Friday, December 31, 2010

NL West Season 14 Previews

SEASON 14 NL WEST PREVIEWSDue to time constraints and the season on going, I'm going to forgo the preview summary.

Seattle Strikers
Season 13 record- (93-69, 1st division)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-14th (.254); OBP-12th (.328);  Home Runs-15th (154);  Runs-11th (761);  Steals-1st (292)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-1st (3.42);   Opp Avg-1st (.233);  Strike Outs-8th (1107);  Saves-6th (49)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-1st (.990);  Plus Plays-1st (103);  Minus Plays-1st (13)

Key Acquisitions- 1B Miguel Pichardo(tr-Chi), RP Hal Davenport(tr-Syr), SP Warren Hargrave(tr-Syr), SP Don Corey(resigned), SP Al Rivers(FA), LF Paxton Sutton(FA), RP Cam Hogan(FA), RP Jayson Crawford(resigned)
Key Losses- P Carl Piatt(tr-Chi), 3B Kory Garland(tr-Syr), SS Buster Starr(tr-Syr), 1B Jorge Cueto(FA), 1B Tony Cummings(FA), RP Matthew Helton(FA), RP Carlton Harding(FA)

Well this is my team. I would hate to give my analysis of the team because it would make everyone think I'm an idiot no matter which way I go with it. I stick with the facts. After 3 straight winning seasons, Seattle went all out this off season and made many changes that they hope to be for the better. The player payroll is the highest it has ever been. They upgraded the rotation with the trade for Hargrave, which allows the team to move the other pitchers to a spot in the rotation that they truly belong. The relief pitching took a major hit losing Helton, Harding and Piatt. The team has tried to upgrade the offense which has been terrible season after season. The team traded away 2 key defensive players in Starr and Garland, that helped the team to a #1 defense. The team brought in offensive players over defense and it remains to be seen if that will help the team from disappointing again this season. While Seattle has won the division in 4 out of the last 5 seasons, only once have they made it out of their opening playoff series. It should be an interesting season to see how all the new faces mesh together.

Colorado Springs Night Watchmen
Season 13 record- (91-71, Wild Card)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-13th (.261); OBP-8th (.333);  Home Runs-5th (234);  Runs-7th (814);  Steals-16th (50)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-10th (4.53);   Opp Avg-11th (.270);  Strike Outs-14th (1047);  Saves-3rd (53)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-7th (.983);  Plus Plays-9th (47);  Minus Plays-8th (47)

Key Acquisitions- SP Ezdra Johnson(FA), C Chuck Daniels(FA), RP Dorian Myers(FA), SP Bill Kydd(promoted)
Key Losses- SP Chet Spencer(FA), 3B Banana Wakeland(FA), SP Ryan Gonzalez(FA), C Matty Padilla(FA), RP Roy Hiatt(FA)

This team may not have won the division title last season, but I believe they were the most successful. They ended a 4 season drought from the post season, they broke the 90 win mark for the first time in 6 seasons, and beat Seattle in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. They didn't have the best pitching, hitting or fielding, but this team found ways to win. They bolstered the pitching staff in the off season and I expect them to be a better pitching team this season. They didn't do anything to upgrade the fielding and hitting though. I don't think they have a very good hitting team, but I think their fielding is pretty good. They lack range in the field but the gloves are solid. I think this team has a good shot at 90 wins again this season, but I'm not sure if they win the division. They should be in it till the end though.

Scottsdale Scorpions
Season 13 record- (87-75)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-3rd (.277); OBP-1st (.349);  Home Runs-2nd (266);  Runs-2nd (878);  Steals-13th (59)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-9th (4.46);   Opp Avg-14th (.276);  Strike Outs-3rd (1169);  Saves-12th (40)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-10th (.981);  Plus Plays-12th (35);  Minus Plays-16th (96)

Key Acquisitions- SP Eli Mercado(FA),  3B Bret Schneider(FA)
Key Losses- SP Steve Brock(FA)

Scottsdale has raised their win total in each of the last 5 seasons, but after a season in which they made the playoffs they missed them last season. That would usually mean that it was a disappointing season, but this team is coming off many losing seasons and improving the win total is a big positive. They finished toward the top of the league offensively last season and kept around most of their players. They should be an offensive force once again. The pitching and fielding ranked in the middle of the league though. Losing Brock was a blow to the rotation, but they signed Mercado to replace him. In those moves the teams pitching will take a little bit of a hit. The defense is still a weakness for this team and really the pitching on the team isn't that bad. I think the defense hurts the pitching. I think it's playoffs or bust for this team. They have a really good team, but the defense worries me. They have the talent and really this organization is in the best shape in quite some time. They could be my pick to take the division, but if not then I think wild card for sure.

Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs
Season 13 record- (67-95)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-15th (.250); OBP-15th (.311);  Home Runs-12th (192);  Runs-15th (654);  Steals-15th (56)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-6th (4.16);   Opp Avg-8th (.266);  Strike Outs-10th (1076);  Saves-13th (39)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-16th (.972);  Plus Plays-11th (43);  Minus Plays-13th (67)

Key Acquisitions- OF/1B Benji Moreno(tr-KC), 2B Junior Spiers(FA), 1B Vic Rijo(promoted), P Perry Keefe(promoted), SS Billy Kashmir(promoted)
Key Losses- RP Lonny Sojo(FA)

This franchise has seen 3 straight losing seasons since winning this division, with last season being the lowest point. This teams position players just weren't very good. They couldn't hit and they couldn't field. The teams pitching wasn't bad though. With better fielding they could have been a top 3 pitching team. The only key loss this team suffered in the off season was a big loss. Sojo is a very good relief pitcher and should be tough to replace. They traded for Moreno, who isn't going to help this team much. The signing of Spiers will upgrade the hitting and fielding a bit. I also like the players this team promoted.
This is a really young team that has nowhere to go but up. They do have some real good hitters, they have a few good pitchers as well. The teams biggest problems will be defensively and the starting rotation. My summary is that this team is better, but not enough to get over the 500 mark.

I'm actually pretty excited about this division. Even though the division has put 2 teams in the playoffs the past couple seasons, it wasn't a very strong division. That is changing. The top 3 teams are going to battle it out this season and even the bottom team is getting better. Since I jinxed Scottsdale last season, I'm going to go ahead and jinx myself this season. Seattle should win the division but not by much, and Scottsdale is my pick for the wild card. Colorado Springs could even win this division but I have to make predictions.
3.)Colorado Springs
4.)Oklahoma City

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NL South Season 14 Previews


Monterrey Jacks
Season 13 record- (99-63, 1st division)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-6th (.268); OBP-7th (.335);  Home Runs-1st (282);  Runs-1st (881);  Steals-6th (113)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-5th (3.98);   Opp Avg-7th (.260);  Strike Outs-1st (1226);  Saves-4th (51)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-14th (.979);  Plus Plays-12th (35);  Minus Plays-12th (65)

Key Acquisitions- 2B Sam Wigginton(tr-Far), CF Jay Knotts(FA), RP Brant Service(FA), RP Clarence Cain(FA), LF Al Keeler(resigned), 1B Craig Adkinson(promoted)
Key Losses- RP Cam Hogan(FA), RP Robin Schalk(FA), LF Kevin Kyung(FA), LF/1B Paul Wang(FA), 2B Douglas Wilson(released)

Monterrey had a pretty successful regular season in season 13. They won the division for the second straight season and fifth time in team history. They produced the third straight 90 win season and matched the franchise high in wins. They had an above average offense, above average pitching, but were not a very good fielding team. The team had the #1 overall seed in the post season, but unfortunately, lost to Charleston in the divisional round 3 games to 1. So last season overall has to be considered a disappointment. The team made plenty of off season moves to try and make up for that. I really like the acquisition of Wigginton. The signing of Knotts will also help this team out. I don't think they did much to help out the fielding problems they had though. This team is clearly built on hitting over fielding from their position players. I could see that team average ranked even higher next season and this team could very well lead the NL in runs again. This team also has a very good pitching staff. Most likely one of the best in the league. My prediction for Monterrey is that they will top the 100 win mark and will be tough to beat for this division title.

