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 Post subject: Featherheads Fan Zone
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:22 pm 
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Featherhead Fans


The Featherheads come into the 2023 season hopefully ready to take home another penant. A number of off-season acquisitions have put this team in a position to be competitive throughout the season and the new GM has been busy building a seriously deep squad throughout the major league club, as well as the farm system. Most of the acquired talent has been primarily through free agency with over ten new players added to the 40 man roster since Hannahs took over over a month ago.

Below, we break down the pre-season outlook for each position and what Featherheads fans should be looking for during March as several key position battles are taking place.

Catcher
Lorenzo Amador is the most bittersweet move of the many off-season acquisitions made by the team. A six year veteran, Amador has shown that he is one of the premiere backstops in the league. With a short 3 year deal, many see this as a coup for the Featherheads, although the signing was dampened somewhat by this also being one of the last moves ex-GM Kevin Lewis made.

Backup catcher is perhaps one of the more exciting battles for a bench spot that we'll see. Youngster Jack Hudson is said to be the favorite to win, although the vets Jessie Kimball and Ju-chan Park are thought to be right on his heels.

Jack Hudson has been an outstanding player in all levels of his minor league career, posting no less than a 1.9 WAR during a season of play. Further, he shows a quick arm with a high contact swing that could lead Hudson to be a perennial All-Star candidate if all goes according to plan.

First Base
Ray Kimball and backup Kaoru Morimoto make a return this year as one of the more consistent places of production the Featherheads line-up. Kimball led the team last year with 36 dingers while Morimoto fed in nicely as a backup with a fair amount of offensive output himself, racking up a high average, low K slash line.

While we believe that first base is pretty much locked up, Alexis Hancock is at major league camp this year. Hancock is a raw 24 year older was a third round pick back in 2017, and has been pretty non-existent in terms of prospect projections, however he shows flashes of a high-contact hitter with plus power that has yet to translate out of batting practice. We expect him to start in AA this year.

Second Base
There was perhaps no more dramatic positional switch-up this year than at second. After the year was through, Florida was stuck in a situation with a bunch of question marks, but no real answers.

They had returning back-up Tom Wickersham who was only a season removed from a 1.7 win season, but had put up a depressing -.7 win season during year, slashing an uninspiring .214/.282/.297.

They had 29 year-old AAA star David Morrison who has never had an opportunity to prove himself in PEBA, but has been consistently great for Chesapeake, averaging almost three wins a season for the past five years.

They also had Roberto Rodriguez who had put up great numbers with Tempe back in 2018 (2.3 wins in a mere 81 games with a .295/.337/.447) at 24 years old, but had since been relegated to a minor league role after being signed by the Featherheads back in 2019.

Yet the options presented to the new GM did not provide an adequate answer, and so the powers-that-be went out and acquired All-Star and longtime Arlington Bureaucrat Dave Crocker to a five year, 55 million dollar contract. Crocker slides in easily at the top of the depth chart above all other options, although there does exist a slightly troubling downward trend to his last three years. The Featherheads will look to stymy that trend and get him back to the All-Star game over the course of the next five seasons.

Shortstop
Perhaps one of the more surprising pick-ups of the off-season, the Featherheads reunited with Raul Medina. The long-time Featherhead was expected to walk during free agency, yet the deal offered by Florida could not be beaten. The 33 year old joins the team for another 5 years for 95 million and an additional 10 million in incentives he is less than likely to earn.

Back-ups for SS include Featherheads minor league free agent Brad Lee and Tony Meade. Both backup options are in spring camp and getting reps, although their likelihood of making the 25-man roster at the end of spring are almost solely reliant on Raul Medina getting hurt.

Third Base
Andy Sharp had a slow start to PEBA league baseball in 2022, posting a lowly .213/.286/.329 slash line, yet he finds himself a shoe-in at third base due in no small part to the outstanding salary owed to him over the next few years and the fact that his tools continue to make scouts dream. he flashes prototypical lead-off hitter skills with plus-plus speed, and a plus eye to go with plus contact which amalgamates in a role not usually designated to third basemen. Although his OBP was less than .300, and he only played in less than a hundred games professionally, he still led the team in several metrics that lead many to believe that the young man is a season away from having all of his tools coalesce into an all-star calibur 3rd basemen and lead-off hitter.

