In season 19, Nashville continued their run of dominance in this division. With a sixth consecutive 100 win campaign, they extended the division title streak to 8 seasons. Tampa Bay closed to gap in the division last season a bit though. Tampa ended up 15 games out of first, but took a wild card spot and returned to the post season for the first time since season 11. The team in San Juan finished third, but continued a 5 season streak of improving their record. New Orleans finished last in the division as they haven't been to the post season now in 11 seasons.
Season 19 Record: 107-55(AL South Champ)
5 Season Record: 391-419
Owner: bnags (1148-958, 8 division titles, 1 World Series Title)
|Home Runs||225||12||Double Plays||399||18||Opp. Avg.||.239||4|
|Ops.||.818||2||+ Plays||98||3||Stike Outs||1101||9|
Key Additions- None
Key Losses- SS Tino House(FA)
This team has now won 8 division titles in a row and they've been doing it pretty impressively. With 6 straight 100 win seasons, this team has established themselves as a true power house. The problem for them has been post season success. For all the winning they do in the regular season, they've only won 1 World Championship and that was 5 seasons ago now. Last seasons let down of not even making the ALCS had to frustrate the fans in Nashville. The team didn't do much in the off season, but the loss of Tino House doesn't improve things for them.
Offensively this team has been pretty good for some time. The have some great hitters and some speed, but only average power. 2 time MVP, Heini Rice, is a phenom at the plate and provides most of the power on the team. Brian Sveum, is one of the best hitters around with a career .333 average and .405 obp. Juan Latos, is really good hitter also. These are only the guys that stand out to me. The lineup is loaded with players that are close to as good as these three. I would grade them an A+ if they had more power. Grade- A
Defensively, Nashville is one of the top 2 or 3 teams in Pine Tar. They ranked near the top of the league in the key defensive categories. I'm not really impressed with the shortstop situation here, but they do have real good gloves at almost every other position. That should help ease the lack of a real good shortstop. With a gold glove shortstop this team would be the best defensive team in the league, but I can't say that right now. Grade- A
Pitching is another of this teams strengths. Like there are any weaknesses? They ranked near the top of the league in pitching last season. The starting rotation is a big part of that. Alex Martis, Dan Seibert, and Jeremi Rice are 3 very good pitchers and any of them could be considered an ace. The bullpen is pretty good as well with Mitchell Hayes, Tom Leonard, and Raul Santiago coming out to close down games. Grade- A
The ownership in Nashville has declared that the window on this team is "Closing fast." As the newest member of the Owner Hall of Fame, bnags, is a pretty good owner and knows his stuff, but I'm not quite sold on his statement. This team looks poised to make another run this season and should push for another World Series appearance. I see no way that they don't win the division this season with the talent that they have assembled.
Tampa Bay Thunder
Season 19 Record: 92-70 (Wild Card)
5 Season Record: 397-413
Owner: rxw1 (1665-1413, 7 division titles, 2 World Series Titles)
|Home Runs||205||15||Double Plays||980||22||Opp. Avg.||.252||9|
|Ops.||.767||10||+ Plays||38||27||Stike Outs||1141||4|
Key Additions- SP Heinie Hutton(Promoted),
Key Losses- None
Last season was pretty successful for this franchise. They ended a 7 season run of not making the post season. They also ended a 3 season run of losing records. While they still didn't step up to Nashville's level, they made strides toward getting there. The team didn't really make any splashes in the off season, but the promotion of my long lost cousin, Heinie Hutton, adds a little help to the pitching staff. I tried to talk his parents out of naming him that, but the whole family got a good laugh out of it anyway.
Offensively this was an above average group last season. They ranked in the upper half of the league in the key categories, but they weren't quite at the top of any of them. This is a pretty good hitting bunch. They have some power also. This isn't a great offense, but they are above average again. Grade- B+
Defensively this team ranked near the bottom of the league. I don't see much improvement. They lack a good shortstop and centerfielder. They do have solid gloves at other positions though. Overall it's a below average defense. Grade- C
Even with a bad defense, this team had some good pitching last season. They were a good, but not great staff. Starter, Claude Collins, is a true ace. Bo Carter, and Jimmy Washington are solid middle rotation pitchers. The bullpen has Ezdra Johnson and Frank Murphy as two really good arms coming in to tight games. Overall, this is a pretty good staff. Grade- A-
This team looks pretty good heading into this season. I don't think they can challenge Nashville, but I can see them with 90+ wins and in the post season again. Anything short of that is a disappointing season for this franchise.
