Thursday, March 31, 2011

Season 15 preview-NL West

NL West
Last season I mentioned that I liked the direction this division was headed. Never did I think for one second that the World Champ would come from this division. Scottsdale shocked the Pine Tar world last season and put together an impressive late season and post season run to take the title. During the regular season it was a battle for the top spot for most of the season then Scottsdale ended up winning the division by virtue of a tie breaker with Seattle. That ended Seattle's 3 season run as division champs. Colorado Springs finished third and missed the post season. They made the post season in season 13, so last season was a step back for this franchise. Oklahoma City finished at the bottom of the division for the third straight season, but moved forward a bit as they added 5 wins to the previous seasons total. It should be another good season in this division as the division continues to get tougher with every season that goes by.

Scottsdale Scorpions
Season 14 record- 88-74(NL West Champs, World Champs)
5 year record- 387-423

Offense- Average-1st(.281), OBP-1st(.348), Slg-1st(.480), Runs-2nd(882), HR-2nd(279), SB-11th(85)
Defense- Fielding %-7th(.983), Plus Plays-11th(40), Minus Plays-15th(79)
Pitching- ERA-8th(4.48), OAV-15th(.280), SO-9th(1072), Saves-3rd(51/67)
Key Additions-SP Patsy Ainsworth(promoted)
Key Losses-3B Omar Siqueiros(tr-Tex), RP Esteban Dotel(FA), IF David Leonard(FA)

What is there to say about this team? A lot obviously, but I'll try to keep it short. I knew this team was improved last season, but wow. I'm still in shock by this. It was an amazing run to end the season by this club. They were nearly out of the division race by double digits heading into the last quarter of the season and went on a tear that didn't end when the post season started. In just 4 seasons as owner of this franchise, vector21, has done a wonderful job of turning them around. Each season the win totals have improved and last season that culminated in a division title and world series title. The NL West is lucky to have such a good owner running this franchise now. Well now that I'm done praising the awesome job done by the teams ownership, it's on to the preview. Last season this team was tops in the NL in hitting. They lost a good part in Siqueiros, but the team should still be a really good hitting team. Not only do they hit, but they can draw walks, hit homers, and steal a few bases. The defense was the teams weakness last season. They finished near the middle of the league in fielding percentage but lacked range. I don't think the defense will improve if not move backwards. The fielding doesn't impress me at all. The pitching was pretty average last season. This season I think they are a little better. The rotation is about average with a couple below average starters in the mix. The relief pitching seems a bit above average though. This team will be pretty good again this season and should return to the post season to try and defend their crown.

Seattle Strikers
Season 14 record- 88-74(Wild Card)
5 year record- 455-355

Offense- Average-7th(.268), OBP-9th(.335), Slg-16th(.372), Runs-13th(722), HR-16th(112), SB-1st(234)
Defense- Fielding %-1st(.989), Plus Plays-4th(63), Minus Plays-5th(40)
Pitching- ERA-1st(3.60), OAV-1st(.241), SO-8th(1074), Saves-6th(48/63)
Key Additions-SP Benji Crespo(tr-Ott), SP Wayne Perez(tr-LA), RP Phil Gardner(FA), SP Wes Sanders(FA), 2B Alfredo Colome(FA), SP Orber Torres(FA), RP Matthew Goodwin(FA), C Antonio Zhang(resigned)
Key Losses-SP Al Rivers(tr-LA), CF Nigel Zaun(tr-LA), 1B Miguel Pichardo(tr-LA), C Benji Villafuerte(FA), RP Hal Davenport(FA), SP Angel Suarez(FA), SP Warren Hargrave(FA), RP Jayson Crawford(FA), SP Don Corey(FA)

Well here's the reason I saved my division for last and even put it off a couple days. I hate reviewing my team. It's boring and I'm not sure anyone even cares to read about my team. Well, once again there was quite a bit of turnover here in Seattle. I just get bored of underachieving and let my big names walk every season. Lot's of losses and big ones at that. It's hard to imagine that I, ghutton9, have now owned this team for 8 going on 9 seasons. Wow how time flies. Last season, Seattle had one of the best defenses in Pine Tar. It's hard to imagine that happening again. The loss of Zaun hurts a bit, but overall the defense will still be good. The offense was average last season and based around speed on the bases. The team lost a few good hitters and probably will be a bit worse this season with the bats, but the speed is still there. The team really lacks power. The pitching staff lost all but one starter from last season and was completely rebuilt. Losing Hargrave hurts. The team finished at the top of the league last season in pitching and should be in the upper half this season, but I doubt they will be as good as last season. I really wanted to rebuild, but didn't have any takers and ended up piecing together scraps to try and be somewhat competitive. This team will likely hover around the 500 mark and has virtually no shot at the post season.

Colorado Springs Night Watchmen
Season 14 record- 74-88
5 year record- 392-418

Offense- Average-9th(.267), OBP-4th(.339), Slg-9th(.427), Runs-11th(776), HR-10th(213), SB-13th(65)
Defense- Fielding %-5th(.985), Plus Plays-12th(35), Minus Plays-13th(64)
Pitching- ERA-15th(4.87), OAV-13th(.276), SO-15th(1006), Saves-4th(50/64)
Key Additions-C Benji Villafuerte(FA)
Key Losses-C Chuck Daniels(FA), RP Zack Prince(FA), RP Miguel Sierra(FA)

Ownership in Colorado Springs has found things a bit frustrating lately. After dominating this division for the opening 8 seasons in Pine Tar, they have not won the division since.The only post season appearance since was in season 13 with a wild card spot. Owner, toe64, has been around since season 1, and has proved to be a successful owner and I think that the rebuilding in Colorado Springs will probably end pretty soon. The defense last season was close to average, but they lacked range. That is pretty much the case again this season. The lack a true shortstop and centerfielder, but the gloves aren't terrible. They finished pretty average in hitting as well. They have some good hitters, but the lineup won't scare anyone. They have a little power but not much. The pitching was bottom of the league last season. They have some decent pitchers, but the overall talent level is low. The pitching probably won't improve. I see this team struggling this season as hopefully for them the rebuilding process is close to showing the benefits next season.

Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs
Season 14 record- 72-90
5 year record- 380-430

Offense- Average-13th(.262), OBP-12th(.332), Slg-13th(.404), Runs-14th(721), HR-14th(170), SB-3rd(188)
Defense- Fielding %-9th(.981), Plus Plays-10th(41), Minus Plays-6th(44)
Pitching- ERA-5th(4.43), OAV-6th(.263), SO-6th(1110), Saves-10th(44/57)
Key Additions-RP Babe Ashburn(promoted), SS Billy Kashmir(promoted)
Key Losses-none

Owner brentcnb moves into a third season as owner of this franchise. Last season seen an improvement over the previous season by 5 games. They claim that the team has too many holes heading into this season to compete, but season 16 they expect a high finish in the division. They have a few prospects that could fill some holes but plan to move them up next season when the team is really ready to compete. Last season the offense on the team was below average but had some good team speed. It will probably end up pretty close to last season as the teams hitting is not overly impressive. The fielding was average last season. Looking at the team this season I find it hard to see how they could be any better than that. They do have some good fielders, but lack a shortstop or centerfielder. The pitching was the bright spot on this team last season. They finished near the top on the NL last season and I wouldn't be surprised if they did again. They have some pretty good pitchers on this staff. I wouldn't be surprised to see this team finish close to 500 this season, but I don't think they are ready to challenge for the division title. The pitching is there, but everything else is not.

It's hard to pick against Scottsdale. Really, there isn't another team in the division that can compare. I think they end up running away with the division. Seattle has taken some major steps back and I doubt they can compete for the division and probably miss the post season. Oklahoma City is looking better this season, but the playoffs are a long shot. Colorado Springs will struggle this season.

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

Monday, March 28, 2011

Season 15 preview-NL South

NL South
After a couple of seasons coming in second place, Charleston returned to the top of this division last season. They have now won the division in 7 of the last 9 seasons. The franchise in Texas take a huge step forward last season, improving their win total from season 13 by 17 games. Jackson was another team that made a major leap last season. They picked up just the second winning season in team history and improved their win total by 14 games. The one team that moved back was Monterrey. After winning the previous two division titles, the team finished last in the division. They still have not had a losing season over the past 4 seasons though. It was a pretty close race in the South last season for the most part and some teams really stepped things up to make this a very good division and quite possibly the best the NL has to offer.

