wolfpack, with only 13 doubles and no homers.  He'll start at 2nd base and hit 8th, but unless he improves a lot, he might be looking for work in the NYSL before too long.

Batting 9th and DH'ing is 16-year-old Lindsay Vanrenen, this year's 1st round pick (19th overall).  A 3.5 star prospect, Vanrenen might need a few seasons in the rookie league to develop his abilities.  But he looks to be a pretty good prospect. 

The Bench

Catcher Scott Harper, PA's 5th round pick (#115) will make his pro debut this season.

Catcher Hector Lopez, PA's 10th round pick (#240) last year, will try to improve on his .190-1-10 campaign last year.

Javier Pagan, a free agent pickup, will backup at 1B/C.  He hit .216 in 80 games for Utah's A-ball club last season.

Infielder Miguel Ramos, a scouting discovery who turned pro last season, will try to improve on his .274-1-14 campaign.

Infielder Dillon Williams, PA's 3rd round pick (67th overall) will make his pro debut. 

Outfielder Kevin Robinson, PA''s 9th round pick (#211) will make his pro debut.

Scouting Discovery Fernando Cisneros will make his pro debut as a backup outfielder.

Outfielder Ron Koo the 3rd, PA's 7th round choice (#163 overall), will make his pro debut.

Offline Chappy

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Re: Previewing the 2069 Freedom Organization
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2017, 09:48:46 AM »
Reading Railroad 2069 Outlook
Playoff streak broken at 8, can Railroad rebound?

The Reading Railroad finished below .500 last season for the first time since 2057.  While life in the Developmental League can be tough, the Railroad has consistently fielded competitive teams, and while they may not have the resume of the Three Lakes Loons (WI) or the Estes Park Rangers (CO) - or that of the current A-ball king Natick Redmen (MA) - Reading has proven to be a great launching pad for a solid big league career.

Pitching

2067 3rd round pick Artie Fairfield is the staff ace, after compiling a 6-13 record (4.90 ERA) in 30 starts for Reading last season.  It was a rough year for Fairfield, who was 7-1 with a 2.99 ERA in Pearl and 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in Reading the prior year.  Can the 3-star prospect find his bearings again this season?

Scott Banks the team's 3rd round pick the season before Fairfield, is the #2 starter.  Banks Has bounced around a lot in his 3 seasons as a pro, including a 3-6 record and a 5.17 ERA in 22 stars for Reading last year.  Banks is a 1.5 star prospect, but if he could improve his control a little he'd be a good 3-4 star prospect.

Boyd Whitney, the number 3 starter, is nobody you've heard of and probably nobody you'll hear of again.  He's a 7th round pick from 2068 who went 3-8 in Pearl and 3-7 in Reading last year, with an ERA over 5.00 at both stops.  His ceiling looks to be AA at this point, but you never know.

The 4th starter is Lee Daugherty, another likely career minor league player.  Daugherty was the 120th pick (5th round) in the 2067 draft, and was 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 7 starts for Reading last season.

Oviaio Ortiz, a scouting discovery from the Dominican Republic, will be the 5th starter.  While he has a better shot at the bigs than the 3 and 4 starters do, the 21-year-old lefty is going to need to improve his control.  He started his pro career with a bang, going 11-4 with a 3.09 ERA for Pearl as an 18-year-old, but has not been able to replicate that success here in A ball. 

William Blankenship was also previewed as the closer in Pearl, but he's been called up to Reading since the report was written.  The release of veteran Tim Weaver led to a domino effect, which included Blankenship's promotion.  He will now be the closer in Reading, where he has never pitched before.  William's promotion means our last 3 3rd round picks are all teammates in Reading.  William was 1-3 with 15 saves and a 2.75 ERA last year in Pearl and as a 4.5 star prospect definitely has big league potential.

22-year-old Josh Grant, our 2nd round pick from 2065, will serve as the setup man.  Grant was 3-3-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 44 appearances last year for Reading.  He will see a lot of action again this year, but will not likely make it to the bigs unless he can improve his control.

