UBA Today! Aaron Conference Draft Analysis

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UBA Today! Aaron Conference Draft Analysis

Post by BeaversGM » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:58 am

Draft Analysis – Aaron Conference – Rounds 1-10

This week, we turn our attention to the Aaron Conference of the United Baseball Association, which some in the press have already tagged the “JC” or Junior Conference, because of the younger age of draftees and the fewer number of teams that clearly look set to make serious playoff runs in 1995. Once again, we begin our review with the East, followed by the Central and then the West.

Aaron East

Randy Johnson is to Aaron what Maddux is to Ruth, and Philadelphia will ride his heat all the way to an eastern division title in 1995. The Phantom’s closest competition in 1995 will be from the red, white, and blue in Boston, but unless the Patriots make a move to pick up veterans with immediate impact soon, Philadelphia is as close to a division lock as we have seen in this league. Meanwhile, the eastern birds - the Flamingos and the Hawks - are building for the future, with interesting arrays of strong pitching talent.

Philadelphia Phantoms: Grade = A-. The picks of Randy Johnson, Dave Madagan, and Tony Gwynn make one thing clear above all else: Philadelphia wants to win right now. While a few forward-looking fans (obviously not from Philadelphia proper) have expressed concern about the age of the Phantom’s star players, no-one is questioning this collection of current talent, which should be enough to handily win the inaugural division crown. The editor-in-chief of this publication has publicly praised the late round signing of Stan Javier, a switch-hitting defensive specialist who should also provides spark on the bases and decent OBP, perhaps a good fit to bat in front of Gwynn at the top of the line-up. Finally, we’ve reserved a final piece of praise for LF Troy O’Leary, who is a well-known leader both on and off the field, and a class-act gentleman by all reports.

SP R. Johnson – A-
3B D. Madagan – A-
RF Tony Gwynn – B+
LF O’Leary – B
SP Stottlemyre – A-
C BJ Surhoff – B-
SP Ritz – A
2B “Dandy Little Glove Man” Morandini – A-
SS Vizcaino – B-
CF Stan Javier – A+

Boston Patriots: Grade = B+. The Patriots might not be able to keep up with Randy’s Phantoms in 1995, but the future of the team is bright having spent their first two picks on a 19- and a 21-year old, and we expect Boston to eventually eclipse the aging Phantoms in the competition for the east. Baby-faced Ismael Valdez should step-up as the ace of the staff very soon, while prime-aged Hanson and Leiter provide immediate value and stability, forming the core of an above average rotation. We predict that the Pats will hit more homeruns than any of their league rivals in 1995, but will struggle to get on base enough to take advantage of those runs, especially when facing the pitching talent that can be found across this division. Ultimately, Boston will rise (or not) on the emerging (or not) ability of its young shortstop Alex Rodriguez, who will presumably spend 1995 in the minors learning to play second or third base (what with Valentin ensconced at short).

SS Alex Rodriguez – B+
SP Valdez – A
SS John Valentin – A-
SP Hanson – A-
1B Vaughn – B-
LF Conine – C+
CF Hosey – A
3B Hanson – B-
SP Leiter – B+
CL Orosco – D

Florida Flamingos: Grade = C+. Clemens is the ace today, and Pedro is the ace tomorrow, and if they both start pitching to their talent levels at the same time, opposing hitters better take a step back. Contreras would make a very good third starter, but looks a bit unpolished for a 23-year old and will probably need a couple more years of development in the minors. Arrojo, on the other hand, might be too old of a prospect at 26 to ever crack the big league, although by all reports he’s a good leader in the clubhouse. The 'pink birds' also picked up RF Derek Bell, who will far and away be the most valuable hitter on the club, along with a rookie with some limited upside in LF Garret Anderson, and a good value late round pick-up in 2B Carlos Garcia. Surprising some analysts, Florida picked two relief-pitching prospects back-to-back in the 8th and 9th rounds, reinforcing the perception that the team is building for the future.