Charleston Riverdogs
Season 14 record- 95-67(NL South Champs)
5 year record- 492-318

Offense- Average-10th(.265), OBP-2nd(.345), Slg-3rd(.461), Runs-1st(893), HR-1st(280), SB-9th(101)
Defense- Fielding %-4th(.986), Plus Plays-8th(50), Minus Plays-4th(36)
Pitching- ERA-8th(4.48), OAV-10th(.272), SO-10th(1071), Saves-7th(46/62)
Key Additions-SP Warren Hargrave(FA), RP Esteban Dotel(FA), RP Milton Simpson(FA), SP Luis Rijo(FA), SP Gregg Thomas(FA)
Key Losses-C Jose Johnson(FA), LF Frank Martin(FA), SP John Ashley(FA), RP John Chen(FA)

This is another example of a franchise that has built a culture of success. Last season marked the ninth straight season with a winning record as this franchise moved back atop the division after a two season hiatus. Owner bjohara has been in control of this franchise since season 5 and has only allowed the team one losing season in this time and it was his first season in control. Not happy with just winning the division, this team looks like they have made some moves to put this team on top of the NL in the off season. The major moves they made were with pitching. A team that lost the pitchers they did would normally be a bit worried, but this team made moves that put the pitching staff in a better position than last season. They finished in the middle of the NL in pitching last season and that was something that needed to be addressed if they were to compete for the NL title. After the moves they made, the starting rotation looks very good now. The bullpen looks pretty good as well and this pitching staff could be one of the best in the NL. The offense last season was one of the best in the league, but the team average wasn't very good. It will probably end up the same this season. They don't have the best hitters, but they do draw walks and have some real good power in the lineup. They finished near the top of the league in fielding last season and probably will do so again. They have a really good shortstop and centerfielder to anchor the defense. They also have some good fielders to throw in the mix at other positions as well. It's going to be really tough to knock this team from the top of the division this season and I wouldn't be surprised to see them win the NL championship.

Texas Beavers
Season 14 record- 84-78
5 year record- 367-443

Offense- Average-5th(.274), OBP-7th(.338), Slg-10th(.426), Runs-6th(836), HR-12th(182), SB-2nd(191)
Defense- Fielding %-9th(.981), Plus Plays-7th(51), Minus Plays-3rd(28)
Pitching- ERA-7th(4.47), OAV-5th(.260), SO-13th(1031), Saves-7th(46/59)
Key Additions-3B Omar Siqueiros(tr-Sco), SP Russell Wheeler(tr-Jax), RP Flip Buck(FA), LF Orval Yeats(resigned), LF/2B Alfonso Crespo(promoted)
Key Losses-RF Dean Podsednik(tr-Jax), SP Bret O'Leary(FA)

Last season, team owner, carseneau, led this team to their first winning season since season 8. They had an amazing season when compared to season13 and finished 2nd in the division as this team made huge steps forward. The franchise, after many seasons of mediocrity, seems to finally be heading in the right direction. Last season this team was above average offensively and had plenty of speed on the bases. That was a large part of their success. The loss of Podsednik will hurt the team, but the addition of Siqueiros will help ease that. They should be a little closer to average this season as I think they move back a bit. The fielding on the team was about average last season as well. The have a few good gloves on the team, but I don't see how they can be above average with what they have. The pitching last season was slightly above average and I think this season they will be close to the same. They are a little weak in the rotation, but I do like the bullpen. They were already real good in the bullpen with only 13 blown saves last season, but the addition of Buck will make them even better. I think this team is pretty average and not ready to make a run at Charleston for the division title. They look like a team that will finish with around 81 wins, plus or minus a few.

Jackson Juggernauts
Season 14 record- 83-79
5 year record- 317-493

Offense- Average-11th(.263), OBP-13th(.331), Slg-7th(.443), Runs-5th(840), HR-5th(240), SB-7th(120)
Defense- Fielding %-9th(.981), Plus Plays-2nd(69), Minus Plays-2nd(22)
Pitching- ERA-4th(4.31), OAV-3rd(.259), SO-11th(1058), Saves-1st(56/78)
Key Additions-SP Don Corey(Rule V), RP Harry Moreno(FA), RP Robin Sanders(FA)
Key Losses-P Wes Sanders(FA)

In two seasons of owning this team, owner bobbyj7 has taken this team from one of the worst in the league to being a contender. Last season was just this franchises second winning season in their history. This is a team that is on the move up for sure. In the off season they added a few good pitchers to the roster and didn't really lose much as they are returning mostly the same team from last season. That's not a bad thing in Jackson, as most of this roster is really young and talented. Last season the team finished near the middle of the league in fielding, but had plenty of range to get to plays. That is the same this season with this group. The hitting was just below average but they ranked near the top of the league in runs scored and homers. They have some good hitters on the team, but the key part of the teams offense is power and speed. They have plenty of power and speed and should be able to beat teams with both of those tools. The pitching was amond the best in the NL in season 14. They have a real good rotation, and bullpen. This is a real solid team that is young and should continue to grow for the next few seasons. I think they can contend for the division title this season, but it will be tough. They should get a wild card if they don't win the division as this team should win 90+ games this season.

Monterrey Jacks
Season 14 record- 81-81
5 year record- 448-362

Offense- Average-1st(.281), OBP-14th(.330), Slg-2nd(.469), Runs-8th(820), HR-3rd(269), SB-14th(63)
Defense- Fielding %-8th(.982), Plus Plays-15th(28), Minus Plays-16th(85)
Pitching- ERA-12th(4.66), OAV-10th(.272), SO-1st(1214), Saves-13th(42/62)
Key Additions-none
Key Losses-2B Dean Franco(FA), SP Luis Rijo(FA)

Owner titotwig has been in control of this franchise since season 6 and while things started off rough, this franchise has really come on strong the past 4 seasons. Last season was a disappointment for the franchise, but they still managed to win 81 games while coming in 4th place in a very tough division. Offensively, this team was pretty good last season, but struggled to score runs a bit as they finished in the middle of the league in that category. They have some good hitters, but overall this bunch doesn't impress me too much. I don't think they can finish atop the league in average again this season. They do have some power on the team and should be in the upper half of the league in that category again. This team was not very good in the field last season. The finished in the middle of the league in fielding percentage but were last in plus and minus plays. The defense is really bad in Monterrey. I think they'll actually be worst than last season. The pitching was also not very good. They have some really good pitchers on this staff, but with the defense being so bad, it really hurts the effectiveness of these guys. To sum it up, I don't think this franchise is in a good state at this time. I think they finish at the bottom of the division this season and will struggle to win 80 games.

Charleston looks ready to step it up this season and make a run at the world series. Jackson impresses me and has a good chance at making the post season and press Charleston to the end. Texas looks like an average team and probably won't make much noise in this tough division. Monterrey will find it hard to finish out of the bottom of the division this season with what they have right now.

1. Charleston
2. Jackson
3. Texas
4. Monterrey

Season 15 preview-NL East

NL East
Well I wasn't too far off on my predictions for this division last season. I said that Cincy would take the division, which they did, and that all the teams could finish close to or above 500. The worst team was only 7 games under 500 in this division last season. Unfortunately, it was the team I chose to finish second, Jacksonville. Overall, it was still a very tough division. The NL was very tough last season as a whole, which probably helped push the three teams that didn't win the division below 500. For Cincinnati, it was just the teams second division title and they also won the most games in franchise history. It was a very nice season for them. Kansas City fell back a little bit from season 13, but still was respectable as they finished second in the division for their highest finish since season 10. New York had the same exact record, 75-87, as the season before as they have seen their share of struggles the past few seasons, but still remained a decent team. Jacksonville was the surprise, as they dropped off quite a bit from season 13. After dominating the division the previous 4 seasons, they dropped to fourth for the worst finish in franchise history.

