Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NL West- Season 29 preview

Somehow Seattle made their way back to the top of this division last season after a 3 year post season drought. They ended up with the #1 seed in the NL, but that didn't help them. They went on to lose to division rival Colorado Springs 3-2 in the Division championship series. Colorado Springs finished in second after 3 straight division titles and went on to lose in the NLCS to Scranton. In third place was Oklahoma City, who ended a 17 season playoff drought. It also marked the first back to back winning seasons for this franchise since seasons 8-10. They eventually lost to Scranton in the Wild Card round. Albuquerque finished in last. They were likely the most disappointing team in the NL after finishing the previous season with 92 wins and a wild card berth. This has become a very competitive division with 4 teams that have post season potential.


Seattle Strikers
owner- ghutton9(22 seasons)
Season 28 record- 100-62(NL West champs)
Last 5 seasons- 379-411

Offensively, this is not a team with much pop. They have solid contact abilities and really good batting eyes. They should get on base a lot. They even mix in some decent speed. The defense is among the best in the league. They could use a bit better glove at shortstop, but they have a great centerfielder and good gloves at most positions with really good range. They could be a top 3 defense. The rotation is good. They have a few good top of the rotation type pitchers and solid back end guys as well. The bullpen is this teams real strength. It's a deep bullpen and the guys at the top of it are among the best in the league. The pitching staff ranks in the upper half of the NL. Seattle should be tough to knock from the top of the division this season and could even make a post season run.

Owners perspective- Since the preview is basically my perspective anyway, I'll tell you how I feel about my team. I'm off to a great start, but I don't feel like this will be the norm for my team. I do feel like they are good, but I think I'm still a piece or two away. I like my off season additions and feel like my team is better than they were last season. This might be my favorite team I've ever put together.


Colorado Springs Night Watchmen
owner- toe64(28 seasons)
Season 28 record- 96-66(Wild Card, NL runner up)
Last 5 seasons- 474-336

This team has a good amount of power. They also have some guys that can hit and get on base. They aren't a team that will steal a lot of bases. I really think they have a good offense. I put them in the top 5 of the NL. The defense is below average though. They lack a real shortstop and a centerfielder with range. I think if anything will be this teams downfall, it'll be the defense. I rank them near the bottom of the league. The rotation looks about average and they lack an ace. They have a good group of mid rotation guys to make up for that though. The bullpen has a few good arms, but they lack depth. That could hurt over the long run. The pitching staff looks about average to me. This team has the offense to really be good, but I don't know if it'll be enough to overcome the defense issues. This is still a good team, but they'll need some things to go their way in order to take the division title.

Owners perspective- I have virtually the same team as last year minus King Ashburn in center which was a big loss. Nonetheless, appears another year of age on my guys is the straw that broke the camels back. Not much to say except it's a marathon and not a sprint. We'll see how that works out for me.


Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs
owner- brentcnb(16 seasons)
Season 28 record- 91-71(Wild Card)
Last 5 seasons- 392-418

This team gets it's power from 2 players and one of those, Jin-Chi Yamamoto is a superstar. They have some good hitting and decent batting eyes. They also have some good speed. This is a really good offense. The defense is solid but they don't look good at shortstop. The rest of the field will feature pretty good gloves though. That is what brings them to slightly above average. The rotation is below average, but they have lots of options and guys with good stamina and control. The bullpen is pretty much the same since some of those potential starters will be relieving. The pitching as a whole is a little less than average. I really like this teams offense and the defense is pretty solid also. I think that should be enough to help this team contend again this season and possibly get them into the post season.

Owners perspective- I tried to improve the team defensively with a couple FA signings. Strength of the team is probably speed and defense. That is probably my biggest concern in that the pitching staff is maybe a bit above average but not much and the overall hitting ability of the team leaves something to be desired. The Prairie Dogs could finish anywhere from 1st to 4th in the division and it would not surprise me.


Albuquerque Komodo Dragons
owner- csudak(9 seasons)
Season 28 record- 73-89
Last 5 seasons- 368-442

Albuquerque is a team that can hit some homeruns. They have quite a bit of power. They also should have a really good OBP as they have plenty of players with good hitting eyes and contact. They also have good speed. This could be the best offense in a division that has plenty of it. I wouldn't be surprised to see them score the most runs in the NL this season. Defensively they are average. I like the shortstop, but they don't have good range in centerfield. That's OK though, they have solid range and defense at most spots in the field. The rotation isn't bad, but they are below average. This team really lacks an impact starter at the top of the rotation. They also have plenty of options for the rotation as they have plenty of pitchers with good stamina. The bullpen is made up with those guys and that's not really a good thing. The bullpen doesn't look very good. I think this is a below average pitching staff that could use a few good arms. This team still looks pretty good overall though. I think they can challenge for the top spot and if not win the division they could still get into the playoffs.

