Thursday, August 21, 2014

Owner Hall of Fame Induction

Owner Hall of Fame Interview

First, I'd like to welcome tk21775 to the Pine Tar owner Hall of Fame. tk21775 has been a great and valuable member of Pine Tar for 12 1/2 seasons now. The Iowa City franchise was a tough one to take over when he joined the league and it was going to be tough to fill, but tk21775 was up for a challenge and took on the team. It was quite possibly the worse mess of a franchise that I've seen in my time in Pine Tar, but tk quickly turned it around and made them respectable. It's owners like this, that make Pine Tar such a great world. There were some well deserving candidates that tk21775 beat out this season for the nomination, but I feel like the voters made the right choice by electing tk21775 to the owner Hall of Fame.

Interview

As the newest member of the owner hall of fame how does it feel to be recognized by your fellow owners as a hall of famer? 

It feels pretty neat given this is a fictional game and you've never met any of the owners in person before. Just being nominated with the write-up was an honor.

Can you describe how your time in Pine Tar has been?

Pine Tar has been great to be a part of, a reason I still am today. I'm in all hop's worlds which are extremely well run and this is one of the few that I will remain a part in outside of his worlds until I retire from HBD. It's a great group of guys, well run, no drama, and competitive.

 What is it that makes another owner stand out as a good HBD owner, in your eyes? 

What makes a good owner I think in this game is communication. It's hard to get to know all owners but when trading it's nice when an owner will explain why they rejected. I've met some guys I do fantasy football with through trade chats or am friends on FB now because of just chatting with them throughout the season. We might not see eye to eye on something but a quick trade chat helps explain why.

What are your short term and long term goals with Iowa City?

Goals look to be long-term now for Iowa. I traded my 1st #1 pick this season, Sticky, since he was going to go FA and that started a downfall I didn't expect for 2 seasons or so. Once the floodgates opened I decided to trade my vets while I could get something in return so Iowa City will probably be rebuilding for the next 2 or 3 seasons. All depends on the FA pool. When I first started I had zero prospects to trade, Hank Rolling was the only ML player that was decent, but 2 seasons out I saw the potential for a huge FA talent and managed to make sure I had a few draft picks and Int'l signed but the cap space yet to sign those FA.

Is there anything that you can think of that could make Pine Tar a better world? 

Pine Tar I think is one of the elite worlds WIS has to offer. The blog is hands down one of the best, owners are great and competitive. Trading is a little difficult in this world compared to some but that's not a bad thing either. 

Any advice for other owners on what they can do to get into the Hall of Fame? 

Advice is just to play your game and have fun. It's easy to bail out for a team that looks better on paper and maybe they are but you won't find a world better than Pine Tar. If you stick with your rebuild, whether it works or not, I think you'll enjoy your time in this world. 

Any closing statement? 

Closing statement, same thing: enjoy and have fun. Reason I enjoy WIS is that there is interaction amongst owners, some that I've struck up friendships outside of WIS and have consulted on different matters such as football and actually my business. Shout out to ghutton who does a great job running Pine Tar and was well deserved to get into the Hall of Fame as the owner right in front of me. I don't think people understand how hard it is to line up owners so that rollover goes the same day when so many owners are cutting back and making sure you get the quality owners that remain in Pine Tar. You sir are thet rue HOFer for all the work you put in behind the scenes and still have great success with your team! I'm just fortunate you took a chance letting me join all those years ago.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Arfy's Ramblings Season 28

Serious Injuries to major players:
Cin P Willie Crawford
KC P Sherman Stevens
Roch LF Saul Trevino
MIL P Derrick Jacquez

Let's play 2 and a half:
Texas and Fargo go 21 innings(click for link)

Durham's Vasco Nieves hit's 4 homers in one game

Rule 5 draft
Let's take a look at the last 5 players who were selected first in the rule 5 draft and see how they are doing

S28 2B NASH Victor Guillon  .292 8 hr 32 rbi's  From San Juan
S27 P  KC  Elmer Hartgraves currently in AAA  from Indianapolis
S26 2B NASH Bubbles Conger .257 27hr 55rbi's From KC
S25 P INDY Dwight Sneider  221G, 351inn, 1.56whip, 5.53 era career From San Juan
S24 C MAD Albert Goldberg  .268 115 hr, 269 rbi career From Rochester

International Signings:How many players have gotten more than $20 mil  contracts.  Let's look:
S28    2
S27    2
S26    3
S25    2
S24    1
S23    0
S22    0
S21    0
S20    1