Cincinnati Firestorm
Season 14 record- 93-69(NL East Champs)
5 year record- 408-402

Offense- Average-11th(.263), OBP-4th(.339), Slg-11th(.421), Runs-4th(847), HR-9th(217), SB-12th(79)
Defense- Fielding %-2nd(.988), Plus Plays-3rd(65), Minus Plays-1st(20)
Pitching- ERA-10th(4.57), OAV-9th(.270), SO-14th(1007), Saves-2nd(53/79)
Key Additions-P Garrett Shea(rule V), RP Stan Woodson(FA), RP Ebenezer Beverlin(FA), LF/1B Troy Jefferson(FA), RP T.J. Starr(resigned),
Key Losses-RP Robin Sanders(FA), RP Jorel Austin(FA)

Cincinnati has really turned things around the past couple of seasons. After only making the playoffs 4 times in the first 13 seasons, this team made it back last season by winning the division. After winning 90 games in season 13 and missing the post season, this bunch won 93 last season and won the second division title in team history. jbburner has owned this team for 15 seasons and is happy with where the team is right now. The fans in Cincy were hoping for a big move in the off season to put this team over the top, but that just didn't happen. Not that ownership didn't try though. It looks like the same team will be coming back this season and that isn't a bad thing. Offensively the team was pretty solid last season. While the hitting wasn't very good, they did find ways to get on base and score runs. They didn't show much speed or power but they found ways to get it done. I think it will be pretty much the same this season and the addition of Jefferson adds a little to that. I think the team actually improves offensively. Defensively the team has very good gloves. They have one of the best centerfielders in the league and solid gloves in other positions as well. They don't have a great shortstop. This team is well above average defensively.  They resigned the closer from last season and that's a good sign for this teams pitching. The rotation worries me a bit, but it is good enough to get by. Pitching was the teams weakness last season and it probably will be again. The have some good arms in the bullpen though and I think it'll be a just below average pitching staff. Overall, this is a pretty good team that will be tough to knock off the perch in the NL East. Even if they somehow don't win the division, they would have a very good shot at a wild card spot, as I think this team wins over 90 games for a third straight season.

Kansas City Kardinals
Season 14 record- 76-86
5 year record- 412-398

Offense- Average-4th(.275), OBP-8th(.337), Slg-4th(.451), Runs-3rd(852), HR-7th(235), SB-15th(62)
Defense- Fielding %-16th(.978), Plus Plays-13th(34), Minus Plays-9th(57)
Pitching- ERA-11th(4.59), OAV-8th(.269), SO-5th(1114), Saves-16th(39/65)
Key Additions-2B Alex Rincon(resigned)
Key Losses-SP/RP Sergio Austin(released), IF Mac Hayes(FA), SP Gregg Thomas(FA), RP Jeremi Coleride(FA)

This team has been pretty average for quite some time. They've had good seasons and bad seasons in their history, but for the most part the stay competitive and finish with 70+ or 80+ victories most of the time. Owner bodean has been around since season 2 and has always managed to keep this team respectable. Last season the team finished toward the top of the league offensively. They do have some good hitters, but overall it would surprise me to see them finish so well again. They have a good mix of contact hitters and power hitters in the lineup and shouldn't be a bad offensive team. I just don't think they are one of the best, more like average. The fielding however, really hurt this team last season. The team lacks range, but they do have some players that have average to just below average gloves. I can see them being better than where they were last season in the field. What really hurts them is that they lack a true shortstop. The pitching wasn't very good last season either, but that could be due to the fielding being so bad. While the pitching isn't even above average, I just don't think it's as bad as they looked last season. The team really didn't do much in the off season to improve the club and I think it'll be tough for them to even match last seasons win total. This is a team that should be in rebuilding mode if they aren't already.

New York Moneymaker
Season 14 record- 75-87
5 year record- 410-400

Offense- Average-7th(.268), OBP-11th(.333), Slg-8th(.442), Runs-10th(789), HR-8th(234), SB-10th(87)
Defense- Fielding %-9th(.981), Plus Plays-14th(33), Minus Plays-9th(57)
Pitching- ERA-14th(4.79), OAV-13th(.276), SO-4th(1115), Saves-12th(43/66)
Key Additions-RP Osvaldo Tatis(FA), OF Dicky Bartee(FA), P Christopher Cora(FA), RP Antonio Whang(resigned), OF Cam Stubbs(promoted)
Key Losses-SP John Fogg(declined option), RP Ron Bowen(declined option), SP Alex Montero(FA), RP Brad Shave(FA)

New York through the seasons has put together a good amount of wins. With only 3 losing seasons in team history, Phillies26, has done an impressive job as owner of this franchise. Last season though, marked a second straight season with a losing record and the team wasn't going to sit by and let it happen again. Ownership opened up the pocket books and made some nice off season signings and let a few players go from last season to try and turn this thing around. They also promoted Cam Stubbs and that should help this team out as well. Last season, this team wasn't one of the best offensively as they were average to just below average. I just can't see that being the case this season. The offense impresses me. They have a little speed, a little power, and some good hitters that can get on base. Last season the defense was average, but looking at the team this season, I believe they are below average. They lack a good centerfielder and shortstop and that will hurt. I'd actually rank this team near the bottom of the league in the field. The pitching staff struggled last season, and I can see that happening again. The rotation is not very strong although they do have some good pitchers in the bullpen. Overall, I think this team will have a decent season, and probably play close to 500 ball unless they can upgrade the rotation. If they were to add a couple starters and a shortstop, this team could be much better.

Jacksonville Juice
Season 14 record- 74-88
5 year record- 476-334

Offense- Average-15th(.258), OBP-4th(.339), Slg-11th(.421), Runs-12th(765), HR-11th(211), SB-8th(114)
Defense- Fielding %-14th(.980), Plus Plays-9th(44), Minus Plays-12th(62)
Pitching- ERA-6th(4.45), OAV-12th(.274), SO-7th(1077), Saves-10th(44/71)
Key Additions-OF Dean Podsednik(tr-Tex), SP Max Mateo(tr-Nas), SP Ron Bowen(FA), SP Vernon Hamilton(FA), 3B Hector Cairo(FA), RP Bill Walker(FA), RP Brad Shave(FA)
Key Losses-SP Russell Wheeler(tr-Tex), 1B Pascual Ortiz(released), SP Tomas Nieves(declined option)

Jacksonville has been the most successful team in the NL East through the years and has never experienced a season as bad as last season. At 74-88, it marked the second losing season in team history as well as the worst record. So the team decided to start a rebuild and dealt away some higher priced aging players and acquired some young near ML ready minor leaguers. They also signed some free agents to fill in the gaps. The expectations according to ownership are for a 500 record at worst. Not really much of a rebuild, but fans in Jacksonville are accustomed to winning and don't have the patience to wait around for another division winner. Last season, the offensive found ways to get on base but it wasn't the hitting. They finished near the bottom of the league in average, but toward the top in obp. The rest of the offensive numbers were below average though. I'm expecting a bit of the same this season. They do have some good hitters, but overall it's not a great hitting team. The fielding was below average last season, and it probably is closer to an average fielding team on paper. The lack of a true shortstop hurts. The pitching was pretty good last season. The rotation looks a little weak, but they have some good arms in the pen. I think the pitching takes a step back this season. Overall, this isn't the Jacksonville team that has run this division over the years, but they aren't bottom feeders either. I don't think the playoffs are likely this season, but an 81 win season should be attainable.

Cincinnati, is a pretty good team and should take this division again this season. Overall the division looks weak, but Cincinnati does not. Jacksonville and New York could flip flop between 2nd and 3rd this season as the two teams look really close. Kansas City looks like they'll take some steps back this season and will struggle to stay with the other teams.