Charleston Riverdogs
Season 13 record- (93-69)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-8th (.266); OBP-3rd (.341);  Home Runs-3rd (243);  Runs-4th (833);  Steals-12th (67)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-2nd (3.78);   Opp Avg-2nd (.246);  Strike Outs-7th (1116);  Saves-7th (48)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-3rd (.986);  Plus Plays-4th (64);  Minus Plays-5th (34)

Key Acquisitions- RF Alton Olson(tr-Far), LF Magglio Coronado(tr-Far), 2B Douglas Wilson(FA), SP Steve Brock(FA), SP Joel Norris(FA), LF/1B Frank Martin(resigned)
Key Losses-2B Pepper Sanders(tr-Far), P Rafael Gutierrez(FA), 3B Juan Otanez(FA), SP Travis Bush(FA)

After 6 seasons in a row of winning this division Charleston has slipped a bit the past couple seasons. After a second straight second place finish, they made up for it with a second straight appearance in the World Series though. Slipping isn't how this franchise should look at it. The only thing that could stop them was a punishing Syracuse team that swept them in the World Series. A second straight championship just wasn't meant to be. Overall, this team had really good pitching and fielding last season. While the team had a decent batting average they were above average where it counted on offense and that was scoring runs. They didn't appear to need to do much in the off season at all, but they did. I question the decision to pick up the option on the, way past his prime, Jonathan Grebeck. The moves they made were mostly for older players and I don't really like that, but this team does have some young talent to go with the veterans. Overall, I think they have a really good fielding team, and their pitching staff is really good as well. They don't really have an innings eater starting for them though and that could wear on this staff as the season goes on. Offensively the team has plenty of power and a few players that can get on base as well. I think this team will still be a very good team that will be tough to beat, but I don't think this will be the year they can get back on top of this division. A return to the World Series isn't likely, but with this ownership anything can happen. I think they are a wild card contender.

Jackson Juggernauts
Season 13 record- (69-93)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-10th (.265); OBP-10th (.331);  Home Runs-7th (229);  Runs-9th (794);  Steals-7th (105)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-7th (4.23);   Opp Avg-3rd (.248);  Strike Outs-5th (1149);  Saves-16th (34)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-12th (.980);  Plus Plays-3rd (65);  Minus Plays-2nd (26)

Key Acquisitions-  LF Cal Durham(Rule V), 2B James Glass(promoted)
Key Losses-  3B Benny Carrasco(released), 1B Ricardo Peron(released)

This team stayed fairly quiet in the off season. After 8 straight losing seasons and 7 owners in that time frame, this team may finally be getting some direction as bobbyj7 is in a second season as owner. They've only had one winning season in the teams history and the team deserves a little direction by now. They have a really young team and some of the young players have good talent. They also have a few players in the minors that will be able to help this team out fairly soon. Last season this team ranked toward the bottom of the league in fielding and I don't think that will change much this season. They were barely in the upper half of the league in pitching and I think that will probably remain about the same if not a little better. They were in the bottom half of the league in hitting and I'm pretty sure they will be again. In this division they don't stand a chance, but a better record than last season is attainable. It will probably be another long season for Jackson, but I do believe there is some light at the end of this tunnel.

Texas Beavers
Season 13 record- (67-95)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-7th (.267); OBP-9th (.332);  Home Runs-13th (191);  Runs-10th (764);  Steals-11th (88)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-16th (5.51);   Opp Avg-15th (.287);  Strike Outs-11th (1071);  Saves-14th (37)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-4th (.985);  Plus Plays-6th (60);  Minus Plays-3rd (28)

Key Acquisitions- CF Julio Tavarez(tr-Chi), RP Scott Easterly(tr-Min), SS Jorge Lopez(tr-Tol), C Tom Gonzales(tr-Van), LF/1B Orval Yeats(tr-Syr), RP Bernard Hoffman(tr-Tol), 2B Luke Ryan(FA), SP Patsy Cummings(FA), CF Chul Zhang(promoted), SP Rico Bravo(promoted)
Key Losses- SP Miguel Morlan(tr-Tol), 1B Matty Coco(tr-Van), C Pascual Ortiz(released)

After 5 straight losing seasons this team decided it was time to make some changes. I'm not sure if there was another team in the league that made more changes this off season than Texas. They went all out to make this team competitive this season. Most of the moves made were through trades and they only signed a couple free agents. Luke Ryan, who was one of the free agents signed, will be a huge upgrade for this team. This is a pretty young team and they now have quite a bit of talent on the roster. The only move I don't like for this team was trading Coco. That was a real good bat to lose and I don't feel comfortable with his replacement as a full time player. Last season this team was a decent hitting bunch, and were pretty good in the field as well. They were terrible when it came to pitching. The moves they made are going to add some speed to this teams lineup and that was something they needed. They have players that can get on base but I don't think they are a great hitting team. The fielding should still be pretty good. I really don't see how this team could be even as close to as bad as last season when it comes to pitching. They are improved in that category, but are still not great when it comes to the pitching staff. My prediction is that this team finishes above 500, but I'm not sure by how much. I don't think they make the wild card, but this season should be a huge step forward for this club.

 Monterrey has to be a favorite for winning it all this season. Charleston still has a pretty good team, but I don't think they are close to Monterrey. Texas should make some noise, but I think they fall short of the post season. Jackson is a team that is moving up, but this division is going to be much tougher than last season. I really like the overall talent in this division and other than Monterrey I think anything could happen.


Monday, December 27, 2010

NL East Season 14 Previews

In the East, they have had the same ownership for all four teams since season 2. Kansas City is the only team with multiple owners and even they have had the same owner in every season except season 1. Now that is consistency. Kansas City has struggled for most of their time in the league having only been to the post season twice, but they have become more consistent over the last 8 season with at least 79 wins in those seasons. Cincinnati made major steps forward last season. After 5 straight losing seasons, they accomplished 90 wins last season and gave Jacksonville a scare at the top of the division. New York, has had some success through the seasons. Last season ended a run of 8 straight seasons with a winning record as they dropped below 500 for just the second time in team history. Then there's Jacksonville. The way to the top of this division goes through Jacksonville. They have 8 division titles and have participated in the World Series 3 times with 1 championship. Add to that, the fact that they have had only one losing season.

