Tuesday, April 5, 2011

NL South

Atlanta Fireballs owner: bencap

The Atlanta Fireballs are an organization loaded with top pitching prospects such as Theodore Becker , Emmanuel Goodwin , David Mercado , Rollie Florie , Howie Blake . We also have a couple of good hitting prospects in Earl Myers , Jesus Cabrera , Ryne Williams among others who should make the ML level team very good in 3-5 seasons. This franchise is setup for the long haul. At the ML level in season 1 the team will be led by players such as Mark Abbott Skeeter Bradford Jonathan Towers and Buck Meyers. Should be an interesting journey with this organization.

Tampa Bay Barracuda owner: pinotfan

The Tampa Bay Barracuda are looking forward to a challenging first season in the ULB. We are very happy with the coaching and scouting staffs we have assembled, and are already seeing benefits from our personnel.

Looking at a hefty salary that would consume over ten percent of our payroll, we decided to move slugging catcher Phil Pellow for three prospects: Chris Service, Doug McCall, and Brayan McGrady. All three were invited to Spring Training this year, and look very promising.

Spring Training batting standouts were AA League Catcher Ken Telford with 3 HR and 10 RBI and Rookie League SS P.J. Callaway who batted .375, both in extended action. Pitching stars were AAA Pitchers Joey Balester and Josias Reyes, both of whom logged double-digit innings with WHIPs under 1.00.

Unfortunately, on the last day of Spring Training top slugging first base prospect Ham Tam went down with an arm injury projected to sideline him for upwards of a year. Projected to make the jump from Rookie League to High A, Ham will instead be looking at a prolonged rehab assignment.

Star SS Valerio Ozuna will anchor the major league line-up, while the topic of many trade rumors, Ignacio Hernandez, is the team’s ace.

Charlotte Cavalry owner: mewis22

This franchise was tough to decide what my game plan would be. Mediocre offense with no real superstars in the BL offense, however my Rotation is one on the best. Anchored by two vets Wayne Vickers , Jimmie Aguilera and the Franchise Horacio Pineda . For as good as my rotation is, my bullpen is at the bottom. I predict I will be a 500 team. I'm excited for the future as I have a core of guys that I can build a nice team around. Yovani Rosado , Ruben Encarnacion and Spud Newman look to be my future stars on offense. Have some decent pitchers in the minors, Alfonso De La Vega looks to be my next star pitcher. I didn't get into the Trade frenzy like most did, but I do plan on making some deals. I'm sure there will be some teams making a push for the playoffs who need that one player to get you over the top, well I might have that guy..

NL West

Arizona Geckos owner: kennedrj

Arizona was blessed with a deeper farm system than major league roster. At the ML level, the Geckos have a respectable lineup, led by veterans Chip Herrera and Stew Dunston. However, the ML pitching cupboard was left bare for the Geckos, with the team having to plug pitching holes with three, count 'em, THREE rule five draft picks. The team's success this year will hinge on getting strong performances out of some uncertain pitching at the ML level.

Although not boasting any blockbuster stars-in-waiting there are several solid pitching prospects three or four years away from ML, led by Ubaldo DaSilva, Butch Pierce and Chad Murphy. There are also a stable of positional prospects, led by 3B Carmen Mitchell.

Las Vegas Daredevils owner: andersaa

The latest act on the Las Vegas Strip is the new baseball franchise the Daredevils.
They have their eyes set for the season 1 championship with future all-stars: Lou Dunn, a top notch 2B in his prime: Yeico Hernandez, a young power hitter that might take both the gold glove and Silver slugger at 3B; and Bernie Federowicz, a CF who will have fun in Vegas with 100 patience and no temper. In preliminary scouting they will surely take the NL West even with holes in pitching and the lack of a cleanup hitter. The pitching will get a lot better as soon as future ace Herb Stone is ML ready.