SP P. Martinez – A-
SP R. Clemens – B-
RF D. Bell – B
LF G. Anderson – B-
SP J. Contreras – B+
SP Arrojo – D
C Eusebio – B-
RP Foulke – C-
RP Zimmerman – C-
2B C. Garcia – A-

Holbrook Hawks: Grade = C-. Knoblauch, Schilling, and the bullpen are the stars of this Boston baseball-suburb. Schilling and Pavlik make for a good 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation, but some analysts are concerned that Schilling may never reach his true potential. The Hawks may intend to strongly limit the innings of most of their future rotation, instead relying on an excellent core relief squad of Fassero (whom some early draft reports had erroneously called a starter), Wagner, and the presumptive closer Jeff Nelson. With many early picks committed to pitching, Holbrook hasn’t yet put together a squad of position players around Knoblauch good enough to compete in 1995, although Ausmus and Sanders should provide decent long-term value if the club builds for the future. On the other hand, veteran talent in corner outfield spots and at third base does remain on the draft board if Holbrook decides it will push for contention this year.

2B Knoblauch – B-
SP Schilling – A-
CL J. Nelson – C
SP Pavlik – B+
RP Wagner – C-
C Ausmus – C
RP Fassero – D-
1B Mattingly – D+
SS T. Fernandez – C-
CF D. Sanders – B-
Chad S.
Portland Beavers (1994+), UBA

San Francisco Peanuts (1970+), TBC
Seattle Mariners (2017+), RDBL

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Aaron Conference Draft Analysis (Central)

Post by BeaversGM » Sun Jul 19, 2015 2:54 am

Aaron Central

All eyes are on the Aaron Central, where in a move that brings up fond memories of Bud Selig and his Brewers, the United Baseball Association's commissioner has been hired on as the General Manager of the New Orleans Voodoo (dark magic, indeed). While conspiracy theorists may chuckle, UBA Today! is picking the Voodoo as the Central division favorites. Their path to victory, however, is far from secure, as all three challengers have built teams that project to play around .500 ball, and could rise to contention if the pieces fall in their favor.

New Orleans Voodoo: Grade = B+ The Voodoo made three high impact picks in the initial rounds, grabbing one of the best young pitchers in the league in Smoltz and an excellent #2 with Schourek. And while he may be almost 32 years old, Caminiti could easily lead the Aaron conference in WAR in 1995, and is a solid bet for a gold glove at the hot corner. Overall, New Orleans struck an even balance between picking for present and future value, and is poised to be good, but not yet great, both today and tomorrow. Karros is a good all-around hitter, and Floyd will be soon, but some fans are fantasizing about whom the Voodoo could have picked for more valuable positions up the middle in these rounds, especially with an eye toward building a club that maximizes run prevention. While Devereaux (and later Strawberry) offer very good veteran value in the later rounds, and Young is a nice leadoff guy and league average player at the keystone, Grudzielanek looks quite lost at the plate, and may need to take reps in the minors before the season is done, leaving a gaping hole between second and third.

SP Smoltz – A
SP Schourek – A-
3B Caminiti – A+
1B Karros – B
LF Floyd – B
SP McDowell – B
2b E. Young Sr – B+
CF Devereaux – A-
SS Grudzielanek – C-
C D. Wilson – C+

Houston 36ers: Grade = B. The 36ers picked up three iconic infielders in the first three rounds, who will make an immediate impact on the club, before switching to youthful prospects in Damon and Beech, the 2nd of which seems like a big risk for the fifth round. Kile and Guzman are good value for the rotation, but are not talented enough to carry the team, which puts more pressure on Beech to develop quickly. Jefferies as a corner outfielder in the 10th round is an absolute steal; he should hit better than Alou without Alou’s frequent defensive blunders. Lead by Grace, Houston may well score the most runs in the division, but the lack of pitching depth will prevent them from challenging New Orleans for the next couple of years.