San Juan Pollos Hermanos
Season 19 Record: 78-84
5 Season Record: 231-255
Owner: soxfan_9 (231-255)
|Home Runs||234||7||Double Plays||384||27||Opp. Avg.||.269||16|
|Ops.||.794||4||+ Plays||66||12||Stike Outs||1056||15|
Key Additions- SP Charles Hayashi(FA)
Key Losses- IF David Reyes(FA)
You could say that the Pollos Hermanos had a successful season 19. They improved the win total for a fifth straight season and even though it was by just one win it was still a step forward. This franchise has had 11 losing seasons in a row now and any bit of improvement is welcomed. They really aren't far off from ending that slump, but this is a tough division. The addition of Charles Hayashi could be what they needed to give them that bump above .500.
Offensively San Juan was one of the top teams in Pine Tar last season. They hit for average, and hit for power. This offense is led by youngsters Alexander Williamson, Bernard Charleston and Harvey Merrick. That is a pretty solid core of young players that this team has to lead them into the future. The offense as a whole isn't great, but they produce. Grade- B+
The fielding is also pretty solid for this franchise. They were one of the better defenses in the league last season. The have a good shortstop in Efrain Matsumoto, and real good centerfielder, Horacio Blanco. They are solid up the middle, but only average at all other positions. They don't have the best rated fielding instructor, but that guy knows how to get results. Grade- B
The pitching was a concern for this team. They were just below average last season. The addition of Hayashi really helps the staff out. Matching him with Diego Valbuena and Darren Banks should give them a really good top 3 in the rotation. The bullpen is solid, but I wouldn't even say they are average. They could use some bullpen help for sure. Grade- B-
San Juan has the team in place to make the jump this season. We shall see if they can, but my money is on them improving. They have a good rotation, but the bullpen could be the weakness that brings them down. The defense is solid and the offense produces. I think they challenge Tampa Bay this season for second, but end up just short. I do think they finish above .500 though.
New Orleans Nighthawks
Season 19 Record: 65-97
5 Season Record: 359-451
Owner: larryvegas (590-706)
|Home Runs||241||6||Double Plays||384||25||Opp. Avg.||.273||19|
|Ops.||.752||17||+ Plays||73||11||Stike Outs||1023||23|
Key Additions- P Jesus Amezaga(FA)
Key Losses- 1B Dummy Wright(FA), LF Luke Ryan(FA)
This team has been struggling now for a while. Last season marked the third straight season that the win total dropped. They haven't been to the post season since season 9. The addition of Amezaga was a needed signing to help out the pitching. They lost Luke Ryan and Dummy Wright in the off season, but those aren't huge losses.
This team was below average offensively in season 19. They hit a lot of homers, but the team average was just bad and they didn't score runs very well. Sam Slotnick is a great power hitter, but his average could use some help. Youngster Braden Fussell is going to be a pretty good hitter for quite some time. Quinn Watson has had some good seasons and is another good offensive threat. I really think this team should be a better offensive team than they are. I guess the number don't lie though. Until proven otherwise, I'm grading them low. Grade- C-
The defense is one of the worst in the league. They have some range, but the gloves aren't good. Vin Hernandez is a real good shortstop, but the centerfield position could use a better glove. Looking at each position though, the team looks solid. I'm not sure how they ranked so low, but I think they'll bounce back a bit this season. Grade- C+
Last season the pitching was below average. The addition of Amezaga helps. The rotation features Darren Miller, Jhonny Andujar, Charles Taylor, and Everth Benitez. All of them are more suited for middle to back end of the rotation duties though. This team could use an ace at the top. The bullpen is real good though. Amezaga is better suited for the pen, so that's where I'm guessing he goes. George Eaton is real good coming out of the pen. Ruben Valbuena and Ron Bowen are a couple more solid bullpen arms. The pitching isn't great, but it's not bad either. The bullpen appears a bit better than the rotation. Grade- B-
This team isn't likely to move up the ranks this season, but they do have some pieces in place to make the move soon. With the addition of an ace and a couple more bats this team could contend in the next couple seasons.
I'm going with Nashville in this division. They just appear too dominant and poised for a World Series run. Picking them isn't a knock against the other teams in this division. They are just too good. Tampa Bay should have another run at the post season as they are a really good team, but a step below Nashville. I like San Juan's chances of surprising this season, but I'm not sure they'll be good enough to make it into the post season. I'll bet they give it a good run though. New Orleans isn't far off from being a tough team, but they still have some holes to fill before they step up to playoff team status.
2. Tampa Bay
3. San Juan
4. New Orleans