Friday, February 11, 2011

S19 Wobegon’s Preview

Minnesota Wobegon's

S18 record: 91-71
Finish: First place, AL North
2010 final payroll: $39 million
Estimated 2011 opening day payroll: $48 million

Offseason action:

CL Wade Hammonds resigned a 2 year 11.2M deal to return to the Wobegon pen. Also back is DH/1B Bo Glanville who signed a monster 5 year 52.5M deal. Ganville has hit at least 45 homerun the past 4 seasons. He struggled for average in Season 18, but Minnesota is counting on a rebound for him. Gone are veteran DH Donnie DuBose who at 37 looks worn, workhorse pitchers Carson Forest and Benji Alarcon who never seem to figure out how to pitch in the big leagues and 3B Malachi Smoltz who struck out and hit homeruns at about the same rate. 30 year old Rp Dale Glanville will get his 3rd chance to show he can pitch in the Ml after 2 short stints in the past. He isn't a barnburner, but he might be able to find a home in Minnesota's generous pen.

Reality check
Rookie Lf Tsubasa Kojima earned not only all-star honors, but was the Al's top rookie in S18. He knocked in 47HR and 145 RBI on his way to that honor. The sad thing is he might not even be the best guy on the Wobegon's. His offense is good all the way down, no longer are there fill in mercenaries and past their prime stars up and down the lineup, and instead there is a breed of young farm talented kids rocking the starting lineup. Joining Kojima are rookies, 1B Herm Young and, 3B Achilles Heffner. Young showed glimmers of a guy who could be a 30/30 threat from first base, a rarity indeed. Young though has had trouble on the base path which might limit his green light opportunities. Heffner played mainly as a backup in Season 18 and should get a full-time opportunity. 2B Murray Woolf and DH Bo Glanville might be the best pure hitters on the team. Woolf could be a force for seasons to come and be a Tony Gwynn type hitter in his career. Glanville will continue being the power on this team. CF Hector Pascual's bat gets hidden in this great offense and his defense in center will steal a number of runs throughout the season. He is a true asset to the team for those tools. SS could be the tough sell with starter Paul Murata nothing more than an average hitter and fielder. He will be holding down the key position until another option is found in free agency or trade. They have LF Vince Maxwell and RF Billy Shea on the farm; both are blocked by very talented guys in their positions in Minnesota and could be used in trade for other positions of need.

Antonio Lankford
Age: 26B/T: R/R
Born: Waupun, WI
Position(s): P (T1A)
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The rotation is the next coming of the 4 horseman. Antonio Lankford was 19-5 last season with a 3.22 ERA in only his 2nd season. He still gets better. Add in 22 year old Steven Adcock who came up to early and struggled in season 17, but turned things around in season 18. Adcock could be the x- factor a 22 year old with his skills will be a rare pitcher to have and could be a game changer this season as he build on season 18. Jacob Shinto showed improvement in season 18, but still has a lot of room to grow in season 19. His 16-8 record and .262 OBA are indicators of a guy capable of controlling the game and playing the deep innings. Season 17 draft pick and #8 overall Sterling Daniels will attempt to make the jump from HiA to the Big leagues in season 19. He has a bag of tricks, but still is a whole from his potential. Critics do agree he can pitch at this level and should be a top candidate to watch in the Rookie of the year race. Experts do point out that he might go the Stephen Strasberg path and blow out his arm with his potential for injury. The final spot could go a number of different ways incumbent Jorel Mathews is better suited for long relief or spot duty and farm hands Damaso Martinez (LoA) and Neifi Terry (LoA) both are deep on the farm, but the Wobegon are known to not hesitate to bring prospects up when they need to. Both are very skilled and could be ML ready this season.

The pen is set at closer with long-time closer Wade Hammond resigning. His setup guys are varied and limited in stamina, but are led by a successful group of David Carrasco, Jim Gagnon and Hugh Romanski and 3 pitch count specialist Luis Perez. The best option might be sitting in AAA, Joel Daly. The long relief might be their weakness with Jorel Mathews probably the best candidate, but he might spend more time in the rotation if a solution for the 5th spot is not determined. A better long relief option is Alex Balboa sitting at AA. He is going to be a dominant athlete in 3 seasons or so, but he can play with the big boys now.

Summing it up with a Quote:
"I'm like the artist with globs of clay; I'll mold these young boys into pitching machines" Pitching coach Christopher Engle

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