Oklahoma City Kingfishers owner: fishsqueeler

The Kingfishers has decided to go young. Really young. Waived most ML postion players and promote from within. They did not sign a single free agent or make a trade. Only future star in the field is 21 year-old 2B Aubrey Stottlemyre he will be an allstar in a year or two. The franchise was given the gift of pitching, and they have promoted all of that ptiching up to the ML level producing one of the best young rotations in the NL. 31 year-old Ace Alfredo Vargas will be the leader of this team, 26 year-old Jimmie Whitaker is decent but won’t get any better, 23 year-old Jimmie McGowan is ML-league ready and will get better; 25 year-old Seth Zimmermancould get really good, and 21 year-old Gus Ni will be a stud when he develops. The Kingfishers will win alot of low scoring games, and are looking forward to the 6th pick in the draft.

Salt Lake City Miners owner: zbinder

The initial prognosis for this team was "Cellar Dweller" so I immediately started trading off assets to cut payroll and build for the future. At some point, I started to feel like I could compete so I took on a contract and signed 2 free agents. The big problem the franchise faced was in the low minors. No talent was in the pipeline, so I've been working to trade AAA players and above for LowA and HighA players to ensure that a few years from now I'll have a few players to promote to the bigs.

Key Loss: Chien-Ming Meng - Trading him to CIN may turn out to be a huge mistake.

Key Additions: RF Willie Lopez
SS- Rob Melhuse
2B- Bobby Puffer

The additions of Lopez, Melhuse, and Puffer will allow the Miners to keep a few prospects in the minors for another season, giving the franchise control over the players for another year. These defensive additions hopefully will help shore up our pitching staff until our minor league talent gets promoted to the Bigs.

Outlook - If the cards fall right, we could be a few games over .500 and could possibly contend for a wild-card. But that's going to take some luck. Our goal is to play .500 baseball this year.

The Future - The following prospects are expecting promotion:
Lawrence Walker - (Season 2)
Arnold Papelbon - (Season 3)
Reagan Weiland - (Season 4)
Tony Epstein - (Season 5)


Houston Vultures owner: rebelt

Key Acquisitions:

3B Joakim Pescado (FA Signing)
OF Kevin Randolph (Trade)

Top prospects:

SS Dan Morgan C Brett Flair
RP Tony Hudson

Season outlook: Looking to contend, should be one of the better defenses in the league, pitching staff is a little weak at the bottom, not a ton of pop in the bats but hopefully enough!

Jacksonville Sharks owner: kp55

The Jacksonville Sharks team is what would of been the result if Rachel Phelps would have been successful in the movie Major League. She wanted to field a team so bad that it could move to Florida.

Well this is where we begin in Jacksonville. The baseball gods have dealt us a bad hand at the ML level. There is help coming, but the poor coaching staff will need to reach the 55 win mark to stay afloat until said help arrives.

Ace Royce Tannehill tested the free agent market forcing the Sharks to hand out the largest contract in the league. Hopefully he can anchor the pitching staff and team until the minor league help is ready for the show.

On second thought there isn't much help in the minors. This franchise we need to be built through the draft and free agency.

There were some head scratching trades early on, but team brass was shedding the larger contracts to be able to sign Royce Tannehill and to have a little flexibility in future years to add more free agent talent.

Kansas City Bolts owner: aaronwayne

Like everyone else, the KC Bolts really don't know what to expect in this first season of the ULB. They have some pieces that, at least on paper, appear to be very good ones, but also what they believe will be weaknesses.

Starting pitching depth at the ML and upper minors seems to be a key positive. Most of the ML rotation was arb. eligible types. Some were re-signed, others dealt to satisfy team needs. Most likely, 3 SP's that began the season in the minors, will join the rotation.

That rotation will be led by a very talented, but also a rookie, Jose Vazquez. Vazquez appears to have the potential that could anchor the rotation for the next 10 years. Alas, that's all it is at this point.

Wiley vet Quinton Leonard will be the #2 starter. While not doing any one thing great, Leonard does many things very well and should compliment the others starters. He is the elder statesmen of the rotation.

