Monday, October 1, 2012

Season 21 AL North Preview

Dover Dinklebergs
Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .280 5 Fielding % .984 5 ERA 4.51 5
Home Runs 256 3 Double Plays 434 6 Opp. Avg. .263 5
Ops. .817 3 + Plays 64 6 Strike Outs 1173 1
Runs 925 2 - Plays 33 5 Saves 51 3
Steals 45 14 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .461 3 1 1 1 1 1 1

Season 20 Record- 101-61(AL North Champ)
Last 5 seasons- 448-362

Dover will be trying to repeat as division champs again this season. After making the World Series in season 19 the team didn't even get to the ALCS last season. Offensively they are one of the top teams in the AL and are led by young sluggers Armando Mota, and John Pong. Tino House was a nice late season 20 addition for this team and he should provide some good offensive numbers as well. The defense is also among the best in the league as they are led by gold glove shortstop David Prieto. This team could possibly field the best defense in the league. The pitching ranked among the best in the AL last season, but I don't think I'd put them there this season. Valerio Duran was a nice signing, but I think they could use some more help here. Dover looks like they are going to be a real tough team this season and should be challenging for another AL crown if things go well for them.

Scranton Associates
Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .281 2 Fielding % .985 4 ERA 4.19 4
Home Runs 250 5 Double Plays 399 9 Opp. Avg. .265 6
Ops. .818 2 + Plays 48 10 Strike Outs 1059 6
Runs 860 6 - Plays 53 16 Saves 55 2
Steals 20 16 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .466 2 1 1 1 1 1 1

Season 20 Record- 100-62(Wild Card)
Last 5 Seasons- 501-309

Last season Scranton took home the #1 wild card spot, but ended up with the third best record in the AL. It was quite a battle for the top spot in this division between them and Dover, but Scranton faded down the stretch and settled for playing in the first round. They went out and made a big off season signing by adding multiple time Cy Young winner Jeremi Rice. They also signed Miguel James as they somewhat revamped the rotation this off season. Add them to Doc King and Cyrus Torres and this franchise continues its tradition of pitching excellence. Omar Gabriel has been one of the top closers in the league now for the past 9 seasons and I expect he'll be doing the same this season. The offense was near the top of the league last season and they still look pretty tough. Craig Adkinson, Peter Cheng, and youngster Don Aoki anchor down this lineup. Defensively the team is a bit below average this season. At shortstop Yorvit Ortiz is one of the best there is, but he doesn't have a lot of help around the diamond. Scranton looks ready to make another run for the top spot in this division and it should be an interesting race again this season.

Augusta Shadows
Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .267 9 Fielding % .982 10 ERA 5.23 14
Home Runs 143 15 Double Plays 424 8 Opp. Avg. .286 14
Ops. .725 13 + Plays 39 15 Strike Outs 1002 13
Runs 742 14 - Plays 40 8 Saves 36 14
Steals 121 9 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .393 14 1 1 1 1 1 1

Season 20 Record- 67-95
Last 5 Seasons- 411-399

After having the same owner for 17 seasons this team went through some changes with new ownership last season. Now they have another new owner in place this season. Looking at the team, the previous couple ownership groups didn't leave much to work with and this team is in full rebuild mode. Offensively this team ranked in the bottom half of the league last season. Outside of Howard Atkins, and Red Smith, this team is lacking any real offensive threats. I'd be surprised to see them rank higher than the bottom 5 of the league offensively this season. The defense was middle of the league last season, but they appear to be a strength for the team. Fritz Dydalewicz holds down shortstop very well and could challenge for a gold glove. Harold Iannetta has a pretty good glove as well and should make a good backup/ defensive replacement at any position. The pitching staff ranked near the bottom of the league last season and are likely to struggle again this season. Harry Guerrero is a respectable pitcher, but he's no staff ace. This will be a tough season for the franchise, but things do look a little better down the road. Last season the franchise had 6 picks in the opening and supplemental round and took all pitchers. Add the fact that they have pick #7 this season and the franchise has a decent foundation for the future if they can hit a good prospect.

New York Damage Controllers
Offense 1 Defense 1 Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Average .250 15 Fielding % .982 13 ERA 4.94 12
Home Runs 105 16 Double Plays 431 7 Opp. Avg. .2719
Ops. .666 16 + Plays 49 10 Strike Outs 979 14
Runs 684 16 - Plays 44 10 Saves 39 12
Steals 260 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Slugging .347 16 1 1 1 1 1 1

Season 20 Record- 64-98
Last 5 Seasons- 355-455

New York has been in a rebuilding situation the past few seasons, but are looking to move forward a bit this season. They made a pretty nice free agent signing with Storm Mahoney, and even got good deals for Clay Flores and Glenn Hafner. The signing of Mahoney should help out an offense that ranked at the bottom of the league last season. He brings some really good power and speed to a team that needed some power, but adds to the speed the team already has. Gregory Singleton made his rookie debut last season and should continue to improve offensively. The offense still isn't very good, but they are better. The defense ranked in the bottom half of the league last season, and I don't expect much of a change. Miguel Manzanillo is the shortstop, but his range has fallen off the past couple seasons and he's no longer suited for the position. They don't really have a centerfielder either. The defense is just not very good. The pitching staff was also a bottom half of the league staff last season. They look a little better, but I'm not sure they can break the bottom half. I think the team will struggle again this season, but they are moving in the right direction.

I'm thinking that Dover and Scranton are going to battle for this division all season long. It should be one of the better division title races in Pine Tar that could come all the way down to the last day. Both teams have what it takes to win north of 100 games and both could challenge for the AL championship. Right now I'll pick Dover to repeat and Scranton to take a wild card spot. New York should take a step or two forward this season, but I don't think they can end up with a winning record. Augusta is a team in need of direction and hopefully the new owner can give them some. They are a team in full rebuild mode and right now is probably a good time for that because there aren't many teams that are.

1. Dover
2. Scranton
3. New York
4. Augusta

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