Another free agent signee was defensive specialist Mark Holmes. Originally with Yuma, this former Bulldozer has shown the ability to produce at high levels in the past with his glove and his bat. For many, Holmes' signing represents an obvious glove-first utility man that can play every infield position to a premium level for little salary. His bat is serviceable and should amount to a fair amount of success -- similar to that which he's seen with the Bulldozers in the past four seasons.

Left Field
Is there a more locked in position than Danny Burton in left field? Probably. But not many.
Jorge Martinez is considered to be the fourth outfielder, however he is far better than that designation signifies.

Center Field
It seems like there has never been quite the mish-mash of has-beens and never-wases like there is this year out in center field for the Featherheads.

Many of Hannahs' first moves after heading up the front office duties involved signing any center fielder with a pulse to a pittance of a deal to come essentially try out for a starting spot in CF. The three finalists seem to be Jose Martinez, Alan Doyle, and Todd Ayres -- in that order.

If it were possible to sort of combine center fielders into a megazord-esque amalgamation of features, these four may represent one very good player, however as it stands, they all have strengths... but also very evident weaknesses.

Jose Martinez stands as the most well-rounded option with good defensive abilities and evidence that he can flash above average offensive production (wRC+ of 115 in '17 and '18 for Bakersfield with over 1k plate appearances in that time). The problem is that since 2018, he's been a liability at the plate. Martinez is on a one year "prove it" deal and seems to be the frontline candidate for the opening day center fielder.

Right Field
Right field is set to platoon Tony Velazquez and young phenom Alfredo Hinojosa -- at least that's the feeling going into the season. While Alfredo does seem to have the ability to capture the position full-time with his elite hitting, his paltry numbers against lefties do allow for a platoon.

Back up options include Pablo Rodriguez -- a long-time Featherheads back-up with an entire 3 days of service time, and Antonio Arias -- a longer tenured option, but with a negative 2.5 WAR against top competition.

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Last edited by Featherheads on Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:25 pm 
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I ended up having to write this thing twice... tried to post this but my work computer logged me out halfway through and it was all gone. :angry-cussingblack:

Pitcher previews coming up next!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:21 pm 
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Nice writeup. I look forward to the pitcher analysis.

I hope Tony Velazquez does well in right, he is a former Palm Springs farmhand. :clap:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:14 am 
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Definitely interested in where the Featherheads are going. Should be a fun watch. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:58 pm 
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Featherheads Fans


*WEEK 1*


Pitcher of the Week:
Valentim Ornelas. 14.1 innings, 13 Ks, and only 3 runs. This is how you post a 0.7 WAR in one week. While it shouldn’t be a surprise, there was a fair amount of concern that Ornelas would start slow given his rough outings in Spring, but Valentim quieted those rumors immediately. With 2/5ths of the Featherheads rotation on DL for the majority of the year, it’s going to be up to Valentim, Kensaku, and Tsuginori to be the best they’ve ever been.

Hitter of the Week:
Raul Medina. Medina had a heck of a first week of the season to a .364/.440/.682 line to go along with two home runs, 3 RBIs and 3 walks. It was really good to see the long time Featherhead pick up the lead of this team with some of the other veterans out. Keeping him hot is going to be tantamount to Florida staying competitive and winning ballgames this year. Luckily, we live in Florida so maybe easier than we thought?

Week in review:
There was a lot to be excited about in the first week of the season for the F’Heads. I’d like to take a look at one inning in one game that, I think, is going to be one of the more dominating parts of the team when all the cylinders start clicking:

In the fifth inning against the Amsterdam Lions, the Featherheads gave a preview of the excitement that can come from a team that can not only hit, but also put on the after-burners. Jose Martinez and Ju-Chan Park led off the inning with a flyout to left and a weak groundball to third. Then the line-up turned over and Andy Sharp slapped a single through the 3B-SS hole which brought up Hinojosa. Sharp then stole second (because OF COURSE he did), and then Hinojosa snuck a 1-1 pitch in between first and second. Sharp scores standing. Then the inimitable Ray Kimball comes up. Alfredo gets in scoring position by stealing second (because Alfredo’s gonna Alfredo) and a pitch later Kimball pummels a single to right, scoring Hinojosa easily. This was against Clark Snow – one of the best pitchers in the game right now. By simply putting the bat on the ball and using good baserunning, the Featherheads were able to manufacture a two-out rally. The line-up is constructed from top-to-bottom to allow these sorts of events take place, and for now it’s very exciting to watch innings like this transpire… even if we would end up getting blown out 9-3 in the game.

