Monday, October 3, 2011

Season 17 previews-AL West

AL West
What a sad season it was for this division. The division champ went .500 for the season and the last place team was only 13 games out with only 68 wins. The stat columns weren't very impressive either. I expected much more from the west last season to only be disappointed. The team in Los Angeles won the division for a second straight season, but it was nothing to be proud of as they dropped in win total by 7 games after making many moves to try and improve the club. Anaheim had a new owner to the game and finished second with 80 wins and an exact record from the previous season. Not a bad start for a new owner. Cheyenne also repeated the previous seasons record with 75 wins and finished 3rd. St Louis improved by a game as the owner in place is trying to rebuild the team and put them on the map. Here's to hoping we see better results from the West this season.
Salem Reg
Season 16 record- 81-81(AL West Champs)
5 year record- 386-424

Offense- Average-12th(.261), OBP-10th(.330), Slg-15th(.406), Runs-15th(737), HR-15th(184), SB-4th(152)
Defense- Fld %-5th(.986), Plus Plays-8th(57), Minus Plays-7th(35)
Pitching- ERA-4th(4.27), OAV-7th(.263), SO-10th(1025), Saves-8th(41/58)

Offense: This team struggled to hit the ball last season in LA, so they picked up and moved to Salem in hopes of better results. The ability to hit is the team strength, even though they finished in the bottom half of the league. They went out and signed Buck Leonard, who should give the offense a boost. Wilfredo Leon had an off year last season, but he's still a really good bat. Rafael Cervantes is a season removed from his MVP season and disappointed last year, but should bounce back. I also like Luke Ryan in this lineup. The have some good offensive pieces so we'll see if they pan out this time around.

Defense: The team was above average defensively last season and should be again. Oswaldo Estrada is a good shortstop, and Patrick Jefferson can back him up and play centerfield. Daryl Bonham can play third good and Cervantes is a really good second baseman. The team is above average defensively again, but not top of the league talent wise.

Pitching: Last season the team was pretty good at pitching. The bullpen is the strength on this team. Carlton Harding is a good closer. Javy Mendoza can be good at setting up games, but has low durability. Archie Goldman should be the top setup man and can close if needed.

Offense: Power. Even though they have some and have quite a few players with 20 homer potential, the team lacks a true threat outside of Buck Leonard. They could use another real offensive power threat.

Defense: Depth. The team has some good fielders, but there is quite a drop off after the top guys which leaves some holes in the field. The lack of depth will also give them even more weaknesses when they have to go to the bench for a replacement for a few games.

Pitching: The team has good pitching, but the rotation stamina appears pretty weak, which means a lot of stress on the pen. It's a good bullpen, but I'm not sure they can hold up if being used this much.

Summary- This team is good, but they under performed badly last season while still winning a weak division. They should be better, but I'd have to see it first to think they have any shot at doing anything other than winning the division. Right now I think this is an 85 win team, with 90+ win talent. They are well rounded, but something is missing that I can't put my finger on.
Anaheim Annihilation
Season 16 record- 80-82
5 year record- 425-385

Offense- Average-10th(.263), OBP-8th(.331), Slg-9th(.429), Runs-12th(760), HR-8th(229), SB-9th(92)
Defense- Fld %-10th(.981), Plus Plays-9th(56), Minus Plays-6th(33)
Pitching- ERA-6th(4.36), OAV-3rd(.246), SO-1st(1146), Saves-7th(42/57)

Offense: This team has solid contact. Not great but solid. The offense was below average last season and they seem to be again. They have a little bit of power, speed and good average hitters. The addition of Orval Yeats adds good contact and speed to the team. Neifi Mathews and Rex Billingsly provide the power.

Defense: Rafael Bennett is a pretty good fielding shortstop. Billingsly is a solid third baseman. Dennis Nomura has good range for center but could use a better glove. Overall the defense was below average last season, but they have some nice pieces. This defense is close to average.

Pitching: The bullpen is the teams strength. Diego Benitez should be good, but he has low durability and control. Teddy Tracy is solid. Harry Gonzalez should be a good setup man. It's not a great bullpen, but it is the teams strength.

Offense: Like stated earlier, this offense is below average. They lack any complete players that have all the tools to be good hitters. They rely on guys that can either hit for contact or power. The don't have anyone that can do both and get hits consistently. It may be tough for them to score many runs.

Defense: This team is solid defensively and may need them to help keep them in games. They lack depth at short and centerfield which could hurt them. The other positions have good defenders, but not great.

Pitching: This team lacks control. Almost all of the pitchers on this staff have really low control and the ones that have decent control aren't more than decent. They will walk too many batters to really be good.