Jacksonville Juice
Season 13 record- (93-69, 1st division)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-3rd (.273); OBP-2nd (.344);  Home Runs-4th (236);  Runs-3rd (839);  Steals-10th (90)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-4th (3.99);   Opp Avg-6th (.255);  Strike Outs-9th (1106);  Saves-4th (51)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-9th (.982);  Plus Plays-9th (47);  Minus Plays-6th (36)

Key Acquisitions- SP Bret O'Leary(tr-Atl), P Bert Thome(FA),  IF Ricardo Ibanez(FA)
Key Losses- RP Estiban Sierra(tr-Atl), RF Alvin Reed(tr-Atl), 2B Jeremy Stanley(FA), SS Kiki Duran(FA), 3B Keith Sexson(FA)

Jacksonville has put a good run together the last 4 seasons by winning the division title in each season. This has been one of the more successful franchises in Pine Tar actually. They've been to the World Series 3 times and have come away with one championship. Last season, however, this team declined in wins from the previous season by 17. They barely won the division title and were given a scare by Cincinnati. They were still one of the better hitting and pitching teams in the league, but defensively they weren't so good. Offensively this team will miss Reed, Stanley, Sexson and Duran. They signed Ibanez to offset some of the loss, but I think this team will take steps back offensively this season. O'Leary and Thome will help the pitching staff, and I can see the pitching being better than last season. I'm not sure they did much to help this club defensively. I think they can finish close to their record from last season, but it will take some luck to reach that total. Overall, I'm not sure this team is still going to be a top team and may not even make the playoffs.

Cincinnati Firestorm
Season 13 record- (90-72)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-5th (.269); OBP-5th (.339);  Home Runs-9th (211);  Runs-8th (803);  Steals-2nd (141)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-8th (4.33);   Opp Avg-5th (.254);  Strike Outs-12th (1069);  Saves-1st (60)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-5th (.984);  Plus Plays-2nd (90);  Minus Plays-3rd (28)

Key Acquisitions- SP Terrell Tunkel(tr-Chi), RF Rickey Stone(resigned), SS Manuel Ozuna(FA)
Key Losses- RP Bernard Prince(tr-Chi), RP Phillip Allen(FA)

This Cincinnati team gave Jacksonville all it could handle last season. They came up just short of taking the division title, but still had a successful season. They improved by 17 wins and had their first winning record in 6 seasons. The finished in the upper half of the league in most key categories last season. Overall, this team didn't do much in the off season. The moves they did make should slightly improve the team though. I think they may have over achieved last season and my prediction is that they finish real close to where they were last season in wins. I still think that it's possible for this team to make a run at the division title, but if they don't win that, then I don't think they would get in the post season.

Kansas City Kardinals
Season 13 record- (80-82)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-1st (.277); OBP-4th (.340);  Home Runs-7th (229);  Runs-6th (825);  Steals-13th (59)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-14th (4.88);   Opp Avg-12th (.274);  Strike Outs-4th (1151);  Saves-11th (43)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-12th (.980);  Plus Plays-14th (31);  Minus Plays-10th (58)

Key Acquisitions- 
Key Losses- RF Benji Moreno(tr-OKC), RP Brant Service(FA)

Kansas City was the top hitting team in the league last season. The problem with this team was that they had terrible pitching and fielding. They still finished close to 500 and look like they have something to build off of. In the off season they had just a couple losses, but the biggest problem I see is that they made no key additions. For a team that was so close, I can't figure out why they didn't go for it this off season and try to get over the top. They still have most of their hitters in place, but the team still has below average fielding. The pitching staff is not as bad as the numbers showed from last season, but they are still below average and the fielding will not help that. My guess is that this team in current form, will probably be pretty close to average again. They could go a little over 81 wins or a little under.

New York Moneymaker
Season 13 record- (75-87)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-11th (.262); OBP-14th (.323);  Home Runs-11th (200);  Runs-13th (729);  Steals-8th (101)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-12th (4.87);   Opp Avg-13th (.275);  Strike Outs-6th (1141);  Saves-8th (46)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-7th (.983);  Plus Plays-15th (30);  Minus Plays-9th (49)

Key Acquisitions- SP John Fogg(resigned), RP Brad Shave(resigned), SP Farmer Davis(FA), C Karim Franco(FA), LF Paul Wang(FA), LF/1B Vicente Lopez(FA)
Key Losses- SP Rob Murray(FA), SP Alfredo Casey(FA)

New York finished last in a tough division last season. At 75-87, they didn't have a terrible season. They finished in the lower half of the league in hitting and pitching, but were and average fielding team. To get to the top of this division they would have to make some big off season moves. They chose not to go that route though. They signed some good players, but no "put this team over the top" moves. The moves they did make should get this team closer to 500 or above. Most of the losses this team had were players that held the team back last season. They resigned a Fogg and Shave, a couple players I think this team needed to keep around. The team does have some talent and I think youngster Mandy Whitfield, can help this team out. The teams hitting appears to be fairly good. The pitching is decent, but the better pitchers on this team are in the bullpen. The starters aren't anything to be excited about. The fielding is less than good. In New York last season, the team had only their second losing season in franchise history, and the team is not wanting to see a third. My prediction is that this team will be close to average. They are in about the same shape as KC, and could finish just above 81 wins or just below.

 Jacksonville and Cincinnati should battle it out for most of the season at the top of this division. KC and NY are two teams that I just don't think can stick around at the top of this division. While I don't think any of the teams in the division got a whole lot better in the off season, I still think the top 2 teams are fairly strong. This division may be only good enough to get the division winner into the post season though. The bad thing about that is that this division may combine for the most wins of any division in the NL, as all 4 teams could finish above or close to 500.
3.)Kansas City
4.)New York

Thursday, December 23, 2010

NL North Season 14 Previews

Well, now that the AL is finished, I need to get started on the NL. At the rate I've been going, I should have these finished by the All Star break. Not really, but it does seem like this is taking me quite a bit of time to do. Maybe it's due to the wife making me choose Christmas shopping for my army of children, and it could also be due to being abnormally busy at work for this time of the year. I'm sure it's both. These people need to realize that I have a life outside of reality also. That's it, I'm going into my boss right now and telling him to screw off, I have team previews to write.

Due to a collapse by Helena over the last couple seasons, this division has pretty much been a no contest for Fargo. Fargo, still has not had a losing season nor has there been a season when they didn't win this division. Really, it's getting pretty boring in the NL North guys. Can Fargo get some competition please? Fargo has been a force in the NL since day 1. I thought last season was going to be there season, but a loss to Charleston in the NLCS cut that short. Cleveland moved forward in wins and finished second for the first time in team history, but finished with a ninth straight losing season. Trenton continued their losing ways with their sixth straight losing season and finished third. Helena finished with the worst record in franchise history and for only the second time in team history did not finish in second place.

Fargo Wood Chippers
Season 13 record- (95-67, 1st division, NLCS runner up)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-2nd (.275); OBP-5th (.339);  Home Runs-6th (232);  Runs-5th (832);  Steals-9th (93)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-3rd (3.92);   Opp Avg-4th (.250);  Strike Outs-2nd (1180);  Saves-2nd (58)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-2nd (.987);  Plus Plays-6th (60);  Minus Plays-11th (62)

Key Acquisitions- 2B Pepper Sanders(tr-Chr), LF Kevin Kyung(tr-Chr), 1B Tony Cummings(FA)
Key Losses- OF Alton Olson(tr-Chr), 2B Sam Wiggington(tr-Mty), RP Miguel Gabriel(released), 2B/OF Al Nen(FA)

Out in the cow tipping capitol of the world, where the farm girls love doing things in the hay, we have the Fargo Wood Chippers. Well, I don't know about all that stuff, but those are some of the things that ownership tells me has led to the success of this franchise over the years. The team is still miffed that Al Nen didn't take a discount to play with one of the best franchises in the world, that has those things on the side to offer. While that was a big loss for this franchise, I think they can move on. They were one of the top teams in the league in pitching, offense and defense last season and the losses on this team aren't enough to hurt them to bad. Olson, Wiggington and Nen are gone. Sanders, Kyung and Cummings will pick up right where those guys left off. The fielding on this team is still outstanding. The added some speed with their moves and that was one area they were lacking last season. The pitching staff is still solid as a rock. The thing with this team is that they keep finding ways to get younger and stay at the top. Word on the street was that management wasn't confident about a 14th straight division title, but I'm going to say that they are trying to psyche out the rest of the league and really are planning on making a run at the World Series.

