Friday, July 20, 2012


On the eve of Hall of Fame weekend in the MLB, I find it a fitting time to officially induct bnags into the Pine Tar Owner Hall of Fame. Our bi annual vote took place at the start of this season and bnags was elected among a deserving group of candidates. I congratulate bnags on this achievement as it shows where he stands among his peers.

As owner of the Nashville franchise since season 6 when bnags entered the league, they have moved cities and changed team names multiple times. Originally entering the league as the Houston Writ of Sepulture, bnags led the team to a 63-99 record and last place in the division. In season 7 the franchise moved to Florida and became the Pelicans. The losing ways continued the 2 seasons in Florida with a combined 89-235 and a couple last place finishes. In season 9 they moved to Nashville and took on the name Nala Bears. That was when things started turning around for this owner. They finished that first season their at 62-100 and that would be the last 100 loss season for the franchise. They finished 3rd and then in season 10 finished the same and improved to 71-91. Season 11 continued the upward trend as the team finished 2nd in the division with an 82-80 record. That was also the last time that bnags didn't win the division title. 

Season 12 started the run of greatness for this owner that eventually helped land him in the OHOF. At 90-72 they took the division title for the first of 8 straight. In season 13 they finished 96-66 and season 14 they went 110-52 for the teams first 100 win season. Season 15 was the big season for this owner. With 112 victories it was the last season of 8 straight that seen the franchise improve their win total. They also went on to win the World Series that season in what is surprisingly their only championship to date. Seasons 16 through 19 also were 100+ win seasons and division titles, but none have matched that season 15 championship. Having built a great team one can only expect that this franchise will continue it's winning ways for some time and may even take another World Championship.

Owner Interview
1. Who is bnags? Tell us something that may surprise us about you? Answer: I'm a 35 yr. old father of 3 lovely daughters who has been married for 12 years. I live in Northern Kentucky which is about 10 minutes south of Cincinnati. I work as a salesman for Watson's Pools and Spas. Something that may surprise is that I'm a much bigger NFL fan than MLB. I also play NFL Strat-o-matic face to face league if anybody has ever heard of it. 

2. How did you end up being a part of Pine Tar? Answer: Recruited by Domi from another league I was in with him. Don't hold that against me, lol, I don't know him personally.

3. Why the team name? Answer: Named after my dog Nala, a chow, who passed a few years back. Ironically my wife adopted another chow named Nala off craigslist.

4. Do you have a favorite MLB team and /or player and who?Answer: Cincinnati Reds. Favorite player all-time is Eric Davis. Favorite players currently Chipper Jones, Jay Bruce, and Drew Stubbs.

5. Do you have a favorite HBD player, who and why? Answer: Favorite HBD player is Heinie Rice. 

6. What is your favorite part about HBD? Answer: The realism of being a real GM, my dream job!

7. What is the part about HBD that you like the least? Answer: The turnover of owners that some leagues have. Thankfully we don't have that problem and have a great core of owners!

8. Are there any teams/rivalries that you use as a measuring stick for your team and what team(s) is it? Answer: Not really, I very competitive and just want to win the division every year. Once you are in the playoffs anything can happen. I love that because real baseball is the same way.

9. What's more important to a teams success in HBD, Offense, Defense or Pitching? Answer: I think balance to a team is most important. I try to keep my teams as balanced as possible.

10. What advice would you give a new owners? Answer: Don't be in a hurry to win now. Learn the game and build your team up slowly and sucess will follow.

11. Any comments you'd like to make about being made a part of Pine Tar's Owner HOF or comments in general? Answer: Just like to thank those that voted for me. I plan on staying a part of this world for a longtime and hope to have continued sucess!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Season 20 1Q Power Ranking

Top Ten Power Ranking

Notes City Rank Previous Rank Notes
Durham 1 N/A Best offense in Pine Tar. Solid Pitching.
Jackson 2 N/A Phenomenal pitching staff. Defending World Champs.
Scranton 3 N/A Well rounded team. Very good offense and pitching.
Nashville 4 N/A Always a great team. Lots of talent.
Kansas City 5 N/A Underdog team. Deep roster.
Charlotte 6 N/A Slow Start. Tough division.
Iowa City 7 N/A Solid pitching. Inconsistent team.
Texas 8 N/A 13-4 in 1-run games.
Annahiem 9 N/A Solid pitching. Weak division.
Pittsburgh 10 N/A Solid team. In the same division as Durham.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Season 20 NL West Preview

NL West

In season 19 the NL West was one of the weaker divisions in the National League. Ghutton led the division  for most of the year. Seattle finished with a division winning 92 wins and claiming the clubs' seventh NL West title in nine seasons. Oklahoma City had a solid season finishing in second place while continuing the rebuilding process. The Scottsdale franchise is trying to leave there losing ways behind when they moved to Albuquergue this offseason. New owner Csudak, has a lot of work to do over the next couple seasons in order to get this team back to being competitive. Colorado Springs has been on a division title drought for the past 11 seasons. This team looks to be in a serious rebuild mode. Ownership has achieved a lot with this team in the past, including a World Series championship. Season 19 was a down year for the NL West but it look likes season 20 will be a nice rebound year.

