Thursday, January 15, 2015

S30 AL West Previews

AL West

Last season, Salem won the division for the second straight season.  It was also the second straight season they won 100 games.  Vancouver took second winning 91 games and going to the World Series for the second time in franchise history.  They were upset by Scranton in a thrilling 7 game World Series.  Fresno finished in third last season at an even .500 mark.  It was the first time they didn't post a winning record in 4 seasons.  St. Louis finished at the bottom   It was also the first time in 4 seasons they didn't post a winning record.

Salem Volcanoes (Jkenned 8th season)
Payroll-$64.1m
Draft Pick-#19

Season 30 grades
Offense A
Hitting A-
Power A
S&BR  A-

Pitching A
Starters  A
Relievers A+

Fielding A+


Vancouver Canucks (skplayer07 13th season)
Payroll-$106.3m
Draft Pick-#14

Season 30 grades
Offense A-
Hitting A-
Power B+
S&BR  C-

Pitching A
Starters A+
Relievers  A

Fielding A-

Fresno Grizzlies (dlmose 2nd season)
Payroll-$90.3m
Draft Pick-#20

Season 30 grades
Offense C
Hitting B-
Power D
Speed C

Pitching C-
Starters B
Relievers D-

Fielding C


St. Louis Arch Angels (Flucie 16th season)
Payroll-$83.2m
Draft Pick-#17

Season 30 grades
Offense C+
Hitting C
Power B-
Speed  C-

Pitching C
Starters D+
Relievers B-

Fielding B+

Predictions

Vancouver and Salem are going to have a Super Heavyweight battle for this division.  Both teams will probably win 100 games and both make the playoffs.   It is very close, but I'm going to give the nod to Salem, only because Jkenned has a better proven track record.  St. Louis and Fresno should have a good battle for the bottom of the division.    It's another difficult one to call.  Fresno really concerns me with their lack of power and depth in the bullpen.  And at the same time St. Louis has  one of the weakest Starting Pitching staffs in the league.

1. Salem
2. Vancouver
3. St. Louis
4. Fresno

Press Releases
Salem- Season 30 should be a good one for Salem, but we are probably an ace away from being a legit world series contender. Threw all the room I had at Rock Randall in FA but came up a couple million short and settled on adding an impact player in Wolf Dodd to fill in the back of the lineup and my huge hole in CF. Will hope someone is selling an impact arm at some point this year but even without the rotation help I am still expecting a 100 win season and another divisional round loss for us here in Salem this season. Anything beyond that would be a welcome surprise.

Vancouver-After a disappointing loss in the World Series the Canucks are excited the get the season started with the recent addition of Rock Randall to the staff headed by last seasons Cy Young Award Winner Yoshinori Zhou. The Canucks finally opened up their wallets and signed a max contract signaling that they believe they can get back to the series. ther new faces in Vancouver will be Sammy Salinas, Don Nakajima, Vance Pettyjohn, and Jim Swarzak. These players have a lot expected of them for their rookie season.
 The Canucks posted a team 271 HR, 895 RBI, and .810 OPS. Here in Vancouver we don't expect much of a drop off as the lineup will look almost exactly the same.

Fresno- We should be an improved bunch but not sure by how much, but making up the 10 games we were out last season should be within reach. Looking for Wilt Sizemore to break out and make a run for the CY. However coma, 2 new additions to the staff are solid questions marks so we might be drinking the wine or stomping the friggin' grapes.

S30 AL South Preview

AL South

Last season Nashville rose from the depths of the south to win their first division title in eight seasons.  In fact, it was their first winning season in eight seasons as well.  Florida finished second despite paying sub .500 ball.  It was their third straight losing season, and fifth season in a row that they missed the playoffs.  New Orleans finished in third last season, it was the first time in six seasons that they didn't have a winning record.  Tampa Bay finished on the bottom for the second straight season as they continue their rebuild.