1. Cincinnati
2. Jacksonville
3. New York
4. Kansas City

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Season 15 preview-NL North

NL North
Well another season and the same old crap in the NL north. When is Fargo ever going to let go of first place. It's really getting boring. WTF, YOU MEAN THEY DIDN'T WIN THE DIVISION LAST SEASON!!!! Well unbelievable. I thought I was going to get by with using the same preview again and just changing a few words here and there to make it feel new. That damn team in Helena had to go and ruin that for me. So anyway, Helena, finally goes and unseats Fargo. After 13 seasons of dominance in the North, Fargo's reign of terror(um, dominance) finally came crashing down. Now Helena has to prove themselves by doing it again. Helena, no doubt, has a very talented squad and while last season was a huge success, they still fell short of the ultimate goal. Heck, they really didn't even finish better than Fargo. Fargo blew off the division loss and went to the NLCS last season. With these two teams at the top of the division it makes life hard for the teams in Cleveland and Trenton. This may not be the best division in the league, but it may be the toughest to get to the top of. When you have a team like Fargo at the top for all those years and Helena always a contender, but always falling short until last season, it just shows how tough it is for the other two teams.

Helena Ass Hats
Season 14 record- 92-70(NL North Champ)
5 year record- 399-411

Offense- Average-6th(.273), OBP-10th(.334), Slg-6th(.447), Runs-7th(823), HR-6th(237), SB-5th(155)
Defense- Fielding %-2nd(.988), Plus Plays-6th(53), Minus Plays-7th(45)
Pitching- ERA-2nd(4.11), OAV-2nd(.255), SO-3rd(1122), Saves-13th(42/65)
Key Additions-none
Key Losses-RP Phil Harding(released)

After 12 seasons of finishing 2nd in the division and coming off a season that they finished 58-104, this franchise took a huge step last season in knocking off Fargo to win the division. Owner moosedrool, now has had this team for 11 seasons and while it hasn't won the division until last season, they have still been very successful. They have a world championship and have been to the NLCS 3 times. Unfortunately, last seasons success ends with the division crown. They failed to make the NLCS as division foe Fargo made it there. In the post season, a team needs a little luck and Helena just didn't have that on their side. The goal this season should be to win the division and advance in the post season. They stayed quiet in the off season as management feels confident in what they have in place. The offense on this team could use a little help as they finished near the middle of the league last season. They have some power and hitting, but it's not consistent throughout the lineup and bench. The team does have some good team speed though. Defensively this team is very solid and one of the best in the NL, as they are very strong up the middle. The pitching is where this team stood out last season. The have a good rotation with a few good relievers in the mix as well. Last season, they blew too many saves and the team really needs to get better about that this season. I could see this team winning the division again, and if not a wild card spot. Whether they are ready to make the leap in the post season remains to be seen and they'll have to prove it to me before I say they are ready to do that.

Fargo Wood Chippers
Season 14 record- 87-75(Wild Card, NLCS runner up)
5 year record- 478-332

Offense- Average-3rd(.276), OBP-3rd(.341), Slg-5th(.448), Runs-9th(794), HR-4th(241), SB-16th(49)
Defense- Fielding %-6th(.984), Plus Plays-5th(55), Minus Plays-11th(58)
Pitching- ERA-3rd(4.20), OAV-3rd(.259), SO-2nd(1169), Saves-4th(50/78)
Key Additions-none
Key Losses-RP Kenny Fischer(released), 1B Tony Cummings(FA), SP Ed Nathan(FA)

How can you call a season that the team made the NLCS a disappointing season? Well, you can't. I'm sure they would have liked to have won a 14th consecutive division title, but that's not a necessity. The fans in Fargo sure are used to winning division titles, but I'm sure they'll be just as happy with where the team finished the post season. Starbuckdc, is the most successful owner in league history. One of the original owners in Pine Tar, Starbuck has molded a very successful franchise. Last season actually matched the franchise low in victories. Not bad for an 87 win team. Last season the team finished near the top offensively. They had problems scoring runs though. The team didn't make any moves in the off season to help that as it appears they are counting that as a fluke season. They have good hitting and some power. The team has some speed, but the faster players on the roster don't have good base running abilities. Defensively the team finished in the top half of the league last season. That surprises me, because this team appears to be one of the best in the league. They have really good fielding and should finish higher this season. They finished near the top of the league in pitching and will probably do so again. Fargo has some really good pitchers on the roster. The rotation has a couple really dominant starters, but it falls off after the first few. That is the only real weakness I see with this team and that is being knit picky. I think Fargo will make a run at starting up a new streak of division titles this season. If they can't win the division, then they are a good pick at one of the wild card spots for sure.

Trenton Thunders
Season 14 record- 71-91
5 year record- 324-486

Offense- Average-16th(.248), OBP-16th(.308), Slg-14th(.390), Runs-15th(706), HR-13th(171), SB-4th(168)
Defense- Fielding %-15th(.979), Plus Plays-1st(91), Minus Plays-8th(47)
Pitching- ERA-13th(4.71), OAV-7th(.267), SO-12th(1046), Saves-9th(45/64)
Key Additions-RF Melky Gonzalez(promoted), C Julio Palmeiro(promoted)
Key Losses-none

Like I said, in a division like this, it's just tough for the teams at the bottom to work their way up. qtip32, took over this team in season 11 and has had a tough time getting the team into the upper half of the division. Last season was a bit successful as the team posted 71 victories, for a new high under this ownership group. This franchise has only had the enjoyment of 2 winning seasons in their history.  Better days could be coming up though for this team. They have some young talent on the ML squad and some good talent coming through the minors as well. Last season this team was just horrible offensively. Finishing last in several categories, the team really needed help. I think they have some good hitters on the team, but overall it's still not a good hitting team. Defensively the gloves were bad last season, but they made up for that with range. This season is likely going to be more of the same, but the errors may go down just a bit. The team pitching was also not very good last season too. They have one of the better young closers in the league in Ortiz, and setup man Moorehouse is a phenomenal reliever as well. What hurts this team is the starting rotation. It's just not a very good rotation. I predict another long season in Trenton, but the future looks bright for this team. It won't be long until they can field a good team to challenge Fargo and Helena.

Cleveland indians
Season 14 record- 60-102
5 year record- 326-484

Offense- Average-13th(.262), OBP-15th(.326), Slg-15th(.377), Runs-16th(656), HR-15th(138), SB-6th(139)
Defense- Fielding %-9th(.981), Plus Plays-16th(16), Minus Plays-14th(71)
Pitching- ERA-16th(5.75), OAV-16th(.292), SO-15th(1006), Saves-13th(42/63)
Key Additions-none
Key Losses-RP Teddy Tracy(FA), 2B Chris Oliver(FA)

This team has had a rough go of it in their history. Only one winning season and the highest finish was second and that happened once. lonely548 took over the franchise in season 12 and hasn't had much luck with this team yet. A second place finish in season 13 had fans hopes up heading into last season, only to be let down with a 60-102 record from the team. Their isn't much talent at the ML level aside from young SS Corky Whitehead, LF Joseph Bang, and under achieving SP Davey Quinones. They do have 2B Hank Roling down at high a that should be able to help soon, but besides him, this organization is pretty bare. Last season the offense was one of the worst in the league and I don't think they have the players to change that this season. The defense was below average and didn't improve in the off season. The pitching was at the bottom of the league as well. They don't have much on the staff in that regards and probably won't improve. Overall, this team is in bad shape and needs a complete overhaul. I can't see them competing at all this season, and probably will take a few seasons to get them on track.

Helena did a great job last season in taking the division title and still has a pretty good team. They have some holes offensively, but overall it's one of the better teams in the league. Fargo has a great team and I doubt they finish as bad, as if it were bad, as last season. They should be pretty good and could take back the division title. Trenton still has too many holes this season to really make a run at the post season. Cleveland is in shambles and could really use a massive rebuild to get this team competitive.

1. Fargo
2. Helena
3. Trenton
4. Cleveland

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Season 15 previews-AL West

AL West
Well, of all the divisions in Pine Tar, the AL West may be the most frustrating for me. This division has the largest rollover of owners in any division in the league. The longest tenured owner in this division as it stands now is heading into a third season as owner. It's actually 2 owners that are tied for this. It's hard for any team in this game to build success without a plan set in place and carried out over multiple seasons. Hopefully the two new owners will be sticking around for a while and then maybe this division can start to join the ranks of all the others in Pine Tar. The division winner last season was the team in Cheyenne, as they posted their third straight season with a winning record and finally got to the top of the division. This franchise now has 6 division titles. Vancouver took a step backwards last season. After winning the division in season 13 with 90 wins, last season they fell to 79 wins and dropped to second. The team in Los Angeles last season, was taken over by new ownership this season to make 3 owners in 3 seasons. They came in third last season and had the second most losses in franchise history with 98. The franchise that was in Santa Cruz was taken over by new ownership as well this season and moved to St Louis. This will be the sixth straight season with new ownership for this franchise. Last season they finished 58-104, and last in the entire world of Pine Tar.