Cleveland indians
Season 13 record- (73-89)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-8th (.266); OBP-11th (.329);  Home Runs-14th (156);  Runs-12th (747);  Steals-5th (126)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-15th (5.15);   Opp Avg-15th (.287);  Strike Outs-13th (1055);  Saves-9th (44)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-14th (.979);  Plus Plays-16th (20);  Minus Plays-13th (67)

Key Acquisitions-
Key Losses- LF Dummy Wright(FA), 1B Alexander Delaney(FA), 3B Bruce McMillon(FA), CF Ariel Villano(FA)

This team finished in the middle of the league in hitting but toward the bottom in both fielding and pitching. They were able to still pull off a decent season based on what they had. This franchise has had 9 straight losing seasons, but last season was the second straight year that they improved the win total. Somehow with all the losing this franchise has done, they still don't have very much young talent in the majors. Actually this team is quite old.  They have 13 player age 30 and above. None of those players really are stars either. In the off season, they really didn't add anybody to the mix, but they still have some work to do in order to get this franchise heading forward. Aside from a few prospects with good potential in the system, their really isn't much else coming through the farm system. I'm going to predict that a second place finish isn't likely to happen again this season.

Trenton Thunders
Season 13 record- (63-99)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-16th (.242); OBP-16th (.305);  Home Runs-16th (151);  Runs-16th (626);  Steals-4th (130)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-11th (4.83);   Opp Avg-9th (.267);  Strike Outs-16th (1023);  Saves-9th (44)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-5th (.984);  Plus Plays-5th (63);  Minus Plays-6th (36)

Key Acquisitions- RP Ivan Carrasco(promoted)
Key Losses- RP Felix Beltran(FA)

It's been seven seasons since this team has had a winning record. This team actually took a step backwards last season. They lost more games than the previous season and were at the bottom of the league in hitting and toward the bottom in pitching. The positive was that this team was a pretty good fielding team and also showed some speed on the base paths. This team is pretty young and some of those young players are pretty good. The pitching staff doesn't look too bad, and the fielding is about the same as last season. They have a couple good hitters, but this is not a good hitting team. They do have some good prospects in the minors but none of them will be ready to help this season. I think they have a team that should improve upon their win total from last season.

Helena Ass Hats
Season 13 record- (58-104)
Season 13 team hitting(NL)  Batting Average-11th (.262); OBP-13th (.324);  Home Runs-10th (201);  Runs-14th (703);  Steals-3rd (140)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-12th (4.87);   Opp Avg-10th (.269);  Strike Outs-15th (1028);  Saves-14th (37)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-10th (.981);  Plus Plays-8th (59);  Minus Plays-15th (73)

Key Acquisitions- LF Ben Morton(FA), 2B/OF Al Nen(FA), SP Phil Chong(promoted), SS Erubiel Baez(promoted), SP Ronald Lynch(rule V)
Key Losses- RP Albert DeRojas(FA), RP Richie Woolf(FA), 2B Francis Norton(FA), 1B Willis Walter(FA), RP Ezdra Johnson(FA)

This team had a horrible season last season. They finished in the bottom half of the league in most categories. For the talent on this team it made almost no sense. Well, they made huge upgrades in the off season. They added Nen and Morton, two players that are huge upgrades for this team. They also lost some good players, but I think the players they added are going to be improvements. The real task will be over taking Fargo for the top spot. They have speed, fielding, hitting and pitching. The problem I see is that what they have doesn't match up to Fargo. It's going to take a little luck for this team to win the division, but I think they have a real good shot at the post season.

 This division seems like it will always be won by the Fargo Wood Chippers. Helena made some off season moves that get them in good position to give Fargo a run. I really like Helena this season, but it will have to be proven before I can move Fargo out of the top spot. Cleveland doesn't look like a team that will be competitive and Trenton looks decent but this is a tough division. I like Fargo to win the division again and Helena to take a wild card spot.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Season 14 AL West Previews

This division may hold the record for most owners replaced all time. Once again new owners were needed in this division as 2 franchises sold out to new ownership. The team in Santa Cruz has the advantage of getting the first pick in the upcoming seasons draft. At least ownership has that to be excited about in taking over this team. Vancouver, took the division for the second straight season, but had some competition from the team in Cheyenne. Vancouver, however was the only team that was even in post season contention last season. It should be an interesting season in this division, but the most interesting part may not come till next off season, when we'll see if we are replacing multiple owners again.

Vancouver Canadiens
Season 13 record- (90-72, 1st division)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-2nd (.293); OBP-2nd (.362);  Home Runs-12th (221);  Runs-6th (908);  Steals-6th (156)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-8th (4.79);   Opp Avg-7th (.271);  Strike Outs-12th (1018);  Saves-4th (49)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-5th (.984);  Plus Plays-7th (51);  Minus Plays-6th (36)

Key Acquisitions- 1B Matty Coco(tr-Tex), 1B Jose Martin(tr-Tol), RP Hugh Hudson(resigned), RP Donaldo Torrealba(FA), 3B Francisco James(FA), LF Wilfredo Leon(FA), SP Desi Fernandez(resigned)
Key Losses- C Tom Gonzales(tr-Tex), 2B Carson Crabtree(released), DH TJ Harding(FA), RP Stan Woodson(FA), SP Bert Thome(FA), 3B Bret Schneider(FA), LF Vincente Lopez(FA)

This team finished at the top of the league in offense and defense last season but were close to average in pitching. So what did they do in the off season? Well they did a whole lot. The made a lot of moves. They made trades, they let key players leave in free agency, and they signed quite a few players. This team had a huge turnover. It remains to be seen if it was for the better, but they got some real good players in the off season. They may have upgraded the offense even though they didn't really need it, but what worries me is that I don't think they did much to upgrade the pitching. They have some decent pitchers, but they are going to have to produce offensively to have a real shot at being a top team. Vancouver's season will be decided by how good the offense can be.

Cheyenne Rawhide
Season 13 record- (84-78)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-8th (.279); OBP-5th (.347);  Home Runs-14th (188);  Runs-8th (871);  Steals-12th (107)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-11th (5.15);   Opp Avg-11th (.284);  Strike Outs-8th (1048);  Saves-1st (55)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-14th (.978);  Plus Plays-14th (33);  Minus Plays-12th (57)

Key Acquisitions- 2B Carson Crabtree(FA), IF Keith Sexson(FA), RP Julio Lorenzo(FA), SP Travis Bush(FA)
Key Losses- SP Eli Mercado(FA), SP William Busby(FA), OF Jay Knotts(FA), SP Ron Sweeney(FA), SP Patsy Cummings(FA)

This team has to be at the top of list of over achievers from last season. They finished toward the bottom of the league in pitching and defense and were just about average in offense. They did have a shut down bullpen that led the league in saves and closed out the close games. In Cheyenne they still had some work to do in order to get back to the glory days of 5 straight division titles. They made plenty of moves but nothing that really stands out. That's not to say that this team doesn't have good players already though. They just don't have any real superstars. Cheyenne has a roster made up of solid players.I don't like this team defensively even though they should have a better fielding percentage than last season. They just really lack range. I think the offense should be a little above average. I don't like the starting pitching, but I do think they have a good bullpen. They have a lot of money still to spend and if they can stick around in the playoff race, then this team could make some bold moves to try and upgrade. I can see them playing 500 ball with this team they have in place though. So that may allow them to make a trade or two down the road.