Seattle Strikers
Season 19 Record: 92-70 (NL West Champ)
5 Season Record: 440-370
Owner: ghutton9 1165-974 (8 division titles)

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .262 18 Fielding % .988 1 ERA 3.36 2
Home Runs 163 29 Double Plays 387 22 Opp. Avg. .229 1
Ops. .716 28 + Plays 48 20 Stike Outs 1175 1
Runs 753 19 - Plays 32 15 Saves 60 2
Steals 214 3 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .393 29 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- SS Asdrubal Alcantara(FA), RP T.J. Starr(FA), IF/OF Ismael Liriano(FA)

Key Losses- RP Bernard Hoffman(FA), RP Flip Buck(FA), 1B Al Nen(FA)

Seattle continued their winning ways last year, winning the NL West for the second straight season.
The Strikers continued their winning in the post season by knocking out Louisville and Trenton. The World Champion Jackson Juggernauts were too much for Ghutton and the Strikers though, beating them in seven games. This team did a lot of things right and the off season brought even more weapons heading into season 20.

The one weakness for Seattle is the offense. Finishing toward the bottom of the league in most offensive categories. However, this team continued to be very potent on the base paths by racking up 214 steals. The Strikers are only the second team in Pine Tar history to have over 210 stolen bases and less then 40 runners thrown out, that's efficiency. Seattle did lose one of there top offensive players this off season in Al Nen. Nen batted a  .282 in season 19 which isn't bad in Safeco's monster ballpark. The loss of Nen was addressed by management with the signing of Ismael Liriano. One of the biggest disappointments for Seattle last year was Yumeiro Veras. Veras only batted a whopping .254 in his rookie season. He is still a young player and hopefully can grow into a more solid hitter.  Team leader, Benny Navarro had an outstanding sophomore season. He finished the year with a .299 average, 29 homers, and 84 RBI's. Navarro looks to improve on those numbers in season 20 as he becomes the face of the franchise and a rising superstar. Overall Seattle has a lot of offensive firepower but they are very inconsistent. Grade B

The Strikers had one of the leagues best defenses last season. This team was ranked first in fielding percentage.  Ghutton didn't lose any players this off season that were good fielders but he did add one very good fielder. Asdrubal Alcantara is a veteran player who will help this team become even better defensively.
Alcantara is a four time Gold Glove shortstop who will be a big help in the middle infield. Seattle has one of the premier infields heading into season 20. Alcantara and Navarro combine for a above average duo at second base. In an interview with Benny Navarro, I asked how he felt about playing with such a accomplished player in Asdrubal Alcantara. Navarro, "I dont think Asdrubal is a very good fit for this team. Management should trade him or send me back to LA, their choice". Seattle has a solid defense and has improved for season 20. Grade A 

Pitching is what Seattle does best. One of the leagues best overall rotations, and a bullpen that can lock up saves is what carried this team to the NLCS. Ace John Rucker dominated last year posting a 20-8 record and a 2.46 ERA on his way to the Cy Young award. Edgar Santana has been solid since coming to Seattle piling up double digit wins every season with the team. One of the biggest underachievers on this staff hands down is Alex Guerrero. In two seaons as a Striker he has only 14 wins. Guerrero is late in his career but pitching at Safeco should be a big help with a rebound year. This team lost two very good bullpen guys in Bernard Hoffman and future Hall of Famer, Flip Buck. The team reloaded for season 20 by signing veteran T.J. Starr. This is one of the NL's deepest staffs with a  lot of talented arms. Grade A

Seattle goes for the three-pete on season 20 and it looks like they will do it. Ghutton is a very good owner with a lot of experience. This team has gotten stronger for the new season and they should be a tough team to face in the post season.

Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs
Season 19 Record: 75-87
5 Season Record: 368-442
Owner: brentcnb 518-649

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .256 27 Fielding % .986 7 ERA 3.89 8
Home Runs 141 32 Double Plays 452 4 Opp. Avg. .256 10
Ops. .691 32 + Plays 64 13 Stike Outs 1051 18
Runs 637 31 - Plays 28 11 Saves 42 18
Steals 81 19 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .367 32 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- IF/OF Joey Kirk(Promoted), SS Cecil Pratt(Promoted)

Key Losses- None

Oklahoma City finished second in the NL West in season 19 with a 75-87 record. That is an improvement since this team lived in the basement in seasons 17 and 18. Owner brentcnb may have finally got this club to round the corner and become a contender. It's been a while since this team has made the post season. You'll have to look all the way back to season 10. Statistically this team is improving.

The Prairie Dogs had one of the worst offenses in all of Pine Tar last year. This team is in need on a true power hitter to drive in some runs. Vic Rijo and Gus Park do bring some power to the table but it doesn't seem like enough. Rijo smacked 29 homers and played in all 162 games. Besides him, this team doesn't have to many pieces in place to compete. With rookies Joey Kirk and Cecil Pratt making the majors this year, it should help this team score a bit, but not enough. Offensively OKC is a year or two away from being able to challenge the tough Strikers for the division title.  Grade C-

The one thing Oklahoma City does do very well is play defense. Ranked seventh in fielding percentage, and fourth in double plays, the prairie dogs have a good foundation to build a very good team. Two time Gold Glover Eric Presley, is one of the veteran fielders that is a major help for this team. Another player who is a big help is Tom Bonilla. Bonilla is a solid second baseman who makes it tough on hitters to get balls back up the middle. Rookie shortstop Cecil Pratt is a very good fielder who will improve this defense quite a bit. This club has an above average defense with very few holes if any. Grade A

