Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NL East- Season 29 preview

For just the 4th time in franchise history, Cincinnati won their division last season. That ended their 4 season playoff absence. Their 89-73 record was the worst among division winners and pitted them against a very strong Colorado Springs team. That meant an early exit for them in a 3-1 series. Philadelphia finished 2nd and well out of the playoff picture to end a 2 season playoff run for them. Wichita moved up the division ladder into 3rd, but finished with a worse record than the previous season. Jacksonville finished last and missed the post season in consecutive years for only the 2nd time in franchise history.

Cincinnati Firestorm
owner- jbburner(28 seasons)
Season 29 record- 89-73(NL East Champ)
Last 5 seasons- 404-406

Cincinnati has a below average offense. The could use some more power. The batting average for this team should be decent enough and they have some solid batting eyes to get on base. They also have a little bit of speed that will help them out. The lack of power is a killer though and especially in a park built for power hitters. The defense is pretty good and would be better if gold glove caliber shortstop Walt Phillips was a regular. This team will rank in the upper half of the league defensively. The rotation is below average and really lacks a star. Control issues will be a problem for the rotation and the bullpen this season. I doubt they can be even average this season. I'm having a hard time predicting this team to finish above .500 again. They have too many weaknesses and the only chance they have of repeating as division champs is if the rest of the division didn't improve.

Owner perspective- There is not much optimism here in Cincy. I think last year was a fluke and this year will be back to the same old sub .500 team. I did miss the early seasons stuff, but no excuses. This team will be lucky to get to .500. I think I have an average pitching staff and hitters. Will have to make moves if the Firestorm want to compete this year!

Philadelphia Moneymakers
owner- Phillies26
Season 29 record- 74-88
Last 5 seasons- 384-426

The offense in Philly does not provide much power, but they do have some really good hitters. This team also is really fast and will steal a lot of bases. I think the offense in Philadelphia is going to be really good this season and should finish in the top 5 of runs scored. The defense is looking really good also. When SS Alex Lyons is in the field, this could be one of the best defenses in the NL. The starting rotation is a weakness though. They lack an ace and have a rotation loaded with below average pitchers. The bullpen is pretty solid though and could pick them up a bit. Overall the pitching just isn't very good. This team has the offense and defense to make a serious run in the NL, but the pitching staff needs too much work. They have enough to win this division, but until the pitching staff is fixed, I'm not sure they do much more. If they don't win the division then they likely won't make the playoffs.

Owner perspective- I think my hitting and fielding will be alright. I'm still concerned about my pitching. I don't know if my starting pitching will be able to carry us. I think my bullpen is pretty strong if my setup men can hold the lead. We're still young at the setup position.

Wichita D'wArf'y Mojados
owner- jibe(5 seasons)
Season 29 record- 57-105
Last 5 seasons- 321-489

Simply put, this offense stinks. They have 1 good hitter on the team. They lack much power, and the hitting is well below average. The one thing they have is speed. That will help them some.The AAA team is better than the ML team by a lot. When those guys come up, it will be a different story in Wichita.  The defense is below average, but not by much. I think the young talent in the minors could upgrade the team here also. They do have a really good shortstop though. The rotation isn't terrible, but they are below average. They lack any top end starters. The bullpen looks the same. They have some solid bullpen arms in the minors, but I'm just not sure when the plan to bring them up is. This teams AAA team is better than the major league squad. I'm not sure when they'll make their debuts, but my guess is that it'll be soon. If not this season then for sure next season. Whenever that happens, the Mojados will become much more competitive.

Owner perspective- Things  can only get better here. After 25 games, expect to see SS/3B Bartolo Ortiz, and SP's Alejandro Andujar and Javier Beltran come up. I'm hoping for good season out of SP Rondell Collins and 3B/OF Gorkys Gonzales and much improved SS play from Rafael Santana. OF Pete O'Keefe should also help the O. Eddie Plant and Dwayne Malone should continue to progress as SP. Though Wilfredo Navarre provided surprise punch last season, that's the good news. The bad is I have less than average D in CF which will hurt my pitchers. My bullpen has to be among the worst in Pine Tar if not the worst. Overall we will be better. I will say expect between 65 and 70 wins. This team is one to look out for for many season ahead and the playoff drought should soon be ended. Pine Tar is my favorite HBD world at this point.

Jacksonville Juice
owner- greygoose123(28 seasons)
Season 29 record- 53-109
Last 5 seasons- 393-417

Jacksonville is one team in this division with some solid power. Unfortunately they lack good hitting. They have some good speed on the team and a few players that can get on base. This offense is really pretty average this season. The defense doesn't look very good. I always look at CF and SS first to judge a defense and this team lacks both. I see too many errors in this teams future. The rotation is decent, but they are led by a couple young and improving starters that will be around for a long time. The bullpen doesn't look very good though and could really hurt this team. Jacksonville is in a rebuilding phase and will likely continue to finish at the bottom of the division again this season.

I think it's going to be really tough for Cincinnati to take this division again. I just don't think they have the talent to compete for a division title. I really don't see them getting into the post season at all. Philadelphia is the favorite to take this division. They lack good pitching, but have championship hitting and fielding. They are a top pitching staff away from being really good. Wichita will continue to improve and will bring along a few young guys this season from the minors that should help. I see them getting better over the next few seasons, but they'll finish out of the playoffs for now. Jacksonville is expected to continue to rebuild this season and finish near the bottom if not at it.

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

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