A history of 1st picks - story by soulblazer

Here's some history on the players taken with the 1st pick of each season. For the sake of simplicty, I am using the franchises' current team names, not the old names when they were drafted.

Season 1 --
Stan Uribe, P
Drafted by Salem, currently with Toronto. Probaly due to the game being new, but it's surprising he was taken with the 1st pick. Uribe has been good, but not great over the years, and is still pitching at the ML level as a starting pitcher. He has a lifetime 119-95 record and a 4.42 ERA and has been traded four times while only been on the DL once. Decent pitcher, but too high for a 1st pick overall.
Parker McIntyre was the 17th overall pick of this draft.

Season 2 --
Alfonso Gabriel, P
Drafted by Boston as a risky pick, and he never signed. A waste of a first pick.

Season 3 --
Oscar Martin, P
Drafted by Toronto, currently with Toronto. A good pitcher, worthy of being taken with the 1st pick. Still with the team that drafted him ten years ago, he's a SP who has been named to the All Star Team twice and has a impressive 117-73 record and a lifetime 4.33 ERA. Oscar has been on the DL twice and was a good pick.

Season 4 -
Clay Malone, P
Drafted by Texas, currently with Pittsburgh. Another pitcher, he's been just as good as Oscar Martin, with a lifetime 57-48 and a career ERA of 4.74. Malone made one trip to the All Star game and a Gold Glove award in Season 12. Malone has a bad history of injuries, though, going on the DL 6 times and being traded twice before being a SP with Pittsburgh. Risky for a 1st pick.

Season 5 -
Cookie Floyd, P
Drafted by Texas, currently with Pawtucket. A bit of a stretch for a 1st pick, Cookie has been traded twice, and is currently a SP with Pawtucket. He's been on the DL twice and has a lifetime 59-64 record and 4.96 ERA. Not worth a 1st pick, a pattern which seems to be repeating.

Season 6 --
Patrick Knotts, C
Drafted by Cincinnati, currently with Salem. The first player taken who was not a pitcher, it's hard to argue with Patrick going 1st. He may not be a catcher, but he's a very good hitter, putting up 109 HR's and 354 RBI's with a lifetime .319 average. Making the All Star team last year, he has been traded twice and never injured. Despite his low pitch calling rating, he has been used as a catcher for most of his ML career. It seems he would do better if he was used just as a DH and had the chance to play every game. Knotts signing bonus ($10.4 million) is the highest in league history.

Season 7 --
Larry Dupler, SS
Drafted by Trenton, currently with Trenton. Another non pitcher taken in the 1st round, again he looks like a good pick at that spot. Still with the team that drafted him, Larry is making big money (9.5 mil a year) and has earned a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award playing RF, as well as two All Star trips. Only once has he gone on the DL and he has 172 HR's and 569 RBI's witn a lifetime avg of .283. He's going to be a good player for a long time to come.

Season 8 --
Lonny Pujols, SS
Drafted by Texas, currently with Texas. Another SS taken with the 1st pick, he's mostly played 2B and 3B in his time in the bigs. Not a full time starter until last year, in his limited time Lonny has 72 HR's, 228 RBI, and .260 average and has never been injured. A very good player, but perhaps too high to take with the 1st pick.

Season 9 --
Valerio Reyes, SS
Drafted by Boston, currently with Columbus. Yet another SS taken in the 1st pick, he again seems to be too high to spend that pick on. Valerio played all of last year as a starter at the SS position, then was traded to Columbus this year where he's played 2B and spent time on the DL, his first injury. In his young career he has 25 HR's, 126 RBI's, and a .281 average. Very similar to Lonny, in that he should be a very good player. It should be noted that pitcher Cozy Ponson was taken with the second pick.

Season 10 --
Octavio Guerrero, P
Drafted by Richmond, currently with Richmond. A pitcher is finally taken with the 1st pick again with Octavio, although it's debatable if he was worth it. Still in Triple A as he works his way up, he's a starter with a lifetime record of 26-29 and a ERA of 4.72 and has been injured once. Should be a decent SP in the 4th or 5th spot for a desperate team, but better as a LR. Very debatable spending a 1st pick on.

Season 11 --
Douglas Slaughter, P
Drafted by Colorado Springs, currently with Colorado Springs. Another SP, he again fits into that 'good, but not worth a 1st pick' group again. Currently in Double A, the young Douglas has a 12-9 record and 3.75 ERA with no injuries. Time will tell how he does in the bigs, but he should do better than the last pitcher taken in Season 10.