With a team ERA of 3.89, OKC is doing something right. The pitching staff doesnt seem to have any "stud" players but somehow they can get it done. Rick Owens is a young player who has yet to really reach his full potential. Last season he finished with a 8-11 record with a 3.53 ERA. Rookie Juan Ramirez is a solid pitcher who can add some flexibility to this team. Ramirez is a setup man in Season 20 but he has the ability to pitch in the rotation if needed. Overall this team has a good bullpen but lack a real ace. If this team can add a true ace in the next couples years, the pitching staff will be one of the best. Grade B+

It looks like season 20 is going to be a long year for the Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs. This club doesn't  have enough to compete in the very tough National League. A couple more seasons of rebuilding will pay off huge if this team can find just a couple more pieces. Having the ninth pick in the draft this year should be a big help.

Albuquergue Komodo Dragons
Season 19 Record: 68-94
5 Season Record: 380-430
Owner: csudak

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .255 28 Fielding % .978 26 ERA 4.19 15
Home Runs 190 21 Double Plays 409 13 Opp. Avg. .256 10
Ops. .726 25 + Plays 42 25 Stike Outs 1158 2
Runs 661 30 - Plays 67 28 Saves 42 19
Steals 36 28 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .403 25 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- None

Key Losses-  SP Al Rivers(FA), RP Bill Walker(FA)

Formerly Scottsdale, the Albuquerque Komodo Dragons are starting fresh in a new city and a new ballpark. New owner csduak has a lot of work to do if this team is going to get back to being a contender. Its been only five seasons since this team won the franchises only World Series Title. This team finished third last season which isn't too bad for a team in rebuild mode.

Albuquerque's offense last season was good but it has some holes. This team ranked toward the middle of the league in most offensive categories. That might sound bad but when you factor in the ballpark they played in, its doesn't sound to good. The David Ballpark (Scottsdale) is one of the biggest hitters parks in the league. A bright spot for the Komodo Dragons is Jorge Renteria. Renteria can absolutely rake. He hit 42 homers and 93 RBI's with a .293 average. If Albuquerque can find some hitters that can get on base this guy could be a 120 RBI player. Management did address one big issue by adding some power. Dude Durham can crush the ball, he will be a huge help in season 20. Overall  Albuquerque  has an improved offense but it doesn't seem like they have enough. Still a couple years away. Grade C+

The Dragons have a solid defense and it showed in season 19. Two difference makers are Geoff Saturria and Daryl Robertson. Saturria is a two time Gold Glove second baseman. This team has a strong infield who will instantly make any pitcher better. Management didn't change anything by bringing in a new player this season which isn't really a bad thing but a couple more gloves will definitely help.This team needs some improvements to the outfield and maybe a little more depth for the infield. Grade C

If  Albuquerque  will have anything going for them this year its going to be pitching. This team was toward the top of the league in most pitching stats and second in strikeouts. The rotation got a little weaker with the lose of Al Rivers and the bullpen suffered the lose of Bill Walker. Management didn't do much to replace those arms either. One guy who should ease the pain of those loses is Alex Allen. Allen is a great pitcher but has underachieved most of his career. He's a top of the rotation player who could win anywhere from ten to fifteen games. Miguel James is another guy who should be winning around fifteen games. A new ballpark could help these players perform on a level they should and finally live up to expectations.  Albuquerque  has a good bullpen also. Chick Linden is an outstanding setup man that will hold shut it down in the late innings. This team has a solid pitching staff, even after losing some guys in free agency. Grade B+

Season 20 is going to be a long one for this ball club. I wouldn't expect too much out of the major league roster.  Albuquerque  still has a couple more grueling years of rebuilding ahead of them. This team does have the third pick in the draft which will more than likely be the highlight of the season.

Colorado Springs Night Watchmen
Season 19 Record: 64-98
5 Season Record: 346-464
Owner: toe64 1584-1527 (1 World Series Title, 6 division titles)

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .252 30 Fielding % .982 20 ERA 4.68 22
Home Runs 170 26 Double Plays 397 18 Opp. Avg. .272 22
Ops. .715 26 + Plays 23 30 Stike Outs 1052 17
Runs 681 28 - Plays 48 25 Saves 27 30
Steals 112 11 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .391 30 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- OF Jamie Ramsey(Promoted), 1B Arlie Leon(Promoted), IF Mario Manning(Promoted),
1B/LF David Rivera(Promoted)

Key Losses- IF Jorge Lopez(FA), RP Stevie Murray(FA), 1B Alvin Reed(FA)

The Colorado Springs Night Watchman had a dismal season 19 finishing last in the NL West which is arguably the weakest division in all of Pine Tar heading into season 20. This team struggled all season and only finished with 64 wins. Owner toe64 made a lot of moves this offseason which instantly improved this club in many different ways. Season 20 just might be the year this team finally snaps their division title drought of 11 straight seasons.