Owners perspective- Thoughts on my team 1) Love my hitting, good solid young talent at most positions, 2) Fielding is questionable, probably going to cost me a few games, 3) I can't get pitching. Even when I think I have solid guys, the results just aren't there. In theory, my best pitcher over the last 2 seasons has been Preston Reese, which makes zero sense and he is on the DL for the first half of the year. My goal is to move hitting for younger pitchers and hope I find a couple of gems. Even with the rough start, I'm hoping to challenge for a wild card spot if I can piece a staff together.


Predictions
I'm really liking my Seattle team this season and really feel like they can make a good run in the post season. This is a really tough division though. Colorado Springs features a really good offense, but the defense and pitching aren't as good. They should still finish above .500 this season and challenge for at least a wild card spot. Oklahoma City looks really close to Colorado Springs. I'm not sure they can take the top spot, but they should battle for a wild card. Albuquerque looks like the closest team to taking the division title from Seattle. The pitching holds them back a bit, but the offense offsets that and the defense is better than OKC and CSP. I think all 4 teams finish above .500 and it's going to be a close race at the end. At least one team, if not two will take a wild card spot.

1. Seattle
2. Albuquerque
3. Oklahoma City
4. Colorado Springs

SEASON 29 AL WEST PREVIEW

SEASON 29 AL WEST PREVIEW

AL WEST

Always one of the closest divisions in Pine Tar.  Last season wasn't entirely different.  Salem made a couple of late season trades and then really went on a tear and ended up winning the division by 10 games.  They ended up winning the World Series.   It was the franchises second WS victory. Their first game in season one, under a different owner.  It also marked the franchises first playoff appearance in 8 seasons.   Fresno finished 2nd last season under previous ownership.  It marked their fourth straight winning season.  St. Louis finished third winning 91 games, but still took the wild card.  It was their fourth straight winning season and their 8th playoff appearance in the last 12 seasons.   Vancouver finished in last place.  It was their first last place finish in 10 seasons.  It also broke the franchises winning streak of 7 seasons.

Salem Volcanoes
Owner:Jkenned (7th season)
Last Season-103-59(1st Place)
Last 5 seasons-421-389(.520)
Payroll-$71.8m
Draft Pick-53rd

Great defense.   Great speed and baserunning.  Offense is one of the best in the AL, and they have great power.  Their pitching staff is easily the best in the American League.  100 wins?  I would think so.

Fresno Grizzlies
Owner: dlmose(1st season)
Last Season-93-69(2nd Place)
Last 5 seasons-442-368(.546)
Payroll-$75.1m
Draft Pick-28th

Defense is below average.  Great speed and baserunning.    Their hitting is below average and the team essentially has no power.    Pitching is below average.    I don't see this team winning 93 games again.

St. Louis Arch Angels
Owner: Flucie(15th season)
Last Season-91-71(3rd Place)
Last 5 seasons-435-375(.537)
Payroll-$89.5m
Draft Pick-26th

Defense is probably the weakest in the AL.   Poor speed and baserunning.  Hitting is above average with above average power.   Great pitching.  Should be another good season in St. Louis.


Vancouver Canucks
Owner: skplayer07(12th season)
Last Season-74-88(4th Place)
Last 5 seasons-424-386(.523)
Payroll-$87.1m
Draft Pick-13th

Defense is one of the best in the AL.    Average speed and baserunning.  Hitting is solid with decent power.  Pitching staff looks really good, above average.   Vancouver should be right back in the thick of things this season

Interviews

I spoke with Jkenned about his first Pinetar WS victory.  Congrats on your first Pine Tar World Series victory last season. How do you feel about this years team compared to last?  His response: We are a better team to start the year than last year with a full season from Rymer Tavarez and Lonny Gonzalez in the rotation. I just hope that Darren Banks can replace the production that the Volcanoes received from Sticky Farhquar after he came over in a midseason trade. The offensive should be better this season as well with a full season of Hipoloto Arredando. With the youth and depth of the lineup and with solid production from the rotation I think this group has a shot at repeating, especially given that the other squads in the division have lost a number of key pieces since last year.

I also spoke to newcomer dlmose.  Welcome to Pine Tar dlmose! The only new owner in the American League this season. How do you feel about the franchise you have inherited, and what are your expectations for your first season here?  His response: Fresno Factoids: 7 new pos. players( 4 Rule 5's) and 8 new pithcers(1 R5) set the lofty goal of somehow winning 60 games No talent in minors but have 7 picks in first 50 in this season's draft I already drink so no worries. Me: Any comment on why you called your team the Grizzlies? dlmose:  It's the name of the Fresno minor league team. I pondered on "The Fresno Raisin Eaters" which was the 1906 team but ran out of single malt in time.