Los Angeles Celebrities
Season 13 record- (78-84)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-5th (.281); OBP-6th (.344);  Home Runs-1st (292);  Runs-5th (913);  Steals-3rd (180)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-15th (5.70);   Opp Avg-15th (.295);  Strike Outs-9th (1046);  Saves-9th (39)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-11th (.982);  Plus Plays-9th (43);  Minus Plays-9th (50)

Key Acquisitions- 1B Ernest Buck(FA), CF Darrell Evans(FA), 2B Sun-Woo Chibata(FA)
Key Losses- P Vin Segui(released), 3B Francisco James(released), SP Al Rivers(FA), OF Paxton Sutton(FA), RP Miguel Molina(FA)

This team had the hitting last season to compete. What they lacked was the pitching and fielding. They upgraded the fielding in the off season with the signing of Evans, but they didn't really make the moves to help the pitching. Offensively I think this is still a very good team though. They have some power, they have some hitters and they have speed. The pitching staff has some good pitchers on it, but for the most part it is not very good. This team is trying to break the losing of the last ownership that was in place, but they still have holes to fill. There isn't really much on the way from the minors either. The good thing is that most of this roster is pretty young. I think this will be another losing season for this team unless they can somehow upgrade the pitching.

Santa Cruz Banana Slugs
Season 13 record- (50-112)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-16th (.238); OBP-16th (.301);  Home Runs-16th (164);  Runs-16th (631);  Steals-4th (168)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-16th (5.90);   Opp Avg-14th (.290);  Strike Outs-10th (1043);  Saves-16th (26)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-14th (.978);  Plus Plays-9th (43);  Minus Plays-8th (48)

Key Acquisitions- RP Matthew Helton(FA), 3B Banana Wakeland(FA), 2B Alving DeLeon(promoted)
Key Losses- RP Phillip Savage(FA)

Well this team has had now 6 owners in 6 seasons. Nobody wants to stick it out and rebuild this team. The franchise has never won a division title, has only had 2 winning seasons, and haven't made the post season since season 1. They should be loaded by now, one would think, but their win total has declined each of the last 3 seasons. If their is anything that was positive for this team last season it was that they had some speed. New ownership chose to stay fairly quiet in the off season, but did sign a couple players that can help the team and promoted quite a few players with only one that I see as being a player that can help them this season. The losses the team had aren't going to hurt them, and only one player, Phillip Savage, has done anything good for this franchise. The biggest problem with this team is that they don't really have much in the minors either. This team needs a full rebuild to get them heading in the right direction and that could start this season with the 1st pick in the draft. I don't think this team can compete this season and maybe not next either, but they should be set up nicely through the draft to move forward as long as ownership does the right things and doesn't trade away the prospects for players that will never make a difference.
 I think Vancouver has a lock on this division but Cheyenne is an interesting team to watch. Like I said, Cheyenne could make some moves to get this team in contention, but it remains to be seen what ownership plans on doing. Los Angeles should be a decent team, but I don't think they are ready to compete this season. Santa Cruz still has some building to do in order to get this team competitive. I don't really think the order of finish in this division will change from last season.
3.)Los Angeles
4.)Santa Cruz

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Season 14 AL South Previews

Last season this division was won by Nashville with a narrow margin over Tampa Bay of 3 games. It was a close race and Tampa Bay had a real shot at winning the division late in the season. Nashville, with the division title, earned a first round bye, then were embarrassed with a sweep by the #6 seed Ottawa. New Orleans stayed average for a second straight season. Austin had another rough season. This was the second best division in the Al last season and had it not been for the teams in the north then they would have had 2 teams in the post season.
Nashville Nala Bears
Season 13 record- (96-66, 1st division)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-1st (.294); OBP-1st (.367);  Home Runs-4th (271);  Runs-1st (1024);  Steals-14th (81)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-5th (4.55);   Opp Avg-5th (.262);  Strike Outs-4th (1086);  Saves-12th (34)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-5th (.984);  Plus Plays-2nd (78);  Minus Plays-1st (10)

Key Acquisitions-
Key Losses- OF/1B Ben Morton(FA)

So how do you improve a team that was toward the top of the league at nearly every important category last season? They were the top offensive team in the AL, one of the better pitching teams, and one of the best fielding teams. Well, even with all those accomplishments, this team didn't even make the ALCS. They were even swept by Ottawa in the DCS. Case of bad luck maybe? Well it seems like ownership feels that way. The only major move for this team in the off season was losing Ben Morton. Morton was an offensive force and will be hard to replace. This is a very young team though with quite a few young stars. They also have some talent in the minors that could be ready to make the move up to the majors this season that should instantly help. Juan Latos, Jose Fernandez, and John Pong, just to name a few, are future stars for this team. I don't see them going anywhere but up and the loss of Morton was a loss they could afford to let happen. Having such a young team has allowed ownership to keep a low payroll and given them room to keep building this team for the long run. This is a team that could very well win the AL this season and possibly the World Series.

Tampa Bay Thunder
Season 13 record- (93-69)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-3rd (.288); OBP-4th (.356);  Home Runs-13th (198);  Runs-4th (938);  Steals-1st (202)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-6th (4.61);   Opp Avg-6th (.264);  Strike Outs-2nd (1118);  Saves-2nd (52)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-3rd (.986);  Plus Plays-5th (56);  Minus Plays-11th (55)

Key Acquisitions- RP Osvaldo Tatis(FA), RP Harry Paz(Resigned), 2B Nate Van Pelt(Rule V),
Key Losses- IF Ricardo Ibanez(FA), 1B Stewart Bryant(FA), RP Erubiel Bennett(FA)

This team had a very good season last season and just missed out on the post season. They improved their record by 12 games from the previous season and made a run but came up short. Ownership in Tampa has had the ability to keep this team competitive every season as they have never had a losing season. They ranked in the upper tier of the league in offense, pitching and defense, which led this team to have such a good season. It was somewhat of a surprise that they were unable to get into the post season after putting up such good numbers. They have a fairly young team, but the better players have crossed the age of 30 and could start to decline in the next couple seasons. Tampa lost a few good players in the off season, but picked up a couple players that should help the team this season. I think this team has a good chance of putting together another good season, but I don't think they can win this division. One of the wild card spots is not out of the realm of possibility though. They should battle for a spot in the post season.

New Orleans Nighthawks
Season 13 record- (81-81)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-11th (.269); OBP-13th (.326);  Home Runs-15th (181);  Runs-12th (818);  Steals-2nd (182)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-7th (4.69);   Opp Avg-8th (.274);  Strike Outs-5th (1075);  Saves-6th (46)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-7th (.983);  Plus Plays-6th (54);  Minus Plays-5th (29)

Key Acquisitions- P Jake Canseco(FA), RP Lonny Sojo(FA), LF Sam Slotnick(Promoted)
Key Losses- SP Barry Gibson(FA), RP Carlos Perez(FA), CF Rob Michaels(FA)

In season 13 New Orleans finished at 500 for the second consecutive season. It makes sense since they were a pretty average team last season. They finished in the middle of the league in pitching and defense, but they were below average in hitting. That would be a spot of concern for this team. They didn't do much to upgrade but they did promote Slotnick who is a very good prospect. His best seasons may be ahead of him though. The teams losses may have just been offset with their additions, but I do think Sojo will help this team out. This team doesn't have much help on the way from the minors and didn't do enough in the off season to compete for the playoffs. I can see another 81-81 season with the possibility of being a few games in either direction.