Cheyenne Rawhide
Season 14 record-87-75(AL West Champ)
5 year record-387-423

Offense- Average-7th(.278), OBP-7th(.340), Slg-10th(.441), Runs-7th(846), HR-11th(202), SB-13th(85)
Defense- Fielding %-6th(.984), Plus Plays-10th(39), Minus Plays-8th(45)
Pitching- ERA-12th(5.20), OAV-11th(.285), SO-7th(1036), Saves-3rd(53/66)
Key Additions-C Roy Ashby(resigned), SP Kevin Xaio(resigned)
Key Losses-2B Francis Norton(FA)

Last season Cheyenne took over as division champion in the West. While this is the one franchise that has found consistent success through the years, it had also gone 4 seasons without a post season appearance. That ended last season when owner mrbinson ended this teams drought in just his second season with the franchise. Last season the team found success through slightly above average hitting, fielding and relief pitching. The team however didn't have much power, or overall pitching. In the off season, instead of trying to strengthen those areas with free agents, they chose to stay the course with what they had. The only 2 key signings they made were of their own players. They also lost 2B Norton, which will hurt a little bit. While this team is fairly young, their talent lies more with the older players on the roster. Not that they don't have younger talent though. RP Linden and SS Santiago are 2 pretty good young players. Offensively this team has some good contact hitters, but little power in the lineup. They also don't have much speed on the team. Defensively this is a solid team with the glove but they don't have much range in the field. The pitching isn't very good still and outside of closer Linden, the pitching staff is less than average. Overall this team may take a few steps back from last season or end up with pretty close to the same record, but I don't see them improving upon the win total from last season without some luck.

Vancouver Canadiens
Season 14 record- 79-83
5 year record- 424-386

Offense- Average-4th(.286), OBP-3rd(.350), Slg-6th(.457), Runs-9th(829), HR-9th(219), SB-14th(65)
Defensive- Fielding %-12th(.980), Plus Plays-14th(29), Minus Plays-12th(58)
Pitching- ERA-8th(4.82), OAV-8th(.272), SO-6th(1038), Saves-4th(45/56)
Key Additions-LF Alberto Machado(tr-Bos), SP Matty Andujar(tr-Ott), RP Hal Davenport(FA), RP Ed Nathan(FA), RF Daryle Moran(FA), 2B Karl Shumaker(FA), C Guy Robinson(FA), 3B Dave Thompson(promoted), C Richie Allen(Rule V)
Key Losses-RP Chico Guerrero(tr-Bos), RP Felipe Lee(tr-Ott), 1B Matty Coco(tr-Ott), 1B Jose Martin(FA), SP Ron Sweeney(FA), RP Milton Simpson(FA), CF/2B Dicky Bartee(FA), RF/1B Troy Jefferson(FA), 2B Dennis Nomura(FA), 2B Darren Cox(FA), SP Dave Grey(FA)

Wow, my head hurts looking through all the moves that were made by this team in the off season. Obviously, not happy with last seasons results, this team went wild in the off season. Owner lukeb31, heading into a third season at the helm was not going to settle for another losing record. Quite possibly one of the more disappointing teams in the AL last season, this team subtracted 11 wins from the previous seasons division championship and finished in second place. The made moves that should help in most areas of weakness on the team. Defensively this team finished in the bottom half of the league last season. They have a slick fielding shortstop in Bennett that can run the infield for sure. Shumaker should play second to sure up the middle and that makes for a pretty good infield.  They don't really have a very good outfield as James is in centerfield, but probably is more fit to play third, which would give them a very good infield, but weaken the outfield even more. Offensively this team finished near the top of the league in most categories last season. The lack of speed hurt the team though, but they addressed that in the off season and should finish in the upper half of the league in steals this season. They finished near the middle of the league in homers, but they have some pop this season. They could possibly be a better hitting team this season. The pitching was middle of the pack last season. This is one area that I'm not too confident about for this bunch. I like the relief pitching as a group, but they lack a true top of the rotation starter. This team should be better than last season and could possibly take the division crown once again. I could see them winning close to 90 games and if things fall their way then more than 90, but they are going to have to get more from the starting pitching than the abilities these guys have.

Los Angeles Regulators
Season 14 record- 64-98
5 year record- 372-438

Offense- Average-15th(.255), OBP-15th(.321), Slg-14th(.397), Runs-14th(719), HR-13th(193), SB-8th(117)
Defense- Fielding %-12th(.980), Plus Plays-3rd(76), Minus Plays-6th(39)
Pitching- ERA-9th(4.93), OAV-10th(.281), SO-9th(1029), Saves-12th(37/52)
Key Additions-CF Nigel Zaun(tr-Sea), 1B Miguel Pichardo(tr-Sea), SP Al Rivers(tr-Sea), SP Jeff Spivey(FA), RP Carlton Harding(FA), RP John Chen(FA), 2B Darren Cox(FA)
Key Losses-SP Wayne Perez(tr-Sea), CF Darrell Evans(FA), RP Flip Buck(FA)

In his first season as owner of the Los Angeles Regulators, bobswagger91, is full of confidence. In his interview when asked how he thought his team would do this season he replied "The Regulators are f***ing in and Cheyenne is f***ing out." He also said something about winning on the reg. When asked why he thought his team would do better with him running the squad he replied "winners aren't made, they are just born that way." He also claims his team is a bullet proof tiger. OK, well to be honest with you, this guy seems a little bit crazy to me. I'm starting to think that Kenny Powers has taken over a team under the alias of bobswagger91. Anyway, last season this team finished near the bottom of the league in hitting, and fielding, and near the middle of league in pitching. They improved the offense and defense with a couple off season moves though. They already have plenty of range on defense, but they added a good glove in centerfield and secondbase that should help. The big problem is that they don't have a real shortstop that can play gold glove type shortstop. Offensively, they didn't really lose anyone, but they added Pichardo and Cox. Those two should upgrade the hitting on the team. Looking over the team, I'm not really sure why they finished as bad as they did offensively last season. They have good hitters, some power and players with good eyes at the plate. The did decent in pitching and losing Buck and Perez, hurts. The players they brought in to replace them ease the losses though. I like the pitching and think they'll be better than last season. My judgements on this team is that they underachieved last season and should be quite a bit better this season. They could even challenge for the division title, but I don't think they could get a wild card if they don't win the division.

St Louis Vipers
Season 14 record-58-104
5 year record-313-497

Offense- Average-16th(.246), OBP-16th(.308), Slg-16th(.390), Runs-16th(644), HR-16th(178), SB-9th(114)
Defense- Fielding %-6th(.984), Plus Plays-12th(35), Minus Plays-10th(48)
Pitching- ERA-10th(5.07), OAV-9th(.278), SO-8th(1032), Saves-13th(35/58)
Key Additions-3B Dolf Buhner(claimed), 2B Tony Marin(claimed), SS Lou Jefferies(promoted), OF Mo James(promoted)
Key Losses-SP Pedro Batista(released), C Cleatus Simon(released), RP Herm Redman(FA), 1B Bryce Hatcher(FA)

This is another team that just can't keep an owner around. Now on a seventh owner in seven seasons, Flucie takes over a team that needs rebuilt badly. Due to such a turnover, this team hasn't had much of a direction for several seasons and the record shows. Last season the team finished at the bottom of the league offensively. The added some parts in the off season, but nothing that will make a huge improvement for them this season. However, any improvement is welcome for this franchise and that's what it was. They may finish at the bottom again this season offensively, but it shouldn't be as bad as last season. The highlight for this team was that the defense wasn't bad. This season the defense isn't great, but they'll be able to get by with what they have. They shouldn't be too bad defensively but they probably will be below average from what I see. The pitching wasn't too bad last season either, finishing just below average. I really think the pitching will be worse this season. Hopefully this owner sticks around a while and gets this team built up to be a contender, but this isn't the season that it will happen.