Best hitting pitcher this season- OKC Angel Osuna 9 for 31, .290 avg, .180 career hitter

List you don't want to be on:
Most K's for a hitter- SS Phil Alex Lyons 115
Worst Pinch Hitter- 1B Dov John Pong 3 for 31 .097avg
Most BB's for a pitcher- Nas Al Galvez 118 BB's
Most hr's for a pitcher- Bos Heinie Green 27hr's
Most L's for a pitcher- Jackson Joakim Alvarez 3-15 record
Worst defensive shortstop- Iowa Russell Fleming 0 +, 9 -, 22 errors in 43 games
Most minuses at any position- Fargo 1B Junior Shigotshi, 19 minuses

Quick rundown of each division:
NL North

Scranton has caught Fargo.  These two teams were on the bottom last season.  It will be fun to see who ends up taking this division.  I'm going to put my money on Fargo, only because the owner has more experience.  ARFY'S PICK:  Fargo takes division, Scranton just misses playoffs

NL East
Cincinnati appears to be running away with the division as Philadelphia appears to be slipping around the .500 mark.  ARFY"S PICK: Cincinnati takes division

NL South
Texas has led pretty much the entire season.  Louisville closed the gap for a while, but then slipped back down.  Arfy is making some major moves to try to climb back into it.  ARFY'S PICK: Texas takes division for second straight year.  Louisville misses playoffs

NL WEST
Seattle is having a VERY good season.  I don't see that changing.  Oklahoma City and Colorado are duking it out about 7 or 8 games behind Seattle.    Both very good teams
ARFY'S PICK- Seattle takes division AND WORLD SERIES, Oklahoma City and Colorado both make wildcard

AL North
Dover has a 5 game lead over New York.  Although Dover hasn't had a impressive season, they are still getting it done
ARFY'S PICK- Dover takes division

AL East
Boston in complete control of their division, 8 games over Durham.  Durham is having a great season, but Boston seems to be unstoppable.  ARFY's PICK-Boston wins division 2nd straight season, and loses in World Series.  Durham gets a wildcard slot

AL South
New Orleans dominating division.  It's the only team over .500  ARFY's PICK-New Orleans wins division

AL West
Probably the most talented division in all of Pine Tar.  Again!  This is always an exciting division to watch.  St. Louis current leads with Fresno one game behind and Salem two and a half games behind.  Salem has been really hot lately closing the gap and have made some moves for a stretch run.  Salem will play both St. Louis and Fresno the last 6 games of the season.  ARFY'S PICK-St. Louis wins division for 2nd straight season.  Fresno makes a wildcard and Salem misses out on the wildcard on the very last day.

  • Two best pitching staffs in Pinetar are St.Louis and Fresno.  Very unusual for the American League to have the best pitching staff .  How unusual?  The last time an AL team led the league was in season 17 when Kansas City(Syracuse at the time) led the league with a 3.22 era.  Season's 3, 7, and 11 are the only other season a AL teams has led the league.  And the AL has NEVER had the top two teams
FLASHBACK SPOTLIGHT
S18 Jackson Juggernauts led by longtime owner bobbyj7.  Jackson won a league best 112 games that season.  It was his first HBD World Series victory.  His pitching staff was led by 20 game winner Aubrey Simmons.  The rest of his staff consisted of pitchers Dusty LindsayRube ClarkBobby Ray Ingram, Brant Clayton, Raymond Dewitt,   Vic MatosDesi Alvarez,  Ubaldo BennettWesley LandrumStone Faulkner.  His lineup consisted of: C Paul Fischer1B Max Morales, 2B James Glass,  SS  Michael Katou3B Jeff MooreLF Hipolito MatosCF Scott Harvey,  RF Jared Glynn.  How many of these players have played for you over the years?   I know I picked up a couple of them.  This team wasn't the strongest offensively, although they put up good numbers.  Jared Glynn had 45 hr, 138 rbi's.  Hipolito Matos was the only other player to hit 100+ rbi's.  He had 31hr, 115rbi's, and hit .299.   6 players on the team hit 20+ home runs.  Jeff Moore had a really solid hitting season hitting .300 and including a 20 game hitting streak in there.   This team was just powered by a really strong pitching staff and obviously great managing.  We look forward to seeing you at the top again someday Bobby.  But not too soon, since I'm in your division.


I always enjoy your feedback.  What do you like?  What don't you like?  Send me a trade chat and just say something!