Nashville Merchants (Blapo21 4th season)
Payroll-$41.5m
Draft Pick- #26

Season 30 grades
Offense A
Hitting A+
Power A+
Speed C

Pitching B+
Starters B
Relievers B+

Fielding A

Florida Retirees (Soxfan_9 14th season)
Payroll-$84.5m
Draft Pick-#10

Season 30 grade
Offense C+
Hitting B-
Power C
Speed  C

Pitching B-
Starters C
Relievers A-

Fielding C

New Orleans Zephyrs ( Fantasy Frea 9th season)
Payroll-$75.9m
Draft Pick-#7

Season 30 grade
Offense C-
Hitting C-
Power C
Speed C+

Pitching D
Starters C-
Relievers D-

Fielding B+

Tampa Bay Thunder (rxw1 30th season)
Payroll-$47m
Draft Pick-#4

Season 30 grade
Offense A-
Hitting A
Power B-
Spd&BR   A-

Pitching D
Starters D-
Relievers C-

Fielding D-

Predictions

I don't see anyone denying Nashville from winning this division again.  In fact, they might be able to make a serious run for the AL pennant this season.  Tampa Bay has some real good hitters, but that pitching staff is really lacking.  I think Florida will end up in second place hovering around the .500 mark.  New Orleans and Tampa Bay should battle for the bottom.  It's a real difficult one to call.  I'm going to go with New Orleans only because of Tampa's very weak defense.

1. Nashville
2. Florida
3. New Orleans
4. Tampa Bay

Press Releases
Nashville- We are young, promoted some top notch talent, have more coming, could be the start of a nice run. Still pretty deep with prospects. Hope guys pan out.
Tampa Bay-This will be a rough rebuilding season for a Thunder franchise that is used to being in playoff contention each season. A great crop of prospects working their way through the minors will not be much help this season.

S30 AL East Preview

AL East

Last Season Boston won 106 games and the division once again.  That was their third straight division title and fifth in the last 7 seasons.  Durham finished second  winning 92 games.  They settled for a wildcard and finished for the 11th straight season with a winning record.  Rochester finished 3rd place, just a tad under .500.  That was their 3rd straight losing season.   Indianapolis finished at the bottom.  That franchise was in a rut when qtip got there and continues to be.  It was their 9th straight losing season.

Boston Pilgrims (kjmulli  16th season)
Payroll-$105.5m
Draft Pick-#35

Season 30 grades
Offense  C+
Hitting B-
Power C
S & BR- B

Pitching B
Starters A+
Relievers C-

Fielding  C

Durham Doormats (Alogman1 21st season)
Payroll-$122.9m
Draft Pick-#30

Offense C+
Hitting  C-
Power  A
Speed  D-

Pitching  B
Starters  B
Relievers B+

Fielding B+

Rochester Retards (Wylie715 10th season)
Payroll-$88.6m
Draft Pick-#32

Offense D
Hitting  D-
Power  C
Speed  B

Pitching D
Starters D
Relievers C-

Fielding D+

Indianapolis Valhalla Varauders ( Qtip32 6th season)
Payroll-$45.4m
Draft Pick- #8

Offense
Hitting C-
Power C
S&BR  A+

Pitching C
Starters C-
Relievers C+

Fielding B+


Predictions
I think Boston and Durham are going to go right down to the end for the division.  Regardless, both teams should make the playoffs. I'm going to give the nod to Boston, only because he obviously knows how to win the division, and he never comes out very good on my rating system.    Boston also has perhaps the best Starting pitching staff in the AL  I think Indy will break out of their funk and start to win a few games, but will still finish under .500.   Rochester should really struggle this season. It might be a good opportunity for the franchise to start over and think about rebuilding.

1. Boston
2. Durham
3. Indianpolis
4. Rochester

Press Releases
Boston-basically returning the same exact team from last season that pooped it's pants in the playoffs. returning 6 of 7 all-stars from last season -- kennie McCracken takes over cf from fautino guerrero. still looking to push for 1,000 (came up a bit shy last season) and gunning for the WS title once again. would be very disappointed if we didn't at least finish the regular season with a first-round bye in the playoffs.  actually, I'll be disappointed if we get the bye and crap-out in the playoffs like we did last year. We should win it all, damnit! Dusty Lindsey is in the final year of his mega deal. I think I got my money's worth there - 66 wins and an all-star in each of the first four seasons of the deal. hoping to get one more all-star caliber season out of him.

