Tuesday, January 6, 2015

S30 NL East Preview

Wichita and owner jibe ended an 18-year playoff drought by winning the NL East title.  The Mojados made a surprising run to the NLCS, where they lost to the eventual World Series champions.  The remainder of the division had disappointing seasons.  Philadelphia finished in 2nd place with only 75 wins.  Owner phillies26 has a high payroll, which could keep the Moneymakers in contention this season.  Jacksonville has now missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, which has never happened in owner greygoose123's 29 seasons at the helm.  One figures that the Juice won't be down for long.  Cincinnati went from first to worst, and is hoping that owner jbburner can get the Firestorm back on track.

Cincinnati Firestorm (jbburner - 30th season)
Payroll: 88.7M
Draft Pick: #1

Season 29 Record: 61-101 (4th place)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
609 (15th in NL)4.34 (13th in NL).985 (6th in NL)

Season 30: Grading the Firestorm
Hitting: B-Starters: CInfield: A
Power: C-Relievers: COutfield: B+
Speed: D
Catching: B

-Offensive Threats: LF Rafael Unamuno (.284 BA, 33 HR, 99 RBI), 1B Pedro Martinez (.264 BA, 28 HR, 74 RBI), 2B Elroy Epstein (.274 BA, 45 RBI, 13 SB).  Offense is low on power and speed.
-Strong defensive team.  Walt Phillips (26 plus plays) is one of the best defensive shortstops in the league.  He won a gold glove last season, along with 2B Elroy Epstein.
-Have a bunch of average starters in my opinion.  S28 rookie-of-the-year Boone Holmes (11-14, 3.70 ERA) is the closest to an ace.  Rule 5 top-pick Miguel Siqueiros will be making his debut this season.  Bullpen looks like they under-performed last year and have the potential to improve.

Jacksonville Juice (greygoose123 - 30th season)
Payroll: 66.8M
Draft Pick: #3

Season 29 Record: 68-94 (3rd place)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
640 (13th in NL)4.46 (15th in NL).981 (13th in NL)

Season 30: Grading the Juice
Hitting: BStarters: C-Infield: B-
Power: C-Relievers: BOutfield: C-
Speed: D
Catching: A

-Offensive Threats: late-season acquisition 1B Bo Long (.383 OBP, 29 HR, 94 RBI), free-agent signing C Shouhei Uehara (.281 BA, 44 RBI), 2B Marcell Escobar (.276 BA, 44 RBI, 23 SB).  Hitting should be improved, but still lack power and speed.
-Two solid catchers in Andy Ludwick and Uehara.  Lack a good glove at SS and range at LF/RF.
-24-year-old Ray Henry (10-12, 3.96 ERA) is probably the top starter.  Signed all-star Howard Tartabull (15-6, 2.88 ERA), who is coming off a career year.  Lack depth in the rotation.  Have a few quality set-up men in Victor Waner and Carlton Redmond.  Will benefit if free-agent signee Carlos Flores returns to his Season 27 form (50 saves).

Philadelphia Moneymakers (phillies26 - 30th season)
Payroll: 103.4M
Draft Pick: #12

Season 29 Record: 75-87 (2nd place)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
727 (5th in NL)4.45 (14th in NL).986 (2nd in NL)

Season 30: Grading the Moneymakers
Hitting: B+Starters: DInfield: B+
Power: DRelievers: COutfield: C
Speed: B+
Catching: C

-Offensive Threats: 1B Jo-Jo Frandsen (.354 OBP, 24 HR, 70 RBI, 33 SB), 2B King Ashburn (.274 BA, 23 HR, 57 RBI, 44 SB), C Gaylord Morgan (.309 BA, 63 RBI).  Offense would be rated better if Rickey Masterson was not in AAA.
-Alex Lyons (145 starts, 8 errors, 17 plus plays) had an outstanding season at SS.  Only flaw of infield is having a left-handed 2B.
-The starting staff needed an off-season improvement, which it did not get.  Kiko Hanrahan (8-6, 3.90 ERA) and Walt Gomes (10-13, 4.25 ERA) are the only starters that will be able to "hold their own".  RP Yannick Truby (#5 pick in S25 draft) has had a rough start to his MLB career...he sure has great splits.