Austin Tumbleweeds
Season 13 record- (61-101)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-14th (.262); OBP-14th (.324);  Home Runs-11th (222);  Runs-14th (793);  Steals-4th (168)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-14th (5.60);   Opp Avg-15th (.295);  Strike Outs-13th (1017);  Saves-10th (37)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-14th (.978);  Plus Plays-16th (13);  Minus Plays-16th (85)

Key Acquisitions- SP Barry Gibson(FA)
Key Losses- IF Manuel Ozuna(FA), RP Reagan Washington(FA)

This is a team that has stayed close to the bottom of the league for 5 seasons now, and has only made the post season 1 time in team history. They do have a few young players in the majors, but they have quite a few older veterans that really don't help the future of this team. They have a few players in the minors that can help this team in the future, but nobody that is on the verge of making the majors. The team didn't make many off season moves and really that is probably best for them. The teams fielding is horrible, but they do have average pitching. The problem with that is, a bad defense will kill the teams pitching numbers. The offense isn't good, but it isn't as bad as last seasons numbers suggest. Looks like it'll be another long season in Austin.

 This division is certainly top heavy. They have one of the best teams in the league, Nashville, and another very good team in Tampa. New Orleans, while average, doesn't quite stack up with those 2 teams, and Austin is a team that is in rebuild mode. Nashville should take this division and should be one of the top teams in the league this season. Tampa Bay, will be battling for a wild card and could give Nashville some competition, but I just don't think they have the team to win the division this season.

2.)Tampa Bay
3.)New Orleans

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Season 14 AL East Preview

Back with another edition of season previews. I'm not really sure how many guys even read it, but I know a few of us enjoy them and it adds a little bit of fun to the league. I'm in my second season of doing this now, and I'm trying to find different ways of reporting things on the blog. Last season I included the team rankings in the actual preview of the teams, but decided to put those at the beginning of the team previews so that those that wanted to check it out could and those that don't care can just skip it entirely. If anyone has any ideas to add then let me know and I can include some other things to or leave some things out. I want these to be fun for everyone and give guys a reason to come to the blog. With that said, on to the AL East previews.

Last season this division was won by a team that had a losing record. How embarrassing? Well not entirely. The division champion, Durham Doormats, actually made it out of the wild card round with a 3 games to 1 upset over the powerhouse Milwaukee Cream Citys. That run came to an end though against Syracuse in round 2 by getting swept. Overall, it wasn't a terribly unsuccessful season for the division thanks to that wild card round win. The division championship came all the way down to the end of the season and Durham barely edged out Atlanta and Toledo to take the division title. Even though the division wasn't very powerful, it did provide some excitement for the fans of these 3 cities. Let's see what the teams have done and where they are headed this season.

Durham Doormats
Season 13 record- (79-83, 1st division)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-9th (.271); OBP-10th (.332);  Home Runs-3rd (288);  Runs-11th (820);  Steals-16th (29)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-9th (4.83);   Opp Avg-9th (.281);  Strike Outs-11th (1037);  Saves-8th (39)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-4th (.985);  Plus Plays-11th (42);  Minus Plays-9th (50)

Key Acquisitions- 2B Francisco Bonilla(Promoted), SP Chris Kirk(Prom), SP Bobby McCarthy(Prom), 1B Vicente Alfonso(Prom), C Junior Ontiveros(Rule V)
Key Losses-P Julius Sowders(FA), 3B Alex Berger(FA), C Chuck Daniels(FA)

This team had their third straight losing season last season but was able to make it a successful season by winning the division and winning in the wild card round 3 games to 1 against Milwaukee. This franchise has only had 3 winning seasons and have been in rebuild mode for a few seasons now. Last season was a major step forward for this club. Instead of going the free agency route in the off season they chose to promote some of the young talent from the minors and get them started on their major league careers. These youngsters have some talent and this season should be just the start of good things to come for these players. The majority of last seasons division winning team will be back for another season and trying to move forward and get the teams record above the 500 mark. The team ranked toward the middle of the league in pitching and hitting and really didn't do much to improve upon those marks. The young players should help, but their best seasons are ahead of them and this season is more of a building block for those guys. I'm not ready to say that this team will be above 500 but the way this division played out last season they could once again take the division title. The question will be, if the other teams did enough to move past Durham at the top of the division. However it turns out, this team should continue to improve over the next couple seasons.

Atlanta Red Tide
Season 13 record- (77-85)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-13th (.264); OBP-15th (.323);  Home Runs-9th (231);  Runs-10th (825);  Steals-11th (110)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-3rd (4.50);   Opp Avg-2nd (.256);  Strike Outs-14th (1009);  Saves-6th (46)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-2nd (.987);  Plus Plays-1st (109);  Minus Plays-2nd (13)

Key Acquisitions- IF Russ Barker(FA), SS Rey Rossy(Resigned)
Key Losses-P Joel Norris(FA)

To me it looks like this team under achieved last season. They ranked toward the top of the league in fielding and pitching, but were not very impressive with the bats. That is possibly why the didn't have a winning record or take the division. They have a good mix of young talent and older experienced players on the team that all can help them out. They returned most of their players and chose to stick with the players they already have. They stayed away from free agency for the most part and didn't really lose any key players. An insider in the organization says that the team whiffed on a few big name free agent signings, so they are moving ahead with what they have in the system already. They have a couple players in the minors that could be ready to move up and help the team if they are needed, SS Phil North, and SP Lou Offerman. I think this team is on the verge of winning the division and should get their record above 500 this season. My prediction is that this team ends their 7 season run without a winning record.

Toledo Addicts Return
Season 13 record- (76-86)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-12th (.265); OBP-12th (.328);  Home Runs-8th (234);  Runs-9th (869);  Steals-8th (136)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-10th (5.10);   Opp Avg-10th (.283);  Strike Outs-6th (1071);  Saves-11th (36)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-12th (.981);  Plus Plays-15th (27);  Minus Plays-15th (80)

Key Acquisitions- SP Miguel Morlan(Tr-Tex), 3B Gary Dolan(FA), RP Albert DeRojas(FA), RP Erubiel Bennett(FA), 1B Christian Lee(Promoted)
Key Losses- OF Dave Urich(Tr-Chi), RP Bernard Hoffman(Tr-Tex), 1B Jose Martin(Tr-Van), 3B Junior Spiers(FA), SP Farmer Davis(FA)

If Atlanta under achieved, then this team over achieved. They ranked toward the bottom of the league in offense, defense, and pitching. That spells out bottom of the league in record also, but for this team that wasn't the case. They were in the divisional race up until the last few days of the season. Ownership in Toledo seems to rebuild the team every season and last season was not very successful. A season removed from winning the division and they dropped to third place and ended it with their 12th losing season in the 13 seasons of Pine Tar history. So with plenty of work to do, ownership went at it again. They made a few trades, signed a few free agents, and promoted a young player that could help this team out now. Overall, I think this team moved forward. Toledo has plenty of young players on this roster, but only a few that look like standout players. I'm not sure this is the season they move back into first in the division but they should finish close to or above 500, unless the team decides to go into full rebuild mode and trades away the talent they do have at the ML level.
Chicago Wind Tunnel
Season 13 record- (70-92)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-14th (.262); OBP-9th (.334);  Home Runs-10th (225);  Runs-15th (774);  Steals-10th (114)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-13th (5.33);   Opp Avg-12th (.287);  Strike Outs-14th (1009);  Saves-14th (32)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-13th (.979);  Plus Plays-13th (35);  Minus Plays-13th (60)