Thursday, August 7, 2014

Arfy's Ramblings, Season 28

  • Iowa City off to a horrible start.  They are currently 27-59.  It looks like it will be the first time in 10 seasons that they finish under .500
  • At it's current pace Dover will finish over .500 for the 11th straight season and Durham it's 10th
  • On the other end of the spectrum.  At it's current pace Wichita will finish under .500 for the 12th straight season
  • Off topic,  the most wins in a season from one team is Syracuse from Prezuf in season 11. He went 121-41 for a .747 winning percentage.  He did not win the World Series that season.
  • A late congrats to Colorado Springs for winning the World Series in season 27.  He beat Dover 4 games to 1.  It was Toe's second World Series win in Colorado.  His first was back in season 7.
  • Fargo 10-0 this season in his division so far
  • Iowa City 0-10 in his division this season so far
  • Seattle is 22-11 in one run games this season
  • Indianapolis is 8-1 in extra inning games this season
  • Garret Heiserman from Jacksonville has 8 Complete games pitched this season already.
  • Brendan Taylor is probably the most effectively used player this season.  One of the best pitchers, and has pitched in 51 out of 86 games.  The most from any pitcher
  • Seattle's Juan Sierra, is a perfect 33 for 33 in save opportunities this season.
  • St. Louis Bryan Holmes has been caught stealing more than any other player this season  He has 3 sb and has been caught 14 times.
Highest paid players in Pinetar
  1. RF COL Pedro Reyes $20m
  2. RF NO Sam Slotnik $18m
  3. P BOS Dusty Lindsay $16m
  4. 3B SEA Raymond Petrov $14.91 m
  5. DH VAN Armando Mota $14m
  6. P TEX Jesus Amezaga $12.5m
  7. SS FRE Jim Hawpe $11.48m
  8. RF CIN Alexander Williamson $11.1m
  9. 2B FRE Benny Navarro $11m
  10. 1B PHI Jojo Frandsen $11m
  11. P ROC Patrick Wilson $11m
  12. P TEX Al Manto $10.5m
  13. P PHI Kiki Hanrahan $10.2m
  14. P SEA Brendan Taylor $10m
  15. C NO Coco Stratton $10m
  16. LF ROC Saul Trevino $10m
Highest Scoring game for one team
Team        runs  date           opponent

NY              24   7/24           vs. Nashville
Scranton     21    7/23           vs. Alb
NY             19    7/22           vs. Nashville
Nashville   19     8/2            vs. Jackson
San Juan    19    7/9             vs. New Orleans
Alb            18    7/3             vs. San Juan
Scranton    18    8/4             vs. Jacksonville
Boston       16    7/18           vs Nashville
Vancouver  16   7/14           vs. Dover
Fresno         16    7/28          vs. Dover
N.O.            16    7/17          vs. Indy
Seattle         16    7/10          vs, Jacksonville


Minor League Love
Minor League teams that are having insane crazy good seasons so far
Wichita AAA 65-22
Red Barons HiA 69-18
Magnitude HiA 65-22
Arch Angels HiA 71-16
Val Varauders Rookie 18-2
Arch Angels Rookie 17-3
Yardbirds Rookie 15-4

Teams that probably need to give their minor league some attention.  Most of these teams have lost 10+ games in a row:
Jacksonville AAA L11
Fargo AA 11-76
Pilgrims AA 15-72
Fargo HiA 12-75
Fargo LoA 15-72
Zephyrs LoA 24-63
Pilgrims LoA 24-63
Texas LoA 27-60
Iowa City Rookie 4-15

With the all star game coming up I thought it might be fun to throw together an ALL ARFY team.    It would be the team I would put together if I could have anyone in the league.  Based on this season's stats that is.   I tried to use everyone at positions they have played this season or could easily play.  Here we go:

SP1-LOU Geronimo Estrada
SP2-SEA John McNamara
SP3-FRE Wilt Sizemore
SP4-FRE Magglio Figuereo
SP5-BOS Dusty Lindsey
Long Relief-Sea Brendan Taylor
True Setup-OKC Juan Ramirez
Closer-Sea Juan Sierra
C-  BOS  Matt Jaha
1B-BOS Vinny Hill
2B-DUR Fred Inge
SS-NO Benito Miranda
3B-COL Keith Williamson
LF-FAR Tony Cabalero
CF-SEA Sean King
RF-NY Gus Justice
DH-SAL Michael Pena
Infielder-TEX Bengie Romano
Outfielder-PHI Rickey Masterson
True pinch hitter-LOU Bartolo Duran 12-20 as a pinch hitter this season
Defensive SS-HOU Yusmeiro Julio
Defesive C-TEX Sammy Goya

