Thursday, January 15, 2015

Crusaders Report

The Traverse City Crusaders have three 1st Round Picks in this upcoming 2015 MWBL Draft (February 21st) for the Mid-West Baseball League -- including the most important pick of them all, the 1st Overall Pick.

I can honestly say at this moment, I have no clue who I am drafting for the top overall pick, I have a few ideas -- I do know that I will get a really good choice out of it, that's for sure. A lot has happened since I joined the league last January, and there has been many trades that have now shaped up the current roster. We are definitely still a few years away, and we do know it's not going to happen over night.

Do I question at times if I should have traded Miguel Cabrera or not? Sure...

I think everyone from time to time thinks about that one trade, the key is not to dwell on it, and have fun with the new path ahead of you. I think it was Billy Beane, who said you never think about the past once you move forward -- he made this remark after making the trade with the Cubs to acquire Jeff Samardzija and Dan Straily, a trade that watched Addison Russell go to Chicago. Beane always has to make moves to keep his team moving in one direction, I believe to get somewhere in a league, you have to be aggressive. Aggressive is definitely better than too cautious -- something I may have been guilty of in this past off-season in the Mid-West Winter League (too cautious), while I watched other teams in my division make good aggressive moves.

I needed to put some sort of spark in a ballclub that I felt had a couple strong trees in a relatively dead/burnt down forest. Those trees were Miguel Cabrera, Matt Holliday & Brian McCann. I had a few other guys, but nothing that I could really call prospects or future stars, the one guy that stood out that I could consider part of my future was catcher Yan Gomes. My only starting pitcher with a future was Tyler Skaggs.

My first real deal would involve Miguel Cabrera. I traded him with Tim Hudson, he really wanted Hudson, I really wanted Travis Wood involved, so it happened. I had a older rotation in Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, and Yovani Gallardo with David Phelps and Stephen Fife. I think I threw in a late 12th pick that ended up being Matt Shoemaker as well.

Overall, I would say yes, I am losing in this trade so far -- I got Travis Wood, Todd Frazier & Luke Gregerson with Jeanmar Gomez, Matt Davidson, Cesar Ramos, Heath Bell and a draft pick that would be Burch Smith for me. I consider Wood, Frazier & Gregerson as the bulk of this deal; I still like Wood, but he had a lousy 2014 for the Cubs, Gregerson is one of the most consistent relievers in the last few years, while Frazier is an All-Star third baseman.

The other guys are nothing special, I expected more out of Davidson, I figured he had a great shot with White Sox' MLB roster, instead he played a horrible season in the minors after being acquired from Arizona. At one point, I was offered Cody Asche, no.. I wanted Davidson -- Asche would eventually be traded from Hollywood to Sacramento, and Asche looks like he's going to stick around in Philly for awhile. Davidson & Burch Smith never made it back up to the Majors in 2014. I always looked at Heath Bell as a throw-in to the deal, so it was not upsetting to see him blunder in Tampa Bay. Ramos is one of those slash pitchers, can start, work out of the pen 1.300+ WHIP, once again nothing special. Gomez was part of the deal, because I thought maybe his 2013 season might be an indication for things to come, a young vet finding his way with his 1.153 WHIP -- Nope, just a fluke, should have weighed more on his 1.500 WHIP's in other years, in which his 2014 dished out a 1.500 WHIP.

By the way, the Cabrera trade helped the Hollywood Werewolves win the Mid-West Baseball League's World Championship over the Tempe Tempers.

In another deal, I traded Matt Holliday to the Coconut Creek Crushers, I believe at one point they were one of the teams that tried to work a deal for Cabrera, I wanted Josh Donaldson in a possible swap, it wasn't meant to be (I do have Donaldson in the BoS League for my Panthers though). Holliday was traded with Jemille Weeks, while the Crusaders acquired Brian Dozier (fielding 9) at second base, has pop with 20+ HR's at his position -- plus I really needed a second baseman badly; the Crusaders in that deal acquired Craig Gentry & a draft choice that turned out to be relief prospect Jake Barrett of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I had better luck in other acquisitions, I picked up Kevin Kiermaier off the waiver wire just before the 2014 MWBL Season, to watch Kiermaier take advantage of his big break in Tampa Bay mid-season -- a pleasant surprise to say the least.

Early in the season, I had the Tijuana Bottle-Rockets and Detroit Crime contact me about veterans Eric Chavez and Carlos Pena, the players were no good for me (since I was not in contention, of course) -- Chavez's .810 OPS could help Tijuana's pursuit for playoff success. I acquired two 930 PR first basemen in Casey Kotchman & Brandon Laird, with a 6th Rd Draft Pick & 7th Rd Draft Pick for this upcoming 2015 MWBL Draft.

The Panthers then were asked about their closer Joaquin Benoit -- which resulted in a trade of Benoit with infielder Tony Abreu to Detroit in exchange for starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, reliever Michael Kohn & Detroit's 10th Rd Draft Pick.

The deals kept coming, Traverse City would trade catcher Brian McCann to the Elyria Indians, with SS-Adalberto (Raul) Mondesi (who had until the end of last season to make it up to the majors) & a 6th Rd Draft Pick -- in exchange for Elyria's 1st Round Draft Pick (at this point, I now have two 1st Round choices), 3B-Ryan McMahon '14 (a uncarded who was drafted in recent 2014 MWBL Draft), with SS-Munenori Kawasaki (a throw-in for position coverage). Mondesi never made it up, becoming a free agent, in which I landed a prospect in McMahon, who I am thrilled to have.

I would trade often-injured Angel Pagan to New York in a steal of a deal, that landed me OF/1B-Steve Pearce & New York's 5th Rd Draft Pick.

I would land my 3rd 1st Round Draft Pick in a trade with Clovis -- I traded SP-Mark Buehrle (who had a hot start for the Jays in 2014) with Marlon Byrd & T.C.'s 12th Rd Draft Pick. In the trade, I also acquired OF-Brett Gardner & RP-Jeremy Jeffress. Jeffress had a great second-half in 2014.

I only had two uncarded Draft Picks make their MLB debuts for me, in Danny Santana (MIN) & Robbie Ray (DET, now with D-Backs). I have four uncarded spots to fill, wished I had more open, but that's not the case.

After the season ended, and won the lottery for the #1 overall pick! I only made one deal after the season, when Chicago Mobsters traded for OF/1B-Steve Pearce. I would acquire 1B-Yonder Alonso, who is about 5 years younger, a lefty reliever in Sam Freeman, and a Draft Pick, while trading two picks away in the deal. Pearce was a plus for me on a deal that sent Pagan away, so the way I look at it, I got Alonso & Freeman, plus two picks.

My Draft Selection order for the upcoming 2015 MWBL Draft

1st Round - #1 Overall
1st Round - #21
1st Round - #23
2nd Round - #30
3rd Round - #58
4th Round - #86
5th Round - no picks
6th Round - #143
6th Round - #166
7th Round - #170
7th Round - #184
8th Round - #198
9th Round - #226
10th Round - #254
10th Round - #268
11th Round - #282
12th Round - no picks

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