Offense was a big problem for Colorado last year. Ranked in the bottom third of the league in average, homers, Ops, runs and slugging. The roster for the upcoming season has been bolstered with a lot of young talent. Jamie Ramsey, Arlie Leon, Mario Manning and David Rivera will all improve the offense dramatically. Manning has some speed which is always nice to have.  Possibly the most interesting player to come up this year is Brian Lowrie. Lowrie was a Rule 5 guy who has some power. If he can play to his potentional, 30-40 home runs isn't impossible for him. The only thing this team lacks is guys who can get on base. Juan Perez and Rafael Chavez are both capable of batting .270 at least, but they have underachieved throughout their careers. If this team can find one or two guys to put in the top of the order, they could do some damage.
Grade B

The Night Watchmen are a solid defensive team and have gotten better going into the new season. This team did a lot of things right defensibly last year. Mario Manning is a solid fielder who can play just about any position. Jorge Lopez was a huge lose this offseason for Colorado Springs. He is a player with Gold Glove potential and will be missed by this club. Overall I think the Watchmen did get stronger of defense and should improve in Season 20. Grade B

If this team is going to have a downfall, its going to be because of pitching. The rotation might be one of the weakest in the National League. Whitey Hendricksen is a solid starter but struggled in season 19. Hendricksen posted a 9-11 record with a 4.12 ERA. Besides him this team doesn't have much else as far as starting pitching goes. Colorado Springs does have a very good bullpen though. Players like Alberto Blasco, Willis Phillips, Steve Perez and Alcides Martin will have to outstanding if this team is going to compete. The bullpen is good enough to win a lot of games for the Watchmen but that is a unorthodox way of winning and chances are, it wont work in the playoffs. Colorado Springs has some major needs in the starting rotation heading into season 20. The bullpen will have their hands full and it will be interesting to see how far this club can go. Grade B-

Colorado Springs is a tough team to predict. They have a lot of pieces in place to do some damage and possibly win the division. The big issues this team has is the starting rotation and guys getting on base. Besides that this is a very good and well rounded ball club. The Night Watchmen might still be a year away from being a serious contender.

The NL West as a division will improve in season 20 which will make it tougher for Ghutton to repeat as the division winner. Colorado Springs looks like the only real threat for the division crown. I wouldn't be surprised to see Colorado hanging around by the All-Star break. The Strikers are a tough team with little if any real weaknesses so this team is favored to win the division. Montreal and OKC are both in rebuild mode. I wouldn't expect much from them this year since both are still at least two years away from competing.

2.Colorado Springs
3. Oklahoma City

Monday, July 16, 2012

Season 20 NL South Preview

NL South
What a season for the NL south! 3 teams finished with 90+ victories, 3 teams made the playoffs, and the division was home to the World Champs. Jackson had a phenomenal season in winning the championship and the division for the second straight season. They've now won 4 of the past 5 division titles and 3 straight. Louisville finished in second and ended a 10 season playoff drought. By making the post season it was just the third time in their history to play extended baseball. Charlotte finished in third and took home the 2nd wild card. They've made the post season 3 of the past 4 seasons now. The Texas franchise has won 8 division titles and had a streak of 12 straigth post season appearances, but missed the playoffs for the second straight season. This was the best division in the NL last season and quite possibly all of Pine Tar.

Jackson Juggernauts
Season 19 Record: 99-63 (NL South Champ, World Series Champ)
5 Season Record: 494-316
Owner: bobbyj7 667-499 (2 World Series titles, 4 division titles)

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .274 7 Fielding % .985 14 ERA 3.80 7
Home Runs 243 4 Double Plays 364 27 Opp. Avg. .245 6
Ops. .843 7 + Plays 95 4 Stike Outs 1144 2
Runs 843 7 - Plays 14 3 Saves 55 5
Steals 185 5 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .456 2 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- RP Stevie Murray(FA)

Key Losses- IF/OF Hipolito Matos(FA)

Jackson has really taken control in this division the past few seasons. Actually they've taken control of the whole league the past couple seasons. By winning the World Series the past 2 seasons they've become only the second back to back champion in Pine Tar history. The best thing for them is that this is a young team and they even have some prospects in the minors that are going to help in the next couple seasons. The team really didn't make any big moves in the off season, but they really didn't need to. The addition of Murray helps the bullpen get stronger though.

Offensively this team was one of the better teams in the league last season. They hit for power, stole bases and hit for average. They were a very well rounded offensive team. Scott Harvey, a career .299 hitter, provides the average. Jared Glynn, 52 homers last season, provides great power. Jeff Moore, .297 career hitter and 280 career steals, provides the hitting and speed. Those are just the top guys in this lineup, but the lineup has plenty of depth besides them. This team will hit for power, they will hit and they will steal some bases again. Grade- A

The defense was pretty good last season. They flashed range with above average gloves. Scott Harvey is a phenomenal centerfielder and he has a couple gold gloves to prove it. Alex Colome is a really good secondbasema that could make a run at a gold glove in his career. Michael Katou is a backup at short, but he's a really good defender that should see the field plenty. Jeff Moore starts at shortstop, but he's below average at best in the field. This team is loaded with good gloves, but the shortstop position brings the grade down for them. Grade- A-

This team has some of the best pitching in Pine Tar as well. They ranked near the top part of the league in the key categories last season. With Bobby Ray Ingram, Rube Clark, Raymond DeWitt, Aubrey Simmons and Dusty Lindsey, this team has probably the best 5 man rotation in the league. They are all very good pitchers, but none of them really stand out as great. Together they form a great rotation though. The bullpen boasts a couple pretty good arms as well with Ubaldo Bennett, and Stevie Murray. The bullpen may be the weak link on the staff as those are the only 2 that are good. With this rotation though, it's not likely the bullpen will see much action anyway. Grade- A-

This team may still be the best team in Pine Tar and if not they surely make a case for that in the NL. They are a very well rounded team that should be able to take the division again and put forth another challenge for the World Championship.

Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's
Season 19 Record: 94-68 (Wildcard)
5 Season Record: 287-523
Owner: Arfy 302-379

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .261 19 Fielding % .987 5 ERA 3.69 6
Home Runs 180 24 Double Plays 387 23 Opp. Avg. .251 7
Ops. .730 23 + Plays 88 5 Stike Outs 1080 12
Runs 748 24 - Plays 19 5 Saves 51 11
Steals 101 14 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .407 23 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- IF Chin-Hiu Wanatabe(FA), 1B Zeke Decker(FA), RP Carlos Flores(tr-mon)

Key Losses- None

Now here's a team that has come a long way. Just 2 seasons ago they were mired in a 4 season streak of under 70 wins. Last season they took the #1 wild card spot. It was the first team since season 8 and they achieved the most victories in franchise history. The next step for this franchise would be winning the division for the first time since season 1. In the off season they made some moves to improve their chances of doing that and didn't really lose anyone that could hurt their chances. The ownership has stated that they are trying to compete for that this season and are willing to make deals to improve those chances.

Offensively this team was below average last season. That's surprising for a team in a hitters park to have such a good season with a less than impressive offense. The addition of Zeke Decker, and Wanatabe should help out the offense. Adding them to Daryl Bonham(who hit .302 last season), Charley Roosevelt(.309 last season), and Andres Andujar(32 hr, and .293average) should upgrade the offense. The team could use an upgrade of power as that is a weakness for them. The team should hit better all around though than last season. Grade- B

The defense was really good last season. This was an area that the team excelled and finished as a top 5 defense. Aramis Aybar, a 5 time gold glove winner, is still one of the best shortstops in Pine Tar. The team lacks a real centerfielder, but they have real good gloves at most other positions. Daryl Bonham is a very good thirdbaseman and Desi Vasquez has a great glove as a reserve off the bench. The defense is really good, but I have to take away points for the centerfield position. Grade- A-

The pitching was really good last season as well. They were a top 10 pitching staff and excelled in a tough park. With Bret O'Leary, Al Manto, Ariel Mateo, Vin Segui and Roland Sweeney, the team has one of the better rotations in the league. All of them are really good pitchers. The bullpen features Benji Contreras, who has been a great closer for them. Ed Rhodes, Luis Ramirez, Carlos Flores and Ramon Chang make up a real solid set of arms that can protect leads. This team has put together a great pitching staff that should lead them to many victories. Grade- A

Louisville has gotten off to a slow start this season, but it's a tough division. They have a team that should be able to turn things around and challenge for the top spot in the division for most of the season. Even if they fall short in that quest, then they should still be able to earn a wild card spot.

Charlotte Bad News
Season 19 Record: 92-70
5 Season Record: 432-378
Owner: douglaslee 382-299

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .260 21 Fielding % .985 16 ERA 3.64 5
Home Runs 230 9 Double Plays 428 7 Opp. Avg. .252 8
Ops. .759 13 + Plays 61 16 Stike Outs 1112 7
Runs 811 10 - Plays 32 16 Saves 63 1
Steals 140 7 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .426 14 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- 2B Mateo Nunez(FA), SS Erubiel Baez(FA), RP Bert Jordan(FA)

Key Losses- 3B Corky Whitehead(FA), 1B Craig Adkinson(tr-Scr) 

Last season was the ninth time through the first 19 seasons for them to make the playoffs. It was also the third time in four seasons that they took a wild card spot. In a very tough division, they are likely looking to take the next step. It's hard to see which direction they are going since they traded a very good player and let another walk in free agency, but they did make some nice signings also. My guess is that they are going for it this season.

Offensively, Charlotte was good last season. They didn't hit well, but had some good power and speed that led to them scoring runs. Alan Wilson is a great young player that will get on base a lot and score some runs. Yovani Guerrero, Omar Cornejo, PT Rosa, and Elijah Martin should all get on base and hit the ball well. Storm Mahoney, and Dave Thompson provide the power for the team. Rookie Mateo Nunez has great speed and should turn out to be a decent hitter that can get on base. This is a very well rounded offense with power, speed and the ability to get on base. They should end up among the leagues best this season. Grade- A-

Defensively this team was just average last season. Erubiel Baez is the shortstop and he's just average. The same could be said for Pedro Pascual is centerfield. PT Rosa has a really good glove for thirdbase though. The defense as a whole isn't really impressive. They are solid in the key spots which helps an otherwise bad grade. Grade- C+

The pitching was a strength for Charlotte last season. It seems like the whole division has pitching and this team is right in line with that. Oscar Osterbrock is a true ace at the front of the rotation. Throw in Valerio Duran, Orber Torres, Roy Harvey and Lee Coveleski and the team has a really good rotation. They have quite possibly the better bullpen in the division though. Tony Zapata, Ruben Molina, Bert Jordan, Jackson Ruffin and Pasqual Sosa are all really good pitchers. They might have the best bullpen in Pine Tar. I'd say this team is another ace pitcher away from the best grade I could give. Grade- A

Charlotte is another really good team in this really tough division. The defense for them has the worst grade I've given in the division so far, but the pitching is the best. I think those can offset and put them right near the top. They should battle it out all season for the top spot, but this division is going to be tough to win. They should at least be in the wild card mix if they can't take the division.