And really, that kind of sums up the week: really exciting things happening while the end result being less than awesome. But get ready! Because this next week, we’re going to see Amador and Burton get back into the line-up, and that is something we can all get excited about.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:34 pm 
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I'm going to be MUCH more diligent about keeping a blog for the 2024 season. I felt over my head for the first season, but feel much better going into my second year as GM. Expect this to be a source of much Featherhead news and excitement moving forward!

Over the next few days I'll be posting some featurettes giving a detailed analysis of my farm system during the 2023 season and what to expect from your favorite Featherhead farmhands.

It was an exciting year for prospects up and down the Florida farm. While perhaps not leading to the most successful campaigns ever (only the triple-A affiliate Chesapeake Bay Oysters managed a playoff berth) we did see some truly inspiring play from many players. We'll be starting at the bottom, and working our way all the way to AAA. So, without much further ado: THE LISTS!

2023 Featherheads Farm System Report and Players of the Year: Ewa Beach Imperialists

Short season ball never really seems to be a great barometer of talent simply because the sample sizes are never large enough to make any important looks into the future of the young guys. Most only being 18-21, these players are fresh-faced and, really, playing in Hawai’i. How much can we really expect of them? This year, it was no different. The team still went 41-49 (incredibly) and had some good performances but all-in-all it was a pretty uneventful season for the Imperialists. Bed wetters are already losing their minds thinking that this draft is useless and may never amount to a thing. We scoff at them -- and then when their backs are turned… we kind of chew on our fingernails a bit.

David Phillips
The ninth round pick of the Featherheads, Phillips came out and had a pretty good season for Ewa Beach. Solid offensive production mixed with good production at the hot corner gives him the nod in this category. While scouts are still less-than-enthused with his physical tools, he plays hard and it translated to the best WAR on the team. While we try to stray from just choosing the top best statistical player (it’s uninteresting, really) in this scenario it wasn’t even really close. With 1.2 WAR he led the team. That probably says more about his team than it does him, but still, we wish him the best next season in Mexicali -- which I guess counts as a promotion but it also means you don’t get to play in Hawai’i anymore.

Beau Phillips
If David Phillips was not expected to perform, Beau definitely was. The second round pick, Beau came in with high expectations and has thus far performed admirably. While his BB/9 were a little high for most people, he performed admirably. Beau features a five pitch mix (two of which are change-ups) and relies more on his deception than his outright blowing away of his opponents. Like the other Phillips, his time in EWA Beach is probably up as next season he will be turning 22 and won’t be progressing much more in short season ball.

And there you have it! Some of the best prospects that Florida has right now. Granted, it’s not a top crop of talent by any stretch but, darn it, it’s ours. We can’t wait to see how 2024 goes for all of our farmhands and look forward to all of their big league debuts.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:11 pm 
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2023 Featherheads Farm System Report and Players of the Year: Mexicali Shmoes


The Shmoes didn’t have a great run of it this year. While they played nearly .500 ball and had nearly as many runs scored (499) to runs against (509), the team never felt consistent. Their offense was less-than-inspiring and while they had some decent pitching, the defense floundered, leading to some ugly team OBP figures. By some insane machinations, if you put the ball in play against Mexicali, you automatically had a .320 batting average -- essentially making just about anyone an all-star. This led to an already taxed pitching staff looking much worse than they actually were this year.

A good example of bad BABIP outcomes is Richard Baxter. As a sixth round draft pick in 2022, if you were to just look at his ERA (3.94) you might assume back end starter or middle reliever for this guy. We did, too. However, the guy sported a .331 BABIP for the entire year and ended up with really strong peripherals if not for the high BABIP. His FIP, in fact, was nearly an entire run less than his actual ERA. That’s crazy, especially for a flyball pitcher like Baxter.

Jorge ‘Bane’ Lopez
If there was a bright spot this year for Mexicali, it was the outstanding play from Bane. While finishing the year two levels higher from where he started in AAA, Bane was in a class all of his own while in A, leading the Shmoes in home runs, RBIs, batting average, and slugging. Signed in the twelfth round of the 2021 draft, Lopez has busted onto the scene through consistent play with his premier bat speed and arm strength. “The guy gets after it every day,” commented manager Lorenzo Garza, “when he has a bad game, he’s the first one to the cages the next day -- when he’s done well… well… he’s still the first one there. Point is: always there and always trying to get better.”

