Various notes and items from Season 11 (by soulblazer)

Various notes and items from several matters around the league:

The biggest international free agent signing so far this year was setup/closer pitcher R.J. Nunez by the Baltimore Blast. The 18 year old out of the Dominican Republic is projected to have one of the best fastballs in the game and a very good slider. He was signed for a $12 mil bonus and has been playing in Low A. In a few years when he is ready for the bigs he should anchor the bullpen of the young and rebuilding Blast for years to come.

There have been a flurry of trades this season so far, only about a month in, with more being projected. Teams are unloading older and expensive vets to teams with good farm systems, trying to get younger. Other teams are seeking pitching help and looking for older players who can still help a playoff hope. A major trade between Detroit and Seattle is in the works now, according to reports, and we may see more in the weeks to come.

Records of the teams so far this year have been surprising. 32 games in, in three out fo four of the AL divisions there are two very good teams fighting for the best record. Milwaukee and New Britain are leading the AL North with a 22-9 and 20-11 record respectfully. Trenton leads the AL East with a 24-8 record, the best in the MLB, and Chicago is right behind them with a 23-8 record. Memphis leads the AL South with a 21-10 record and Charlotte is two games back. The surprise has been the AL West, where Oakland currently leads with a disapointing 15-16 record and Kansas City two games behind them.

Things are even worse in the NL. Three out four divions here have teams with winning records leading here, like in the AL, but the numbers are not as good. Portland leads the NL North with a 17-14 record, St. Louis right behind them by one game, and the other two teams just one game behind that. Iowa is the best team in the NL East with a 20-12 record and Buffalo two games behind. In the NL South there is no team with a winning record, as Louisville and El Paso are tied with a 14-17 record. The best team in the NL is in the NL West, where Las Vegas leads with a 20-11 record.

Experts are surprised at how 'average' and muddled the teams seem to be this year in most of the divisions and are not sure the reasons for it. Hopefully things will improve as the season is hardly a month old, however, bets are allready being made that there will be no 100 win teams this year.

Parker McIntyre hits HR #500 (by soulblazer)

BUFFALO, NY -- Buffalo Blizzard 1B Parker McIntyre has become the 4th player in Baseball to reach the milestone of hitting 500 HR's during a career today, as he hit numbers 500 and 501 in a game aganist the Columbus Flatlanders. He is the second player this season to reach that milestone, the first being Kareem Nunally of New Britain. Drafted in the first round of the first season by Buffalo, he made his major league debut in Season 3 and has played a major role in the Blizzard;s history ever since. An all-around dangerous hitter, McIntyre also has 1324 RBI's and a average of .322 during his ML career, but most notably, he has never been on the DL. He is under contract for four more years making $7.2 mil this year and $8.0 mil for each of the next four.

Number 500 for Parker came during the third inning of a scoreless game, hitting a 2 run homer off of Columbus starter Yannick Brooks to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead. That lead soon dissipated, and it McIntire struck again in the 8th inning of a game that his team now trailed 10-3. Parker led off the inning with a solo blast for number 501 of his career. Despite Buffalo losing that game 10-4, it was an important day for the 28 year old hitter from Wichita, Kansas. At only 28, Parker is likely to hit many more during his careeer, and may become the all-time HR leader before he retires. Parker has been a 6-time All-Star, a 6 time silver slugger 1B and a 4 time Most Valuable Player. He also earned his first gold glove award during his Season 10 MVP season.

Major trades Season 11 (by soulblazer)

The baseball season is hardly a month old and several major trades have been completed between teams looking to improve after rough starts or experienced older teams with talent to unload:

The Salem Volcanoes were looking to get cheaper and younger as they traded stud pitcher Walt Falk to the Milwaukee Beer Swillers in return for a young player and two prospects. The 33 year old Falk is the second year of a three year contract making $7.3 mil this year and $6.3 mil next year with a $1.0 mil bonus. During his 10 year career with the team he has won 2 Cy Young awards and been named to the All Star Team 6 times with a 145-82 record. He also has a liftime ERA of 3.69 and a WHIP of 1.21 and has never been on the DL. The right hander is expected to remain a great pitcher for the rest of his contract.

The St. Louis Kamikazes traded young prosects Willy Bergeron and Sammy Figureoa to the Colorado Crush in return for six young players. The trade was reported to be made so that St. Louis could get three good players in return for a great one. Bergeron is a 23 year old 2B and outfielder who was a 1st round draft pick last year who should be a great contact and speed hitter. In the less then a year time that Bergeron has been playing in High A and Double AA he has 11 HR's and 72 RBI's with 36 Steals and a average of .325. Figureoa is a 19 year old outfielder who was a international free agent signing last year for $4.1 mil who should be a great defender and good contact hitter. In about the same playing time as Bergeron, Figureoa has been playing in Low A, High A, and Double A and has 10 HR's and 88 RBI's and a average of .296.

In another move to get younger and cheaper, Salem traded pitcher Ahmad Griffey to the Kansas City Coconuts for three young players. The left handed Griffey is 34 years old and is in the third year of a four year contract making $8.8 mil a year with a $8.0 mil bonus. During his 10 year career with the team he has won a Cy Young and been named to the All Star Team twice with a 134-115 record, a lifetime ERA of 4.28 and a WHIP of 1.34 and has never been on the DL. Although not quite as great as Walk Falk, he is also expected to remain good for the rest of his contract.