Texas Outlaws
Season 19 Record: 70-92
5 Season Record: 432-378
Owner: buffalo_rob 70-92

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .266 13 Fielding % .980 25 ERA 4.83 26
Home Runs 164 28 Double Plays 422 9 Opp. Avg. .278 25
Ops. .736 22 + Plays 86 6 Stike Outs 1042 21
Runs 752 21 - Plays 24 8 Saves 36 27
Steals 86 17 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .401 14 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- IF Rex Billingsley(FA), SP Chris Kirk(Promoted)

Key Losses- IF Chin-Hiu Wanatabe(FA)

After taking over this team midway through season 19, buffalo_rob really got them turned around. It wasn't a bad team, but the previous owner mishandled them and drove them into the ground before they were rescued. After making the post season for 12 straight seasons, the next 2 owners really didn't do them justice. The team seemed destined for a 40 wins last season and the new owner got them to 70. Proving that the team wasn't far off from being competitive the team added Rex Billingsley to add some power and brought up Chris Kirk to help the turn around of the pitching staff.

Offensively the team was just below average last season. They lacked power, but hit good and stole some bases. Rex Billingsly, Carl Esposito and Hipolito Matos provide the power for this group. Besides them the team lacks other power sources. Vic Diaz is great at getting on base, but low durability only sees him get around 300 ab's a season. Tony Guerrero may be aging, but he still provides a good bat. This isn't the best hitting team in the league, but they are solid and have players that fill roles. Grade- B-

The fielding wasn't very good last season, but they did have good range. Reserve, Juan Volquez is a phenomenal glove for shortstop, but he rarely plays. Stewart Parker fills those duties and while his glove isn't very good, he does have the range and arm for the position. Rex Billingsly is a great secondbaseman with the leather. Ugueth Gonzales plays a dynamite centerfield, but his glove is only average. The team has some pretty good range again, but the gloves are average at best. I'll give them points for getting to more balls than most teams. Grade- B

The pitching just really wasn't very good last season. They ranked in the bottom third of the league, but that could have been from early season over use. The rotation features Vinny Grace, a solid middle rotation guy. Parker Lowell is more of a back end guy and the same could be said of Chris Kirk. Miguel Morlan has had a solid career, but his abilities don't jump out as a very good pitcher. He gets things done like a mid rotation starter though. Desi Fernandez has the best abilities in the rotation, but he just doesn't have the stamina to get them many innings. Overall it is not a very good rotation. The bullpen is a bit better with Jimmy Griffiths, Albert Chavez, Ron Wulf, Marcus Thompson and Jeremy Braden. They are solid, but not good enough to make up for the rotation. Grade- C

I know, Texas has gotten off to a great start. Don't get me wrong though, this is a solid team. I just don't think they are good enough to win the division and will struggle to make the post season. They are just in too tough of a division. My guess is that they fall short in their post season quest.

This is quite possibly the toughest division in Pine Tar right now. Jackson is the defending World Champs and will be tough to knock off. I'd say they should win the division and make a run at a three peat. Louisville isn't off to the start that I would have figured for them, but they are still a really good team and will likely get things going as the season progresses. I think they will struggle to win the division, but a wild card spot should be a lock for them. Charlotte is another very good team in a very good division. If the season ended today they would be out of the post season, but they aren't far off. I don't think they can make a run for the division title, but they should be in the wild card mix as the season goes on. Texas is the odd team out. They are a good team that should break .500, but I just think they'll have a tough time staying near the top. They should still battle for a wild card spot, but my guess is they fall short.

1. Jackson
2. Louisville
3. Charlotte
4. Texas

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Season 20 NL East Preview

NL East
The east was won by a familiar team last season. Jacksonville took it's fifth straight division title and 9th out of the last 10. That gives them a total of 13 division titles now. They are a team that has only had 2 losing seasons and are one of the best franchises in Pine Tar history. Philadelphia finished second with 88 victories which was a 7 win improvement from season 18. It was their third consecutive 2nd place finish. The third place team, Cincinnati, finished just below the .500 mark for the third straight season and has started a run of not making the playoffs during that time. Kansas City improved by 4 games last season but still finished in last with a respectable 76 victories. They have a 9 season playoff drought going that they will look to end this season.

Jacksonville Juice
Season 19 Record: 96-66 (NL East Champs)
5 Season Record: 475-335
Owner: greygoose123: 1765-1326 (1 World Series Title, 13 division titles)

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .259 22 Fielding % .980 23 ERA 4.05 10
Home Runs 243 3 Double Plays 371 26 Opp. Avg. .267 18
Ops. .770 8 + Plays 38 26 Stike Outs 1134 5
Runs 819 9 - Plays 61 27 Saves 55 6
Steals 106 13 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .439 8 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- Ben Jacobsen(rule V), SP Jorge Figureoa(FA), RP Chico Guerrero(FA),

Key Losses- SP Andres Park(FA), SP Max Mateo(FA)

The Juice, of Jacksonville, have had quite an impressive run in Pine Tar's first 19 seasons. They have 13 division titles, 4 World Series appearances(the last in season 16), and 1 World Championship. With just 1 owner in this time, it makes the franchise even more impressive. Last season was just another great season for them and while the post season didn't go as they'd have hoped, it was a successful season. In the off season they lost a couple good starting pitchers, but made a big signing when they inked Jorge Figureoa to replace them. Chico Guerrero was a very good addition to the bullpen and rule V pick Ben Jacobsen is a young player that can help the team out. The ownership has shown the commitment to winning and are going for it all this season.