The others who will start, how many times depends on their effectiveness, are Markus Webb , Orber Aguilera , and Felipe Osoria or rookie Ron Mateo , who may start the year in AAA. Alex Masao is probably the top young arm in the minors, but he's a most likely a year or two away from joining the ML rotation.

While the rotation is young, most of the bullpen will be made up of veterans. Management isn't really high on most of these pitchers, but hope they hold together. Marvin Griffin is the best of the young arms in the minors and could find himself pitching in KC at some point during the season.

The lineup contains some really nice players that should be able to hit a bit, and play solid defense. Emilio Lee appears like a solid all around RF, and he'll be joined by Tommie Walker, picked up in a deal involving one of the young pitchers, and probably Scott Vaughn in CF. Vaughn's got the range, but his glove could prove to be an adventure in KC's spacious outfield. All 3 primary OF's have good range and can run a bit, so that should help.

The IF will be led by SS Virgil Guerrero. His defense won't be very good at SS, but hopefully his bat will pick up the slack. If he's really brutal at SS, a move to 2B or 3B could be in order. At 3B, vet Ernie Munson will provide very good defense w/ok hitting. He may end up at SS, despite the arm, but we'll see.

Japan's own all-star CF Dante Sasaki will bring his talents to the ULB and try to play 2B. His defense should be really good, but he'll have to hit in order to stay in the lineup...that could prove problematic. Rob Patrick gets to play first, but will be on a fairly short leash.

The Bolt's are going with a 22 year old rookie at C. Luis Siqueiros will be the primary C and he'll get rest by taking days off against lefties. So Taguchi's brother Eric: Eric Taguchi will be the DH.

The bench has a mix of speed and defense. Some interesting bat's in the minors that we'll see down the road are Hamish Simpson and Billy McNamara .

Bolt's fans think this team will be capable of putting together a good season, especially for KC standard's, but no one really knows. Management is cautiously optimistic, but is afraid the bullpen and lack of a really big power bat might sink the ship into the Missouri River.

The goal as we stand right now is about 85 wins...

Louisville Thoroughbreds owner: purplehaze54

Top ML players: Oswaldo Osoria - only 24yo, I think he's gonna be one of the premier pitchers for several years. Brian Rhodes - probably the mvp of this team; excellent fielder......not much of a hitter but with this team, he will be invaluable. Top prospects: Maverick Dunston - this guy is gonna score a lot of runs and steal a lot of bases. He may up in the bigs sooner than I want. Bobby Bechler - my team has no power, I think this guy will deliver along with my next pick. Lloyd Wells - another needed power hitter. These last 3 are probably my key additions and my losses are the prospects I had to trade to get some power and speed. All in all, I don't think I have a very good team, however; it's hard to tell with a new league start up. My initial plan was to trade for the future but when I was unable to "dump" some of my existing MLer's, I may use my prospects this year. I don't expect much - I just hope to be competitive - I think I'm looking at below .500 ball.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Still More Previews

NL North

Detroit Roadsters

The Roadsters are clearly in win now mode. The Roadsters looked primed to make a run at a division title with a veteran led team. To help their playoff push, they moved most of their prospects to upgrade in the OF positions acquiring Sammy Marichal and Pedro Domingo , as well as snagging #3 starter Joaquin Soto. They better hope that everyone stays healthy as organizational depth is not a strong suit for this team. The Roadsters do have two future stars in 1B Bubba LaFromboise and CL Antonio Whang but they are still a couple of years away from the majors.

Milwaukee Wolves

Can the Wolves have some bite to go with their growl this year? They'll rely on a rookie GM and Manager with a strong mix of veterans to lead the way. Looking for productive seasons from Augie Paige , Eric Lillibridge , and Diego Feliz to go with up and comers Vic Saenz and Rafael Guerrero. A patchwork pitching staff with no clear #1 starter could be the achilles heel though.

