Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Season 19 Update-AL South

American League South
The AL south seems much more competitive this season, but Nashville still has a good lead heading down the stretch. The division could possibly get a wild card team in for the first time since season 9 though.

Nashville appears to be on pace for another 100+ win season and they have a good handle on the division lead. If this holds up then they will have an eighth straight division title. Offensively this team has jumped to the front of the league in runs scored and as a team the are hitting .284. The leader of this offense is "should be" MVP candidate Heinie Rice who is hitting .298 with 45 homers, 127 RBI's, 86 runs scored, and a .600 Slg. He has plenty of help around him in the lineup though with 300+ hitters Brian Sveum and Pedro Gomez. Juan Latos sits at .299 right now as well. That's just the top guys. Chris Young, Tino House, Wilfredo Aquino and Gustavo Medrano are also having pretty good seasons. This is one of the best offenses in Pine Tar. The pitching can't be overlooked either. They have given up the fewest runs in the AL. The rotation features Dan Siebert(11-7, 2.62), Jeremi Rice(12-7, 3.29), and Alex Martis(12-8, 3.26) as the top 3 guys. Douglas Jennings(12-3, 3.66) and Del McNeil(14-5, 4.00) aren't to be overlooked either. If there is one weakness for this team though, it is the bullpen. Archie Goldman has saves 17 of 20 games, but he seems to be aging fast and his 4.85 ERA isn't very good. Luckily for this team the rotation doesn't rely too much on the bullpen. Nashville is still my pick to win the AL crown this season.

What a season Tampa Bay is having. Trying to end a 7 season playoff drought, the team is in top contention for a wild card spot. If the season ended now they would be in. With 30 games left, they've already matched last seasons 75 victories and are looking for the teams first winning season since season 15. Offensively this team is led by a couple very good hitters in Alberto Machado and Christian Lee. Both are putting up phenomenal numbers this season. Rookie Victor Alexander is having a pretty good season as well. The pitching has been solid. In the rotation Claude Collins is finally having the kind of season expected out of him with a 13-6 record and 2.67 ERA. Jimmy Washington(10-10, 3.76) is having a solid season. The rest of the rotation is solid, but not getting this team what they'd like. The bullpen has been scary. Outside of Ezdra Johnson and his 3.67 ERA, the rest of the bullpen have ERA's close to 5. Frank Murphy has saved 26 of 32 games despite his 5.44 ERA though. This team has a chance to make the post season, but the pitching staff needs to produce better.

While San Juan is not eliminated yet, they are heading down that road. It's looking like they will make it 18 out of 19 seasons sitting home for the playoffs. If there is one thing this team can take from this season it is that Alexander Williamson is having another fine season hitting .305, with 33 homers, 106 RBI, 92 runs and .374 OBP. Starting pitcher Diego Valbuena is also having a good season with a 14-8 record and 3.58 ERA. Maybe next season this team can take the next step with these guys and compete.

New Orleans looks like they've been eliminated since the beginning of the season. Just kidding, but they do look like they are taking a step backward this season. I'm kind of surprised this team hasn't moved forward yet. With a player like Sam Slotnick to build around I would expect more. He's making a case for a second MVP even though he's on a last place team, with 44 homers, 115 RBI, 88 runs, 18 steals, .270 average and .561 Slg. If anything else, I'd think a player like that would bring in a haul in a trade for the future.

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