Yet another Salem pitcher was traded, this time Stan Uribe to the Detroit Shuffle for three young players. Uribe is 32 years old and throws right handed. He is in the third year of a four year contract making $6.8 mil a year. The first pick of the first round in the first season, he first played in the bigs in Season 4 and has racked up a 99-75 record with a liftime ERA of 4.45 and a WHIP of 1.34. He has only been on the DL once, a short stint when he was in the minor leagues. Uribe has won no awards in the bigs but is another solid pitcher.

The Texas Steers traded young promising closer Dolf Spencer to the Colorado Crush for three ML players, again a case of getting three good players for one (hopefully, in this case) great one. Spencer is 19 years old and was the second pick of the first rounf last season. He throws left handed and scouts rave about his nasty slider and just as deadly cut fastball, and has the stanima to be a setup pitcher as well. In 30 games in the Rookie and Low A levels, Spencer has a 1-2 record with 4 out of 5 saves, a lifetime ERA of 4.99 and a WHIP of 1.56.

In perhaps the biggest and most surprising trade so far in this young season, star pitcher Sean Donovan was traded from the Louisville Wild Turkeys to the Portland Rain in return for Victor Rodriguez. Considered by many one of the best pitchers in baseball, Donovan is a left handed pitcher and 35 years old. During his award winning 10 year career, he has a 166-65 record with a lifetime ERA of 3.16 and a WHIP of 1.18. Donovan has won 4 Cy Young's and been named to the All Star Team 7 times, and has only been on the DL once, a short stint. He's on his final year of a two year contract making $7.8 mil. Rodriguez is a 25 year old Shortstop and considered to be one of the best young players in the game. He's both a great contact and power hitter and plays good defense. An international free agent signing in Season 5 by Helena, he was traded to Portland the following year and made his major league debut later that season. During Rodriguez's four complete and two partial years in the majors, he has 132 HR's, 382 RBI's, 46 steals and a average of .272 and is in the second year of a five year contract making $6.6 mil this year and a bonus of $3.0 mil. Reports indicate that Louisville was willing to tarde Donovan as he was getting past the prime of his career in return for a young and blossoming stud player.

The Seattle Lightning and Columbus Flatlanders worked out a major trade with three players from both teams moving, the major guys being closer Joe Gibbons from Seattle for hitter Rick Boswell. Gibbons is a right hand throwing 33 year old pitcher who was traded from Colorado to Seattle in Season 5 and took over the primary closing duties in Seattle the following year. He ws a great closer for three years before being delegated to backup in Season 10 and made expandable this year with young closers ready to take over in Seattle. Saettle was shopping him around for a while before finally coming to terms with the Flatlanders. During his career, Gibbons has a 17-20 record with 146 out of 168 saves, a lifetime ERA of 3.97 and a WHIP of 1.34 and has been on the All-Star Team twice. He uses a Sinker and a Slider and has never been on the DL, and is on the last year of a two year contract making $3.4 mil. Boswell is a 27 year old 2B and outfielder in the prime of his career, on a min salery. Drafted by Columbus in Season 6, he made his MLB debut in Season 9 and is a great power hitter with good defense. In about two years total of being in the bigs, Boswell has 46 HR's, 156 RBI's, 6 steels and a average of .266.

San Antonio Stallion Limps Out of the Gate (by canadadry)

San Antonio, TX - After a terrific spring training hopes were high that San Antonio Stallion, Kurt Damon (CF), was set to have an equally terrific regular season. But right from the opening pitch Kurt displayed why so many close to the team had expressed pre-season concerns about his play. Managing to get only 2 hits in his first 23 at bats with only 1 home run and 1 RBI, he lost his starting position and in the next 8 games was given 7 more opportunities at the plate; collecting nothing but 3 more strike outs to add to his dismal totals. At that point he was batting .066 (2 for 30) with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 walk while striking out 6 times.Coach C. Dry had had enough. He sent Kurt down to AAA and San Antonio’s management went out and got Billy Hunter off the waiver wire to replace him in the Stallion’s outfield. However, in his first 4 games at AAA, Kurt Damon has been on fire! He has 10 hits in only 20 ABs. 6 of those hits have been home runs, including at least one homer in each of the 4 games! He has batted in 9 runs, walked twice and even has a stolen base. If he continues to hit like this, Dry is going to be hard pressed to keep him down in the minors.

Cookie Ramirez No-HIts St. Louis Kamikaze

St. Louis, MO  - Cookie Ramirez threw his first  career nohitter in a 3-0 win over the Kamikazes. Ramirez (3-0) allowed 4 runners on base, issuing  two walks and hitting two batters.  In the 4th inning, Saint Louis started the inning  with two runners on base  and no  outs, but Ramirez pitched himself out of the jam. Ramirez' performance silenced critics who have noted that  Ramirez' strikeout ratio has dropped significantly through his first four starts of the season, when compared to previous seasons. Coming of off a rocky  start in Colorado, where Ramirez allowed 6ER  and 12 hits in 7 innings, the ace of the Bison pitching staff threw a complete game in 104 pitches.