Offensively this team was pretty good last season. They hit for power, scored runs and stole bases. If they hit for average better then this team would have been unstoppable. The off season didn't bring much change for them as it's still pretty much the same team offensively. Andre Fleming is a power bat that could make more contact, and the same with Allen Gruber and Brian Langford. The best all around hitter on the team is Andrew Overbay, who's coming off a down season. Teddy Lemon is a pretty good bat to have around as well and he'll steal some bases. Overall this is a good, but not great offense. Grade- B

The defense ranked near the bottom of the league last season. The gloves were below average and they didn't flash much range for the plus and minus plays. Bernie Wolf has the tools to be a real good fielding shortstop, but he mostly plays in center, where he is pretty good also. Teddy Lemon is the shortstop and he pretty much defines the defense as he's below average for the position. Nick Cooper is the main centerfielder and he has range, but lacks the glove for the position. Overall this defense doesn't impress me and could lead to the demise of the team. Grade- D+

The pitching was good last season. They gave up some hits, but they stopped teams from scoring and a big reason for that was that they struck out opponents enough to rank fifth in the league at it. The rotation this season features Gerardo Morales, Bryant Clayton, Jorge Figureoa, and Magglio Figureoa. All four are quality starters and should help this team win a lot of games. Sherman Stevens, Andres Jacquez, Nigel Parrish, and Chico Guerrero are all good bullpen arms. This is a pretty good pitching staff and I think they could produce better than last seasons group. Grade- A-

Jacksonville has a pretty good team that will be tough to knock from the top of the division. They aren't off to the best start this season, but they should be able to turn things around. The only thing that could ruin that is the defense, but the offense and pitching should be enough to over come that. 

Philadelphia Moneymakers
Season 19 Record: 88-74
5 Season Record: 405-405
Owner: Philler26: 690-606 (3 division titles)

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .271 9 Fielding % .986 10 ERA 4.38 18
Home Runs 205 13 Double Plays 407 15 Opp. Avg. .265 15
Ops. .770 9 + Plays 62 14 Stike Outs 1027 22
Runs 799 13 - Plays 43 24 Saves 57 3
Steals 94 17 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .438 9 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- SP Napoleon Hallman(FA),

Key Losses- None

This franchise has been showing some signs of life the past few seasons. They haven't had a losing record since season 16, but they also have only made the post season once in the past 9 seasons. The 88 wins they had last season was the best finish for this franchise since season 11 when they posted 90 victories, but it still left them on the outside looking in for the post season. In the off season this team upgraded the rotation and kept the bullpen intact. Management is hoping that is enough to help them contend in the NL and stick around in the divisional race all season long. 

The offense was solidly above average last season. They weren't among the best teams in the league but they were in the next tier below them. They showed decent power, good hitting, decent speed and scored a decent amount of runs. With 2 time MVP, Lonny Infante in the lineup, they should always be a threat to put up runs. Mandy Whitfield is coming off of a big 50 homer season and Tomas Acosta also helps provide some good power. Cam Stubbs, Dicky Bartee, Nate Carter and Angel Martinez are all good hitters. This team should hit the ball and continue to be a good offensive team. Grade- B+

Defensively, the Moneymakers were also above average last season. They had good gloves and decent range. Nate Carter plays centerfield and he is above average in that spot. Kurt Parker is the shortstop and he's a pretty good fielder at that spot. Carmen Delahanty may have the best glove of any secondbaseman in Pine Tar. Overall this team has the players to play the key positions and even have some good gloves to back them up. This is a solid defense that is just short of being great. Grade- B+

The pitching on this team was just about average last season. They were one of the best teams at closing games last season though. The addition of Hallman was huge for this rotation. He's the type of pitcher that has ace qualities. Rookie, Stretch Teixeira, is a solid starter, but lacks the control to be consistent. The rotation is better due to Hallman, but they could still use a bit more quality than what they have. The bullpen is fairly solid. Thumper Young, and Osvaldo Tatis are good setup men. Pat Karl isn't the best closer, but he's solid. Taylor Flier and Benji Crespo are relievers that can eat up innings. The pitching staff as a whole is average, but they do have some bright spots among them. Grade- C+

I see a pretty solid team here. They are off to a rough start on the season and I'm not sold that they have what it takes to win the division. They do have what it takes to hang around though, and should at least challenge for a wild card spot. They have a tough team, with a few real good players.