Season 12 --
King Ray, RF
Drafted by New Orleans, currently with New Orleans. The first player of his position taken in the 1st pick, King is already in Double A, although spending a few days as part of his first trip to the DL. He jumped from Rookie ball last year to Double A this year, he has 19 HR's and 78 RBI's with a .318 average. He has the abilities to be a wonderful player who can hit for power, but it's too soon to pass judgment on his worthiness as a 1st round pick.

Is this the season the Redlegs run away with the division?

Rookie 3B Howard Robinson knew he would be joining an incredible young team when he got the news that he had made the team out of spring training. After hitting .345 with 4 HR in spring training, the former 1st draft pick left no doubt that he belonged with the ML team. Now 30 games into the season, Robinson didn't realize that he would be the leader of a Redlegs Revenge offense that has carried the team into first place in the NL East and would lead all rookies with 11 HRs.

The road to first place has been a long but steady one for the Redlegs. Built around primarily homegrown talent, the Reds looked like the team to beat going into Season 12 until their youngsters struggled at the plate and on the mound. Now a season later, this team has shwon that they are for real. First baseman
Jeromy Millard was picked off waivers from Texas, and may have been the missing cog to turn things around for the young team with his leadership and veteran presence, not to mention his .336 average and .460 on base percentage. CF All-Star Ben Morris, on his 5th year with the Redlegs, is slugging at a slightly lower pace than the last two seasons, but has improved his batting average (.315) and ability to make contact. Patrick McCurry has made a succesful transition from 2B to LF on the field, and improving his career batting average by nearly 45 points.

Pitching has been a positive constant for the Reds, with a starting rotation that carries a combined 16-6 behind
Yogi Cooper (3-1, 2.62 ERA), Rick Ramirez ( 3-3, 3.53 ERA), Jeremy Blauser (3-0, 2.18 ERA), Jorge Morales (4-2, 4.72 ERA) and Jose Amaro (3-0, 4.05 ERA).

These young Redlegs may finally get their revenge, but this young team should be an exciting core for years to come.

Aging Bison at a crossroads...

Colorado Springs, CO - Revenge was sweet for Jason Whitehead. The 28yr old smacked a walk-off 2 Run homer in the bottom of the 9th to cap a come from behind victory for the Colorado Springs Raiders over the Iowa City Bison. Whitehead made his ML debut behind much fanfare for the Bison after the then 25 yr old was a Rule 5 selection 3 years ago... but the Bison gave up on him after reserve duty and limited playing time that only gave him 28 at bats before releasing him. It took 3 years for the chance that Whitehead needed to show up his former team.

But perhaps the biggest story behind the latest Bison loss is how last season's best record in the National League (104-58) has become one of the worse. The story starts with two future Hall of Famers but aging veterans:
Mike Burrell and Kenny Perez.

Despite showing that he could still play last season, the Bison allowed future Hall of Famer Perez (.305 AVG, 15 HR) to become a free agent when he supposedly demanded a $4 million per year, 4 year contract that would've had him in a Bison uniform up until age 40. The 38 yr old Burrell (.315, 16 HR last year) still had a year left in his contract, but after an offseason that had a toll on his reflexes, affecting his ability to make contact and play in the field, Burrell found himself in a Penguin uniform when the Bison placed him on irreversible waivers. Gone were two of the franchise's most significant players, two veterans signed as free agents and seen as the reason the Bison made several post-season appearances. GM Raul Padilla explained: "Kenny and Mike were the ultimate professionals and we hope they will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame some day. Although our young players could benefit from them, it wasn't fair to them to be backup players in Iowa City, or in Kenny's case, to expect him to take a much lower salary simply because we were overbudget".

Next, the Bison lost one of last year's most significant role players: rookie pitcher
Rube Murphy. Murphy logged 95 innings for the Bison bullpen, including 14 starts filling in for staff ace Cookie Ramirez. Following some disagreements with management after Murphy demanded to be a starting pitcher, the Bison waived him. GM Raul Padilla said: "Rube had a lot of upswing and it was hard to let him go, but it was best for him to find a team that could accommodate his professional interests and make him happy. He wanted to start, and... if somebody is not happy with the role we need him to play, it is best to sever ties...and we did. (Murphy was claimed by Boston, where he had a 10.38 ERA after making 4 appearances - all in relief - and being waived again).

But the story wouldn't be complete had the Bison replaced these three with comparable talent. In Rube Murphy's place, the Bison have inserted 35 yr old
Brett "The Homer" Clark. The veteran has been a starter for the bulk of his career, and has a propensity for giving up the long ball. The Bison believed Clark would do better in the large spaces of Principal Stadium, but so far, the Bison ranch has been too small to contain the 7 HRs in 7 innings that Clark has appeared. (At this pace, if he logs 95 innings like Murphy did, the league will have a new record for HRs allowed).