Durham- We hope not to live up to our team name this season. Whether or not that happens, the jury is still out.

Rochester-the major change for the Retards this season is that we've totally revamped our starting rotation and brought in a veteran catcher with good pitch calling. Unfortunately, my offense still does not scare anyone (except for maybe my pitchers!!!)

S30 AL North Preview

AL North
Last season Milwaukee won the division with an 82-80 record.  It was the first time that franchise has EVER won the division title.  New York came in second, 10 games under .500.  It was the seventh straight season in which New York has finished in either 2nd or 3rd place.  Kansas City finished in third place.  It was the seventh straight season in which Kansas City has not made the playoffs.  Dover finished in last place.  It snapped an impressive streak of 11 straight winning seasons.

Kansas City Yardbirds (Holleybard 4th season)
Payroll-$70.2m
Draft Pick-#9

Season 30 grades
OFFENSE  C+
Hitting  C+
Power  C  
Speed  C

PITCHING C-
Starters C+
Relievers D-

Fielding A

Dover Dinklebergs (tmfran 13th season)
Payroll-$89.5m
Draft Pick-#2

Season 30 grades
Offense  C
Hitting  C
Power  C
Speed  D-

Pitching   D+
Starters   D-
Relievers  C-

Fielding-A-


New York Damage Controllers (Skuff730 11th season)
Payroll-$89m
Draft Pick-#13

Season 30 grades
Offense  C+
Hitting  C
Power   B-
Speed  A

Pitching  D
Starters  D
Relievers  D

Fielding  D



Milwaukee Magnitude(Horvie78 5th season)
Payroll-$77.7m
Draft Pick-#21

Season 30 grades
Offense C+
Hitting  C
Power  B-
Speed C+

Pitching  B+
Starters B
Relievers  A

Fielding  B


Predictions

All of these teams hit pretty close the same.   Milwaukee has a far better pitching staff than the rest of the division, so they should probably run away with it.  Kansas City is probably right behind them with their strong defense.    Dover and New York are about on even playing fields, however Dover's defense is way better than New York.  So I'll pick them to place third.  New York will finish at the bottom.  Just a side note that New York seems to have 9 starting pitchers on their roster.  I found that a little odd.

1. Milwaukee
2. Kansas City
3. Dover
4. New York

Press Releases-
Kansas City-As I go into Year 4 with the Yardbirds, my goal is fairly simple: top 800 runs for the season. If that happens, the Yardbirds will likely win 80-something games, which could be enough to nab a wildcard spot. Every fiber of my baseball being KNOWS that putting everything on the offense is just wrong, but the reality is that's our best chance of success right now. Sticky is the man as our ace, and Clint Buddie is a solid 2. As usual, the 3-4-5 slots are shaky, and I didn't do enough in the offseason to change that. And by enough, I mean nothing! I wanted Rock Randall badly, but that didn't work out. I also offered Olmedo Johnson (.292/.367/.407, 42 SBs) to ghutton for some of his pitching, and that didn't work out, either. I'm hopeful that Mr. Johnson will be a professional and not sulk about being used as trade bait. ("It's business, Sonny! It's not personal!") What I'm relying on is the continued stardom of Hugh Paterson, who is just scratching the surface of his potential and still posted a MVP finalist season (33 HRs, 125 RBI, 45 doubles, 8 triples, 19 SB). We made slight upgrades at CF, 1B, and DH. If they work out, topping 800 shouldn't be a problem. But, oh, that pitching. I see 85-77 in the Yardbirds' future. We'll see where that takes us.

Milwaukee- I think we have a good chance to win the division, but we're not at the level of some of the elite AL teams. The pitching and fielding should be decent. The starters are old, but nobody had any major declines. Ben Boyer has been awesome out of the pen, and Tex Wagner had a nice season as the closer. The offense should be below average and needs at least 1 more great bat. was hoping to add a stud DH/1B, but there wasn't much available in FA. Zip Sullivan and ROY John Martin should be our top hitters. Hoping Michael Chong (16M IFA) has a nice rookie season.