Thursday, March 28, 2013

NL East Season 23 Preview

The NL East was not a very strong division last season. Jacksonville won the division title with just 82 wins. If anything it was a really close division. Washington D.C. finished just 12 games out and they were in last place. It was one of those seasons that could have seen any team take the division. As it ended up though, the team with the most success in the divisions history, Jacksonville, finished on top for the 15th time.

Jacksonville Juice
Average.2597Fielding %.9849ERA3.926
Home Runs1997Double Plays3834Opp. Avg..2526
Ops..7365+ Plays4712Strike Outs104514
Runs7328- Plays4413Saves438

Season 20 Record: 82-80(NL East Champs)
Last 5 Seasons: 442-368

Key Off Season Moves
Signed C Stretch Wilkinson
Signed RP Max Guillen
Re Signed OF Rich Pierce
Signed SP Cooper Leyritz
Signed SP Alex Allen
Signed 3B Jose Borbon
Traded for OF Sammy Ramirez
Traded for IF Ramiro Contreras
Traded for OF Jamie Ramsey
Traded for SP Miguel Almanza
Traded for SP Lon Curtis

Offense-Last season, Jacksonville had a slightly above average offense. They may have been lacking speed, but they were decent at everything else. The trade for Rich Pierce gave them a boost in just about everything as he is a player that can hit for average, power and steal bases. He became a free agent, but the team was able to bring him back in what I feel was a free agency bargain. The also added Stretch Wilkinson who is a great hitter that can get on base as evidenced by his career .394 OBP. The offense has some pieces that could make them better, but I still see an average team offensively.

Defense-Jacksonville struggled a bit defensively last season. They were around the middle of the pack in fielding percentage, but near the bottom in plus and minus plays. This is a real area of concern this season. As it stands Jamie Ramsey is the centerfielder and he has great range, but the glove isn't very good for the position. I'm not really sure who the shortstop will be. I don't see anyone with a glove good enough to play the position. At this time I don't see much at all defensively and if it stays this way, I have no doubts that this will be the worst defensive team in the league. I really doubt that Jacksonville goes this route though.

Pitching-The pitching in Jacksonville was above average last season. The rotation will feature Jorge Figureoa, Alex Allen and Lon Curtis this season. All 3 are solid pitchers, but none of them fit the ace role. Sherman Stevens has been the closer for this team for quite some time now and is expected to fill the role again this season. He's a really good closer. Nigel Parrish is the setup guy and he went through a weird off season. He was traded to San Juan and then left unprotected for the Rule V draft, and Jacksonville ended up with him back due to that. Jacksonville has a solid pitching staff, but I'm worried the defense will hurt them and drop them close to the bottom of the league.

Projection-Jacksonville made a lot of off season moves to try to get younger. I really like some of the pieces they got, but I think they are going to hold off on bringing some of them to the majors. That is going to make for a long season for this squad. I could really see them falling to the back of the pack in this division.

Owner Interview-
ME-This is your 23rd season here. You've had a great run with the team. Tell me how you became a member of Pine Tar.  Last season you became the first and right now only 2000 game winner in Pine Tar. That's a lot of wins. How have you been able to keep that team successful for so long? When you build your team, what is the key ingredient? Also as a former World Champ, what advice can you give the newer owners about Pine Tar's competition? I just noticed that you've only played 8 other full HBD seasons outside of Pine Tar. What has made you stick with mainly this one world? One last thing, what can be done to keep you around for 22 more seasons? 

greygoose123-I just joined an open league. Prior to that, I had joined an existing league. But I wanted to join a league that was in season 1. I've stayed because the owners in this league take it seriously, but without drama. And when I only had time for one league, I had to choose my favorite and this one was always my favorite. Currently, I am now in one other league and although I think I may end up with a pretty good team there, I still like this league better. As far as how I have been able to maintain my success. I've learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes. I think being successful at this takes a significant time commitment. That's another reason I have not taken on a lot of other teams. To me there are two very important keys to this game. Assets and details. Assets, being players and draft picks, need to be managed. Knowing when to turnover assets and making sure you get at least equal value for those assets is very important to maintaining on going success. And details also need to be managed. For example I try and manage my ML pitching staff nearly every game. And I try to manage my minor leagues as much as possible. And I take every avenue of acquiring assets as seriously as possible. The one thing I find the most challenging is budgeting. I still have not learned how to figure out where to put the money and what the ultimate effect will be. Lastly, you don't have to worry about me dropping this league. I will be here unless i decide to stop playing the game altogether, which I don't see happening any time soon. My forecast for this season. I see this as a transition year for the Juice. .500 season at best, no playoffs.