Minnesota Lumberjacks

The Lumberjacks will be trying to compete for the division title but might have their work cut out for them with the Roadsters and their nice 1 – 2 punch at SP and veteran lineup. To help the team compete they traded for veteran Bob Campbell who comes as a one year rental to lead the staff. We think we got a relative bargain in FA with Josias Estrada who should be a capable #2 starter. Holdover Mac Wang will lead a young lineup. The lineup will be bolstered at some point this season by trade acquisitions Trent Whitaker and Carlos Seneca. At only 19, Seneca could use some seasoning but the Lumberjacks like his bat and can’t afford to wait with him as he would slide right into the 3 or 4 slot in the lineup. Hopefully he can handle the pressure despite his age. Young pitchers Jermaine Bere and Anthony Appier are also slated to join the big league club this season if the current staff should falter. This team has a nice young nucleus with a few veterans sprinkled in that we hope will keep us competitive this season and for years to come.

Chicago Hitmen

The Hitmen start and end with two young arms, Blake Decker and Bum Brandt . The Hitmen plan on this being a very good duo for years to come. Offensively, there are some very good, young big leaguers that will have to grow into their positions. Luis Pulido , Tony Chang, Wesley Hall , and Derek Koloff . In the minors, there are some nice prospects, mostly at the upper levels. Yovani Gallardo , Maximo Duffy , Bernie Flores , Flash DeHaan , and Footsie Uggla @ AAA. Cody Pettyjohn , Pedro Mercedes , Ray Patrick , and Brian Lambert @ AA. Herbert Kelley and Nap Hartman at High A. The Hitmen round out their first season with 4 picks in the first 46 selections in the draft, so they should be able to add a few solid prospects along the way.

NL East

Cincinnati Tall Stacks

The top players are also new additions to this team they include Carlos Rios, Phil Pellow,and Chien-Ming Meng. Top prospects are Alex Reese, Joel Grimsley, and Everth Gonzalez

Pittsburgh Phantoms

Pittsburgh is led by Willie Johnson and Birdie Mahomes on offense. Clarence Arnold and Nick Adcock anchor a solid pitching staff that should keep them in most games. This franchise may not run away with the division but should be able to play break even ball and with a few breaks, could contend for the division title.

Indianapolis Racers

I'm looking to win now. I'm going for a small ball approach with contact, speed, hit and run etc. I have the least power in the world. My defense is very sharp with Murray Harris 3B, Slim Jefferies SS, and Carlos Guzman at 2B. My pitching is terrible but has the best control in the league and keeps the ball on the ground. I don't have a single prospect worth mentioning.

St. Louis Bishops

Despite missing out on a couple of valued FA, optimism runs high in St. Louis. The offense will be led by FA aquisition C Alex Romo. 1B Julio Diaz and LF Mark Chen will also add offensive pop. The rotation will be balanced, with no dominant starter, but 5 capable hurlers to share the load. Rabbit Edwards should lock down most late inning leads. With balance up and down the roster the Bishops hope to make a run at the playoffs this season.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More Previews

AL East

Philadelphia Quakers

The Quakers head into the season with a very suspect pitching staff. The starters may struggle but the offense should help keep them in most games. They are led by one of the better young hitters in the game in Al Ordaz . Will Gardner , Trevor Sherman , and Esmerling Cano will also provide some offensive fireworks for the rookie GM. Their closer, Dave Hermida , is solid but is he being best utilized in that role? With this team’s starting pitchers likely to struggle, he may not have many opportunities to save games and therefore not as many innings pitched for this team that desperately needs as many solid innings pitched as possible.

New York Legends

My team is all about the starting pitching staff. The SP1 through 4 are all guys I gained through trades and are all pretty much number 1 guys. My lineup is built on power, having three 100 power guys and a few others in the 90s. My key additions are my top 4 starting pitchers, my key losses is my whole minor league system basically. I traded them all away for a chance to win now. My best prospect remaining is Tom Mann and he will be up in the majors after 20 or so minor league games. My key major leaguers are Angel Molina , Jhonny Johnson , Alvin Roberts , and Stubby West .