Cheyenne, while winning the division last season actually doesn't look like a division winner to me, but I could be wrong. Vancouver looks improved upon last season and may be the team to beat in the West. Los Angeles, after a disappointing season last season, looks ready to compete for the division title. St Louis is in full rebuild mode and probably finishes last.

1. Vancouver
2. Los Angeles
3. Cheyenne
4. St Louis

Season 15 Preview-AL South

AL South Preview
There was no real surprises in this division last season. Each team in the division finished in the same order for the third consecutive season. If anything could be labeled a surprise it would have been that Tampa, after finishing with over 90 wins for a second straight season, didn't make the post season again. They continue to put together good seasons and can't get into the post season. Nashville had a great season by running off 110 victories. They have a really young team and probably won't be going anywhere for a while. New Orleans took a step backwards last season. Austin continues to rebuild the team as they struggled once again.

Nashville Nalas
Season 14 record- 110-52(AL South Champs)
5 year record- 449-361

Offense- Average-1st(.294), OBP-1st(.367), Slg-2nd(.485), Runs-1st(1023), HR-4th(252), SB-10th(113)
Defense- Fielding %-3rd(.987), Plus Plays-1st(87), Minus Plays-1st(13)
Pitching- ERA-4th(4.00), OAV-4th(.261), SO-15th(987), Saves-8th(42/60)
Key Additions-none
Key Losses- 1B Tommy Parker(tr-Atl), SP Max Mateo(tr-Jax), RF-Brian Tomlin(released), SP Orber Torres(FA)

Owner bnags heads into his 10th season running this franchise. After last season, this franchise has improved upon the previous season win total in 7 straight seasons now. I'm not sure if that streak can continue, but this is a very talented franchise and nothing can be ruled out. This team has it all, fielding, speed, hitting and pitching. The only weakness would be the bullpen and ownership has stated that they are looking at all options to add a true closer to the fold. In the offseason they didn't add any key players, but this young well rounded team didn't need anyone really. They did lose some good players, but I don't think any of the losses will hurt the team. Last seasons MVP snub Heinie Rice will come back looking to take the award in season 15. 3 time all star shortstop Tino House, will look to add another silver slugger to his cabinet this season as well. This is still a very young and very talented roster of players and should be contending for a while, but winning the division isn't the goal in Nashville. They have bigger aspirations and this could be the year.

Tampa Bay Thunder
Season 14 record- 92-70
5 year record- 445-365

Offense- Average-3rd(.287), OBP-2nd(.353), Slg-7th(.456), Runs-6th(871), HR-10th(216), SB-3rd(168)
Defense- Fielding %-10th(.981), Plus Plays-13th(34), Minus Plays-11th(56)
Pitching- ERA-5th(4.27), OAV-5th(.266), SO-2nd(1088), Saves-9th(40/58)
Key Additions-2B Roberto Flores(FA)
Key Losses- RP Osvaldo Tatis(FA)

Tampa Bay has had a rough go of things lately. Last season marked their third straight of being left out of the post season and the last two were after posting 90+ victories. This has still been an extremely successful franchise under the only owner they have had in rxw1. They've been to 4 world series and have won 2 of those. So it's probably only a matter of time before this team rights the ship and gets them back to the post season and possibly another world series. Choosing to stay quiet in the off season, ownership kept around the team they had last season and added a good player in Flores while only losing relief pitcher Tatis. While I wouldn't consider the players to be old on this team, the better players are over 30. They do have some young talented players mixed in with the veterans though, so it is a good mix overall. This team really struggled in the field last season. Outside of shortstop Matsumoto, the fielding on this team is just not very good. Offensively they have some good hitters, as evidence of finishing third in the AL in hitting last season, but they lack a real power threat. I like the speed that they bring to the game though. They have good pitching, but I can't put them at the top of the league in that category as they aren't dominant. Overall this is still a good team that could win 90 games again, but I don't think they challenge for the division title. This could be another season that Tampa is left out of the post season.

New Orleans Nighthawks
Season 14 record- 69-93
5 year record- 395-415

Offense- Average-9th(.272), OBP-9th(.332), Slg-9th(.442), Runs-8th(842), HR-6th(232), SB-6th(140)
Defense- Fielding %-15th(.977), Plus Plays-15th(24), Minus Plays-14th(70)
Pitching- ERA-13th(5.21), OAV-16th(.296), SO-11th(1014), Saves-7th(43/61)
Key Additions-SS Vin Hernandez(claimed), RP Miguel Sierra(FA), 2B Dennis Nomura(FA), SP Dave Grey(FA), RP Teddy Tracy(FA), C Cristobal Rodriguez(Rule V), OF Eduardo Sanchez(Rule V)
Key Losses-DH Al Bravo(FA), SP Phil Gardner(FA)

Last season this team dropped in win total for the first time since season 11. After putting together back to back 81 win seasons they dropped to 69 last season. Owner larryvegas heads into a fourth season as owner and wasn't willing to sit by in the off season without improving the team. The additions the team made are much better than what they lost. They added to the defense through the waiver wire by picking up shortstop Hernandez, that should really help bring this defense from the bottom of the league. The team already had some team speed that had them in the upper half of the league and I don't see that changing this season. they finished in the middle of the league in hitting last season, and I don't see that changing much. They have some power, but the guys that bring the most of it won't hit for higher averages. LF Sam Slotnick is young though, and should continue to become a better hitter over the next couple seasons to add to his power. Pitching was another sore spot for this team last season and looking at the team with the additions, I feel it will be better than last season. While the pitching isn't great, it will be improved and should be average to a little above average. I don't see this team taking the division title this season, but I do see them improving and possibly getting to or just above 81 victories.

Austin Tumbleweeds
Season 14 record- 60-102
5 year record- 291-519

Offense- Average-13th(.265), OBP-13th(.325), Slg-12th(.426), Runs-12th(752), HR-12th(200), SB-1st(198)
Defense- Fielding %-16th(.974), Plus Plays-16th(11), Minus Plays-16th(80)
Pitching- ERA-15th(5.37), OAV-13th(.287), SO-1st(1107), Saves-16th(29/43)
Key Additions-SP Alberto Castillo(FA), 2B Jimmie Gonzales(FA), 1B Jose Martin(FA), 2B Chris Oliver(FA)
Key Losses-RF Daryle Moran(FA), SP Mark Matsumoto(FA), SP Christopher Cora(FA), 2B Miguel Flores(FA)

The franchise in Austin has seen more struggles throughout their history than success. With owner sheepdog07 heading into a fourth season at the helm, hopefully they finally have found an owner with a direction that can get them some glory. It's been a rough first 3 seasons for the ownership, but it takes time to build a winner. The fourth season of a rebuild should usually be the time that a little bit of the plan starts to show. Well this is a pretty young team and hopefully for the fans they will see a little bit of that light shining through. Ownership didn't sit by idly in the off season. They added some good players to this organization. They also lost a few good players in the process, but I like the players that are replacing them much more. This team finished last in fielding in season 14, and I think they probably will finish close to that again. The team lacks a true shortstop or centerfielder and that hurts. They led the league in steals last season and I wouldn't be surprised if they repeated that feat. This team is fast. This team finished toward the bottom of the league in hitting last season, but I believe the hitting is improved and they will finish closer to the middle of the league. They also have a little bit of power on this team. The pitching finished at the bottom last season and I just don't think it'll be any different this season. The pitching overall just isn't very good. It looks like it could be another long season in Austin.

Nashville is the team to beat in this division and it will probably be that way for the next few seasons as this team is pretty young. Tampa Bay has a good team, but not great. They could be battling for a wild card spot again this season. New Orleans is improved, but not enough to get in the wild card race quite yet. Austin will continue the rebuilding process this season.