Key Acquisitions- RP Harry Moreno(Tr-Tex), P Carl Piatt(Tr-Sea), P Bernard Prince(Tr-Cin), OF Dave Urich(Tr-Tol),
Key Losses-SP Terrell Tunkel(Tr-Cin), 1B Miguel Pichardo(Tr-Sea), CF Julio Tavarez(Tr-Tex), OF Vincente Gonzalez(FA)

Chicago has now posted a losing record in 3 of the last 4 seasons, after never having a losing record in the previous 9. While they finished last in the division last season, their record actually improved by one game. Ownership is now in their 4th season with this team and the fans are getting anxious for a winner. Knowing that, they decided to make some moves to try and get this team on track. They finished toward the bottom of the league last season in hitting, pitching and defense, and really needed to upgrade quite a few positions to compete. The biggest positive on this team is that they are young. The defense still needs improved and it appears as though they took steps backward here. Offensively the trade for Urich really helps the club this season, but they lost a real good hitter in Pichardo. The offense should be better than it was last season, but overall it is nothing more than average. They needed pitching help, but traded away Tunkel. I think the 3 pitchers, Piatt, Moreno, and Prince, should upgrade the pitching some though. Overall, I think the team looks better than last season, but I don't think they will be a whole lot better. I wouldn't be surprised to see them finish last in the division again this season and pretty close to 70 wins again. They have some players down in the minors that could change that prediction a little, but not enough to compete.

I find it hard to believe that this division could produce another season where the division winner has a losing record. Toledo is always going to be alive in the trade market to improve the club if they have a chance, Atlanta looks pretty good as is, and Durham is a team that surprised last season and have some young talent. I think Chicago will not be a walk in the park series for any of these teams, but doesn't look like a team that will compete for the division title. My prediction is that it comes down to the last few games again and the division winner will have a winning record, but the runner up will fail to make the post season. I think less than 10 games will separate the 1 and 3 teams in this division.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pine Tar Season 14 previews

Well another season came and went, a new champ was crowned, a new owner elected to the owner Hall of Fame, and the off season passed. Spring training is now in full swing and teams are making plans for this season and beyond. Some teams are going all out for the ultimate goal of a championship, others are building for the future, and some are stuck in mediocrity for another season as they try to get their organization in a position to compete in the near future. The off season brought player trades, coaches changing organizations, and  big free agent signings. Now it's time to review what each team has done and take a look at where they stand heading into another exciting season. This my friends is your look at the season previews.


Last season I made the point that this was the best division in the league, and once again they didn't disappoint. Our world champs from season 13 came from this division, and the division also gave us both AL wild card teams. The division was also featured in the ALCS when the eventual world champ, Syracuse, defeated Ottawa 4 games to 1. The top 3 teams totalled 300 victories between them in the regular season. The one time divisional power house, Minnesota, has found winning in this division extremely hard to do, as they put up a franchise worst 64 wins. For the second straight season and only the second time in team history they posted a losing record.

Syracuse Snow Pirates
Season 13 record- (103-59, 1st division, World Series Champs)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)  Batting Average-7th (.280); OBP-8th (.339);  Home Runs-7th (236);  Runs-7th (884);  Steals-13th (97)   Pitching(AL)  ERA-1st (3.70);   Opp Avg-1st (.239);  Strike Outs-3rd (1104);  Saves-3rd (51)      Fielding(AL)  Fielding %-1st (.989);  Plus Plays-4th (75);  Minus Plays-3rd (19)

Key Acquisitions- SS Buster Starr(tr-Sea), 3B Kory Garland(tr-Sea), SP Alex Romano(promoted)

Key Losses-SP Warren Hargrave(tr-Sea), LF Orval Yeats(tr-Tex), 1B Ernest Buck(FA), SP Ivan Dotel(FA), CF Darrell Evans(released)

The World champs are back and ready to make another run at a repeat. This team finished in the middle of the league offensively, but at the top in pitching and fielding. If it's not broke then don't fix it appears to be the slogan in Syracuse. They upgraded defensively by adding Starr and Garland, and added another good arm to the team in promoting Romano. They traded away a key piece in Hargrave, who seems to be aging extremely well. They also traded away a bit part in Yeats, and chose to let Buck, and Dotel walk in free agency. Neither of the two were players that couldn't be replaced. Evans was released and while he's an excellent fielder, he was a player the team no longer needed. Besides these moves the team seems largely unchanged and most of the players are under age 30, so they should be able to keep the team moving forward for seasons to come. If I had to find a weakness in this team, it would be that the hitting and pitching coaches, who guided this team last season, are just around the league average. With players like they have in Syracuse they have proven that they can get by with these two though. Watch out AL, Syracuse is going to be a force again this season.

Milwaukee Cream Citys
Season 13 record- (99-63, 2nd division, Wild Card)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)   Batting Average-5th (.281);  OBP-7th (.343);  Home Runs-2nd (290);  Runs-3rd (959);  Steals-9th (128)       Pitching(AL)  ERA-2nd (4.30);  Opp Avg-4th (.259);  Strike Outs-7th (1050);  Saves-4th (49)     Fielding(AL)   Fielding %-7th (.983);  Plus Plays-2nd (78);   Minus Plays-4th (24)

Key Acquisitions- RP Archie Metzger(FA-resigned)
Key Losses-RP Ivan Castro(released), SP Brooks Mullins(FA), RP Luis Seguignol(FA)

Milwaukee was one of the better offensive teams last season and had the fielding and pitching to go with it. This team ranked toward the top of the league in all key categories. That is what helped this team to the second best record in baseball last season. Which makes their wild card round 3 games to 1 loss to Durham that much harder to stomach for this franchise. Having that good of a team and not making it out of the wild card round to me sounds like a disappointing season. So what did they do to improve the team? Well they actually did nothing. The only acquisition that was key is a player that was already on the team last season in Metzger. They lost 3 players that played a roll on the team and didn't do much to replace them. I doubt they really needed to in all honesty. Maybe it was a fluke, since anything can happen in a best of 5 series anyway. The biggest problem with this team is that they have quite a few players above the age of 30 and will need to replace them before long. For this season though, I think they'll be one of the better teams and probably in the wild card race again.  They may even have the 2nd best record in the league again, but I don't see them over taking Syracuse this season.

Ottawa Otters
Season 13 record- (98-64, 3rd division, Wild Card, ALCS runner up)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)     Batting Average-4th (.286);   OBP-3rd (.357);  Home Runs-6th (238);  Runs-2nd (960);  Steals-7th (153)     Pitching(AL)  ERA-4th (4.51);  Opp Avg-3rd (.257);  Strike Outs-1st (1127); Saves-13th (33)   Fielding(AL)   Fielding %-7th (.983);   Plus Plays-12th (40);  Minus Plays-7th (37)

Key Acquisitions-  2B Jeremy Stanley(FA), RP Carlton Harding(FA), RP Robin Schalk(FA),
Key Losses-1B Wilfredo Leon(FA), 2B Luke Ryan(FA), RP Osvaldo Tatis(Released), RP Clarence Cain(Released)

Last season turned out to be a very successful season for this team. They had a winning record for a tenth straight season and had one of the best records in the league. They also found themselves in the ALCS for the second straight season and for the fifth time in the last seven seasons. They were unable to repeat a World Series appearance after losing to eventual champion Syracuse 4 games to 1. The team ranked toward the top of the AL in offense and pitching, but around the middle in defense. One area of concern was the fact that they only converted 33 saves last season. So in the off season they bolstered the bullpen with the huge signing of Carlton Harding and the signing of Robin Schalk. Offensively they lost big time hitters in Leon and Ryan. They replaced them by signing the speedy contact hitter Jeremy Stanley. This team also replaces some of the players they lost with younger players ready to play at the ML level in SP John Rucker, and P Alex Tapies. This is a pretty young team overall with some young studs that should help them continue their winning ways. I can see them taking over the division title from Syracuse but that is going to be an extremely tough task. My prediction is that this team finishes with a very strong season and takes one of the wild cards again.