Boston Checkers

With the roll of the dice, the inaugural season of the Boston Checkers went down the drain. Their minors were decimated with early season callups to fill in for the absolutely horrible ML roster compiled by the SIM. There is some hope to meet the league minimum of wins if players such as former Indiana and Texas Tech head basketball coach Bob Knight and Eduardo Almanza put up the type of season they should be capable of. Pitching will be an issue this season in Beantown and they will rely heavily on the arm of Henry Mullens to bring home some victories this season. So if you plan on coming out to spend an evening at Fenway this season, come early and down a few on Lansdowne St., enjoy the experience of Yawkey Way or have a big bowl of chowdah. Chances are what you see on the field will be a bit disappointing.

Baltimore Ironclads

Baltimore should have one of the more potent offenses in the league. They are led by super star Jin Ho Yang who the GM thinks should contend for the MVP for ten years, and I agree, he should have an excellent career anchoring the Ironclads’ offense. Also contributing will be Lewis Tremie who may be a defensive liability at SS but can rake with the best of them. Vance Sosa is slated to be the teams #1 starter right now. Can his incredible splits overcome his low control? Baltimore sure hopes so as they will need him to perform as an ace if they are to compete for the title.

AL West

Seattle 747s

My team has a decent lineup with Chico Montanez & Jay Patrick leading the way. My rotation is going to be weaker after several big trades. Season one may not be my season, but with several very good young players in AAA and AA, the future is close. 3 Players to watch for are Edwin Walton , Ryan Frank & Ewell Osterbrock

San Francisco Slingers

The Slingers go into the season optimistic of their chances to compete for a division crown. They haven't had full backing from some of their fans however because they feel like the owners didn't open up their pocketbook enough in the offseason. With speedsters Vic Serrano and Parker Jacquez in the top of the order followed by some good power in Archie Coco and Armando Marrero, they could prove to be one of the stronger top of the orders in the league. Watch for Jacquez to have a breakout season as he is currently lighting up Spring Training with a .462 average and 3 home runs. The key for them will come in pitching and the ability of some good young minor leaguers to step up when called upon. Angel Espinosa at 31 will be looked upon as one of the elder leaders of the pitching staff and Tom Mora looks to be a big contributor as well. Regardless of the outcome, the Slingers feel that with their fans expectations being low and being tagged as an underdog in the league, they have nowhere to go but up.

Los Angeles Aces

The Aces will be anything but... This team has a good young nucleus to build around, but it will take a couple of seasons to become a viable contender in ULB.
[Editor's Note: I guess LA prefers to be shrouded in mystery.]

Portland Pioneers

We feel pretty confident in the team we have assembled. Veteran Tris Steenstra along with up and coming superstar Terry Thurman lead a potent offense, and old man Lyle Galloway leads a strong pitching staff. Several trades have brought in some fresh new faces and added some pop to the lineup and some gas to the staff. Once the season gets started, we will know more about our team, but fans and ownership alike are confident in the boys to come together and play winning baseball. The Pioneer faithful are ready to cheer their team to a pennant.

Monday, February 21, 2011

AL North Preview

The season is underway, and if you need a little help handicapping the division races, the ULB Times will be taking a look at each of the 8 divisions over the next 8 days. Up first, the AL North!

Toronto Mounties

The Mounties roll into Season 1 with a mix of veteran talent and some young arms. They will be led this year by 31-year-old, slugging LF Clark Walsh and CF Heath Olmos. Anchored by Closer Bruce Ruffin, the Mounties will hope that their starters can turn the game over to him with a lead more times than not.

The Mounties will have concerns surrounding their starting rotation as they field no clear ac- on their staff. They will be putting a lot of weight on the young shoulders of 24-year-old Vic Rosales and 21-year-old Jose Lind. Rosales and Lind are being counted on as the building blocks for this franchise for years to come.

Toronto has hopes of being a playoff contender this year, but it is hard to project where they may finish record-wise. During the offseason the Mounties were very quiet in free agency and on the trade front. Management chose to not sell out the future talent for a win now team and chose to let the season play out and evaluate as they go.