Cincinnati Firestorm
Season 19 Record: 79-83
5 Season Record: 420-390
jbburner: 1576-1515 (2 division titles)

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .258 25 Fielding % .985 13 ERA 4.47 19
Home Runs 231 8 Double Plays 351 29 Opp. Avg. .266 16
Ops. .738 21 + Plays 62 14 Stike Outs 1047 19
Runs 751 22 - Plays 31 13 Saves 46 14
Steals 47 26 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .417 17 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- SP Archie Tewksbury(FA), 3B Freddy Cuddyer(FA),

Key Losses- None

It's funny that I waited this long to do this teams preview. This is the quote I received from ownership about this team,"The train has come off the tracks in Cincy and management hasn't figured out how to get it back on track." Well based on the standings it looks as though they figured it out. They are off to one of the hottest starts in the NL at the time of this writing and that comes in a tough division. In the off season they added Freddy Cuddyer to help bolster the offense and added Archie Tewksbury to the pitching staff. A couple nice moves that could have aided in this teams hot start.

Offensively this team was below average last season. They did hit for power, but that was about it. Freddy Cuddyer is a great hitter and he's showing it early in the season. Pedro Cordero is pretty good as well. Youngster,  Rafael Unamuno, is the type of hitter that could win some silver slugger awards as he'll hit for power, average and draw plenty of walks. This offense is well rounded besides these guys and should be poised for a turnaround this season. I don't see them as one of the best offenses in the league, but they are pretty good. Grade- B+

The defense was above average last season, but not one of the best teams. Alfredo Rivera is a solid shortstop with decent range and a great arm. Andre Sele has lost some range, but he's still a great centerfielder although his days of adding to the 8 gold glove awards seem to be over. This team has some pretty good gloves on the field and even have some good backups. I think this defense should be a top 10 d. Grade- A

The pitching was really pretty average last season. The rotation features Tewksbury, Davey Quinones, Harry Lunar, Bernard Evans, and Timo Pan. None of them are top of the rotation starters. The bullpen is solid with Wesley Landrum, Tom Milton, and Jack Rooney, but not great. The pitching staff is a weakness for this team and I don't even think they are average. Grade- D+

They are off to a hot start, but I'm not sure they can keep it up. Go figure, I jinx them by mentioning the good start then I reverse the jinx by saying that. The pitching staff is just not good enough to keep this up. They are going to need to add an ace in order to remain on top of this division.

Kansas City Kardinals
Season 19 Record: 76-86
5 Season Record: 369-441
Owner: bodean: 1402-1527 (1 division title)

Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .269 11 Fielding % .984 17 ERA 4.57 20
Home Runs 171 20 Double Plays 333 32 Opp. Avg. .268 19
Ops. .745 18 + Plays 55 18 Stike Outs 1015 25
Runs 765 17 - Plays 38 18 Saves 45 17
Steals 47 27 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .413 20 1 1 1 1 1 1

Key Additions- None

Key Losses- None

The fans in KC have to be wondering when this team is going to turn the corner. They have finished 4th in the division the past 3 seasons and 4 of the last 5. Season 10 was the last playoff appearance for them and they only have 2 playoff appearances ever. The team hasn't really been very bad either though. They've only lost 100 games one time and that was back in season 2. As a matter of fact they've only won less than 70 games twice and that was seasons 1 and 2. They just can't seem to get over the hump. This off season the team chose to stay pretty quiet and didn't make any big noteworthy moves and didn't really lose anyone either as they kept the nucleus of the team together. It seems to be working so far as the team is off to a pretty good start and are only a couple games out of first place as we get close to the quarter season mark.

Offensively this team was pretty average last season. They hit well, but the power was below average and the team didn't really steal many bases. They have a good young hitter in Colby Rogers that mixes in with veterans Wally Spencer, Chad Oliver and Ichiro Pong. All of them are good hitters and provide a solid foundation for the teams lineup. Spencer and Pong provide the power, but they aren't really a power hitting team. Overall this looks like a slightly better offense than how they performed last season. Grade- B

The defense was very average last season. They finished right in the middle in fielding and plus and minus plays. Trey Shuck is a very good shortstop and has a gold glove to his credits. The team really lacks a centerfielder though. Most positions are covered with decent gloves though. This is really just an average defensive team. Grade- C+

The pitching was a bit of a concern last season. The finished as a just below average staff. I really like innings eater, Bobby McCarthy, as he provides the team with double digit victories yearly. Woody Parker is a solid starter as well and usually racks up close to 200 innings. Besides those 2 I'm not really sure I like this rotation. They could really use an ace and that would really shore them up. Scooter Boskie is good coming out of the pen, but they don't have much else besides him. The pitching staff as a whole looks just below average, but a couple good arms could help them greatly. Grade- C

Kansas City has a good offense, but the pitching staff and defense are enough to make me think that they don't have staying power near the top of the division. They really aren't very far off from being a good team, but as things stand right now I have to think that they'll end up out of the post season race around mid season.

Since the season is near the quarter mark it should be easy to look and make a good guess of where these teams will finish. I just don't think the standings right now will end up close to how they finish. Jacksonville is still the team to beat from what I see, but they've gotten off to a rough start. Philadelphia should be in the mix this season and could even take a wild card spot. They are the 2 bottom teams right now. Cincinnati has one of the better records in the NL, but I just don't think they have the pitching to keep that up. They have everything else and with a few moves could change this prediction, but I don't think they can make a run at the post season. Kansas City only stands a couple games out right now, but they are just an average team. They are another team that could make a couple additions and suddenly they are a real contender though.

1. Jacksonville
2. Philadelphia
3. Cincinnati
4. Kansas City