Friday, July 11, 2014

NL East Season 28 previews

Philadelphia Moneymakers
owner- Phillies26(27 seasons)
Season 27 record- 81-81(NL East Champs)
Payroll- $97.9

The Moneymaker offense is looking pretty good this season. Fausto Gandarilla is a player that will get on base a lot. Rickey Masterson is a good hitter with decent pop and a little speed. Jo-jo Frandsen was a great off season pickup that can hit for power, average and he has some speed and a good eye to go with it. He's one of the better hitters in the league. This team doesn't have a great offense, but they are above average. They lack power, but they can hit and they have some speed.

The Philadelphia defense looks really good this season. Alex Lyons is a great shortstop. Kevin Jenkins lacks great range, but he won't make errors in centerfield. R.J. Melendez is a really good thirdbaseman. The team lacks a good second baseman, but they are average or above at most other positions on the field. This team should be one of the better defensive teams in the NL this season.

Pitching is a weakness. The rotation does not look very good to me. They are a group of average or below average pitchers. The bullpen is a bit better though. Willis Phillips is a pretty solid closer. Yannick Truby is a solid young reliever that should continue to get better. Overall this pitching staff is not very good. The defense will help them, but I think they are near the bottom of the league.

Philadelphia has the offense and defense to take this division again. The pitching staff is not very good though and will likely hold them back from that. I could see them finishing with 81 wins again this season.

Player to watch- Jo-jo Frandsen- At 28 years old, Frandsen has already won 4 silver slugger awards and been to 2 all star games. He's also been in the MVP running a few times. His mix of power and speed make him a dynamic player. I could see him matching or even besting his last season numbers. For the first time in his career, he is not going to be hitting in a pitchers park for his home games. That alone could increase his numbers.

Cincinnati Firestorm
owner- jbburner(27 Seasons)
Season 27 record- 78-84
Payroll- $94.1

The offense for this team is below average. They lack good hitting, they have little speed, and not a lot of power. Alexander Williamson and Rafael Unamuno are the 2 hitters that stand out on this squad. Pedro Martinez has good power, but he's not a great hitter. He's coming off of a great season that he'll struggle to follow up. This team is not very good offensively, but they play in a hitters park. That means they'll likely finish near the middle of the pack.

On defense, Cincinnati is below average as well. Walt Phillips has great range at shortstop and has a pretty good glove as well. Eugenio Frieri is a really good third baseman and won't make many errors. The rest of the defense is not very good though. They lack a good centerfielder and they don't have depth at short. This team will likely finish in the bottom half of the league defensively.

I'm not very impressed with the pitching staff either. Lee Coveleski and Boone Holmes are the only 2 starters that I like on this team. I just think they are better suited for the middle rotation rather than the top. In the bullpen Andres Jacquez, Sammy Verdugo and Manuel Rodriguez are each pretty solid. None are top relievers though and the rest of the bullpen isn't very good. While Cincinnati has some decent pitchers, none are very much above average and the depth beyond them isn't very good.

Cincinnati sure looks like a team that won't be challenging for a playoff spot this season. They have some good players, but no real standouts. Behind those players isn't much talent. I think Cincinnati will struggle to match last seasons record and will likely finish with around 70 wins.

Player to watch- Boone Holmes- I'm picking Holmes because he's only 23 years old and could continue to improve. He has good control and is a groundball pitcher. That should really help him out in Cincinnati. I don't think he's an ace, but I think he would make a really good #3 starter.

Jacksonville Juice
owner- greygoose123(27 Seasons)
Season 27 record- 71-91
Payroll- $62.4

The Juice offense is not looking very good this season. Mack Dawkins should hit well. He has good power and speed, but his contact isn't very good. Hipolito Arredondo is the best hitter on this team. He has good power, hits for average and can get on base with the walk. Sammy Ramirez is a high contact hitter with speed and a great eye. He'll get on base plenty enough for Jacksonville. Outside of these guys there really isn't much offense. The team is looking below average this season.

The defense is not very good. Cookie Zapata is the best option at shortstop, but they use him as a backup. Nobody else on the team is even a decent option at the position. As with most teams that lack a shortstop, players end up getting put at positions they aren't skilled for. The defense could actually be above average if Zapata was the full time shorstop.

The pitching staff isn't very good this season. Ray Henry and Terry Kane are both solid mid to back rotation starters, but they are the best two on this staff. Mike Clinton is a really good reliever, but the bullpen doesn't have a good arm besides him. This pitching staff is a mess this season. I think they'll finish near the bottom of the league.

Jacksonville sure looks like a team that is rebuilding. This is a franchise with a long history of winning, but I just don't think they are going to this season, and maybe not for a few seasons. They have never had back to back losing seasons but this will be a first for them. I think they'll struggle to win 70 games.

Player to watch- Mack Dawkins- He may be the most exciting player on this team. He may strike out a lot, but I love his mix of power and speed. Las season was a breakout seasons for him and I think he'll continue to put up similar numbers. He has a realistic shot at becoming a 30/30 man.

Wichita DwArf'y Mojados
owner- jibe(5 Seasons)
Season 27 record- 62-100
Payroll- $11.8

This team still has some work to do offensively. They are an improving team, but they have a bit to go still. Gorkys Gonzales is an excellent young hitter that should improve quite a bit over last seasons debut. Rule V draftee, Alving Torrealba should be a nice addition to the lineup. Jorge Santana has good speed, but I doubt he'll reach base enough to really be effective. This offense right now is ranked at the bottom of the league, but they have a few prospects that are really close to changing that.

It's pretty bad that the AAA team is better than the ML team in fielding. My guess is that they plan to move those guys up after game 20. When and if they do, then this team will have a solid group on the field. Right now though, Larry Rolen is the best fielder. He has the range and arm for shortstop, but his glove isn't very good. They really don't have much else. Right now this team has the worst defense in the league. That likely won't last long though.

The pitching staff in Wichita isn't very good and doesn't look like there is much help on the way. I really am not a big fan of any of the pitching staff. They have a couple of relievers at AAA that could help, but I don't think that is enough. This pitching staff is likely the worst in the NL.

Wichita is obviously a rebuilding team, but they have some pieces that are real close to helping out. The offense and defense could see a big upgrade soon in the form of some prospects making their way to the majors. I'm not sure those players will be enough to make up for the pitching woes. This is a weak division this season though, and those additions could help them make a run at the division title. The way things stand right now they would be lucky to win 60 games this season.

Player to watch- Pete O'Keefe- Down at AA, O'Keefe would add a nice spark to the offense at the ML level. He has solid contact, good splits, and a good eye. On top of that, he's fast. I could see him hitting a .270, with a .330 obp and stealing around 60 bases. That is my kind of player and I'm not sure the Mojados even plan on bringing him up. If they do though, I'll be keeping an eye on him.

This division is not very strong this season. I wouldn't be surprised to see any team take the division title. Philadelphia is the reigning division champ and they are still solid. The pitching is a big weakness though. I don't really think Cincinnati will be a contender in the title race this season. They have too many holes. The same can be said of Jacksonville. Wichita is hard to get a read on. Even if they do make some promotions, it's going to be hard for them to do anything with the pitching staff they have.

1. Philadelphia
2. Wichita
3. Cincinnati
4. Jacksonville

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