Jaime Fuentes, Jeremy Starr, and Arturo Resendez will be in middle relief.  All 3 - at ages 24, 26, and 24 respectively - are a bit old for A ball and none of them are likely to pitch above this level.  Fuentes and Resendez were scouting discoveries while Jeremy Starr was an undrafted free agent claim. 

Likewise, long reliever Nathan Dudley doesn't rate highly with scouts either.  He was 7-3 with a 3.76 ERA in 25 appearances with Reading last year and should produce similar numbers this year.

Royce Hays, another long reliever, will try to improve on his numbers from last year.  His 7.55 ERA with Reading nearly got him released.  The 23-year-old California kid was our 8th round pick in 2067.  Odds of him ever making it to AA are unlikely.

Last is specialist Leonardo Bolivar Jr., an undrafted free agent back in 2065.  He's bounced between R and AA and found a little bit of success, but also floundered a bit.  His 4.67 ERA as a part-time starter here in Reading last year resulted in him being moved to the bullpen full time.  Like many of the pitchers here in Reading, he is extremely unlikely to make it beyond A or AA ball.

Hitting

Leadoff man and DH Jason Hughes has the build and tools typical of a minor league outfielder in the Pennsylvania system.  Last season, he hit .241 with 12 doubles in 110 games for Reading, stealing 21 bases along the way.  He's a fantastic Center Fielder and has blazing speed, but unless he can learn to hit with power or improve his average, he's as high as he'll ever get.  He was a 6th round pick in 2063.

Batting 2nd and playing RF is Dave Lee, who was cast off from the Florida organization before being plucked from the FA pool by PA this Spring.  Lee hit .263 for Florida's AAA club last season, so there are big expectations for him down here in A-ball.  A big league career, however, is probably not in the cards.

Larry Waters will hit 3rd and play first base.  Water struggled in 14 games with Reading last year, but was very successful for Three Lakes (A, WI) the previous year (.333-15-77 in 116 games).  After being cut from the Wisconsin organization, Waters played for Queens of the NYSL (.265-4-32 in 74 games) before being picked up by Pennsylvania.  He's a good defensive 1B and should help the kids in Reading develop nicely, but he will probably not make it much higher in the system.

Mike Turner, one of the better prospects in Reading, will hit cleanup and play LF.  He is also an excellent 1B and solid 3B.  The 3.5 star prospect hit .270-2-16 in 32 games with Reading as a domino player (what we call guys who get called up as part of the domino effect of big league rosters expanding to 40).  Prior to that, he hit .291-9-48 in 105 games with Pearl.  He was our 2nd round pick in 2067 and should be on his way to AA next year if all goes as planned.  While he hasn't yet developed it, Mike is projected to have great power.

Hitting 5th and handling 3rd base is Reynaldo Gomez, our 5th round choice in 2068.  He hit .307-7-66 in 126 games with Pearl last season.  If he puts up similar numbers here in Reading this year, he'll be on his way to Allentown in no time.

At SS, 6th hitter Bob Gilore.  Bob played for the Bronx of the NYSL last year, batting .267-3-31 in 70 games.  He's not a highly rated prospect, but he should be a solid SS for Reading.  He's got good speed and is smart on the bases.

Glenn Evans is another top prospect, staring at 2B and batting 7th.  Evans was recently acquired in a trade with Illinois.  He hit .309-0-57 for their Rookie League club last year.  He's a 4-star prospect and will hopefully be headed up the ladder again next season.

Catcher Josh White will hit 8th.  He's turned himself into a player with big league potential, which is surprising for a 9th round pick (#216 overall).  He hit .232-2-52 in Pearl last year, but things have clicked with him and he's starting to see the ball a lot better.  He's above average defensively, and he'll be a key guy to keep an eye on. 

Tony Green will play CF and hit 9th.  A 7th round pick in 2067, Green is coming off a .208-1-18 campaign in 82 games in Reading.  He is great defensively, and has good speed though he doesn't know how to run bases well.  He's raw and has some work to do, but he does have some upside.