Snubs with no place to put them(but deserve recognition)-
1B PHI Jojo Frandsen
1B  ROC  Russell Powell
LF  SEA Houston Graves
1B  HOU Howie Jay
RF OKC Carlos Zorilla
P TB Al Rosario
P SEA Freddy Butcher
P VAN Sticky Farqua
P DUR Victor Maranon
P CIN Keith Davis
P VAN Phil Linton





Saturday, July 12, 2014

NL South Season 28 Preview

Houston Roughnecks
Owner: Bagwellbuff (7th Season)
Last Season: 69-93, 4th Place
Payroll: 41.4M out of 89M

Houston has been re-building, and has missed the playoffs for the past two seasons after winning 4 consecutive NL South titles.  Last year on offense, they ranked slightly below average (10th in NL) in batting average and homeruns.  This Roughnecks team is definitely not built for offense, as they are lacking power and the ability to reach base.  Houston’s top offensive threat is 1B Howie Jay, who was voted Rookie of the Year.  Catcher Shouhei Uehara should be counted on to reach base frequently.  I don’t see much else in terms of hitting.  Free-agent acquisitions Alex Alomar (38 SB) and Geraldo Moya will add speed to the lineup.  Keep an eye on rookie RF Napoleon Charles, who has the potential to contribute offensively and defensively.  I expect Houston to rank near the bottom of the league in offense this season. 

Houston had an above-average defensive season, ranking 6th in fielding percentage and 5th in plus-plays.  All-star selection Yusmeiro Julio is a well-rounded shortstop.  Infielders Ernest Blue (3B) and Endy Figueroa (2B) will play their respective positions well.  The Roughnecks made some offseason moves that will strengthen their defense.  They traded for catcher Angel Marin, who has great arm accuracy.  Free-agent pickup Geraldo Moya, along with rookie Deven Huckaby, have great range and will cover plenty of ground in the outfield.  Opposing base-runners should be aware of rookie Napoleon Charles, who has a cannon in RF.  I believe that the Roughnecks have an above-average defense. 

During Season 27, Houston finished dead-last with a team ERA of 4.86, and I don’t see a whole lot of improvement.  The starting rotation will struggle.  Brandon Murphy (11-8, 3.50 ERA) had a nice season, but his ratings suggest that is unlikely to happen again.  Walter Heredia (9-8, 4.39 ERA) held his own, but is near the end of his career at 37 years old.  The remainder of the starting staff had high ERAs last season and lacked control.  Stretch Campbell and free-agent acquisition Frank Buss should be respectable arms out of the bullpen.  I think that waiver pick-up Joaquin Gutierrez could be a surprise and will pitch especially well against lefties.  Closer Lou Riley (35 saves, 3.52 ERA) possesses low splits, but has had two great seasons in a row.  The bullpen shows more promise than the starters, but overall, this Houston pitching staff should rank below-average.

Future Star:  Howie Jay (26 years old) is looking to build on an impressive rookie year where he batted .311 with 35 homeruns and 107 RBIs.  He was recognized for his efforts by being voted Rookie of the Year.  Jay has great ratings in the following areas: contact, power, batting eye, split vs. RHP.  


Jackson Juggernauts
Owner: Bobbyj7 (16th Season)
Last Season: 72-90, 3rd Place
Payroll: 37.6M out of 50M

Jackson has now gone four seasons without a playoff appearance, and are far from the glory years of two consecutive World Series titles (Season 18 and 19).  Offensively, they ranked 4th in the NL in batting average, but were below-average in run production due to a lack of power.  Juan Wilfredo should be their most productive player, as he gets on base frequently (.379 career OBP) and is a threat to steal (48 SB).  Catcher Kenny Fox (.303, 22 HR, 72 RBI) was a nice free-agent pickup, and will help the offense if he stays healthy.  York Messmer has consistent ratings and should be one of the better hitting shortstops in the league.  CF Scott Harvey has put up great numbers in the past, but is near the end of his career.  The only Juggernauts with good power are LF Tom Donatello (21 HR) and 1B Vic Romero.  Jackson’s offense should be similar to last season in that they will make decent contact, but fail to drive in runs.  I rank them slightly below-average. 

