April 2001

 Monarch Rookie Draft Provides Results

              If you are reading this newsletter, I am sure you have read the many fine newsletters published in the league including the one that analyzed the Rookie Draft.  Some managers were commended for their fine choices.  However, none of Morris’s picks were ranked in the 20 or so players listed.  Well what did Morris do wrong?

              First, I rejoined the league a week before the draft.  I did not have the time to compile my usual stellar draft list prior to the draft.  I hate having to work to earn a living.  Thus, we (my son Joe and I) weren’t prepared.  Luckily, when I rejoined BRASSball, we were given a fairly strong offensive team that had every position covered, except for pitching.  Our new team was woefully lacking in innings, and it did not have one quality pitcher that would make any of you managers worry.  Additionally, there was no near term or far term solution to this weakness on the roster or the horizon.   Further complicating my problem was the fact that the team is on the verge of bankruptcy for league purposes and my three top returning starting pitchers would be free agents at the end of the 2001 BRASSball season.   Since we were hamstrung from trading for pitchers, we determined we would have to go after innings with our early draft picks.   One bit of luck in our corner was that we had all our picks and we picked in the 8th seat of the Rookie Draft.  I’m still wondering how a team this strong offensively could have played so poorly last season to get such an early draft pick.

              Three of our first four picks were pitchers with innings that will help this year.  Brian Tollberg, Osvaldo Fernandez, and Elmer Dessens should provide us between 55 and 60 starts, most of them decent.  However, we did overlook Paul Wilson with our first pick.  We have always liked him, but we also doubted he had recovered to the point where he would pitch 200+ innings in 2001 and beyond the same way he pitched his 50 innings in 2000 for Tampa Bay.  We also picked several middle of the road, average-only relief pitchers and starter/relievers with our other picks.  One such pitcher was Kevin Jarvis.   All four are starters this season.  Fernandez has won 4 of 5 games, Jarvis threw a shutout last Thursday, Dessens is 2 and 1 in 5 games, and Tollberg leads the group with a 3.81 ERA.  More importantly, Tollberg gave Morris 6 starts in April, pitching 40+ innings and winning 3 of 4 decisions.  Morris also grabbed Chris Truby in the draft.  Truby will provide needed ABs at 3rd base.

              Morris saved its 3 available amateur picks for this years top rated college pitchers.  USC’s Mark Prior has moved from the top rated college pitcher to the top rated college player in 2001, and is considered the equal of Paul Wilson.  Middle Tennessee State’s Dewon Brazelton has moved from his preseason ranking as 3rd best college pitcher and 5th best college player to the 2nd best college pitcher and 3rd best college player as of the end of April, nudging aside and getting the nod over fellow Morris amateur draftee Josh Karp from UCLA who shifted from 2nd best college pitcher to 3rd best and 5th best college player to 4th best college player.  USA Today’s Baseball Weekly and Baseball America continue to write articles on the 3 pitching sensations, each periodical has written full-page articles on Prior and Brazelton.  The latest Baseball America, dated April 29, 2001 has three articles on Prior.

              Well maybe the BRASSball draft analyst overlooked Morris or maybe he did not appreciate the job that was needed to be done.  However, our picks will help us in 2000 and beyond and isn’t that what we are supposed to accomplish when drafting ball players.  As for our amateur picks maybe the old BRASSball draft analyst hasn’t had the opportunity to read about and evaluate the futures of those still competing at the collegiate level.  We hope we are as successful in 2002 draft as we were in meeting team needs and responsibilities this year.   Thank you very much.


 Morris Hot at Home/Cold on Road

            The Monarchs started the season with some hot hitting and good pitching winning 11 of 14 home games.  It is one of the best starts I have ever had in Strat.  Each move I made worked wonders.  Jeff Huson and Tom Lampkin filled in a few games, saving some late season ABs for Einar Diaz, Kelly Stinnett, and Bret Boone and both Huson and Lampkin bashed the ball to the tune of .400+ BAvg.   They picked up 3 game winning hits between them.  Bonds hit 12 homeruns but was edged out in the team homerun lead by Jim Edmonds who tagged 13.  As hot as the Monarchs were at home, they were almost equally cold on the road, winning 5 of their 14 road games.  We don’t believe we are as bad as a .333 team, but we also doubt we can play .800 ball either.  I still think we have a shot at winning 90+ games, and move up from pretender status to contender status.