Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Season 8 Big League Recap: Position Players

After a long break from recapping which included a rollover to Season 9, we'll finish our Season 8 Big League Recap by scrutizing the play of the fake ball players in the field.

Opening Day Catchers:___________________Season Ending Catchers:
Fernando Matos (vR)____________________Matos (vR)
JJ Malloy (vL)_________________________James O'Connor (vL)

The ML catching jobs were handed to a couple youngsters in S8. Rookie Fernando Matos struggled through his first season in The Show batting .254 with 11HR and 54RBI. Although he called some good games he also had difficulty throwing out baserunners.

While Matos platooned versus righties, JJ Malloy began the season as the defensive specialist and took on lefthanded starters.

After a decent start, Malloy was shipped in a wooden crate to Cincy as part of the Jeff Jennings trade. This open the door for career DH James O'Connor to showcase his catching skills.

Known around my apartment for his bat, in 78 games O'Connor hit .341. The shocker was that he gunned down 5 of 6 baserunners during 12 late-season starts, cementing him into a S9 Opening Day roster spot.

Overall Grade: B
This Grade Would've Improved If...Matos hit as well as his ratings suggested he should.

Opening Day Infield_______________________Season Ending Infield
1B: Adrian Parker________________________1B: Jeff Jennings
2B: Pascual Guzman______________________2B: Scott Springer
3B: Alex Woo___________________________3B:Darrin Beam/Woo
SS: Chris Peterson_______________________SS: Peterson

As Season 8 moved forward, changes were made to continue shaping the future nucleus of the Hula Dolls. Former MVP Jeff Jennings was acquired in a moster trade with Cincy and top prospect Scott Springer made his appearance on the Big Stage.

Jennings hit .332 with 22HR and 46RBI in just 60 games in the AL and provided a consistently terrifying bat for opposing pitchers.

Springer struggled in his ML debut after replacing veteran Pascual Guzman, who set several team records in Season 7. Management expects an improvement in Springer's first full season in the Bigs.

The 3B platoon of Darrin Beam (.287, 20, 75) and Alex Woo (.283, 19, 75) put together solid seasons and almost identical numbers.

Overall Grade: B-
This Grade Would've Improved If...Jennings had played a full season in Hawaii.

Opening Day Outfield:____________________Season Ending Outfield:
LF: Jimmie Flores_______________________LF: Adrian Parker
CF: Nicholas Lemon___________________ __CF: Lemon
RF: Rob Sweeney_______________________RF: Sweeney

In S8, the outfield produced several big hits, including Your Love (one of the greatest songs of all-time). Nicholas Lemon was a pleasant surprise in CF, hitting .287 and playing solid defense. Hopefully a late season injury doesn't affect his future play too much.

Rookie Jimmie Flores started off hot in LF, batting .298 with 15HR and 56RBI before being sent to Vancouver for Gene Fox, Dmitri Hull and Pavel Bure. He was replaced late in the season by 1B/DH Adrian Parker who, despite playing out of position, committed no errors or minus plays in 25 starts.

RF Rob Sweeney performed fairly well throughout the season driving in 99 runs. Unfortunately, he also set a franchise record for Ks in a season with 139.

Overall Grade: B
This Grade Would've Improved If...there were fewer Ks and more power from the corner OF positions.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


...I'm not drunk, I just can't figure out how to tab. Jerks.

Season 8 Big League Recap: RPs

We continue our Season 8 Recap by giving hi-fives to possibly the most productive members of the Honolulu squad, the relief pitchers.

Opening Day Bullpen _______________Season Ending Bullpen
Mop: Joseph Tanaka ___________________Mop: Dave Dorsey
LR: Brett Rogers ______________________Mop: Juan Ortiz
LR: Scott Sheldon _____________________LR: Tanaka
SU: Matt Mullaney ____________________LR: Sheldon
SU: Dave Griffith _____________________SU: Mullaney
SU: Donald Choi ______________________SU: Griffith
CL: Jimmie Mateo ____________________SU: Choi
____________________________________CL: Mateo

Honolulu's bullpen is led by their backend - setupmen Matt Mullaney, Donald Choi and Dave Griffith, along with closer Jimmie Mateo. The four combined for a 3.59ERA, 1.20WHIP and 32 saves in 253IP.

The waiver wire brought Juan Ortiz from Columbus and also caused the move of veteran Brett Rogers to the minors. Ortiz was an enigma through most of the year - a player with average or below average ratings who pitched very effectively. In 48 combined games he posted a 2.90ERA and converted 16/18 save opportunities. Surprisingly, he struck out 32 while only walking 7.

Overall Grade: B+
This Grade Would've Improved If...Mateo didn't blow three big games late in the season. He had a great year, but proved a real burden late in the season.

Season 8 Big League Recap: SPs

Before looking toward the greener pastures of Season 9, The Big Island would like to gaze back longingly on the departing Season 8.

It was a year of ups and downs for Honolulu that ended in disappointing fashion, by losing the final game of the year to Kansas City and dropping into second place in the AL West.

We'll break this motha down position by position.

