Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NL East Season 18 Preview

NL East

The team that has dominated this division for most of the leagues 17 seasons has been Jacksonville. They've won the division 11 times over this period. Last season they won a third straight division title and 7th in the last 8 seasons. They've been to 4 World Series and have won one of them. Coming off of a World Series appearance in season 16 the team failed to advance to the second round last season. Philadelphia moved from New York last season and that proved to be a boost for this franchise. After 4 straight losing seasons they took a big step forward last season and improved by 12 games and made it to the post season. They ended up playing division rival Jacksonville in the wild card round and advanced to the divisional round. They may only have 3 division titles and 6 post season appearances, but they are always a competitive team and putting forth a fight in this division. The team in Cincinnati was coming off 3 straight post season appearances before last seasons collapse. It was the teams first losing record since season 12. Last season was a 14 game drop in victories from the previous season for this team. Kansas City has seen the least amount of success in this division over the seasons. Their lone division title came back in season 7 and they've only made the post season 1 other time back in season 10. They always remain competitive, but have rarely had the success of the other divisional foes. Last season they finished 4th in the division and after a step forward in season 16, last season was a step back by winning 13 less games.

Jacksonville Juice
Season 17 record- 92-70(NL East Champs)
5 year record- 446-364

Offense- Average-11th(.259), OBP-6th(.331), Slg-2nd(.449), Runs-3rd(843), HR-1st(246), SB-6th(125)
Defense- Fld %-12th(.983), Plus Plays-15th(34), Minus Plays-10th(39)
Pitching- ERA-2nd(3.81), OAV-7th(.260), SO-13th(1068), Saves-10th(44/62)

Key Additions- RP Andres Jacquez(tr-Jac), 2B Luke Ryan(FA)
Key Losses- RP Ubaldo Bennett(tr-Jac), RP Samuel Dellaero(FA)

As one of the leagues original owners, greygoose123, has shown a consistency for winning. Last season marked a third straight 90+ win season and division title for this team. Last season could be considered a step back since they didn't advance in the post season after coming off a NL title the previous season. If there is one thing you can count on with this franchise, it's that they will try to fix the problem and continue to move forward. This franchise is one of the best in NL and has been since the start. They didn't make many big off season moves, but the addition of Luke Ryan was significant. Last season this team ranked among the best in the NL offensively. The hitting wasn't great, but they hit for power and scored runs. Add in a little speed and this team was pretty good. The addition of Ryan will help the average climb a bit. This surely is a top offense that can get on base if not hit for a high average. They also have some good power in the lineup still. This wasn't a good defensive team last season. They still don't look that good to me. They lack a good shortstop and a centerfielder. The range defensively just isn't there. They have some solid gloves for other positions though and that will keep them out of the bottom of the league. They are a bit below average defensively this season. The pitching was pretty good last season. The rotation is solid, but they aren't great. This team finds a way to get the most out of their pitching though. The bullpen looks really good to me. They have some relievers that could start, but won't get a lot of innings out of, as their stamina is just below what a starter would be expected to have. I think the bullpen could be one of the best in the NL. Overall this is a pretty solid staff that will help them win some games. This team has it's holes, but is a pretty good team besides that. They should win 90 games again and will be tough to knock off this season. If they some how fail to win the division then they would get a wild card spot.

Philadelphia Moneymakers
Season 17 record- 86-76(Wild Card)
5 year record- 386-424

Offense- Average-6th(.267), OBP-4th(.336), Slg-3rd(.445), Runs-4th(826), HR-1st(246), SB-4th(131)
Defense- Fld %-10th(.984), Plus Plays-13th(38), Minus Plays-11th(40)
Pitching- ERA-15th(4.79), OAV-11th(.267), SO-6th(1111), Saves-2nd(54/78)

Key Additions- SP Benji Crespo(FA),
Key Losses- RP Rollie Seelbach(released), SP Gregg Thomas(FA)

Philadelphia took some steps forward last season for sure. Under owner, Phillies26, this franchise hasn't experienced the success of Jacksonville over the seasons, but they knocked them off in the first round last season.That was a huge step for this franchise since they hadn't made the post season since season 10 before that. Things are definitely looking up for them right now. This was a good team offensively last season. They got on base, they hit for power and they stole bases. Well, they still have good power, still have hitters that can get on base in front of those guys and still have guys that will steal bases. Defensively this team was below average last season. The shortstop isn't great, but he isn't bad either. They could use a better glove in center. Besides that this team is solid at most positions defensively. I would think they are above average defensively. The pitching was this teams Achilles heel last season. They weren't very good. The rotation has it's flaws, but it's not the worst rotation in the league. The addition of Crespo helps, but they lack a couple arms to lead this rotation. They are made up of mostly 3 and 4 starters. The bullpen may have been near the top of the league in saves last season, but they blew 24 saves. That was a lot of leads this pen was asked to protect and they didn't do the best of jobs at it. They have a couple good bullpen arms, but I feel like they could use a couple more. The staff as a whole isn't impressive and this area is something that needs to be addressed if this team wants to become one of the top teams in the NL. Besides the pitching this is a pretty good team. The pitching will make or break the season for this group and is what leads me to think that they won't be able to take the top spot in the division. They could make a run at a wild card spot though.