Last year, Jackson had an average defensive season, ranking near the middle of the league in fielding percentage and plus-plays.  The infield looks like it will struggle.  They lost gold glove SS Adam McCorley to free-agency and lack a true shortstop.  York Messmer will try to fill the role, but made 21 errors in 63 games at the position last season.  In addition, the Juggernauts lack a glove at 2B and have low range & arm accuracy at 3B.  The current outfield setup should result in a high number of minus-plays, as LF Juan Wilfredo and RF Carlos Pena lack range.  Vince Drew is a solid defensive outfielder, and could help if he earns playing time.  The strength of the Jackson defense is their catchers.  McKay Evers (nailed 43% of base-stealers) and Kenny Fox both have outstanding arms and pitch-call ratings.  Unfortunately, the catchers don't make up for the rest of the defense...so in my opinion, the Jackson defense is below-average.

During Season 27, Jackson’s pitching ranked below-average with a 4.26 team ERA.  I don’t see much potential for improvement, as they lost Bobby Ray Ingram (3.20 ERA) and Bernard Hemmingway (3.40 ERA) in the offseason.  The Juggernaut pitching staff will be a bit wild, as many of their pitchers have low control ratings.  The starting rotation doesn’t have any true #1 or #2 starters.  Howard Tartabull should improve on a horrendous 21-loss season.  Jackson has two exciting young arms in Joakim Alvarez (23 years old) and Ralph Young (25 years old), who could have bright futures.  D.T. Cromer will lead the bullpen, as he is an outstanding relief pitcher with great control and splits.  Trenidad Casilla could also have a strong season, if he keeps his control in order.  The Juggernauts have an average closer in Octavio Canseco (26 for 31 in saves).  The rest of the bullpen should struggle.  Overall, I believe that the Jackson pitching staff is below-average.

Future Star:  D.T. Cromer (25 years-old) is beginning his third season in the majors and should be one of Jackson's top relief pitchers.  Thus far, he has registered a 2.91 career earned-run average and a 1.07 WHIP.  Cromer has only allowed opposing teams to bat .225 against him.   


Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF’s
Owner: Arfy (13th Season)
Last Season: 73-89, 2nd Place
Payroll: 75M out of 95M

Louisville had a disappointing year, after winning 95 games and the NL South division title in Season 26.  Their offense ranked in the bottom-half of the NL in batting average, runs, and homeruns.  RF Omar Carrasco is the best all-around hitter, and should improve on a disappointing season.  24 year-old Pedro Sanchez will contribute both contact and power.  RF Virgil Hannity will be productive, as he has a career .390 on-base percentage.  The remainder of the lineup will need to be used in the proper situation to be successful.  Julio Silva (22 HR, 86 RBI) and free-agent pickup Rafael Hernandez (26 HR, 84 RBI) will hit for power, but not average.  Ben Tate and Braden Fussell will hit righties, but not lefties.  SS Eduardo Tabata is a beast on the bases (45 SB), but has low contact and splits.  I predict that the ARF ARF ARF ARF's (why so many ARFs?) offense will rank slightly below-average, but could be better with some good situational managing.

Last season, Louisville ranked toward the middle of the NL in fielding percentage, but had very good play from their catchers.  Catching will continue to be the strong-point of the defense with Jonny Lincoln, who threw out 38% of steal attempts and calls a great game.  Louisville also has decent depth at that position in Bartolo Duran.  Shortstop Eduardo Tabata has good range and an outstanding arm, which contributed to 21 plus-plays last season.  However, Tabata could use a slight improvement on his glove.  Rule 5 selection Max Pujols should have a great season at 2B, and Julio Silva (3B) will be okay as he lacks arm strength.  I am a big fan of the ARF ARF’s outfield when Ben Tate (CF) and Braden Fussell (LF) are in the lineup.  Otherwise, it is an average outfield.  Overall, I would rate the Louisville defense to be above-average.  The amount of “above” depends on how many errors are made at shortstop and who is playing the outfield.

Louisville finished Season 27 with a 3.83 team ERA, which ranked them 6th in the NL.  However, they had a tough time holding onto leads as the bullpen only converted 41 saves out of 63 opportunities.  Louisville’s starting rotation has the potential to be successful, as they have depth.  Geronimo Estrada (16-9, 2.54 ERA in Season 26) can be an effective ace if he stays healthy this season.  Ariel Mateo (13-11, 3.71 ERA) is a solid #2, and I believe that Clay Vernon will rebound from a sub-par year.  One criticism is that the rotation has weaker ratings against left-handed hitters.  The ARF ARF’s attempted to improve the bullpen by signing a bunch of old, cheap veteran pitchers in the offseason.  It will be interesting to see if that works out well for them.  Jair Bonilla and Esteban Avila (0.99 WHIP) should perform well in a setup role.  Closer Carlos Flores comes to the NL from St. Louis, where he saved 50 games and won the Fireman of the Year award.  I believe that the bullpen could use more depth.  I expect Louisville’s pitching staff to rank slightly above-average.  