1B M. Grace – A-
2B Biggio – A
C I. Rodriguez – A+
CF Damon – B
SP Beech – C-
SP Kile – B-
3B Livingstone – B
RF Alou – C-
SP Guzman – B+
LF Jefferies – A+

Gobbler’s Knob Turkeys: Grade = B The Turkey’s went with baseball’s iconic center fielder with the 4th pick, but with several scouts casting doubt on Griffey’s continued ability to hit for average, there is a small risk this pick may turn into an overdraft. The Turkeys stayed young, avoiding all 30+ year olds until well beyond the first ten rounds. As a result, unless/until Griffey develops further, there are no current superstars on this club, and success on the field in the near term will depend on breadth rather than depth of talent. Baerga and Alomar Jr. represent excellent value for their respective rounds, while the rotation should ring up a good number of Ks, but also a bad number of BBs. At shortstop, a weak spot across this entire division, Stocker just won’t hit enough to justify keeping his glove in the field.

CF Griffey – B+
SP Hampton – B
RF Mondesi – B
2B Baerga – A
C Alomar Jr. – A-
3B Castilla – B
SP Astacio – B+
RP Wetteland – B-
SS Stocker – D-
SP Rijo – A-

San Antonio Armadillos: Grade = B- The Armadillos get our highest grade in this division for their first two picks, landing two superstars entering their prime years in Reynolds and Sheffield. For the next three rounds, the club went with youthful prospects unlikely to have an immediate impact on the field; however, once Cordova and Lieber fully develop, the Armadillos could have a very good rotation. On the other hand, we see the Delgado pick in the fifth round as a significant overdraft. Dean Palmer looks like a good pick at first glance for the hot corner, but to avoid a comedy of errors at third the Armadillos should start teaching him first base right away. Finally, every fan loves a good knuckleballer; Candiotti gives the team a second ace behind Reynolds while they continue to build for the future. San Antonio could challenge New Orleans for fewest runs allowed in the division, but frequent gaffs in the field will allow too many unearned.

SP Reynolds – A
RF Sheffield – A+
SP Cordova – B+
SP Lieber – B-
LF Delgado – C-
LF Longmire – B
RP Nenn – B-
3B Palmer – D+
C Nevin – C+
SP Candiotti – A-
Chad S.
Portland Beavers (1994+), UBA

San Francisco Peanuts (1970+), TBC
Seattle Mariners (2017+), RDBL

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Re: UBA Today! Aaron Conference Draft Analysis

Post by BeaversGM » Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:05 pm

Aaron West

And at last we turn our final analysis of a UBA division, the Aaron West. The AW is currently projected to have three teams play .500 ball or better in the ’95 season. Full disclosure: UBA Today! is wholly owned by the GM of the Portland Beavers. And so while we can tell you that the Beavers are our pick to win the division in ’95 (with a very strong challenge by the Grizzlies and a moderate one from the Pranksters), we won’t be handing out a letter grade to that organization. Instead, we’ll present a brief interview with the GM covering his reflections of Portland’s draft below our division grades below.

Sturgis Grizzlies: A- The Grizzlies, like the Beavers, are looking to take the division in ’95 while also accumulating a number of young players just entering their prime. Thomas, Gant, and Walker represent a good core offensive group (and they will hit a ton of dingers), while the late round pick up of veteran Gary Gaetti at 3B pushed the team from fringe in ’95 to contender. There have been whispers that Sturgis might send Gant into the outfield in order to start Vina at 2B, but with late round pick LF Mel Hall as a viable starting option we think that would be a mistake. Both Vina and Berry look like significant over-drafts, but made so in part because of the team’s ability to pick up Gaetti and Hall later on (which pushed them into likely back-up roles). The rotation is led by Andy Benes, a good pitcher in his prime, and (in a made for Disney moment) the team picked up his younger brother Alan Benes (below average today but with above average upside) to help anchor the rotation alongside the other good SP picks of Hitchcock, Sele, and Tapani. The overall pitching talent in Sturgis looks to be league average and similar to division rival Portland, while the offense will be a definite strength.