Cleveland Crows

Quite frankly it is difficult to predict how the initial season will go for the Crows. The overall talent level of the team is below average but that seems to be the consensus of most owners in the league. The Crows decided to trade off most of their high-priced players and pending FA. Most deals resulted in younger prospects coming back. Some stop gap FA were signed to plug gaps while they wait on those prospects. The goal appears to be building the widest competitive window they can. The best players on the team are prospects SP Tim Jackson and OF Dan Ramirez, both in their early 20’s. The game plan is to keep the top prospects in the minors for the first part of the season to postpone the arbitration years. After the first 25-30 games, if the Crows look to be competitive, Jackson, Ramirez and other top talents could be called up to make a playoff run. If the team dives to the cellar out of the gate, the Crows may choose to wait until next year to promote their top talent.

The Crows do still have some good MLB talent with players such as Mat Dunham, Brandon O'Neill, and Harry Benson. While they would love to win the AL North, the Crows would be happy to get to .500 this season.

Montreal Hilltoppers

The Hilltoppers expect to field a competitive team this season but are expecting bigger things in the near future. Currently our top players are left-handed SP Don Chenand slugging 3 Michel Carreras; both players will be serious all-star contenders. Top rookie prospects are Buck Holmes, Tomas Tejeda, Jim Dougherty, Jamey Stockton, Jeff Doumit, Les Stratton, Che-Bang Hukata, and Hector Tapies. All enjoyed a solid spring season. Another top prospect, Francisco Matos, is presently in AAA but is expected to be called up to the big club once he gets a few more at-bats. Matos has the skills to be a five-tool player.

Tejada, Chen, and Sammy Stammen are the anchors of a solid but very young rotation. The Hilltoppers also enjoy a strong bullpen, as well as good team speed and defense.

Buffalo Mammoths

A rebuilding team with a lot of promise on the horizon, the Buffalo Mammoths will likely struggle to make the minimum win totals set by the league, but if they can hold out hope for a few seasons, there are plenty of promising arms in the system. The big league squad is anchored by ace SP Louis Cochrane, star-in-the-making C Charlie Rhodes...and not much else. This team will struggle to score runs and other than when Cochrane is on the mound, they will struggle to prevent runs.

In the low minors however, the pitching is stocked and developing. The threesome of SPs Rob Eischen , Luis Nunez, and Phil Riggs is the future top of the Mammoths' rotation. The bullpen arms include future lights out Closer Carlton Wood and Neftali Alvarez. The position player prospects are weak throughout the system but the Mammoths hope to work on that through the draft, thanks to the #2 overall pick, and the international market.

In short, the present will not be pretty in Buffalo, but the ownership group is asking fans to be patient because the future promises better days ahead.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

No Fish Bigger than Sharks' Tannehill

Jacksonville, FL -- The Jacksonville Sharks got their man; SP Royce Tannehill was never able to escape the confines of northern Florida, though his bank account will have a lot more 0's in it than ever before.

Tannehill, the hottest commodity on the open market during the innaugural free agency period of the ULB, put several teams on pins and needles for days before settling on the full max contract the Sharks had lain on the table.  The contract is a 5-year deal at $20M per season, with the added perks of a $10M signing bonus, a full no-trade clause, and a player option on the deal's final year.

The Sharks' current
payroll is $94,245,645.
Jacksonville ownership had really hoped Tannehill would simply resign when they had exclusive negotiating rights, but the call of a big pay day was too appealing.  Now, both parties got what they wanted.

Tannehill is unquestionably the best starter on Jacksonville's roster now, and he may need to pitch 40 times for this team to be competitive this season.  If they are not competitive, perhaps the lucrative deal will still bring fans to the stadium every fifth day.  The Sharks are within $3M of their budgeted payroll, so there probably aren't many aggressive personnel moves in their future before the season opens on April 3.

With the big question of the winter now resolved, the anticipation for the launch of ULB's premiere season can now mount unabated.  Spring games start in just 3 days.