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

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