National League South
What a race we've had this season in the NL South? With 14 games remaining it looks like Jackson has finally got a grip on the division lead, but it hasn't been easy. Louisville and Charlotte have both been close this season and I believe Louisville actually led the division at the all star break. All 3 teams have been very tough this season. If the season ended today they would all be in the post season.
Jackson has won the division the past 2 seasons and 3 of the past 4. Right now they look like they have a good grip on another division title, but nothing is set in stone quite yet. They don't have the divisions best expected win percentage as they are playing 10 points higher than what is expected of them. Offensively this season they have scored the second most runs in the NL with 775. They have a really good mix of power and speed on this team. The team MVP this season has to be Jared Glynn. He has 49 homers, 148 RBI, 96 runs, 17 steals, .273 average, .323 OBP and .582 Slg. He's not on the league MVP ballot right now, but he should be. Jeff Moore is also having a fine season with 24 homers, 45 doubles, 114 runs, 32 steals, .301 average, .358 OBP and .530 Slg. The pitching rotation is pretty strong for these guys. Rube Clark(18-6, 3.22), and Bobby Ray Ingram(16-4, 2.94) are Cy Young candidates. Raymond DeWitt(17-7, 3.23), and Dusty Lindsey(13-8, 3.48) aren't too far off from having as good a season as Clark and Ingram. The bullpen has been a disappointment for this team. Ubaldo Bennett with 40 saves in 44 tries and 4.61 ERA is having a solid season, but that ERA is a little high. Courtney Cashman with a 3.96 ERA has done a solid job this season. Those are the only 2 relievers that are even doing solid for this team. The others have ERA's over 4 and some over 5. The team has a great offense and starting rotation, but this bullpen could be what kills them in the post season.
In Louisville the franchise is trying to bring home just the third post season appearance in the franchise's history. It's been since season 8 since they last made an appearance and this season they are oh so close. Leading the wild card race right now, they can't let up. They are only 5 games out of first in the division and while that may be a bit too much to overcome, they need to keep the foot on the gas in what is shaping up to be a wild finish for the wild card spots. Offensively this team is in the bottom half of the NL in runs scored and that surprises me with that ballpark. Andres Andujar is having a pretty good season though in just his second season in the big leagues. He has 30 homers, 110 RBI, 88 runs, 16 steals, .299 average, .362 OBP, and .553 Slg. The teams off season addition of Daryl Bonham has seemed to pay off as he is hitting .300, with a .365 OBP and 17 homers, 87 RBI, and 75 runs. Rookie Desi Vasquez has had a nice start to his career with 14 homers, 43 runs, .315 average, .381 OBP, .538 Slg in all of 95 games. The pitching rotation has some big time starters in it. Bret O'Leary(14-10, 4.22), and Roland Sweeney(9-13, 3.83), I would expect a bit more out of than what they've done this season. Ariel Mateo(12-9, 3.45), Al Manto(14-8, 2.95), and Vin Segui(12-6, 3.45) have all had very nice seasons though and have stepped it up. The bullpen has some pitchers having pretty good seasons as well. Benji Contreras has 36 saves in 43 tries with a 3.54 ERA. Ed Rhodes has been pretty good with a 3.19 ERA in 98.2 innings. Luis Ramirez has a 2.37 ERA and Ramon Chang a 3.55 ERA. They have the pitching staff to get them into the post season, but they need the offense to step it up a bit, especially if they intend to make a post season run.
Charlotte is also at the top of the wild card race right now. They are trying to make it back to back wild card appearances and right now they have the second best expected win percentage in the NL. Offensively they have scored the third most runs in the NL with 748. They have a chance to have 6 players with 20+ homers this season and 4 with 20+ steals. That's a pretty balanced offense. Craig Adkinson is having a pretty solid season with 34 homers, 103 RBI, 82 runs, .275 average, .323 OBP, .483 Slg. Storm Mahoney doesn't hit enough, but he has 44 homers, 119 RBI, 92 runs, 28 steals, but his .238 average and .309 OBP could be better. Alan Wilson is the guy that gets on base for this team with his .311 average, and .417 OBP. The pitching staff is 5th in runs allowed this season. The rotation has been pretty solid, but the bullpen has been the strength. The rotation features Oscar Osterbrock(14-7, 3.59), Travis Bush(15-6, 3.61), Valerio Duran(12-8, 4.38) and Orber Torres(13-10, 3.49). All have been pretty good this season. Tony Zapata has 40 saves this season in 43 tries with a 2.62 ERA. Wilkin Ontiveros(2.89), Ruben Molina(2.97), Jim Hitchcock(2.59), Jackson Ruffin(3.21) and Bernard Newman(3.84) have been extremely tough on opponents this season coming out of the bullpen. This is a well rounded team that should continue to make a push for a post season spot and could even make a nice run in the post season if things go right for them.
Texas has had a struggle this season as the new ownership group that started the season ended up bailing on the team and giving them away to a new ownership group. With all things considered, the team had a pretty good season. Offensively, Carl Esposito, has had a pretty good season with 34 homers, 113 RBI, 88 runs, .296 average, .383 OBP, and .523 Slg. Chin-Hui Wanatabe has also had a pretty good season with 31 homers, 91 RBI, 75 runs, .285 average, .355 OBP, and .538 Slg. The pitching staff has been an area of concern for this team and will likely be a focus in the off season. Jesus Amezaga is the only pitcher that has really had a good season with 24 saves in 31 tries and a 3.10 ERA, but he's only done that with 29 innings pitched.