The North was a really competitive division last season. They had 3 teams with winning records and first place was decided by just 2 games. The franchise in Scranton won their first division title since season 20 and then went on to win the NL championship. They did all of that after finishing in last place the previous five seasons. Even with the division producing 3 really good teams, Scranton was the only one to make the post season.
Scranton Red Barons
Owner- reggie988(6 seasons)
Season 28 record- 92-70(NL North Champs, NL Champs)
Last 5 seasons- 377-433
Offensively, Scranton features one of the most powerful lineups in the NL. Mix that with some really good hitting and the ability to draw a walk, and this may end up being the top offense in the league. The defense looks solid, but they aren't any better than average. One weakness this team has is the starting rotation. They have just 3 starters that I think are good, but only 1 of them is great. The bullpen more than makes up for that weakness though. Scranton has a very deep bullpen that will bail out the starters and preserve victories. Scranton is looking poised to make another run at an NL championship and that means they should finish at the top of this division again.
Owners perspective: I feel pretty good about my team going into the season. Last season's run to the WS was a surprise, as I though I was another year out from real contention, but most of my pieces are now in place. The rotation is strong, and I still have a couple of good young guys in the minors who will soon be banging on the door. Same with a couple of position players. My only concerns are that my bullpen depth isn't quite where I'd like it, and my defense up the middle is average at best.
Fargo Wood Chippers
Owner- Starbuckdc(28 seasons)
Season 28 record- 90-72
Last 5 seasons- 440-370
The franchise in Fargo features a good offense. They have good power, but the overall hitting abilities hold them back some, and really did last season. They have a few good on base guys, but the overall hitting eyes on the team are a bit low. The defense is just average, but they do have some depth. Shortstop is a cause for concern, but they have a defensive replacement that is really good. When he's in the game the defense becomes really good. The rotation is this teams strength. They have 3 really good starters and a couple of solid back end of the rotation pitchers. The bullpen is a bit below average though. This team should make a run for the division title, but I don't think they are going to overtake Scranton. I could see them winning close to 90 games again and that could get them into the playoffs.
Season 28 record- 85-77
Last 5 seasons- 431-379
Toronto's offense is loaded with power. That is pretty much it though. The overall hitting and batting eyes on this team are below average. This team is going to be about average offensively this season. Defense is a real strength for this club. They have 3 potential shortstops and could put out a lineup that is loaded with defensive specialist. They could have the best defense in the league. The rotation is really weak for Toronto. Even the good starters have low stamina. The bullpen is looking pretty good though and could make a difference. I think Toronto will be a good team this season and could even push for 90 wins. I don't think they can take the division from Scranton though. I wouldn't be surprised to find them in the post season.
Owner perspective: I'm not going to quote sg on this one because he went really in depth, so I'll give sg's overall perspective. Overall Outlook: With a new owner usually comes sweeping changes, but in this case a good nucleus was left behind. Some work went into tweaking the roster with JA Stanley and Alex Suzuki both testing the FA market, but once both of those players were back in the fold the overall picture began to unfold. Lots of work put into solidifying an already decent pitching staff. Hoping to contend for the division.
Iowa City Hawkeyes
Owner- tk21775(13 seasons)
Season 28 record- 62-100
Last 5 seasons- 431-379
This may be no surprise for most of you, but this team is rebuilding. In case you missed the many league chat messages, tk21775 is a seller. The offense still has a few good pieces you could possibly get for a really good prospect. Overall though, it's a bad offense. If you take away those couple of players then it's going to get really tough for this team. Defensively this is a really good team though. They have some really good defensive player and if all of them are in the lineup then there won't be many balls dropping in. I'd say they are among the NL's best. The rotation is solid. If anything will keep this team competitive it'll be the defense and rotation. The bullpen is solid as well. Believe it or not, I can see this team putting together a 70+ win seasons. While they aren't good, I've seen much worse and this team has solid pitching and great defense which will make it tough for teams to score.
Owner perspective: Looking forward to the preview, Iowa City rebuilding this season, thought we did fairly well restocking our pitching depth in the minors but looking to add a few prospects through the draft and int'l this season and next.
I think it's going to be tough for any of the teams in this division to knock off the reigning NL champs. Scranton should win the division again and could even win the NL again. They are going to be really tough this season. Fargo is a good team and should find a way into the post season. Toronto is maybe a notch below Fargo, but if things go right, they could end up making a push at the top of the division. I just don't see them taking the division though, but they could also find a way into the post season. Iowa City is clearly rebuilding, but they aren't a bad team.
4. Iowa City