Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Face: Looking Up

A year ago in this space, I painted a very bleak picture of the prospects for the Inyo Face. The season bore me out, as we finished with 95 losses and an entry in the draft lottery. But a number of developments have brightened the picture considerably:

- Last year I handed out a number of inexpensive two- and three-year contracts to free agents to provide respectable roster fill. These players have almost all held their value, providing me a base from which to build. The only major exception is Tom Glavine, who went from ace of the staff to most likely to have his contract on the cafeteria menu.

- Pitchers blossomed all over the place. Chris Volstad came up from the AM ranks to take the quality part-time rotation role held by Ubaldo Jimenez last year. Jimenez, meanwhile, graduated to staff ace. Nick Blackburn takes a full-time rotation slot right behind Jimenez. Seemingly failed prospects Seth McClung and J.P. Howell had their best MLB seasons ever. Chan Ho Park, who provided nothing at all in the second year of a three-year contract, is back as a solid swingman in his walk year.

- Dioner Navarro's breakout happened on schedule, allowing me to trade Mike Napoli (who has a fine card himself, albeit with limited usage). Milton Bradley, an RFA re-signed for a bargain price, put up one of the best cards ever seen. He was included in the Napoli trade (more accurately, Napoli was included in the Bradley trade) to net two very promising youngsters.

- Jorge Cantu came back from a wasted year to take over as the full-time third baseman. He's also the team's best power hitter, which points up our main weakness.

Contention might be out of reach with Plainsfield in our division, but the Face should be able to manage a .500 record and avoid another draft lottery.


On a different subject, you've got to take a look at the Dayton Dragons. The talent they have on Y contracts is absolutely jaw-dropping. This was foreshadowed in the financial review and the minor league review, but it's still amazing to see it take shape.

Despite ranking the Dragons #1 in my minor league review, I didn't really do them justice, because I somehow overlooked Jay Bruce. I wrote that the talent behind Evan Longoria was such that they'd rate in the upper half of the rankings even without him. What I should have said was that they'd be #1 even without Longoria, assuming Longoria didn't go to anyone else.

In my other Strat league, which only uses carded players, Longoria and Bruce went 1-2 in the rookie draft this year, and the consensus was that there was a big gap between #2 and #3. Here in BRASS, the same team has them both, along with other cheap stars and the most financial muscle in the league. I've always felt sorry for myself for being in Plainsfield's division, but I'd sure rather have to deal with them than with Dayton over the next five years.

2 Swings of the bat:

dwdick said...

I agree with Dayton being a powerhouse, but I disagree with your statement about the gap unless your league doesn't allow computer cards either. I'm in a league that has no minor leaguers but does allow computer cards (to draft, not to use) and I am very happy getting David Price with the 3rd overall pick.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't allow computer cards. Price will be in next year's draft, and will go #2 behind Matt Wieters.