Vancouver press release: After a disappointing season Vancouver is hoping to rebound and make the playoffs this season.With the signing a true leadoff hitter in Houston Graves and addition of Apollo Fletcher to the pen the Canucks are looking like they are in good position to have good season. Look for Yoshinori Zhou to anchor the rotation and be a possible Cy Young candidate. Willie Tarasco will bat 3rd and be a beast as usual. Im expecting this to be a 90 win season or else a failure.

Predictions

A great Salem team, just got better in the off season.  There are many good teams in this division again this season, but I think Salem might be in a class of their own.  Vancouver and St. Louis seem to be pretty even in many categories, however I think St. Louis's weak defense is going to cost them a few games.  This division should still win a wildcard this season.  Fresno appears to be lacking in too many categories to compete.  I'm sure new ownership will have that team heading in the right direction before we know it.

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

SEASON 29 AL SOUTH PREVIEW

SEASON 29 AL SOUTH PREVIEW

AL SOUTH

Last season New Orleans won this division pretty easily, as he was the only team to even finish over .500.  They have won the division 2 of the last 3 seasons and have 6 winning seasons in a row now.  Florida, previously in San Juan finished 2nd place.  That marked the second straight losing season for the franchise.  Just a side note, this franchise has never won the division.  Nashville finished tied for 3rd last season.  It was actually the first time in 7 seasons that they didn't finish in dead last.  Tampa Bay finished tied for third last season.  It broke a streak of 9 straight winning seasons.

New Orleans Zephyrs
Owner: Fantasy Frea(8th season)
Last Season-88-74(1st Place)
Last 5 seasons- 439-371(.542)
Payroll-$79.5m
Draft Pick-32nd

Defense is one of the strongest in the AL.  Good speed and baserunning.  Hitting is slightly below average, and their power is about average.  Probably one of the weakest pitching staffs in the league.  I don't see this team winning 88 games again this season.

Florida Retirees
Previously San Juan Pollos Hermanos
Owner: Soxfan_9(13th season)
Last Season-75-87(2nd Place)
Last 5 seasons-412-398(.509)
Payroll-$84.2m
Draft Pick-14th

Defense is slightly above average.  Good speed and baserunning.  Offense is slightly above average.with average power.  Pitching is not too impressive,  below average.  I would expect to see them finish right around the record they did last season.

Nashville Merchants
Previously Nashville Nalas
Owner:Blapo21(3rd season)
Last Season-69-93(T-3rd)
Last 5 seasons-287-523(.354)
Payroll-$56.2m
Draft Pick-6th

Defense is slightly above average.    Not very good speed and baserunning.  Their offense is probably one of the strongest in the AL.    Slightly above average power.  And their pitching is very strong.    It's about time this team finished tanking.  Should be a great season in Nashville.

Tampa Bay Thunder
Owner:rxw1(29th Season, A Pinetar original)
Last Season-69-93(T-3rd)
Last 5 seasons-434-376(.536)
Payroll-$76.1m
Draft Pick-7th 

Defense is about average.  Above average speed and baserunning.  Offense is slightly above average but they have alot of power in the lineup.  This team should score alot of runs. Pitching is slightly above average.  I don't see this team having another losing season.

Interviews:

I asked Fantasy Frea, You don't look as strong as previous seasons. Are you taking a step back this season?  His response: I didn't mean to, but I ran out of funds. I meant to decline the options on Slotnick and Stratton, but I got busy and when I finally got on it was to late.

I also spoke to Soxfan_9.  You changed cities from San Juan to Florida. What was the reasoning behind your change? His response: My team was terrible in San Juan with a team that should have competed most seasons. Just wanted a new start and Retirees seemed fitting with Florida.

I also spoke to Blapo21 about moving.  You changed your team name from the Nala's to the Merchants. Does this team name change have any meaning behind it?  His response: My favorite downtown easygoing restaurant when I'm in Nashville

Tampa Bay Press Release: Season 29 looks to be a rebuilding year for the Thunder after only their 4th losing season in team history. I like to rebuild in flight, so we will added some youth on offense by adding a great young talent in Daniel Acosta and Ron Atkins then look pickup addition players in trades & International talent. With the #7 pick in the draft and some you pitchers making their way to the show, the Thunder should be ready to reload and contend quickly.

Prediction

I believe we are about to see the changing of the guard here in the South.  With probably the best pitching staff and the best lineup, I don't see anyone beating out Nashville.   Nashville might even be good enough to compete for the AL pennant this season.   Tampa Bay has a good strong team, but not quite in the same category as Nashville.  I think the biggest question mark in this division will be who will finish in 3rd.  I go back and forth on this one, and it could go either way.  I expect these teams to finish somewhere in the 70-75 win mark.