The Bench

Pedro Cruz, last year's starting Catcher in Reading, will be primary backup this year.  The former scouting discovery hit .265-1-19 in 56 starts last year.  He also started 52 games in Pearl, where he hit .281-1-16.  His ceiling is probably AAA.

Ken Siegler, a disappointing former first round pick (24th overall, 2067), will backup at C and 1B.  He hit a healthy .339-7-35 as the starting C in Reading before Cruz ook over last season.  Scouts once praised Siegler.  Now they think he'll never play above AAA.

25-year-old Raul Aguilar will backup at 2B and SS.  His age should give away that he's probably never going to make it above A ball, where he hit .303-1-34 last season in 108 games including 72 starts.

The same can be said for 24-year-old Carlos Diaz.  Diaz plays 2B, 3B, SS, LF and CF, so he's got versatility on his side.  Last year, he appeared in 101 games for Pearl, and hit .263-0-29 in 401 plate appearances.

Jason West will backup at 3B and SS, and the 24-year-old former 5th round pick is very frustrated with his role.  It's understandable; he looks like a AA player, but there's just not room there.  His .281-3-25 line last year in AA Allentown confirms that he can play at AA.  So why's he on the bench here?  Attitude.

Roberto Cruz plays 2B, 3B, SS, LF and RF and has good speed.  He hit .265-2-39 in 108 games for Reading last year.

Jose Rojas is another player with NYSL experience.  He hit .230-3-24 in 72 starts for Hoboken.  The 24-year-old was brought in for depth, and he'll backup in CF and see plenty of action as a pinch runner.

2062 4th round pick Scott Savage is the final benchwarmer.  He's reached his peak and is 27 years old.  He'll provide a nice bat off the bench and play LF and RF. 

Offline Chappy

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Re: Previewing the 2069 Freedom Organization
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2017, 11:06:22 AM »
Allentown Army 2069 Outlook
AA affiliate only has a couple of real prospects

The Allentown Army has made the postseason in 6 of the last 8 years.  They've finished in 1st place 6 times and won 3 championships during that span.  They will most likely be on the outside looking in this year, unless some players step up.

It's a team that only has a handful of big league prospects, but there are also a mix of aging veterans and career minor leaguers that might be able to lead the Army back to the postseason.

Pitching

Richard Morrison returns after going 8-3 with a 2.33 ERA in 16 starts last season.  While by no means a top prospect, Richard has an outside shot at the bullpen or as a 5th starter.  The 22-year-old has progressed nicely through the system after being taken with the 144th pick (6th round) in 2065.

#2 starter Braedon McGaughey is on the downside of his career.  He split last year between AAA (5.36 ERA) and AA (3.72 ERA).  The 29-year-old has been in he PA organization for all 11 seasons he's been a pro, after being claimed by the Freedom as an undrafted FA.  He managed to make the PA 40-man roster back in 2067 and appeared in 2 games, posting a 27.00 ERA in 3.2 innings of work.

Jay Torres will be the 3rd starter.  H was 12-9, 4.23 last year in Allentown.  The former 3rd round pick is not a big league prospect.

The #4 starter is a guy who spent parts of 5 season in the NPBL.  Luis Gonzalez, now 31, is also in the twilight of his career, and had a 5.92 ERA in AAA last year.  Bu,t he might be able to help at the AA level. 

Fifth starter Gilbert Baldwin also had a cup of coffee in the NPBL.  Now 29 and not a big league prospect, Baldwin, a former 5th round selection, was 4-1 with a 4.22 ERA in 6 AAA starts last year.  He spent most of the season on the DL with a torn labrum.

Closer George Powell is the best prospect on the team.  A 5-star bullpen prospect, Powell is projected to have phenomenal stuff to go with good movement and control.  He was the team's 2nd round choice last year (48th overall) and skipped rookie ball and started his pro career at Reading, where he was 4-4 with 28 saves and a 3.35 ERA in 54 appearances.  Hopefully this will be his only season in AA. 