To replace Burrell and Perez, the Bison traded for veteran
Walt Daniels. Daniels has been in a season long slump (.215 AVG, .257 OBP, and .271 SLG). Jason Hall, who was acquired last year as a backup to Perez, has been a disappointment in full-time duty and has not yet found his rhythm. Rumors are being circulated that both may be traded if they don't hit their groove soon.

The Bison suffered a significant loss in the third game of the season when starting pitcher
Rick Cobb, who was 17-7 with a 3.53 ERA last season, sprained his shoulder and landed on the DL. Rule 5 pickup Geronimo Martinez has pitched in well in Cobb's spot, and may bump struggling Pedro Saenz from the rotation when Cobb returns, and Brett Clark is likely to be released.

Today, the Bison acquired 1B Britt George from Memphis. The 30 yr old was known as a contact and high average hitter, but has struggled recently and was demoted to AAA earlier this season by Memphis. The Bison are hoping to give him a chance to jump-start their offense.

In the meantime, many realize that the Bison are at a crossroads. While many of their players have struggled after the departure of two of their former stars, critics also realize that the team has underperformed as a whole and that they are likely to improve. Management is considering trading for the future, but in a young season, it may be too soon to pull the trigger and throw in the towel. GM Padilla said" We are at a crossroads. We realize that our team is in a slump, but it is still early and we have the talent to succeed. Tomorrow we may start a winning streak and we won't look back, but we are always looking for ways to improve and have a competitive franchise for years to come."

League Historical Stats (by pita323)

Looking back at the records through the league's 12 year history...

This list is based on the first 12 seasons, but first list is the number of division titles by City:

Trenton has had 3 different owners take the city to a division title.
City Division Titles
Charlotte 8
Colorado 8
Louisville 8
Omaha 7
Trenton 7
Milwaukee 6
El Paso 5
Buffalo 4
Chicago (Sox) 4
Scranton 4
Iowa City 3
Las Vegas 3
Memphis 3
New Britain 3
Portland 3
St. Louis 3
Cleveland 2
Kansas City 2
New York (Yank) 2
Norfolk 2
Atlanta 1
Columbus 1
Helena 1
Oakland 1
Ottawa 1
Philadelphia 1
Rochester 1
Salem 1
Washington 1

NEXT, we look at the number of seasons per city:
City, Total Seasons
Buffalo 12
Colorado 12
Columbus 12
Las Vegas 12
Louisville 12
Memphis 12
Norfolk 12
Oakland 12
Texas 12
Charlotte 10
Cincinnati 10
El Paso 10
Omaha 10
Portland 10
Seattle 10
Trenton 10
Boston 9
Chicago (Sox) 9
Helena 9
Iowa City 9
Milwaukee 9
St. Louis 9

Now - Win Percentage by City:
City, Win %
Charlotte 66.7%
Memphis 62.3%
Milwaukee 61.0%
Colorado 59.4%
Chicago (Sox) 58.0%
Las Vegas 57.9%
New Britain 57.3%
Buffalo 56.6%
Sante Fe 56.5%
Louisville 56.0%
Omaha 55.1%
San Antonio 55.0%
Iowa City 54.7%
Trenton 54.3%
New York (Yank) 53.2%
Los Angeles 52.9%
Rochester 52.5%
Cheyenne 52.1%
Toronto 51.9%
Dover 51.5%
El Paso 51.3%
Norfolk 51.2%
Portland 50.7%
Albuquerque 50.6%

And finally, Percent of division titles compared to total seasons:
City, Division Titles, Division Title % to Seasons
Ottawa 1, 100.0%
Charlotte 8, 80.0%
Omaha 7, 70.0%
Trenton 7, 70.0%
Colorado 8, 66.7%
Louisville 8, 66.7%
Milwaukee 6, 66.7%
El Paso 5, 50.0%
Scranton 4, 50.0%
New Britain 3, 50.0%
Kansas City 2, 50.0%
Rochester 1, 50.0%
Salem 1, 50.0%
Chicago (Sox) 4, 44.4%
Buffalo 4, 33.3%
Iowa City 3, 33.3%
St. Louis 3, 33.3%
Portland 3, 30.0%
Memphis 3, 25.0%
Las Vegas 3, 25.0%
New York (Yank) 2, 25.0%
Cleveland 2, 25.0%
Atlanta 1, 25.0%
Philadelphia 1, 20.0%
Norfolk 2, 16.7%
Washington 1, 16.7%
Helena 1, 11.1%
Columbus 1, 8.3%
Oakland 1, 8.3%