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

NL South-Season 29 preview

For the second time in the past three seasons, Louisville took this division title. The 95 wins by Louisville tied a franchise best, all of which have been done by the current owner, Arfy. Even with the first round bye, they still failed to win a playoff series. Finishing in second place was Texas. Even with 90 wins, the team failed to make the post season. Houston is a team that is rebuilding, but still managed to win 81 games last season. Even while rebuilding, this franchise still competes. The franchise in Jackson has been rebuilding for the past 5 seasons now and finished in last place with just 61 wins. That happens to be the worst record for them under the current ownership.


Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's
owner- Arfy(13 seasons)
Season 28 record- 95-67 (NL South Champs)
Last 5 seasons- 437-373

The offense in Louisville looks about average this season. They have decent power, a few good hitters and solid batting eyes in the lineup. They also have some decent speed on the team, but most of the stolen base threats aren't very good at getting on base. The offense is middle of the pack, but an addition or two could really give them a boost. The defense is about average. They really lack a shortstop with a good glove, but what they have will do. They really have solid gloves for most positions on the diamond and I love the range this team has. This team features a really good rotation. They have 4 really good starters, a true ace and even a solid number 5 with a backup option as well. The bullpen isn't as good as the rotation, but it's not bad. This might be the best staff I've previewed so far. Louisville should end up in the post season again, and I'd be surprised if they don't at least match last seasons record. I could see them making a post season run, if not for Arfy running the team. I'm joking of course, but man does he have some bad luck in the post season.

Owners perspective- Louisville is looking at the same old song and dance. We are an aging team, especially on our pitching staff. We have 6 pitchers 35 or older. I also believe that we have the best pitching staff from top to bottom in all of the league. Our hitting shouldn't be too bad either. Decent for the regular season. Offense lacks any superstars. Probably not enough pop in the lineup for the playoffs. Will certainly need to add a piece or two if I want to get any further than usual.


Texas GalvestonWave
owner- erichanville(4 seasons)
Season 28 record- 90-72
Last 5 seasons- 398-412

I'm liking the look of the offense in Texas. They have some good power, some good hitters and guys that can get on base. They even have a couple players that can get on base and swipe a bag. I think this is an above average offense if not top 5 in the NL. Texas has an above average defense, but they could use a shortstop with a bit better glove to really give them a top defense. They have the players at key positions to field a pretty solid D. The rotation looks good, but they will likely have some control issues. The bullpen doesn't have those control issues. They are an above average group with solid depth. I think Texas can really push Louisville for the top spot in the division this season and should at least make a good run at a wild card spot. This is a 90+ win group of players.

Owners perspective- The part I like about my club is the new addition of Molina, who should give us a little more power in the lineup. My main worries will be the defense and the bottom of the rotation. If they can hold up then I might make the playoffs this season, I hope.


Houston Roughnecks
owner- bagwellbuff(7 seasons)
Season 28 record- 81-81
Last 5 seasons- 435-375

This team has a below average offense. They lack good power and don't have many hitters that can get on base at a good clip. While they do have some speed, I'm not sure those players can get on base enough to make a difference. The defense is solid all around the diamond, but I'd like to see a centerfielder with more range and a shortstop with a bit better glove. I'll put them at average due to that. The rotation features a couple nice pitchers and youngster Albert Olivo could continue to develop. The bullpen looks about average and features youngster Khiry Clark who will continue to grow as well. This pitching staff is the strength of the team. That will not be enough to move Houston up near the top of the division, but I believe that they will continue to be a competitive team this season.


Jackson Juggernauts
owner- bobbyj7(16 seasons)
Season 28 record- 61-101
Last 5 seasons- 373-437

This isn't a team with good power. They do have some good contact hitters though and a couple of guys that can get on base. I also think this team has the ability to steal a lot of bases. The offense is just below average this season. The defense really isn't very good. The shortstop has good range, but he'll make too many errors. That will be the problem at most positions. The rotation ranks in the bottom half of the league. The lack any top of the rotation type starters and are mostly a patchwork group. The bullpen is right in line with that. Overall, this is a bad pitching staff. Jackson will continue another year of rebuilding, but the offense should keep them in games. I think they'll finish real close to the same record again this season.

Owners perspective- Another rebuilding year in Jackson.


Predictions
With a couple of the teams in rebuild mode, this is a two team race for the division crown. Louisville is the reigning champ and they have the makings of a pretty good team again. I think they are one of the top few teams in the NL. Texas is pretty good as well, but I don't think they have enough to take the division. I could see them getting a wild card spot though and possibly even winning a round in the post season. Houston is rebuilding but they are still competitive and should win 70+ games this season. Jackson is the team that is the farthest off from being competitive and I think they'll finish at the bottom.

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