Philadelphia Moneymakers
Average.24713Fielding %.9865ERA4.259
Home Runs2035Double Plays29216Opp. Avg..26310
Ops..69913+ Plays6311Strike Outs109310
Runs63715- Plays349Saves523

Season 20 Record: 76-86
Last 5 Seasons: 416-394

Key Off Season Moves
Extended the contract of C Angel Martinez

Offense-Philadelphia wasn't very good offensively last season. They did show some power and steal some bases, but they didn't score runs or hit for average. They have a really good player in their lineup with Nate Carter. He hits for average, gets on base and hits for power. With regular playing time, Angel Martinez could be a real good hitter, but he's not the best game caller behind the plate. I think the offense is better than what they did last season. They are at least average.

Defense-Philadelphia had some good gloves last season, but they had average range according to the plus/minus plays. They are really good up the middle. Nate Carter is a great glove at secondbase after he was moved there last season. Glenn Cole is a really good shortstop that has ideal range and an average glove with the arm for the position. Scott Watson is a great centerfielder that has the range and the glove. This team has the defense to be really good. I think they are a top 5 defense in the NL.

Pitching-The pitching was just average last season. That's surprising with how good the defense is. Napoleon Hallman is a true ace. Matty Andujar is a solid number 2 and William Huckaby is a good middle of the rotation arm. David Ortiz was a phenomenal closer last season and should be again this season. I really think this team should finish much better this season than last. I believe last season was a fluke and this staff is above average at the least.

Projection-This team could use an upgrade offensively, but they have the defense and pitching to take this division. The division was really weak last season and I think it will be again. That gives a team like this a huge advantage when they have the defensive side of things locked down. I could see them winning close to 90 games.

Owner Interview-
ME-One of the 3 owners in this division that has been around since season 1. How did you become a part of Pine Tar? You have 1 other world that you've been a part of since the beginning as well. And another that you joined in season 2 and have spent 26 seasons in. What makes you stick with worlds so long? On to this season. After 6 seasons of finishing second or first in the division, what can we expect this season? Is the team challenging for the division this season or are you going to start rebuilding? Are there any players in the minors that are going to be a star in the future?

Phillies26-I started when HBD was just beginning. So, once Pine Tar opened I became one of the members. When the league first started it was called by another name. I wanted to be able to build teams from the beginning and go thru the cycles that teams go thru.Watching a team go from the bottom of the pack to the best in the league is fun. Plus I enjoy the competition. This by far is the best league because of all the extras that you have continued to provide. My team is in a rebuilding phase.  I'm beginning to pay for some of the mistakes that I've made along the way. So, I have to build this up all over again. I was so business trying to win. I became careless and made poor decisions that I will now have to pay for.

Cincinnati Firestorm
Average.24614Fielding %.9856ERA4.5914
Home Runs2026Double Plays30314Opp. Avg..26412
Ops..71110+ Plays3914Strike Outs11089
Runs70310- Plays287Saves4113

Season 20 Record: 75-87
Last 5 Seasons: 397-413

Key Off Season Moves
Traded for SP Mat Stults
Traded for RP Mitchell Hayes
Traded for RP Manuel Rodriguez
Signed 1B Andres Andujar
Signed C Pedro Ortiz

Offense-I'm not sure how to classify Cincinnati's offense last season. They didn't hit very well, but they were about average at scoring runs, and were good at hitting for power and stealing bases. The signings of Andujar and Ortiz will upgrade the hitting for sure. Jody Andrews had a down year last season, but he should bounce back. Rafael Unamuno, is a really good hitter that has some good power and will take a walk. I think the offense should do better than last season and will be above average.

Defense-They were good with the gloves last season, but they didn't show much range. They have 2 solid options at shortstop with Alex Alomar and rule V pickup Stewart Lee. The signing of Lew Worrell could lock down centerfield. None of those 3 are good hitters though, so I'm interested to see what kind of playing time they get. Cincinnati has a solid defense, but I think they'll be just about average.

Pitching-This was an area of weakness last season. They really needed an upgrade in pitching. The addition of mat Stults should help the rotation. Charlie Smith, Timo Pan, and Deivi Valentin are all solid pitchers, but none of them are real top of the rotation guys. The bullpen is a bit below average. Mitchell Hayes and Scooter Boskie are good, but they really don't have a lot of depth here. Overall the pitching for Cincinnati is about avearge.

Projection-Cincinnati could hang around in this division and make a push for the title. They aren't a bad team, but the are a really avearge team. I think they finish close to the top, but not quite there. They really could use a few pieces offensively and in the rotation to really compete.