1B Thomas – A
2B Gant – A
SP An. Benes – A-
RF Walker – B+
3B Berry – D+
SP Al. Benes – B-
SP Hitchcock – B
SS Counsell – B
CF Grissom – A-
2B Vina – D

Palo Alto Pranksters: A- The Pranksters focused in the draft on building for the future, and have one of the highest ranks in UBA from our projection model for future prospective talent; however, unlike Kansas City and Coney Island who took similar approaches over in the Ruth Conference (and are the only two teams to rank younger in age than the Pranksters), Palo Alto made enough strategic picks of current talent (in particular Belle, Witt, Lewis, and Baines) to play around .500 in 1995, and to potentially challenge the Grizzlies and Beavers if the dice fall right and some of their younger players are able to make a smooth transition to UBA ball. While some analysts have questioned Jeter’s ability to stick at SS, and both Fonville and Brogna look like significant over-drafts, the future talent of Jeter, Schmidt, and Sweeney will significantly strengthen the team before much time has passed. Beyond the first ten picks, the Pranksters made a few excellent selections of young future SPs, especially Ho Park, Juden, and Rekar, who will pay dividends in the long game.

SS Jeter – B+
LF Belle – A+
SP Schmidt – A-
C Sweeney – B+
SP Witt – A-
RP Wohlers – B
CF Hunter – C+
2B Fonville – D
1B Brogna – D
SS Lewis – B+

Yellowknife Targaryens: C- Up north, first-round pick SP Kevin Appier has a lot riding on this shoulders as the ace of Yellowknife; in the first 25 rounds the Targaryens have yet to identify a second SP to join him in the rotation. The club’s draft strategy was unfolding quite well for the first four rounds, and Appier, Edmonds, Hundley, and DeShields were great picks and should be the stars of this team for years to come. But starting with the fifth round the team’s picks went sideways with back-to-back selections of middling relief pitchers. Conspiracy theorists wonder if one of the team’s software algorithms mixed up a one and a zero somewhere, causing these players to be identified as SPs, but we may never know the truth. While the next four picks were all of useful role players, none of them will change the team’s fortunes in 1995, which makes the selection of veterans at this stage unhelpful for the team’s longer-term development. An anonymous blogger has started a moveon.org petition to rename the team to the "Starks", apparently because Winter is Coming.

SP Appier – A-
CF Edmonds – A
C Hundley – A-
SS DeShields – A-
RP Williams – D-
RP C. Smith – D-
3B Loretta – C+
LF Cangelosi – C+
RF Coleman – C-
2B Amaral – C-

Interview with the GM of the Beavers:

Q: We at UBA Today! are quite excited to be associated with such a fine organization as the Portland Beavers! Can you tell us how long it will be before you bring home the league trophy?

A: Well, I like our chances in the division this year, but there are at least four other teams out there – you’ll have to guess as to who they are – with better chances at the crown this year than Portland. However, all four of them have older teams than Portland, and so I’m quite happy with our prospects over the next five years. My goal is to bring a Trophy home in that time.

Q: Do you have a favorite pick from the draft so far?

A: I respect all of my players, and I hate to play favorites, but if you're asking which of my guys I would have taken a lot higher up the draft, I have to say I was happy to find a couple of young talented pitchers in Castillo and Erickson fall to the 6th and 10th rounds. Pitching won’t be our strength, but because of these guys it also won’t be a weakness.

Q: So what is the Beavers' greatest strength going into this season?

A: If you look at our projected line-up, we’re likely to put up over 20 home runs from every single spot one-through-eight. I have us pegged to lead all of baseball in total home runs this year! We won’t hit for average much, but our OBP will be good enough to make those home runs count.

Q: Some fans are wondering about the glut of infielders caused by the Whitaker and King picks; how is that going to be resolved?

A: In the later rounds, we really focused on identifying a few strong platoons for our core lineup, and there were some veterans left on the board with pretty good track records against opposite handed pitchers. So now we’ve got King to platoon with Tino at 1B, Lou Whitaker to join Boone as our 2B platoon, and Ozzie Timmons to complement Giles in LF. These strong platoons also give us plenty of options against the DH clubs when traveling to the Ruth Conference.

Q: Any weaknesses on the club that you’d still like to address?

A: Every club has some areas they need to improve. For us, while I think we’ll be league average in the rotation and the pen, I’d like to see us develop some younger arms to push that up a bit over the next few years. We also play like molasses on the base paths; don’t expect more than a dozen stolen bases in the whole season from us.

Q: Thanks for your time, GM! Good luck and go get ‘em!
Chad S.
Portland Beavers (1994+), UBA

San Francisco Peanuts (1970+), TBC
Seattle Mariners (2017+), RDBL

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