1. Nashville
2. Tampa
3. New Orleans
4. Austin

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Season 15 Previews-AL East

AL East
A season removed from having an exciting race to end a season that featured a team winning the division with a losing record, this division may have had the biggest surprise last season. After a disappointing season in season 13, Atlanta finally put it together last season. Going on to win 104 games may not have surprised management, but it surprised the rest of the league. The talent was there, and I figured they'd win the division, but to do it so convincingly was the surprise. It was the franchises first division title in 11 seasons. Another surprise was that Toledo, now relocated to Boston under new ownership, regressed as much as they did. 2 seasons removed from a division title and coming up just short of the crown in season 13, this team dropped to the back of the pack in almost as convincing a fashion as Atlanta moving to the front. Durham dropped from 1st to 3rd last season and challenged the Toledo team for last place which was a bit of a surprise. The Chicago team improved by 1 game last season for a second straight year as they continued to build the team up to becoming the once proud franchise that they were.

Atlanta Red Tide
Season 14 record- 104-58(AL East Champs)
5 year record- 396-414

Offense- Average-6th(.281), OBP-6th(.343), Slg-3rd(.469), Runs-4th(905), HR-5th(250), SB-4th(160)
Defense- Fielding %-2nd(.988), Plus Plays-5th(62), Minus Plays-2nd(18)
Pitching- ERA-3rd(3.90), OAV-2nd(.247), SO-13th(1000), Saves-6th(44/53)
Key Additions-1B Tommy Parker(tr-Nash), RP Will Bergen(resigned)
Key Losses- C Guy Robinson(released), LF/1B Roberto Flores(FA)

Atlanta didn't make a lot of noise in the off season as they are pretty confident in what they have. They made a trade for Parker to add a little offense and resigned Bergen, but that was all they added. They lost a decent catcher in Robinson and another good player in Flores, but those were guys that they could afford to lose. The owner radkison moves into a 5th season as owner of the team and has done a really good job at putting together a good team that can challenge for a league title. The defense and offense are really pretty good. Last season they traded for Reggie Creek, who is a phenomenal player and adds a lot to the team. Phil North was brought up last season and will be a good player that can fill in in center and second base. The pitching staff was great last season, but some of that can be attributed to the really good defense. If there is one spot I feel this team is weak then it would be the starting pitching. They have a couple youngsters in triple in Offerman and Simmons that should be able to help that out this season if the players they have falter. Overall this looks like the team to beat in the East and if things go right, they could make a push for the league title.

Chicago Wind Tunnel
Season 14 record- 71-91
5 year record- 371-439

Offense- Average-14th(.255), OBP-13th(.325), Slg-14th(.397), Runs-13th(731), HR-15th(180), SB-5th(152)
Defense- Fielding %-14th(.979), Plus Plays-8th(40), Minus Plays-9th(47)
Pitching- ERA-7th(4.61), OAV-7th(.270), SO-14th(992), Saves-9th(40/51)
Key Additions- 2B Miguel Flores(FA)
Key Losses- 1B Trent Lange(released), RP Harry Moreno(released), RP Chuck Carson(FA)

skidmark took over this team in season 12 and hasn't had much luck in Chicago. The team has added one win each of the last 2 seasons though and are continuing to build. They added one good player in Flores through free agency and didn't lose a whole lot. The team did finish second last season and were pretty average in pitching and defense. The offense had it's struggles though. The good thing for Chicago is that this is a young and inexpensive team, so they are able to put money where it needs to go in order to build. Ownership is shooting for a 500 season, as they have said that is the goal.  The defense isn't very good, but it's not the worst by far. The hitting is improved over where they were last season at this time and I expect them to finish higher than they did last season in the key categories, by a little bit. The pitchers on the staff lack control, but should be OK. This is a pretty average to just below average team, and a 500 season isn't out of the question.

Durham Doormats
Season 14 record- 66-96
5 year record- 377-433

Offense- Average-7th(.278), OBP-8th(.337), Slg-5th(.462), Runs-10th(805), HR-2nd(258), SB-15th(47)
Defense- Fielding %-3rd(.987), Plus Plays-6th(58), Minus Plays-7th(43)
Pitching- ERA-16th(5.86), OAV-15th(.294), SO-16th(979), Saves-11th(39/50)
Key Additions- 2B Rob Mercedes(resigned), C Jason Sager(promoted), SP Glenn Hafner(promoted), SP Vinny Shouse(promoted), SP Timothy Douglass(promoted), RP-Courtney Cashman(promoted)
Key Losses- C Dale Simon(released), SP Jeff Spivey(released), SP Julian Castro(FA)

Durham struggled badly last season. Even though they finished fairly good in hitting and fielding, this teams pitching staff struggled badly in season 14. Coming off a season that saw the team finish first in the division with a losing record, I don't think anyone expected them to struggle as bad as they did. The franchise has only had 3 winning seasons in their history, but I don't think they are too far off from adding to that. alogman1 heads into the sixth season as owner of the franchise and this season they have brought up some youngsters that should be able to step in and help immediately. The pitching needed upgraded and rather than do it in free agency, they brought up some young pitchers that are ready to help out. Overall I think the pitching is improved, but still not above average in the league. The fielding should still be good. Their hitting isn't great, but they have some pop and should be alright. The team is still in rebuilding mode, but I think they'll be improved upon last season. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this team finishes around 500.

Boston Pilgrims
Season 14 record- 65-97
5 year record- 344-466

Offense- Average-11th(.268), OBP-11th(.329), Slg-11th(.433), Runs-11th(767), HR-7th(224), SB-7th(124)
Defense- Fielding %-9th(.983), Plus Plays-11th(37), Minus Plays-15th(74)
Pitching- ERA-14th(5.33), OAV-14th(.292), SO-4th(1079), Saves-15th(31/55)
Key Additions- RP Chico Guerrero(tr-Van), RF Houston Baptist(promoted), SS Patrick Jefferson(promoted), SS Sammy Espinosa(rule V)
Key Losses- C Teddy Johnson(released), SP Albert Castillo(released), C/1B Jude Cole(released), SS Victor Ramsay(FA)

Over the past few seasons the results for this team have been mixed. Back in season 11, when the last owner took over the team finished last in the division. The following season the franchise earned their first division title and had  their first season with a winning record. It's been all down hill since. The teams victories have dropped each of the past 2 seasons as they fell to the bottom of the division once again. A move to new ownership was set in place. kjmulli, stepped up to take over this team that was in bad need of a new direction. New ownership has said that they are planning on rebuilding this team and picked up the franchise from Toledo and moved to Boston. Last season the team finished near the bottom of the league in hitting, fielding, and pitching. In trying to rebuild the franchise they let a few players go in free agency and released a few. They also traded for a good young relief pitcher in Guerrero and promoted a good outfielder in Baptist. The fielding should be improved by promoting Jefferson and drafting Espinosa in the rule V draft. The hitting seems a bit improved heading into the season. The pitching isn't bad either. I think this team will actually see their win total improve upon last season as the new ownership works to rebuild this franchise.

Overall, I see an improved division. Atlanta has a really good team and should be able to run away with the division again, although repeating the 100+ wins will be tough to accomplish. Chicago will continue to rebuild and could finish close to 500 but I'm guessing somewhere in the 70 to 80 range of victories. Durham is improved and I'll predict they will finish with around 80 wins. Boston shouldn't finish as bad as last season, but still has a ways to go to get to the top.

1. Atlanta
2. Durham
3. Chicago
4. Boston

Friday, March 18, 2011

Season 15 previews-AL North

This division keeps putting out phenomenal win totals and some of the best teams in Pine Tar. Led by the powerhouse Syracuse Snow Pirates, it seems like this division has at least 3 teams in the post season yearly. 12 times now this division has put a team in the ALCS. 4 times the division has put a team in the World Series. Twice the division has been home to the World Champion and each of those happened with in the last 5 seasons. Those numbers have set the standards pretty high in the North. Minnesota, a team in rebuild mode, has found it tough to even get back into the thick of things with now 4 straight 4th place finishes. Rebuilding in this division isn't kind to a team.