Starting Pitching
Season Opening Rotation ________Season Ending Rotation
SP1: Eddie Baker _________________SP1: Baker
SP2: Bruce Wells _________________SP2: Ronnie Field
SP3: Alex Scanlan ________________SP3: Edgar Lee
SP4: Matt Hogan _________________SP4: Dmitri Hull
SP5: Dave Dorsey (Rule 5) __________SP5: Eric Nye

Aside from ace Eddie Baker the DHD rotation changed entirely throughout the season. Bruce Wells and Matt Hogan found themselves at AAA and Rule 5 Draftee Dave Dorsey moved to the bullpen after poor 1st halves. Alex Scanlan was a nasty #2 starter (3.98ERA) before being dealt to Cincy in the Jeff Jennings trade.

Honolulu sent former 1st round pick Ralph Dixon to Arizona to pick up veteran hurler Ronnie Field. Talent was never the issue with Field, it was durability. Over 13 season-ending starts Field stayed healthy and effective, going 8-1 with a 2.00ERA and 1.07WHIP.

Trade also brought Dmitri Hull to the staff late in the season. Originally a reliever, Hull made several starts down the stretch. Although the overall numbers weren't pretty, Hull performed well during several key games down the stretch.

Rookie Edgar Lee survived a rocky start to emerge as a legit #3 starter after his mid-season callup.

Overall Starters Performance: C-
The Grade Would've Improved If...Honolulu had spent fewer starts waiting for Wells, Hogan and Dorsey to come around and made moves sooner.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Minor League Recap

Between our last meeting on The Big Island it seems there's been a tsunami's worth of losses, eliminating all but the AAA Hula Dolls from championship contention. Therefore, instead of slaving over a season recap for the remaining minor league levels I got lazy and decided to wrap them all into one!

Here at The Big Island we don't like to change gears in the middle of a planned series of blogs, so it does pain me to do this. However, after deep contemplation over a lunchtime tuna sandwich the realizing sank in that none of you really give a crap about career minor leaguers who had big years...but if you do I can direct you to Will Jordan's blog.

Anyway, in this season's edition of Minor League Recap we'll briefly cover the successes and failures and strengths and weaknesses of each club. We'll also select an All-Organization team, just to highlight the best performers of S8 at the minor league level.

On to business!

Season Record: 111-33, 1st Place (only team still playing in system)

Pitching was outstanding both from prospects and veterans as the DHD led AAA in ERA, Opp. SLG, Opp AVG, Hits allowed, Saves (tie), and wins.

The offense also receives gold stars for leading AAA in Runs Scored, and finishing 2nd in HR, SLG and OPS.

As of this post, Honolulu trails Charleston 2-1 in the AAA ALCS, marking the longest run of a DHD team this season.

Season Record: 97-47, 1st Place

On the mound Honolulu performed well, relying on a strong starting rotation and finishing in the Top 5 of nearly every pitching category at the AA level.

At the plate the Dolls hit very well, but with minimal power. Honolulu led AA in AVG, OBP (tie), Hits and Triples (tie), along with finishing 2nd in OPS. On the negative side only 1 batter hit more than 20 HRs, a disappointment at the AA level.

After a #2 seed in the playoffs, Honolulu was swept by the PeteC and the Junior Domination. Their biggest mistake was not treating the ladies with respect.

Season Record: 77-67, 3rd Place

We already covered these guys - they're the only minor league team in the organization to miss the postseason may be ritually sacrificed as a result.

Season Record: 92-52, 1st Place

Honolulu's Lo-A staff finished the season in the Top in ERA, Opp SLG, Opp OBP, Opp AVG and WHIP. Management was very impressed by this young staff.

Offensively, this unit didn't really stand out amongst their peers, which is surprising given the amount of offensive talent at this level. Although their performances weren't bad by any means, hitting has to be considered a weakness and letdown by this club.

The playoffs brought a disappointing finish to the Lo-A season. After leading Chicago 2-0 in round 1, the hillbillies came roaring back to win 3 straight plating 10, 9 and 9 runs in the 3 games.

Season Record: 46-30, 2nd Place

The positives for the Rookie level ballclub begin and end at the plate. The DHD tied for the league lead in AVG, finished Top 3 in SLG, OPS, Hits and HR.

When you miss on pitching in a really pitching-heavy draft it'll be tough to put a staff together, much less a successful one. The Rookie Level patchwork rotation and bullpen performed very average, which was a very pleasant surprise!

Thanks to a huge effort from DH Hub McNamara the Rookie level Hula Dolls reached the Rookie ALCS before being swept by Dover.