Wichita DwArf'y Mojados (jibe - 7th season)
Payroll: 12.3M
Draft Pick: #25

Season 29 Record: 86-76 (1st place - lost in NLCS)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
694 (9th in NL)3.51 (3rd in NL).983 (11th in NL)

Season 30: Grading the DwArf'y Mojados
Hitting: C+Starters: A-Infield: B
Power: C-Relievers: DOutfield: C-
Speed: B+
Catching: C-

-Offensive Threats: 2B Gorkys Gonzales (.261 BA, 30 HR, 101 RBI), SS Bartolo Ortiz (.275 BA, 23 HR, 92 RBI, 31 SB), RF Pete O'Keefe (.272 BA, 48 RBI, 59 SB).  Offense will receive a jolt when owner jibe calls up Eli Duran (see press release below).
-A lot of infielders are on the roster.  It will be interesting to see how the defensive lineup is set.
-Strong starting rotation consists of 21-game winner and Cy-Young finalist Eddie Plant, along with three additional pitchers who had an ERA under 3.00.  I don't see much in the bullpen besides a few long-relievers and second-year set-up man Rafael Tatis (14 saves, 3.86 ERA).

The four members of the NL East are pretty similar in talent, and I can see them all hovering around the .500 mark.  I'm going to give the edge to Wichita because the Mojados have an outstanding starting rotation, will be calling up some big-time prospects after 25 games, and they are the defending division champs.  Jacksonville had an active off-season and can only improve upon their 68-wins.  The Juice might be a great starting pitcher away from winning the division.  I predict that Cincinnati will finish in third place.  The Firestorm are one of the best fielding teams in the league and I expect their pitching to be slightly better than last season.  Philadelphia has good hitting and a decent infield, but I believe that their starting rotation will drop them to the cellar.  

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

Owner's Press Release:

Jibe (Wichita)The long drought of no PO's finally ended with Wichita winning the division last season. In the early going of this season I expect to be a struggle here. We are going to be a bit shorthanded in players as we are going to be making some major call-ups after 25 games. We need to play this strategy to avoid having almost the entire team hit arb's and FA at once. At that point we will call-up AAA MVP Alex Cerda and prospect sensation Eli Duran along with slugger Humberto Ortiz and former #1 pick Jeimer Parra . Junior Martin and R.J. Vazquez will then fill out the roster. The only off season moves was promoting some minor league P's who had bid their time in place of a few stiffs in the Pen. That mentioned Pen will likely once again be this teams major weakness. We also do not have a true CF to play or in the entire organization. At least a number of other Pine Tar clubs share the same fate based on the Coaches chat. Starting pitching will be our strength and we believe it can go toe to toe with anyone in this world. It is led by last seasons Cy Young runner-up Eddie Plant followed by Rondell Collins, Javier Beltran, Alejandro Andujar and finally Dewayne Malone. These guys are young and good. As for my line-up it will be led by Bartolo Ortiz and Gorkys Gonzalez with support coming from singles hitting extordinare Pete O'Keefe. Alving Torrealba should also be a key contributor. But we are waiting to bring those kids up. Due to what I expect to be a tough start to the season I am sceptical about our repeating this season. Season 31 is when I expect us to be really good. I would be surprised if we match last seasons division title or win total. I'm guessing somewhere between 80 and 85 W's. Our top goal for the season is to make life miserable for those dastardly ARF ARF ARF ARF's out of Louisville. Anything else is icing on the cake.

Jbburner (Cincinnati)Not much has changed in Cincinnati. We are hoping to improve from last years horrendous season but have not made any moves that might change that. The pitching should be ok and I think Rule 5 pickup Miguel Siqueiros should help the rotation.  Pretty much the same position players so all in all, I think it will be good if we can get 70 wins this season.

Greygoose123 (Jacksonville)I'm pretty much looking at a 500 season. I signed quite a few pitchers because my pitching was so poor. And I'm hoping most will stick for the next few seasons. Because I have a bunch of really good hitting prospects coming up.  I'm expecting next season or the season after I will be playoff team hopefully competing for a title. This season I am expecting big contributions from some young players: Marcell EscobarTomas LopezRay Henry.

Phillies26 (Philadelphia)Not expecting anything big. Team is in the rebuilding stage. Have to start to build the team completely over.

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