Summary- I'm not sure this team has the talent to compete for a post season spot. They have too many holes and I can see them falling off from last season. It may be time to start rebuilding in Anaheim.

Cheyenne Rawhide
Season 16 record- 75-87
5 year record- 403-407

Offense- Average-3rd(.276), OBP-3rd(.346), Slg-11th(.423), Runs-6th(803), HR-12th(194), SB-14th(52)
Defense- Fld %-10th(.981), Plus Plays-7th(58), Minus Plays-4th(21)
Pitching- ERA-12th(4.77), OAV-13th(.276), SO-6th(1076), Saves-2nd(47/60)

Offense: Cheyenne finished toward the top of the league in hitting last season and they have some good hitters. Rob Lee was a nice addition in the off season. Jim Byrne is a pretty good hitter. Antonio Zhang can hit pretty good as well. The team has some good hitters in the lineup and are looking to be above average this season.

Defense: The have solid gloves. They aren't great defensively, but they have guys that are average to above at most positions. The team was below average defensively last season, but they aren't bad. I think they may finish around that again and I'll explain in my weaknesses section.

Pitching: Pitching is not a bright spot on this team. If I had to choose a strength it is Stretch Campbell. He should do a real good job closing out games this season when given the chance.

Offense: They lack power. This team has very little power in the lineup that will rely on pure hitters. This may hurt the teams chances of putting up runs and hanging with the better teams in the league.

Defense: They lack a good shortstop or centerfielder with range. I really think they need an upgrade at these 2 positions to be considered an above average defensive group, if not good.
Pitching: Pitching. They lack quality starters and relievers on this team. Outside of Campbell, I just don't see much. This is a bottom of the league staff. The pitchers that can get guys out are low on control and will walk too many batters. I think this staff needs a makeover.

Summary- Cheyenne has a good offensive with average defensive and bad pitching. I'm not sure the offense will be able to keep up with the pitching. I think this team is just below average and that's thanks to the hitting. Take away some of the hitters and they'd challenge for the #1 pick next season.

St Louis Vipers
Season 16 record- 68-94
5 year record- 303-507

Offense- Average-16th(.239), OBP-16th(.307), Slg-16th(.369), Runs-16th(687), HR-16th(156), SB-1st(205)
Defense- Fld %-7th(.985), Plus Plays-3rd(88), Minus Plays-2nd(12)
Pitching- ERA-3rd(4.26), OAV-4th(.252), SO-10th(1025), Saves-10th(39/60)

Offense: Speed. The offense was really bad last season, but they had speed. They still have speed and the offense doesn't look terrible. Lou Jefferies is a nice young player they can build around. The guy can hit and hit for a little bit of power even, plus he has good speed. Daric Hines is another really nice young player for this offense. This team is moving up in the world from last season, mark my words.

Defense: The addition of Ramon Martin in the off season boosted the teams shortstop position. Daric Hines may lack ideal range for centerfield, but he has the glove. Jefferies is playing rightfield full time now and will be among the top rightfielders in the league. Ugueth Moraga will be the third baseman and is solid. The defense was above average last season, and I'm thinking they are again.
Pitching: The bullpen. I really like Cam Hogan, Omar Sanchez, and Julio Lorenzo in the pen. Throw in Lonny Sojo and this is a really solid pen.

Offense: The team lacks power. Neil Roberts and Jay Fiore have some, but not a lot and after them it's a big drop off. The lack of power will hurt the runs scored and that isn't good for a below average offense. The speed will make up for some of it though.

Defense: Range. The range isn't bad on this team, but they could use some more at second base and centerfield.

Pitching: Overall this isn't a real good pitching staff. The bullpen is good, but I'd say just above average in the league. The rotation is below average, which means this team could be slightly below average in pitching.

Summary- This team looks better to me. I think they still have some holes, but they are moving up. Another last place finish isn't likely, but I don't think they can challenge for the top spot yet.

Salem has the tools and players to be a good team, but they way under performed last season. I'm really not sure how they will pan out this season, but I expect them to be tough to knock from the top. Anaheim doesn't appear very good to me all around. I don't expect them to challenge for the top spot again, but this is an overall weak division so who knows what could happen. Cheyenne is a mixed bag. The offense is where it needs to be, but the pitching needs an upgrade. I don't see them taking the division, but I think the race could be wide open for anyone. St Louis is improved and moving up. They have some good pieces, but some holes as well. I think they'll make a jump this season although it may not be to the top yet.

1.) Salem
2.) St Louis
3.) Cheyenne
4.) Anaheim

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