28-year-old Dylan Harris was 8-5 with 4 saves and a 4.73 ERA in 51 appearances for Allentown last year.  The former 4th round pick is not excited to be back in town, where he's the top setup man.  But it's that, or retire.

The #2 setup man is Eric Bailey, a 27-year-old undrafted free agent.  Last year he was good in Allentown, going 3-3 with 2 saves and a 3.03 ERA.  He's as good as he's ever going to be, so he'll be playing to get the Army to the postseason.

The top middle reliever is a scouting discovery whose been in the PA system for 10 years.  He's never pitched above the AA level, but 28-year-old Cristobal Saucedo is happy to help his team.  He's appeared in 146 games for Allentown, posting a 9-5 record with 2 saves and a 2.85 ERA in his AA career.

Fellow scouting discovery Jorge Ibarra is also in the middle relief pool, but he's more of an A-level pitcher.  In 8.2 career innings in AA he's got a 1.04 ERA... but, you know, small sample size.

George Blake, a 25-year-old draft leftover, is the #1 long reliever.  He was 6-0 with a 2.99 ERA for Allentown last year.  No big league potential though.

The other long relief man, Sylvester Hernandez, was 5-5 with 4 saves and a 5.28 ERA in Reading last year.  Whether he'll be effective here in Allentown is yet to be discovered.  He did throw 3 scoreless innings in AA back in 2067.  The 25 year old is another of many members of this squad without big league potential.

One of the better arms on the staff, Jesus Banfi, is on the DL for the first 2 months of the season.  He was 7-1 with 13 saves last year for Allentown, posting a 2.95 ERA for the Army.  If the 24-year-old can fully heal, he might have a shot at the bigs.  But he's definitely got some of the better stuff on this squad.

The Lineup

While we're talking about injured players, 38-year-old slugger Antonio Gonzalez will report to Allentown when he comes off the DL in 2 weeks.  He hit .313-15-44 in 56 games for AAA Pittsburgh last year and even spent some time in A Reading.  He could hit 20-25 HR for Allentown if he doesn't pout too much, which would help get the team above .500 and competitive. 

Until he comes back, the lineup is as follows:

SS Jaime Hinojosa, a Dominican scouting discovery, 22 years old.  Found Reading to be to easy, hitting .277-4-59 there last season in 133 starts (28 SB).  He's a fantastic defensive player.

CF Micah Thomas hits next.  Another defensive whiz with good speed, the 28 year old has come a long way for a 6th round pick (#135 overall in 2059), but after hitting just .190 in Pittsburgh last year, he's back in Allentown.  While scouts feel he's maxed out his potentials, there is a possibility he could wind up in the bigs someday as a reserve outfielder/pinch runner.

John Guerra, catcher.  He's 26, a former 2nd rounder, and he put up great numbers here last year; .341-15-80.  Safe to say he has big league potential, but there is a logjam at C in this organization.

Dylan Childs, 1B, cleanup, at least until Gonzalez is healthy.  He hit .263 in Reading last season, and also hit .323 and led the NYSL in 2B as a member of the Brooklyn squad.  He's 27 and will probably never play above this level.

Batting 5th is Albert Martinez, a 29-year-old guy on the downhill side of his career.  He hit .275-5-40 for AAA Pittsburgh last year. 

Jesus Rosales is the 6th hitter and a 39-year-old two time big league all-star let go by Louisiana and picked up by PA back in 2067.  He hit .303-7-58 for AAA Pittsburgh last year.  He will be player/coach.

7th hitter Danny Whitley will play 3B.  He's 35 and like many on this team, too old for AA...  Retirement is not an option for these guys for some reason.  He hit .269-2-14 in Pittsburgh last year.

8th is Esteban Sanchez.  He will DH but is a decent catching prospect.  He hit .250-3-22 here in Allentown last year and is happy to have more playing time this season.

Last is 2B Walt Byrne, a 29-year-old drifter who brags about his career .333 big league average, which he gained in 2065 by going 5-for-15.  He split last year between AA and AAA and was decent, but he is unlikely to play in the NPBL again.

bench coming soon