hbd.season.10.preview.part.1

Okay, I know the burning question in all of your minds lately is… how is Brent’s Hardball Dynasty team doing? The last update I did for you was in March of this past year rating my top 40 prospects. I’ll be doing another one of those in the next month or so (following this season’s draft), but I just thought I would give you an update on the league.

First of all, my mighty Twinkies have won 2 straight World Series titles in a row. Considering the league is filled with nerds like myself who pay $25 per season (less if you make the playoffs and free if you make the World Series), I’m pretty pumped. My team was aging after thing second championship, so I’ve done a mini-overhaul in the off-season. While I prefer the draft and trades to free-agency, this off-season has been my busiest off-season in my ten years in the league. Here’s a look at this up-coming season starting with the pitchers:

Starters

SP1 – Miguel Acevedo – 33 years old – It kills me that Acevedo is 33 years old. An original Twinkie, he’s getting better as he gets older. In 9 seasons, he’s got 131 wins and a career ERA of 3.17 (second best all-time in the league). It’s a crime he hasn’t won a Cy Young award yet. Here’s his past three seasons 23-4, 221 innings pitched, 2.52 ERA, 16-2, 210 innings pitched, 2.78 ERA, and 13-3, 184 innings pitched, 3.08 ERA. He’s the best player I’ve ever had and he’s GOT to be a first ballot hall-of-famer. According to my rankings, I’ve got him tabbed as the third best starter in the entire league.

SP2 – Herman Cox – 26 years old – Entering his sixth ML season, he’s been rock solid. In five seasons, he’s averaging almost 13 wins per season while post a career 4.43 ERA. He’s had two 16 win season with ERA of 3.75 and 3.98 having made one all-star team in season 8. My rankings have him ranked as the 20th best starter in the league. I look for big things for him this year. I just locked him up for the next five years.

SP3 – TJ Shaw – 31 years old – He’s entering his 10th big league year with the Twinkies. He’s had a career ERA of 4.46. He’s a picture of consistency with an ERA between 4.35 and 4.98 whlie giving me over 185 innings for each of the past five seasons. I currently have him pegged as the 50th best starter in the league. He’s currently a player being dangled as possible trade bait.

SP4 – Bill Caulfield – 25 years old – I’m a little perplexed by Caulfield. On paper, I think he’s better than he’s performed. In two and a half major league seasons, he’s had a 5.08 ERA while missing part of a season due to injury. I have him ranked as the 76 best pitcher in the league, but so far he hasn’t lived up to that ranking going 27-22. This year is a big year to determine what kind of career Caulfield will have.

SP5 – Jeff Nixon – 25 years old – Another guy wo seems like he should be a lot better than he is. I currently have him pegged as the 145th best starter in the league. His control problems plague him a little bit. In fact, If he doesn’t perform early in the year, he’ll likely be assigned to bullpen duty where he has been more effective. His 3.82 career minor league ERA seems more like the pitcher he should be than his attrocious 5.61 mark in the bigs.

Other starting candidates

Shawn Corey – 24 years old – Corey might enter the season in the rotation should Shaw get moved. He actually looks like he could be a bit of a gamer. I’ve got him ranked as the 107th best starter in the league. He didn’t have as much minor league success as I’d maybe like to see, but he’s consistently been playing one level ahead of where he probably should have been. Last year, in 26 games (12 starts), he had a very respectable 4.47 ERA while averaging about 6 strikeouts per and 3 walks per 9 innings.

Freddie Brow – 27 years old – He’s kind of a 4A guy at best. His minor league numbers are stellar (2.92 ERA in 151 career starts) although he just doesn’t quite have the talent to make the jump. He’s played in parts of four full seasons for the Twinkies and has an ERA of 5.47. He’s a good “filler” guy until some of my other more talented pitchers are ready to make the jump.

On the way…

Larry Rando – age 21 – Rando was acquired in the off-season for my favorite offensive player Ned Taylor. While he’s got a ways to go, he pencils to be a solid #2 or #3 starter. I think he’ll be ready to go either at the start of next year or in two years. Part of the decision will depend on what we have for major league pitching available.

Mel Pearson – age 20 – Pearson is also likely a year or two away. He looks like he’s got the making to be a great #2 or #3 in this league. For those of you scoring at home, that would mean that in about three years time, I’ll have no solid #1, but three really good number twos. To me, that’s every bit as good. I’m in the market to find one more great future starting pitcher, but I’m very happy with my future staff.

Relievers

Sun-Woo Abe – Age 25 – Ratings-wise, he’s unbelievable. I’ve got him ranked as the 18th best reliever in the bigs. He hasn’t quite been there with a 5.14 ERA in three and a half big league seasons. He’s a steady arm, but I look for him to have a better year this year.

Vincente Aquino – Age 25 – In his second full big-league season, he’s been alright with a career 4.61 ERA. Since I’ve got him penciled in as the 13th best reliever in the league, he’s been a little bit of an underachiever. Again, I look for big things out of him this year.

Leonardo Stockton – Age 25 – This may seem redundant, but Stockton has underperformed based on his rankings. I’ve got him pegged as the 26th best reliever in the bigs. His career ERA sits at slightly over 6 and begs to differ.

Joaquin Park – Age 25 – He’s had 2 fine seasons and one bad one. He’s 56-for-66 in saves over the past two seasons which isn’t Joe Nathan-like, but it’s respectable. I’ve got him ranked as the 19th best reliever in the bigs. He’ll be closing for the Twinkies again this season.

Roy Peters – Age 25 – As you can see, I’ve got a ton of 25 year old relief pitchers which isn’t a bad thing. Of all of them, Roy Peters has been in the bigs the longest (four full seasons) and he’s by far been the best (4.08 ERA in 381 career innings). He’ll carry much of the load in the 7th and 8th inning. I just locked him up for the next five years at a good price, so I’m excited to see what he can do.

On the way…

Keith Mullin – age 21 – He’s already at AAA although he likely won’t see the big squad until next year. His career ERA of 3.84 in two season at Low A and AA is nice, but time will tell what kind of player he is ready to become.

King Wright – age 21 – An injury already cost him a full season at a valuable stage of development. In a small sample size (69 innings pitched), he’s been extrmely effective going 13-for-16 in save opportunities with a 3.52 ERA in rookie ball and High A. I think he’ll be even better in AA. Next year he’ll probably be in AAA with a trip to the big club in two years when a few of my other relievers are due for sizable raises.

I’ll have more on the position players to come shortly…

If you’re out on your bike tonight, do wear white,
-B-

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