Friday, September 23, 2011

Season 17 Previews-NL East

NL East
Last season Jacksonville took this division and went on to take the NLCS as well. Jacksonville had a really good season, but they really battled it out with Cincinnati just to take the division title. This may have been the best division in the NL last season from top to bottom. The team formerly in New York went 9-21 in the division, but finished 65-67 against the rest of the league. Not too bad for a last place team. Kansas City had a good season by winning 83 games and finishing only 9 games out of a wild card. Overall it was a really good season in the NL East and each team should be looking to improve upon last season, so it should be again this season.
Jacksonville Juice
Season 16 record-94-68(NL East Champs, NL Champs)
5 year record-464-346

Offense- Average-10th(.260), OBP-5th(.332), Slg-8th(.422), Runs-1st(834), HR-7th(205), SB-4th(138)
Defense- Fld %-12th(.981), Plus Plays-6th(57), Minus Plays-8th(38)
Pitching- ERA-3rd(3.75), OAV-7th(.259), SO-8th(1069), Saves-1st(62/90)

Offense: The team lacked hitting last season and could have used a little more power, but they found ways to score. They led the NL in runs scored and were pretty good at stealing bases. The addition of Andre Fleming will help ease the loss of Buck Leonard, but he's not quite the hitter. Youngster Teddy Lemon is a good upcoming hitter for the team. The teams strength however is speed.

Defense: They finished near the bottom in fielding last season and not much has changed. They do have some good range to make up for that though.

Pitching: This team gets more out of their pitchers than most teams can. The bullpen is very good with a few really good arms. The rotation is solid with a few good pitchers.

Offense: As stated, the team lacked some good hitting abilities. The depth really isn't there either.

Defense: They lack a true shortstop and a centerfielder with real good range.

Pitching: The rotation has decent starters, but nothing great. The rotation is below average by looking at them, but this team somehow gets the most out of their pitching.

Summary- The team had high expectations last seasons and they met them. They fell short in the World Series, but the goal was to make it there. They added Andres Park to the rotation to give them some help there and added Fleming to take the place of the aging Buck Leonard. They have some younger players that will be another year in this season with Teddy Lemon and Magglio Figureoa.  Ownership feels they have the talent to make another run this season and have set the expectations even higher this season. I think they'll be tough to knock off in the division this season. It is a pretty tough squad with some good pieces to keep them going strong. As far as another World Series, I'll have to finish my other reviews before I can make a judgement on that one.

Cincinnati Firestorm
Season 16 record-92-70(Wild Card)
5 year record-439-371

Offense- Average-1st(.274), OBP-1st(.341), Slg-3rd(.439), Runs-6th(799), HR-4th(223), SB-14th(56)
Defense- Fld %-8th(.984), Plus Plays-3rd(73), Minus Plays-1st(21)
Pitching- ERA-9th(4.28), OAV-6th(.252), SO-14th(1040), Saves-6th(51/71)

Offense: This team was at the top of the league in just about every important offensive category last season. The team may be a bit aided by the hitters park they play in, but they do have some good hitters on the team.

Defense: The team finished in the middle of the league in fielding percentage last season, but at the top in plus and minus plays. They have plenty of range for sure. Andre Sele is a gold glove centerfielder and Alfredo Rivera is a pretty good shortstop. The rest of the team have decent gloves for the positions they play. They should finish a bit higher this season.

Pitching: This wasn't the teams strength at all last season. They weren't terrible, but they weren't good either. They have some good bullpen arms and a couple good starters as well.

Offense: The team doesn't have much power outside of Storm Mahoney. They also lack speed.

Defense: Outside of Sele and Rivera they don't have anyone that can ideally play either centerfield or shortstop.

Pitching: Control and depth in the rotation. Most of the pitchers, even the good ones, on this team lack good control. The starting rotation has a couple good arms, but they lack a real #1 or back end of the rotation pitchers, however you want to look at it.

Summary- Cincinnati has a decent team that should be able to at the least challenge in the division for a while. They surely aren't a below 500 team. This is a team that could challenge for a wild card spot.