A lot has gone well for Bane so far in his career, but it’s due to his superlative work ethic and his ability to show up in clutch spots. We expect Bane to start in AA next year although he finished up in AAA this year.

Andy Crews
There were trade rumors circling around Crews before the season started this year. Many believed that he was already traded by the time the news broke that sent MIllard Anderson to manning center for the Featherheads, and yet that dreaded call from the GM never came. “I’ll admit I was a little scared,” said Crews in an interview earlier this year. “There was so much that we just don’t know as players and hearing that you might be traded -- man, that’s never a good feeling.” But luckily for the Featherheads, they did not (instead they traded younger Joey Toms who was a bit of a disaster this year) and were treated to another great pitching performance only marred by those extreme BABIP numbers mentioned earlier with Richard Baxter. Featuring a four pitch mix, the lefty dominated single A ball, striking out almost a batter an inning, limiting walks to a paltry 1.8 per 9, all while drastically increasing his workload to almost 140 innings this year. “I felt like I had a plan every day,” said Crews on his success. “Coming in and knowing what you have to do even when you’re not pitching was very helpful. Really, even though it’s the off-season, I can’t wait to get back after it as soon as possible.”

We expect Crews to be in the starting rotation for the Loggerdoggers next year where he will hopefully have a little bit more luck from the BABIP gods.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:52 pm 
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Always good to see what's happening down in the minors. Nice write up. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:38 am 
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2023 Featherheads Farm System Report and Players of the Year: Beaufort Loggerdoggers

The Beaufort Loggerdoggers had an interesting year. It was marked by great success stories like Sancho Alvarez, Hyotaru Hayashi and Ricardo Perez (more on them later), but also struggles from the players that just have not lived up to the expectations.

All in all, it was a successful year. The team was balanced and held a spot a spot in both team ERA and team OPS. While the Loggerdoggers couldn’t find their way into the playoffs (they missed a wild card berth by nine games) they put up some good numbers and had some outstanding play from a number of players… two of which are highlighted below…

Sancho Alvarez
Sancho Alvarez was signed to some fanfare back in 2020 in the third round. Many at the time considered it a steal that he would fall that far in the draft. Hailing from Southern Miss, he was seen at the time to be a power bat who could play a good left field and decent right. He never really lived up to expectations regarding his defense (that’s most definitely NOT why he is winning this award) but instead struggled and ultimately fell out of the spotlight and out of “prospect” status.

This year was a bit of a coming out party for Alvarez who had lingered in the sort of tumultuous back-and-forth that org guys tend to fall into, never feeling comfortable and never really wracking up any sort of impressive numbers that warrants note. “This year I came in with a little bit of extra grit, I think,” said the three-year pro. “I saw a bunch of outfielders signed on minor league contracts and put in front of me. It kind of lit a fire, like ‘why not me?’” And lit a fire, it did. Over 87 games in AA, Alvarez put up by far the best numbers of his career -- showing power and on-base ability to a slash of .307/.351/.533 With numbers like that, we don’t think he’ll have to wonder why not him anymore.

Hyotaru Hayashi
Taken in the first round of the 2022 draft, Hyotaru Hayashi was seen as a promising low ceiling starter who could punch his ticket between Chesapeake and Florida for three years before either getting released or getting picked up on waivers. Instead, he’s slowly (or not so slowly, all things considered) transformed himself into one of the more exciting prospects the Featherheads have. Over 28 starts this year, he averaged 6 ⅓ innings per appearance, striking out almost a batter an inning (172 total Ks) and walking a meager 1.3 batters per nine. Right in line with the aging curve of most pitchers, Hayashi continues to prove every time out why he will be a call up candidate in the near future.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:38 am 
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Wind Dancers wrote:
Always good to see what's happening down in the minors. Nice write up. :)


Thanks Ron!

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Ken Hannahs -- Featherheads GM and Host of PEBA-Cast


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:02 pm 
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Alvarez may be a slow bloomer. If the power comes in he could make an interesting impact, but his splits are a little worrisome.

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