Thursday, January 8, 2015

S30 NL South Preview

Louisville, led by owner arfy, won the NL South by one game to secure their 3rd division title in four seasons.  The ARF ARF ARF ARF's edged out owner erichanville's Texas squad, who has now made the playoffs in two of the past three seasons.  Both teams were upset in their opening playoff series and will be hoping to make a deeper run.  Jackson missed the playoffs on a tie-breaker and might be ready to contend after a 6-season playoff drought.  Owner bobbyj7 has won 6 NL South division titles and 2 World Series championships with the Juggernauts.  Houston finished in 4th place and missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, after winning the division for four consecutive seasons.  Owner bagwellbuff has a large amount of money invested in scouting and could be preparing for the future.

Houston Roughnecks (bagwellbuff - 9th season)
Payroll: 17.4M
Draft Pick: #5

Season 29 Record: 68-94 (4th place)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
597 (16th in NL)4.08 (10th in NL).984 (9th in NL)

Season 30: Grading the Roughnecks
Hitting: DStarters: DInfield: B-
Power: DRelievers: COutfield: B
Speed: D
Catching: B

-Cut plenty of payroll in the off-season. 
-Offensive Threats: 1B Howie Jay (.275 BA, 26 HR, 92 RBI), C Angel Marin (.289 BA), RF Napoleon Charles (62 RBI).  Rookie CF Tony Tatis has some serious speed.  Offense will struggle again this season.
-Should be a decent fielding team.  Have a handful of young SS/3B-type players.  Napoleon Charles won a gold glove in RF last season.
-Starting rotation should struggle with the exception of Albert Olivo (2.77 ERA).  Khiry Clark is a solid, young set-up guy and Lou Riley (40 saves) has made two consecutive all-star appearances as the closer.

Jackson Juggernauts (bobbyj7 - 18th season)
Payroll: 34M
Draft Pick: #23

Season 29 Record: 85-77 (3rd place)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
680 (12th in NL)3.85 (6th in NL).978 (16th in NL)

Season 30: Grading the Juggernauts
Hitting: C+Starters: BInfield: B-
Power: DRelievers: BOutfield: A-
Speed: B+
Catching: A

-Offensive Threats: 1B Vic Romero (.394 OBP, 27 HR, 77 RBI), RF Pat Rocker (.360 OBP, 24 HR, 80 RBI), CF Cliff Gray (.274 BA, 51 RBI, 59 SB).  Have multiple speed threats, but lacking power.
-Great catching duo.  Could use a better glove at SS...otherwise, this is a very good fielding team.  Not sure how they finished 16th in fielding last season.
-Return all-star SP Ralph Young (12-1, 1.79 ERA) and signed Danys Telemaco (10-7, 3.86 ERA) in the off-season.  Closer D.T. Cromer (40/57 saves) could help the bullpen by improving on his save percentage.

Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's (arfy - 15th season)
Payroll: 108M
Draft Pick: #31

Season 29 Record: 95-67 (1st place - lost in DCS)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
760 (3rd in NL)3.68 (5th in NL).983 (12th in NL)

Season 30: Grading the ARF ARF ARF ARF's
Hitting: A-Starters: B+Infield: B-
Power: C+Relievers: AOutfield: B
Speed: C
Catching: B-

-Offensive Threats: MVP-finalist Russell Powell (.327 BA, 40 HR, 128 RBI), free-agent signings Brendan Latham (.401 OBP, 76 RBI, 23 SB) and Kazuhiro Kuroda (.395 OBP, 19 HR, 63 RBI).  Should have one of the best OBP's in the NL.
-CF Ben Tate has won two consecutive gold gloves.  Eduardo Ortiz was a much needed acquisition at SS.  Fielding will be better than last season.
-Three solid starters in Geronimo Estrada (15-8, 3.41 ERA), Clay Vernon (13-8, 3.59 ERA), and Felipe Ramos (13-7, 3.14 ERA).  Could use a south-paw in the rotation.  Cy-Young runner-up Melvin Bere (44 saves) and Darren Banks (acquired by trade) lead a loaded bullpen.