Owner Interview-
ME-As one of the few original members of Pine Tar, this season is number 23 for you. That's a long time to be in one world. Where did it start for you? What has kept you around this long? So what can we expect from Cincinnati this season? Rebuilding or competing? The team has been hanging around the 500 mark the past 5 seasons, does that mean you've been rebuilding or has the team just not performed like you'd hoped?

jbburner-It started when two of my brothers and I found this game and decided to join a world together that was just starting which happened to be this one. What has kept me here is that this has been my team from the beginning and that Pine Tar is one of the best leagues in this game. This team is probably going to have a similar season like the past few seasons. For whatever crazy reason, I have not been willing to commit to a complete rebuild or to signing high end FA's and it shows in my teams performance. The pitching staff will be weak again with a rotation that is mediocre at best and an average bullpen. I believe I should have better than average fielding and hopefully better hitting than I had last season. I think Cincy has the potential to win 85 games or so and compete for a wildcard spot but I'm thinking that I will be lucky to get to .500 this season.

Washington D.C Justices
Average.2598Fielding %.97316ERA3.9212
Home Runs14514Double Plays33512Opp. Avg..25214
Ops..70312+ Plays1916Strike Outs104511
Runs7357- Plays7816Saves4315

Season 20 Record: 70-92
Last 5 Seasons: 372-438

Key Off Season Moves
Selected OF Andrew Adams Rule V
Signed OF Hank Jacquez
Signed OF Grant Tucker
Signed SP Bryant Clayton
Signed RP TJ Starr

Offense-Washington DC had a really average offense last season. They did have a big lack of power though. That is something that I don't see changing this season. The addition of Andrew Adams in the Rule V should help the offense. Hank Jacquez and Grant Tucker were both signed in the off season and are solid offensively. I don't think this is a top of the league offense, but they are solid. They should end up doing about what they did last season.

Defense-The defense was terrible last season. They were the worst in the NL. I don't think that will change much. They lack a true shortstop or centerfielder with even average gloves for the position. This is an area of concern that could hold back the pitching.

Pitching-The pitching was near the bottom of the league last season. I'm putting this on the defense. Raymond Simmons and Woody Parker are both proven starters. Simmons can be an ace. Bryant Clayton was a nice free agent signing for the team and should upgrade the staff. The bullpen received a nice upgrade with the signing of TJ Starr. Benito Pizzaro had a bad year last season, but he should turn that around. The bullpen isn't as good as the rotation, but it is decent. This staff could be pretty good if they had a defense behind them.

Projection-I just can't get past the defense. I'm a defensive guy, so a weakness here really bothers me. It will likely be the downfall of this team because they are solid everywhere else. As it is right now, I can't see them competing for the division title or the wild card.

Owner Interview-
ME-How are you feeling about your team heading into the season? Is the team going to be rebuilding or competing? Are there any young prospects coming up through the system that you really like and we should all be keeping an eye on in the future? This makes season 12 for you in Pine Tar, 3rd with this team, that's more than half of the seasons played. Is there anything about the world that you really like? Is there anything that you'd like to see that would make it better? As a former Pine Tar World Series Champ, what can you tell the newer members that would help them build a champ?

vector21-hey Ghutt... Not feeling great about this team this year... I finally cleared a bunch of terrible contracts that the prior owner had left me with, but I missed out on a couple FA's that I had targeted (call me silly, but I'm just not going to spend $30mil on a single player). As far as future stars are concerned, I made a MAJOR guffaw the past couple days as I was away from my laptop for a couple days and didn't get to protect a few of my Rule V players.  I lost Brian Hume , Bryan Holmes , andTom Donatello in the recent Rule V draft... that hurt ~ big time. My fault... ugh. I know I'm a relatively quiet owner in the league, but I do like that pretty much everyone reaches out to me from time to time with trade chat messages just to see if I'm alive and usually people make reasonable offers to me (and I'm quick to turn down the dumb ones). I also like that nobody goes out of their way to be assholes to anyone else ~ which I've seen in other leagues and can really be a downer. Perhaps it occurs behind the scenes, but since I don't see it, I don't care. As far as developing a winning team? My recipie of success has always been to try to be competitive during the early part of the season and see what happens. If you think you've got a chance, make some moves to try to improve your team. If you don't see what you can get for your veterans and stock your minor league system. Also, remember that if you get to the playoffs, you don't need to be very deep in starting pitching to win... all you really need is 3 very good starters and a good bullpen to compete.

Well this division isn't very strong right now. Jacksonville looks like they are rebuilding. I guess they weren't too happy with winning the division with just 82 wins last season. Washington DC has some real defensive issues and losing some key prospects in the Rule V draft really hurt them for this season and probably a few more. Cincinnati looks like an average team that could have some things go right for them to really challenge for the division title. Philadelphia looks like the team to beat right now. They have a really good defense and a good pitching staff as well. They don't have a great offense, but they are good enough to help them take the division.

1. Philadelphia Moneymakers
2. Cincinnati Firestorm
3. Washington D.C. Justices
4. Jacksonville Juice

No comments:

Post a Comment