Future Star:  Pedro Sanchez (24 years-old) is entering his third season as a big-league first baseman.  Last season, he made a strong contribution to the Louisville offense by hitting .287 with 22 homeruns and 59 RBIs.  Although his splits are somewhat low, he has outstanding contact, power, and batting eye ratings. 


Texas GalvestonWave
Owner: Erichanville (4th Season)
Last Season: 92-70, 1st Place – Lost in LCS
Payroll: 113.7M out of 114M

Texas broke out of the cellar last season, as they won the division title and were only one game away from making a World Series appearance.  Last season’s offense had a great combination of batting average and power, as their run production ranked 2nd in the NL.  Texas has two offensive studs in all-star Alan Wilson (.351 BA, 25 HR, 89 RBI, .436 OBP) and young slugger Dicky Stanley.  All-stars Bengie Romano (.308 BA, 22 SB) and Jake Ashley (.288 BA, 19 HR) will also contribute to the offense on multiple levels.  Texas released power-hitter Victor Alexander (35 HR, 112 RBI) and will try to replace him with free-agent acquisition Allan Gruber, who is coming off of a disappointing season.  P.T. Rosa has consistent ratings and should help the offense, but I don’t see much else.  Additionally, this GalvestonWave team definitely lacks speed.  I might be missing something, but my prediction is that the Texas offense is just slightly above-average, and that is because they had such great numbers last season.

Texas finished last season with a stellar NL ranking of second in fielding percentage and third in caught-stealing percentage.  They have two outstanding catchers in Nolan McClellan and Sammy Goya, who will throw out base-stealers and call a solid game.  Shortstop Joel Reid has a great arm, but could use better glove skills for this position.  Jake Ashley will be a vacuum at 3B and Bengie Romano (2B) will make multiple plus-plays with his range, but could also use a small improvement on his glove skills.  CF Birdie McNamara should have an exceptional season, as he is in the lineup solely for his defense.  P.T. Rosa will also be expected to have a great season in LF with his range and strong arm.  The Texas defense is almost a carbon-copy of Louisville’s, so I’ll rank them above-average.  Joel Reid’s performance at SS will determine if they are good or great.

The GalvestonWave pitching staff looks to improve on a National League ranking of 4th in team ERA (3.76).  They also finished second in saves with 59.  The Texas starting rotation is loaded with groundball pitchers.  It looks like they will be using a 6-man rotation, as some have low stamina ratings.  Diego Benitez is the ace and has had an ERA in the low 2’s for four consecutive years.  He will not give Texas many innings though.  Billy Lloyd (12 wins, 2.72 ERA) and free-agent pickup Al Manto (12 wins, 2.39 ERA) will also be solid starters.  The bottom-of-rotation pitchers should be good for those roles.  The Texas bullpen got even better with the addition of Davey Diaz (3.65 ERA) and Cozy Lawrence (3.32 ERA).  At 38 years-old, Jesus Amezaga (341 career saves) is still one of the best relievers in baseball.  Brett Rogers also returns after having a great year.  I believe that this Texas pitching staff will rank toward the top of the National League.

Future Star:  Dicky Stanley (26 years-old) finally broke out after a number of sub-par MLB seasons consisting of limited playing time.  He was a huge reason why Texas ranked 2nd in run-production, as he hit .309 with 35 homers and 125 RBIs.  Stanley has one of the best power ratings in the league, draws a good number of walks, and hits especially well versus right-handed pitchers.  


Prediction:


The NL South should be a two-team race between Texas and Louisville this season.  I expect Texas to win their second consecutive division title.  They have outstanding pitching, along with hitting and fielding that is better than average.  Louisville has above-average pitching and fielding.  However, their offense should struggle, which is why I am predicting them to be the runner-up.  Houston and Jackson are both in the middle of a rebuilding plan, and should not be considered contenders.  Houston has a strong defense, which gives them the edge for the #3 spot.  I expect Jackson to struggle in all three areas of the game this season, although they do have some young pitchers who I will be keeping an eye on. 

1.  Texas
2.  Louisville
3.  Houston
4.  Jackson