Cincinnati Firestorm
Season 17 record- 78-84
5 year record- 444-366

Offense- Average-10th(.261), OBP-8th(.330), Slg-8th(.422), Runs-10th(750), HR-5th(223), SB-12th(60)
Defense- Fld %-2nd(.987), Plus Plays-1st(82), Minus Plays-1st(12)
Pitching- ERA-12th(4.43), OAV-8th(.261), SO-7th(1099), Saves-7th(46/65)

Key Additions- C D.T. Brewer(tr-Lou), RP Cam Hogan(FA), SP Travis Bush(FA)
Key Losses- 2B Alex Romero(released), RP Victor Daly(FA)

Last season was a disappointing one for this season. After 3 straight post season appearances this team took a step backwards last season. jbburner, another original Pine Tar owner, has stated that they are looking to get back on track this season. They feel that with the team getting older, this is a pivotal season for them. They also stated that if the team doesn't get off to a strong start that they would consider scrapping it and heading in the direction of rebuilding. They made a few additions in the off season that should help the team out and lost very little in the process. Offensively the team was pretty average last season. The addition of Brewer gives them a good hitter with power to add to the lineup. They have plenty of power on this team and the team looks like a team that should hit better than they did last season. This isn't a great offense, but they should at least be a good offense. Defensively, this team was great. They had gloves and range. The shortstop is good, the centerfielder is great and they have a pretty good 3B as well. They don't have depth defensively, but the starters are really good. This team should be right back near the top again this season. The pitching wasn't very good last season. This was an area of concern for the team, so they added Hogan and Bush. Both are pretty solid pitchers, but aren't top flight guys. The rotation is solid, but they could use a true ace. The bullpen has a couple good arms, but overall it's a weakness. The pitching on this team is about average to slightly below as a group. Cincinnati should bounce back this season. I don't see the offense being as bad as last season and the defense is really good. The pitching is a slight weakness for them, but if the offense improves then they can overcome it. Cincinnati should at least battle for a wild card spot this season and could put some pressure on Jacksonville for the top spot in the division.

Kansas City Kardinals
Season 17 record- 70-92
5 year record- 377-433

Offense- Average-4th(.268), OBP-10th(.328), Slg-6th(.431), Runs-6th(766), HR-7th(212), SB-13th(45)
Defense- Fld %-6th(.985), Plus Plays-5th(59), Minus Plays-9th(37)
Pitching- ERA-14th(4.77), OAV-14th(.279), SO-15th(1044), Saves-12th(42/61)

Key Additions- None
Key Losses- 3B Rafael Encarnacion(FA)

Heading into a 17th season as owner of this franchise, bodean, is looking to get the ship righted in Kansas City. Last season the team dropped 13 wins from the previous season and continued a run of 7 straight seasons without a post season berth. The didn't make any key additions in the off season and lost Encarnacion. That was a big blow for this team. It appears that they are rebuilding as a way of getting this team going the right direction. They do have some talent in the minors, but most of them are a few seasons away from helping at the big league level. Offensively the team wasn't bad last season. They were above average really. They have some good power in the lineup and a few good hitters as well. They should be about the same this season. The defense was above average as well. They have a good shortstop and the centerfielder is solid. I like the gloves on this team and figure they'll finish about the same this season. The pitching wasn't very good for this team last season. They have a few good arms in the rotation and they do have a true ace. The bullpen is below average though. The pitchers on this staff have plenty of stamina and most could start. As a whole the pitching is about average and should do better than last season. This team has fewer weaknesses than the other teams in this division, but their strengths aren't as great as the other teams. I do think they should have a better season, but I don't think they can win this division. They could make a push for a wild card spot just like every team in this division.


This is a tough division to predict. Every team in it should be competitive. Jacksonville is tough and should win the division again. They are just a tough team to pick against because they find ways to win every season. Philadelphia made a significant push last season, but the pitching worries me. They have a shot at a wild card spot, but things are going to have to go right for them. Cincinnati should do better than last season. They have a solid team that could also make a push for a wild card spot, but I don't think they'll take the division. Kansas City is the opposite of Jacksonville for me. I'm going to pick against them because it's the easy thing to do. With only 2 post season appearances ever, they just seem to be the team that can't get to the top of the hill.
1.) Jacksonville
2.) Cincinnati
3.) Philadelphia
4.) Kansas City

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