Texas GalvestonWave (erichanville - 6th season)
Payroll: 113.3M
Draft Pick: #48

Season 29 Record: 94-68 (2nd place - lost in DPIS)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
731 (4th in NL)3.65 (4th in NL).985 (5th in NL)

Season 30: Grading the GalvestonWave
Hitting: A-Starters: BInfield: B
Power: BRelievers: AOutfield: C-
Speed: C
Catching: A-

-Offensive Threats: 1B Dicky Stanley (48 HR, 131 RBI), RF Alan Wilson (.392 OBP, 28 HR, 103 RBI), free-agent signing Yusmeiro Veras (.272 BA, 56 RBI, 24 SB).  Great offensive depth...will have multiple contributors.
-Sammy Goya is an outstanding defensive catcher.  Not sure who will play CF, but P.T. Rosa struggled last season.
-All-star SP Ariel Mateo (12-10, 3.98 ERA) joins Texas from division-rival Louisville.  Aging veterans Al Manto (16-7) and Timo Pan (11-10) should have another good year left in them.  Another loaded bullpen with multiple pitchers who had an ERA under 3.00 last season, including Jesus Amezaga (1.67 ERA, 21 saves) and all-star Davey Diaz (2.04 ERA, 11 saves).

Quite a rivalry has developed in the NL South between Louisville and Texas.  This season should be no exception as the ARF ARF ARF ARF's and GalvestonWave are two very strong and very similar teams.  I view Louisville as having a slight edge in starting rotation and Texas with the edge in offensive line-up from spots 1 through 8.  I am going to pick Louisville to repeat because "too close to call" goes to the defending champ (hopefully they hired a psychological coach to help handle playoff pressure), but Texas should be a playoff-lock and could make a deep post-season run.  Jackson is also an above-average team who almost snuck into the playoffs last season.  I like the Juggernauts' pitching and defense, but don't think they improved the offense enough to compete with the NL South's top dawgs.  Houston is openly rebuilding and have a variety of rookies, waiver claims, and rule-5 picks on their roster.  The Roughnecks should struggle, but will be hoping to add a few strong prospects to their organization along the way.

1.  Louisville
2.  Texas
3.  Jackson
4.  Houston

Owner's Press Release:

Erichanville (Texas)Let me start out with saying Lauren will not win the NL South. lol Now let's talk about my team. My season will depend on how my OLD starting pitching performs with Manto and Mateo. If they can muster the magic they had in their prime and my bottom half of the rotation with Magnuson, Pineda, and Spiezio can hold up with maybe Glen Brooks as the number six starter we should look really good. The bullpen is still pretty solid. Even Amezaga at 40 years old as my closer still has some juice left in that arm and I will be squeezing everything I can out of it! Offensively we look pretty good with the new addition of Veras and backup Unamuno. Also the addition of Salmon at SS with an okay glove but more offense then the previous SS's. Defensively I would say we look average and we do have some speedsters to get a few extra bases. I would like to think we can win in the 90's range but again it will really depend on the starters. Or maybe I have been drinking too much and have too high expectations on this team!!!

Bagwellbuff (Houston): We are in total rebuild mode with a very young and green team. I do have two potential all-stars in 1b Howie Jay and our closer, Lou Riley. Otherwise, we don't have much experience.  Of course, we hope economizing pays off in about 3 seasons. Our goal is to be competitive, avoid losing over 100, make good use of the number 5 pick in the amateur draft, and make at least one big impact international signing.

Arfy (Louisville)We feel really good about this season. We think it might be one of our best teams yet in Louisville.  We added a couple vets who are going to get on base quite a bit(Kuroda, Ortiz and Latham). We also added veteran pitcher Darren Banks, who we plan to use as a relief pitcher. We like our chances in Louisville.

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