Wednesday, July 2, 2014

AL East Season 28 Preview

Boston Pilgrims
owner- kjmulli(13 seasons)
Season 27 record- 107-55(AL East Champs)
Payroll- $98.1

I'm not sure if this team over achieved last season offensively, or if they played to the park. They do not look like a team that will hit as good as last season. I'm not saying they are bad, but they look just above average to me. Vinny Hill is the real deal though and his abilities paid off in a big way as he brought home the MVP award last season. Matt Jaha is another great hitter although he doesn't provide much power. Power is really where the weakness is for this offense. They are loaded with high obp guys and then Mateo Nunez, Rafael Avila and Bernard Charleston will swipe quite a few bags. This team ranks in the upper half of the AL, but they don't have the look of a top offense.

Defensively, the Pilgrims are pretty solid. Leading the way is gold glove shortstop Miguel Garces, who is a complete player for the position. He's the kind of shortstop that can make a difference. The addition of Fautino Guerrero gives this team a backup option at short and a player that could make a deadly double play tandem with Garces. While this team isn't among the best in the league, they are still a top 5 defense mainly because of the shortstop.

Pitching is the strength of this team. The rotation has a few pretty good starters in Hipolito Owen, Moises Olmedo, and Dusty Lindsey. Each of them are really good top of the rotation type starters. The bullpen for this staff is even better. Hades Phillips is a great closer and will lock down the 9th. Gerry Redding and Nash Casanova are a couple of the best setup men in the league. This is a complete pitching staff and should be among the best in the AL this season.

Boston is a really good team and should challenge for this division crown again this season, if not run away with it. They have all the tools to win the AL title as well, but the addition of some power could really put them over the top. Even without that, I expect this team to win close to 100 games and make a post season run.

Player to watch- Vinny Hill- The reigning MVP in the AL has to be my pick for this. He is one of the best contact hitters in the league and has some good power as well. Add in the fact that he has a great eye and it's a wonder that he ever strikes out. I'll be watching to see if he matches last seasons numbers and takes aim at another MVP award.

Durham Doormats
owner- alogman1(18 seasons)
Season 27 record- 85-77
Payroll- $111.5

As this team gets older, the offense has started to regress. They aren't the offense that they were a few seasons ago, but this team still has a really good offense. Fred Inge is among the best in the league at getting on base. Eric Lindsey, Billy Haynes, and Bengie Trajano are all pretty good as well. This team has solid power in the lineup, but no real threat. They aren't a fast team either. They just rely on good hitting and the ballpark they play in will help provide some of the homeruns that are needed. Durham has an above average offense that should rank in the upper half of the league.

Defense is a weakness for the Doormats. They are weak up the middle and lack a real shortstop. Defense is going to be a killer for them and could keep them from making a real run at the post season. Tsubasa Mori is a really good option for centerfield, but he'll likely play shortstop. His glove holds him back from being good for that position. Nobody else really stands out to me.

The pitching for Durham is pretty good. Roberto Lopez is a really good pitcher, but his lack of stamina limits what he can do. The same can be said for Orlano Cruz. If those 2 were tandem starters together, then they could shut down opposing offenses. Rick Owens was a really nice free agent addition and should help out the rotation. Victor Maranon, Joe Grace and Enrique Lopez are really good middle rotation starters. In the bullpen, Javy Mendoza and Ruben Molina are good pitchers, but they don't have much else. This is a pretty good pitching staff altogether and should rank in the upper half of the league.

Durham is a pretty good team and should finish better than last season. The defense holds them back though and could kill their chances at doing so. I see them winning anywhere from 80 to 90 wins this season. They could make a push for a wild card, but I don't see them over taking Boston at the top of the division.

Player to watch- Roberto Lopez- I really like Lopez. I hate that his stamina is so low or he could be one of the better pitchers in the league. He still gives the team 120 quality innings though.

Rochester Retards
owner- wylie715(7 seasons)
Season 27 record- 81-81
Payroll- $80.7

This team was pretty good offensively last season. I think they'll take a step back this season though. Wilt Bichette is a good hitter, as is Russell Powell. The team really lacks power though. Brian Lowrie is the top homerun threat, but he isn't a very good hitter. The declining skills of Houston Baptist pretty much sum up why this team will fall off from last season.

I'm not impressed by the defense either. They lack a real shortstop and Tomas Ozuna is the best option for second base or centerfield. His glove and arm accuracy just aren't good enough for shortstop. Dan Johnson is a good centerfielder, but ideally he'd be the second baseman and Ozuna the centerfielder. This defense just looks like they will finish in the bottom half this season.

I may sound like I'm picking on the team now, but I'm not really a fan of the pitching either. None of the starters are better than middle rotation types. The one pitcher I do like is the young reliever, Jed Carter. He is pretty good and stands out on this staff. Esteban Mesa is solid as well, but I prefer Carter as the better of the two. Overall though, this staff isn't very good.

It's hard to imagine that a couple of seasons ago this team won 98 games and took the division title. I think that last seasons 81 victories is going to be tough for them to reach this season. My guess is that they win around 65 games.

Player to watch- Kazuhiro Kuroda- He may actually be the best player on this team. Kuroda has decent power and a great eye. He has a career .420 obp and walked 129 times last season. In my mind, he's the ideal 2 hitter on any team and possibly a leadoff hitter.

Indianapolis Valhalla Varauders
owner- qtip32(15 seasons)
Season 27 record- 57-105
Payroll- $51.0

This offense doesn't look very good to me. Brian Hume and Eddie Tomlin are the standouts, but they likely wouldn't stand out on most teams. The team lacks good contact, power and eye. They do have a lot of speed though. Youngster Patrick Green will make his ML debut after being a rule V draftee and should steal a lot of bases. Ossie Clemens is another burner on the bases. Both of them will need to get on base in order to use their speed and I'm not sure they'll do that enough to make a difference. This offense could very well finish near the bottom of the league this season.

This team is pretty good defensively. Travis Fiore played third last season and makes a really good thirdbaseman. I'd rather see him at shortstop or second base though. His arm accuracy hurts him a bit at short though. Looking through the team, they have good gloves at almost all positions, but they lack a real shortstop. That is the only thing that holds them back from being in the top few defensive teams in the league.

The pitching on this team is below average. The rotation is just really bad. With that said, the bullpen is pretty solid. Tyler White, JJ Brinkley and JR McDonald are above average relievers. Hector Mesa is a tandem starter and I add him to this bullpen due to that. He's a pretty good pitcher as well. I think the bullpen will likely be over used this season and that will hurt them in the long run. I expect this team to finish near the bottom of the league this season.

This is clearly a rebuilding team. They aren't ready to compete for a playoff spot and will continue on the path this season. I think the speed and defense keep this team out of the bottom of the league and they'll finish with around 60 wins.

I have Boston taking this division pretty easily this season. They are a team that could even take the AL title. They are the only team in this division that really looks like they could do that. Durham isn't a bad team, but I don't think they can take on a team as good as Boston. They'll likely challenge for and possibly take a wild card spot. Rochester looks like they'll continue to fall off this season and it might be time for them to think about a rebuild. That is exactly what Indianapolis is doing and will continue to do this season.

1. Boston
2. Durham
3. Rochester
4. Indianapolis

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