Kansas City Kardinals
Season 16 record-83-79
5 year record-386-424

Offense- Average-2nd(.272), OBP-4th(.334), Slg-2nd(.443), Runs-1st(834), HR-2nd(229), SB-16th(49)
Defense- Fld %-3rd(.987), Plus Plays-11th(49), Minus Plays-13th(53)
Pitching- ERA-16th(5.15), OAV-16th(.286), SO-5th(1101), Saves-6th(51/72)

Offense: This is another team from the east that had really good offensive numbers last season. They have good power, good hitting, and good eyes. They should be able to put up good numbers again this season.

Defense: The gloves are good on this team. They finished 3rd last season in fielding and I can see why. The shortstop has a great arm and really good range to go with a good but not great glove. They also have players with above average gloves to play the other positions for this team.

Pitching: Well the pitching was bad last season to put it nicely. Alex Guerrero is a dynamite starter, and Scooter Boskie is a good reliever. The team added Boskie and Bobby McCarthy in the off season to upgrade the pitching which they desperately needed.

Offense: Speed and depth. The team is surely not built around speed and they don't steal much. The other problem I see right now is that the team is incomplete and lack depth due to that. They still have to fill out the roster, but I'm not sure there is much out there to upgrade the depth much.

Defense: Range. While this team has good gloves, they lack range to take away hits. They finished last season with more minus plays than plus plays and that is the reason.

Pitching: The bullpen. The rotation looks good, but there isn't much help in the pen. Some of the possible starters will be used in the bullpen, but even those guys don't look like good options. Outside of Boskie, the pen could hurt this team.

Summary- This team isn't complete at this time and it's hard to get a gauge on them. The major pieces are in place though and those guys look good. I really like the offense and can't find much wrong with it. The defense is good, but not great. The pitching rotation looks solid, but the bullpen not so much. I think this team should be able to compete and wouldn't be surprised if they make the playoffs. If the pitching gets a boost then this team could do even better.

Philadelphia Moneymakers
Season 16 record-74-88
5 year record-382-428

Offense- Average-8th(.261), OBP-6th(.331), Slg-9th(.408), Runs-9th(768), HR-9th(193), SB-6th(123)
Defense- Fld %-15th(.979), Plus Plays-14th(32), Minus Plays-4th(32)
Pitching- ERA-13th(4.64), OAV-9th(.264), SO-13th(1050), Saves-5th(52/72)

Offense: Power. This team has some good power. They finished 9th in homers last season, but I think they are better than that this season. The addition of Tomas Acosta helps that. They also have the league MVP Lonny Infante, who may be one of the best hitters in Pine Tar. This team also has some speed. Overall, this looks like a complete offense to me.

Defense: The team finished near the bottom of the league in fielding last season, but I don't think they are that bad. The defense looks at least average.

Pitching: The pitching was pretty bad last season. They have some good pitchers though. The addition of Gregg Thomas and Omar Siqueiros are upgrades for this staff.

Offense: If I have to find something it is contact. They team has some good contact hitters, but not many. So hitting depth is probably it for this team.

Defense: Well here it is, the gloves. They have a shortstop that is pretty good, but his glove isn't great. Same in centerfield. Most of the guys with good gloves on this team are reserves.

Pitching: Control. They have some good pitchers, but quite a few of them lack good control. The depth in the rotation is also not real good. Thomas could be a good top of the rotation pitcher, but his control will likely hold him back from being a true top end guy.

Summary- This is a good team in a very tough division. The offense should be really good this season. The defense probably won't be. The pitching is better but still not up to par with some of the other teams. Ownership has stated that this will probably be another rebuilding year, but I think they can make some noise and hang in there for most of the season.

Jacksonville took this division last season and made some noise in the post season by winning the NLCS. They have a pretty good team and will be tough to knock off of the top. I seem to undervalue Cincy every season and they always seem to be right in it until the end. This is a tough division and they are a good team, but I think they may fall off a bit this season. Kansas City looks like a real good team and they have some good pieces in place. They should at least challenge for a post season spot. Philadelphia has a really good offense and shouldn't be overlooked, but this is a pretty tough division.

1.) Jacksonville
2.) Kansas City
3.) Cincinnati
4.) Philadelphia

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