Minnesota PeaceFrog
Season 13 record- (64-98, 4th division)
Season 13 team hitting(AL)    Batting Average-10th (.270);  OBP-11th (.330);  Home Runs-5th (260);  Runs-13th (798);  Steals-15th (73)    Pitching(AL)   ERA-12th (5.21);  Opp Avg-13th (.288);  Strike Outs-16th (972); Saves-15th (31)   Fielding(AL)   Fielding %-7tht (.983);  Plus Plays-8th (48);  Minus Plays-14th (61)
Key Acquisitions- LF Doc Hebert(Prom)
Key Losses-SP Robinson Maddux(FA), 2B Felipe Ibanez(FA), 3B Gary Dolan(FA), 3B Mule Monroe(FA), 2B Diego Rivera(Released), RP Scott Easterly(tr-Tex)

What a difference a few seasons can make. This once heralded franchise has taken a turn for the worst the past few seasons. Last season made it 3 straight seasons without a post season appearance after missing the playoffs once in the first 10 seasons. They've cut player payroll to it's lowest point in team history and let go some veterans to save money. They only made one good addition and that came from within their own system. The players that are out were getting older and the team did not want to spend the money to keep players together that couldn't win anyway. The team does have some pretty good players in the minors that should be able to help in the next few seasons, but they won't be ready this season. As of right now there just isn't much to say about this team. They don't have the players to compete and will more than likely be one of the worst teams in the league this season. The team is obviously rebuilding at this point and while they do have a few good players, it will probably be a few seasons before they can compete again.

This division will look largely the same this season, as Syracuse looks like the team to beat. This is the toughest division in the league though and anything could happen at the top. The top three teams should make the post season again, and Minnesota will likely struggle to avoid 100 losses.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Syracuse Snow Pirates win the World Series!

The Syracuse Snow Pirates have done it. They are the season 13 World Series champions. Winning the championship gives the franchise their first championship after making it to their first World Series. Owner prezuiwf, took over this team back in season 5, with the goal of making them year in and year out contenders, and this season it all paid off for this franchise.

It was not always winning and being on top for this franchise. Through their first 9 seasons, they made the post season just one time and never once made it to 90 wins. The only bit of success they seen was back in season 3, as a wild card team, they made it to the league championship series. Over the last 4 seasons it has been a different tune in Syracuse. Season 10 seen this team win 99 games and a wild card spot. The last 3 seasons, this team has won their division, won more than 100 games in each season, been to the LCS twice, and now the World Series and a championship.

Their run through the post season was nothing less than amazing. In the divisional series they swept Durham with scores of 4-0, 13-0, and 9-4. It was a very impressive showing offensively and defensively. While they displayed dominant pitching, the bat of Rob McNamara was very impressive in this series. He had 2 homers and 7 rbi's, with at least one rbi in each game.

In the LCS, they beat Ottawa, 4 games to 1. Two more shutouts in the series first 2 games and this team was imposing their force in another series. They outscored Ottawa 26-17 in the 5 games. Starters Cyrus Torres and Warren Hargrave, each had shutouts for the second straight series and each pitched in two of the victories, even though they only got credit for one win a piece. Closer Omar Gabriel, had 3 saves in the series pitching 4 1/3 innings of shutout ball and striking out 7 batters.  C Danny Milligan finished 10 for 22 with 3 homers, and 1B Ernest Buck finished the series 9 for 16 with 1 hr and 2 rbi.

The World Series may have been this teams most impressive showing of the entire season. In sweeping the Charleston Riverdogs, they outscored them 29-9 over the four games. Hargrave started 2 games and got credit for 2 wins, while pitching 13 innings of 1 run ball. Torres pitched 1 game of 8 inning 1 run ball for a victory. C Danny Milligan finished the series 8 for 16 and scored 8 runs from the leadoff spot. RF Rob Lee tossed in a 7 for 17 series. 1B Ernest Buck finished 6 for 16 with 6 rbi. LF Ismael Liriano finished 5 for 14 with 8 rbi. 2b Yorvit Ortiz went 7 for 16. They hit and they pitched and that is what won this team the championship.

Even though this team has a few key players that are getting up there in age, this is still a pretty young team. This is a team that has a shot at doing it all over again next season. This may be the next big dynasty beginning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Owner Hall of Fame welcomes newest member

In what ended up becoming a vote decided by a tie breaker, owner greygoose123, has become the newest member elected to the Pine Tar Owner Hall of Fame. greygoose 123 had some very stiff competition for this election, that left some very deserving owners waiting for another year. After all the votes were in, there was a tie between two great owners, greygoose123 and bjohara1. That meant that we had to go to the tiebreaker in which the three current members had to make a tough vote. One of those members even said that he wished he could just vote for both of them. Unfortunately the rules stated that only one member could be elected each season. The highest honor among owners was then awarded to none other than now Hall of Famer greygoose123.

greygoose123, is one of the owners that makes this world so great. Having been around since the inaugural season, this owner has put together a very impressive resume. This Hall of Famer has put together a record of 1211-895 through 13 seasons, and has won the south division 8 times. The fans in Jacksonville have been given a competitive team every season. The only season without a winning record was way back in season 3 when they still won 78 games. They have reached the 90 win plateau 8 times and 100 wins 3 times. Jacksonville has been to 3 World Series and has brought home 1 World Championship.

This my friends is a Hall of Fame owner. Congratulations to greygoose123 on becoming the 4th member of our Owner Hall of Fame.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Manager of the year

The 1st manager of the year vote has ended. Congratulations to the winner of this seasons award.

toe64 (Colorado Springs Night Watchmen)

This is a team that didn't have the greatest pitching staff but toe64 did a great job at managing it and putting them in position to win. I had this team predicted to finish way out of the division race and not a chance at making the post season. They stayed competitive all season and made a great run at the end to almost pull off winning the division title. They didn't, but they did manage to get into the post season. They won 18 more games than last season and improved their win total for the third straight season finishing at 91-71.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Owner HOF voting rules

We are going to do another vote for owner hall of fame. All 32 owners in the league are eligible to vote, and I will outline the rules as originally posted by prez. The votes of current Hall members toe64, Starbuckdc and rxw1 will be used to break a tie (with the vote of toe64, the most recent member, ultimately prevailing in the event that the decision is still deadlocked).

As per the original rules post:

" order to qualify, an owner must have had his team for at least 5 years (unless no suitable candidates exist with 5 years' experience to round out the 5 nominees). Length of time with the league and amount of success are both factors for nomination-- owners who have taken their team to the playoffs many times, and those who have had success while in the playoffs, will be preferred, although exceptions may be made for owners who have only been to the playoffs a few times but have reached or won the World Series multiple times. Also, an owner must still be with his team at the time of the vote in order to qualify for nomination; bpdelia, for example, is not eligible for nomination even though he brought home 2 championships because he is no longer an active owner in the league."

There will still be an option for "blank ballot." If that option ends up winning, there will be no inductee into the Owner Hall of Fame that year (so as to not force owners to vote someone in if they feel no one is deserving).

Voting ends on Monday November 22nd at 8:00 PM, so make sure you think long and hard about your decision and get your votes in by then!