All-Honolulu Minor League Team, S8

C - Damian Yoshii AAA, (.318, 18HR, 70RBI, 3.88 ERA, 35.1 CS%)
1B - Alton Eischen AAA, (.327, 30HR, 156RBI)
2B - Walt Brown AA-AAA, (.325, 26HR, 116RBI, 33SB, .985 F% combined)
3B - Josias Picasso Hi-A, (.330, 20HR, 86RBI)
SS - Alvin Standridge AAA, (.255, 38HR, 157RBI)
LF - Julian Balboa Lo-A - Hi-A, (.323, 39HR, 132RBI combined)
CF - Odell Walls Lo-A, (.323, 16HR, 93RBI)
RF - Luther Leon AA, (.324, 19HR, 94RBI, 35SB)
DH - Hub McNamara R, (.415, 33HR, 116RBI)

SP - Orlando Castilla AAA, (18-2, 3.22ERA, 1.17WHIP, 121K)
SP - Juan Ramirez Lo-A, (10-6, 2.85ERA, 1.24WHIP, 149K)
SP - Darwin Ashby AAA, (16-3, 2.93ERA, 1.26WHIP, 124K)
SP - JP Cruz Lo-A, (9-8, 3.28ERA, 1.29WHIP, 159K)
RP - Orlando Rivera AAA, (5-6, 21/24 Saves, 2.74ERA, 1.03WHIP, 43K)
RP - Tito Jung Lo-A, (8-0, 6/7 Saves, 2.81ERA, .95WHIP, 75K)
RP - Dee Yates R, (2-2, 3/3 Saves, .263AVG, 1.27WHIP)

Best Moustache: Wes Hogan
Best Prospect: Walt Brown
Offensive Player of the Year: Hub McNamara
Pitcher of the Year: Orlando Castilla

Till next time, aloha!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hi-A Season Recap

The same core group who played the longest season for Honolulu in S7 is the first to close out S8. With a 77-67 3rd place finish in the AL West, the Hi-A Hula Dolls hung up the cleats after finishing just 2 games out of the final Wild Card spot.

Despite the disappointing finish several key players emerged from the Hi-A ranks as legitimate prospects.

Offensively, the Hi-A club was led by C Ben Fontenot and his .353 average. Fontenot is expected to challenge for a big league roster spot in the future in large part because of the potential for a rocket arm behind the plate and big-leauge-ready splits.

OF/1B Trent Martin led the club in homers and RBI (35 and 142 respectively). The former 9th round pick from Oklahoma hadn't been more than a blip on the DHD prospect radar, but this season's performance certainly turned heads.

Power hitting prospects OF Julian Balboa (.320, 14, 37 in 57 games), who split time between Lo-A and Hi-A, and 3B/OF Julio Montanez (.316, 22, 85) put together solid seasons and will be expected to contribute regularly at the AA level in s9.

Pitching proved the downfall for this squad, however one bright spot was CL Archie Levis who converted 14 of 18 save opportunities and finished 3-1 with a 3.41 ERA.

Keep checking up on The Big Island for more updates and news on your Dashboard Hula Dolls.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Season 8 Draft Review

The Big Island knows we’re a little behind on blogging on important aspects of this season. However, this seems to be the perfect time to dissect the Hula Dolls Season 8 amateur draft.

Rnd 1 (15) – Eddie Henderson, CF, Cross Rds HS (TX)
- Henderson has great potential as your prototypical centerfielder – he puts the bat on the ball, good batting eye, great range/fielding and decent speed and baserunning. Injuries are a big worry and it would be nice to get a little pop from the bat of the 15th overall pick. Held out briefly before signing on and being assigned to LoA…where he’s just coming off an injury. Ugh.

Rnd 2 (60) – Hub McNamara, DH, Marist College
- A monster at the plate, McNamara was ranking 9th by the DHD scouts heading into the draft. Biggest concern heading into the draft was signability, and after a short holdout, Hub signed and is currently raking rookie league pitching. This will be seen as a big-time value pick in three seasons when Hub is crushing ML pitching.

Rnd 3 (92) – John Jones, CF, Nathan Hale-Ray HS (CT)
- Although Jones is a decent CF prospect, the Honolulu scouting department gets a big punch in the nuts on this one as Jones was drafted as a 2B on draft day…despite being left-handed! That prompted 1st round pick Henderson’s assignment to A-ball so both could get playing time. Jones has potential as an incredible defensive player who will hit well versus right-handers. He should make The Show with some team based on fielding ability alone.

Rnd 4 (124) – Paul Chen, 1B, Oklahoma St.
- If the scouts missed on Jones in the 3rd, they made up for it with Chen in the 4th. Paul brings a good current and potential bat to the mix and already is making the most of a quick promotion to A-ball. Definitely should find his way onto an ML roster and possibly a starting role someday.

Rnd 5 (156) – Sal Gibbs, RF, Valparaiso
- Another college hitter with a big bat, Gibbs has torn up rookie league pitching to date. If he meets his potential Gibbs could easily be a starting rightfielder in the league and mash for some big numbers. Another good value pick in the 5th despite being born in a fictional town.

Overall, Honolulu signed 19 of their total 25 draft picks, many of whom are playing well at the rookie level but the rest will be longshots to get past AA and AAA.

DHD management is split on the success of this season’s draft results. Some solid position prospects were nabbed but the organization whiffed on pitching in what turned out to be probably the deepest draft for it. Even landing one future ML pitcher would’ve made this one a success. Four future major leaguers and another borderline player (Jones) isn’t bad, but this organization’s depth is in the field and some pitching would’ve really addressed a need. Weighing the good and the bad, we have to give the Season 8 amateur draft a C.