Syracuse Snow Pirates
Season 14 record-115-47(1st division, AL Champ)
5 year record-540-270

Offense- Average-2nd(.290), OBP-4th(.347), Slg-1st(.502), Runs-2nd(964), HR-1st(308), SB-16th(31)
Defense- Fielding %-1st(.990), Plus plays-1st(87), Minus Plays-3rd(20)
Pitching- ERA-1st(3.64), OAV-1st(.242), SO-5th(1056), Saves-1st(55/67)
Key Additions-None
Key Losses-2B Karl Shumaker(released), RP Bill Walker(FA)

Syracuse was a team on a mission in season 14. Putting up 115 wins and making a second straight trip to the World Series they fell just short of that mission. The team owner, prezuiwf, has now been in control of this team for going on 11 seasons and has taken this team to the top of the league. Unfortunately, a second straight trip to the top of Pine Tar wasn't to be. Losing to Scottsdale in the World Series left the team wondering what went wrong. Poised to make another run this season, the team stuck with what they had in place and chose to not sign any free agents or make a big trade to bring in a big name player. Why would they? I feel like it was a good decision to stick with what works and brush the World Series loss of and go for it again this season. After all, they do have a pretty young team that should be able to stay near the top for seasons to come.

Milwaukee Cream Citys
Season 14 record-100-62(Wild Card)
5 year record-487-323

Offense- Average-10th(.271), OBP-10th(.331), Slg-4th(.466), Runs-3rd(914), HR-3rd(253), SB-11th(109)
Defense- Fielding %-5th(.986), Plus Plays-4th(70), Minus Plays-5th(30)
Pitching-ERA- 6th(4.51), OAV-5th(.266), SO-10th(1015), Saves-1st(55/77)
Key Additions-RP Jayson Crawford(FA), IF David Bako(resigned), SP John Ashley(FA)
Key Losses-3B Hector Cairo(FA), RP Roy Hiatt(FA), RP Luis Seguignol(FA), RP Matthew Goodwin(FA), SP Vernon Hamilton(FA)

Milwaukee is a good team and has been for many seasons, so it's hard to criticize them. jquick1 has been around since season 3 and while it took a little while to get the team on track, he has done an amazing job the past 7 seasons. If I had to find one thing I didn't like about this team though, it would be the lack of a really good shortstop. The team doesn't have a lot of power but it's hard to say that about a team that finished 3rd in homers and 4th in slugging. They don't have a dominant number 1 starter, but they get every bit out of what they have. They lost some pitchers in free agency, but replaced them with a couple good pitchers. Overall though, this is a solid team that should put up a good amount of wins again this season.

Ottawa Otters
Season 14 record-98-64(Wild Card, ALCS runner up)
5 year record-507-303

Offense- Average-5th(.282), OBP-5th(.344), Slg-8th(.447), Runs-5th(899), HR-8th(221), SB-2nd(173)
Defense- Fielding %-6th(.984), Plus Plays-7th(55), Minus Plays-4th(24)
Pitching- ERA-2nd(3.83), OAV-2nd(.247), SO-3rd(1080), Saves-4th(45/64)
Key Additions-RP Emil Campos(tr-Sea), RP Felipe Lee(tr-Vanc), 1B Matty Coco(tr-Vanc), SP Bret O'Leary(FA), RP Zack Prince(FA), C Clay Henderson(Resigned)
Key Losses-SP Benji Crespo(tr-Sea), 2B Alfredo Colome(FA), DH Clyde Burns(FA), RP Robin Schalk(FA), RP Carlton Harding(FA)

As ewd330 heads into his sixth season as owner of this proud franchise, they have their sights set high. In 5 previous seasons he has led this team to 2 World Series with one title, and 4 ALCS appearances. With the only 3 losing seasons in their history coming way back in the first 3 seasons this franchise has only experienced success since. I don't think this season will be any different. While they did lose some good players in the off season, they also added some players that will help this team battle for a division title. While Syracuse still remains the team to beat in the division, Ottawa is a well put together team that can challenge them. They have the hitting, speed, defense and pitching that should make teams worry when facing them.

Minnesota PeaceFrog
Season 14 record-61-101
5 year record-391-419

Offense- Average-12th(.267), OBP-12th(.326), Slg-13th(.411), Runs-15th(697), HR-14th(182), SB-12th(100)
Defense- Fielding %-10th(.981), Plus Plays-8th(40), Minus Plays-13th(63)
Pitching- ERA-11th(5.01), OAV-11th(.285), SO-12th(1003), Saves-14th(31/55)
Key Additions-RP Jorel Austin(FA), 1B Frank Martin(FA), RP Jair Bonilla(Rule V)
Key Losses- LF Jerry Truman(released), Junior Brogna(released), SP Rob Murray(FA), C Jacque Chang(FA)

This is a team that has seen it's share of troubles over the past couple seasons. After dominating the division for the first 9 seasons of Pine Tar, the team has seen it's wins decrease in each of the last 5 seasons. Clearly in rebuilding mode, roundfrog who has been in control of the team since season 2, is hoping to see the losing ways end sooner rather than later. The team feels as though their pitching and defense will be improved over last season, but aren't too excited about the offense. Overall they are expecting a bit better season as they are expected to bring some of the younger players up and maybe next season a couple more of the bigger potential young guys they've picked up during the rebuild.

I think Syracuse is the team to beat again this season in this division and possibly the AL. They are returning nearly the same team that ran through the competition last season. I expect Milwaukee to be a good team, but maybe not quite as good as last season as far as wins. Ottawa can make a push for the division title, but for now I'm predicting they won't. Minnesota continues the rebuild and finishes in the basement again. This is still a very tough division and probably the best in Pine Tar.

1. Syracuse
2. Ottawa
3. Milwaukee
4. Minnesota

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Owner of the year-Season 14

Sorry guys about the lack of blogging lately. It's been a busy few months on the personal level and I've just struggled for time. Season 14 was another great season here in Pine Tar and quite truthfully, I'm kind of bummed that I didn't get more info on here about it. It really was quite a fun and shocking season for the world. Scottsdale winning the championship was just amazing to me. Fargo finally not winning the division? What the heck happened in the NL North? The NL South didn't have one team with a losing record and was a dog fight. Syracuse reeling off 115 wins, and Nashville wasn't too far behind with 110. Both had amazing seasons. Atlanta surprised the heck out of me with 104 victories. Just an amazing season for the world. With that being said, we need to vote on owner of the year. I'll keep the rundowns of each owner brief and to the point.

prezuiwf-Syracuse Snow Pirates(115-47, AL Champs)-prez continues to be an amazing owner and could possibly rack up a few of these awards. After winning the championship in season 13, the team returned to the World Series only to be upset by Scottsdale.

radkison-Atlanta Red Tide(104-58, AL East champs)-After 7 straight seasons without making the playoffs, this owner took his team to the top of the division and racked up 104 wins. That was a 27 win improvement over the previous season.

bnags-Nashville Nalas(110-52, AL South champs)-Nashville has improved in victories each of the last 7 seasons and made the biggest leap in victories last season by besting the previous season by 14 victories.

ewd330-Ottawa Otters(98-64, Wild Card, ALCS runner up)-ewd330 has Ottawa consistently around 100 victories each season and being a contender. 3 straight ALCS appearances and last season losing out to a very good Syracuse team.

moosedrool-Helena Ass Hats(92-70, NL North Champs)-Last season moosedrool steered this team to the top of the division to end a 13 season strangle hold by Fargo on the division title. The 92 wins put up last season was a 34 game improvement over season 13.

jbburner-Cincinnati Firestorm(93-69, NL East Champ)-jbburner led this team to their most wins in team history last season. They won the divison for the first time since season 5.

Starbuckdc-Fargo Wood Chippers(87-75, Wild Card, NLCS runner up)-Just when this owner made it look like there was no we to be included on this list, Starbuckdc goes on to make the NLCS and prove everyone wrong. They may not have won the division but they did finish runner up for the league title.

vector21-Scottsdale Scorpions(88-74, NL West champs, World Champs)-Taking over a team in turmoil back in season 11, vector21 has improved the team record every season since. 88 wins may not have been eye popping, but this team went on to win the World Championship.