Sunday, January 4, 2015

S30 NL West Preview

A few notes about the previews...
-I tried a new format using grades.  I looked predominantly at attributes, and then in some cases previous season stats.  I had a general rubric for each area, but there are many variables that contribute to player (and team's) performance...hence, the pluses and minuses.
-The overall category grade is not an average of the sub-categories.  For example, in fielding, I valued infield as the most important.
-The grades are my opinion, based on my whooping 9 seasons of HBD experience.  FYI...pitching is the most difficult area for me to judge...sometimes a pitcher will have poor attributes in my opinion, but then I look at their stats and they are impressive.
-Thanks to everybody who sent me info about their team.  I hope that you enjoy the previews.  Doing these definitely helps me learn about how to build a better team.

S30 NL West Preview

The NL West went from qualifying three teams for the playoffs in Season 28 to having three teams finish below .500 in Season 29.  Commish ghutton9 led Seattle to their second straight NL West title by winning 102 games.  The Strikers earned the #1 seed, but were upset in the DCS for the second consecutive year.  Colorado Springs, the Season 27 World Series champs, finished second in the division.  It was only the second time in 8 years that owner toe64 missed making the playoffs.  Oklahoma City and owner brentcnb finished in third place, after ending a 17-year playoff drought in Season 28.  Owner csudak and Albuquerque ended the season in 4th place for the second straight year.  The Komodo Dragons had two rookie-of-the-year finalists and are hoping that this season is more successful.

Albuquerque Komodo Dragons (csudak - 11th season)
Payroll: 73.1M
Draft Pick: #11

Season 29 Record: 75-87 (4th place)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
824 (2nd in NL)4.68 (16th in NL).979 (15th in NL)

Season 30: Grading the Komodo Dragons
Hitting: B+Starters: C-Infield: B
Power: ARelievers: COutfield: D
Speed: B
Catching: B-

-Offensive Threats: 1B Bert Heiserman (.362 OBP, 33 HR, 84 RBI), Rookie-of-the-Year Neal Hartzell (.286 BA, 37 HR, 121 RBI), CF Vicente Palmiero (31 HR, 102 RBI). Almost every player in the line-up is a threat to hit the long-ball.
-Catchers have great arms but poor pitch-call ratings.  Outfield lacks range.
-Made an effort to improve worst-ranked pitching staff by signing SP Magglio Figureoa and RP Ricardo Johnson in free-agency.  Ignacio Torres and Rey Prior might have decent seasons as starters.  All-star Tommy Callaway (40 saves) returns as the closer.

Colorado Springs Night Watchmen (toe64 - 30th season)
Payroll: 93.2M
Draft Pick: #18

Season 29 Record: 78-84 (2nd place)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
694 (8th in NL)4.16 (13th in NL).981 (14th in NL)

Season 30: Grading the Night Watchmen
Hitting: C+Starters: CInfield: C
Power: C-Relievers: B-Outfield: C-
Speed: F
Catching: F

-Offensive Threats: Season 27 MVP Keith Williamson (.249 BA, 49 HR, 130 RBI), RF Pedro Reyes (.373 OBP, 30 HR, 74 RBI). Several players were below their offensive career averages during Season 29 and could rebound this year.
-Currently have no catchers on the roster.  Look to be missing a true shortstop as Victor Ramsey committed 36 errors last season.
-All-star Louie Dorsey and workhorse Mo Lee lead an average group of starting pitchers.  Alberto Blasco should be strong out of the bullpen.

Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs (brentcnb - 18th season)
Payroll: 87.5M
Draft Pick: #15

Season 29 Record: 76-86 (3rd place)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
691 (10th in NL)3.98 (7th in NL).984 (7th in NL)

Season 30: Grading the Prairie Dogs
Hitting: C+Starters: CInfield: B-
Power: CRelievers: BOutfield: B-
Speed: B
Catching: B

-Offensive Threats: Season 29 MVP-finalists Jin-Chi Yamamoto (.358 OBP, 46 HR, 132 RBI, 33 SB) and Carlos Zorrilla (.386 OBP, 30 HR, 120 RBI, 25 SB).
-Phil Gonzalez won a gold glove in LF.  Signed two decent catchers in free-agency.  SS and CF are low on range.
-Have a bunch of groundball pitchers that gave up a low amount of homeruns last season.  Starters don't have impressive attributes.  Willie Barrios is a good young southpaw and Oswaldo Guillen has had two consecutive strong seasons. 

Seattle Strikers (ghutton9 - 24th season)
Payroll: 96M
Draft Pick: #44

Season 29 Record: 102-60 (1st place - lost in DCS)
S29 Runs ScoredS29 Team ERAS29 Fielding Percentage
709 (7th in NL)2.87 (1st in NL).986 (3rd in NL)

Season 30: Grading the Strikers
Hitting: B+Starters: AInfield: B
Power: C-Relievers: AOutfield: B
Speed: B+
Catching: B-

-Offensive Threats: MVP-finalist Raymond Petrov (.360 OBP, 89 RBI), LF Eric Miller (.370 OBP, 30 HR), CF Sean King (.271 BA, 63 RBI, 35 SB).
-Free-Agent signings of 3B Benito Sanchez and C Salvador Gallardo should help the offense and defense.
-Ozzie Inouoe will be playing his first full season at SS.  1B Melky Arredondo and LF Eric Miller had a combined 37 minus plays last season.  Great fielding depth from backups.
-All-star SP's John McNamara, Tim Daubach, and Clyde Meusel combined for a 51-18 record last season.  RP Geraldo Molina was a quality free-agent signing who adds to the strong bullpen consisting of Brendan Taylor and Juan Sierra (52 saves).

Seattle is the clear favorite to win the NL West for the third consecutive season, as they have outstanding pitching along with solid offense and fielding.  The Strikers should be able to win 100 games once again and make a deep playoff run.  I expect Albuquerque and Oklahoma City to battle for second place, with the winner possibly grabbing a wild-card berth.  Oklahoma City has better balance between the three phases of the game, but I believe that Albuquerque will overpower them with their strong offense.  After making a few offseason moves, the Komodo Dragon pitching staff should be respectable enough to secure the second-place finish.  Colorado Springs are still missing a few key pieces to their ballclub.  I predict a fourth place finish for the Night Watchmen, but wouldn't be surprised if hall-of-fame owner toe64 puts those pieces together successfully.

1.  Seattle
2.  Albuquerque
3.  Oklahoma City
4.  Colorado Springs

Owner's Press Release:

Csudak (Albuquerque)My thoughts on the upcoming season: -Big year for the Dragons, couple of key offensive building blocks are starting to age (Heiserman, Holmes, Sanders). With a couple of young guys coming into their own (Hartzell and Pizzaro) if the pitching is there, could make some noise. My gut says maybe a WC spot, but it will depend on the pitching as usual. - Made a big push for Randall in free agency, but came up about a million short. Got a couple of quality arms in Chacin and Johnson and traded for Figueroa. Had the money to spend this year, and only on the hook for about 7 mil for those 3 next year, so hoping they can get us to the playoffs. - I'm really exited to see Hartzell develop. Has the chance to be a great offensive player. Curious to see if Mendez and Cousins can hit at the ML level. If so, they combined with Hartzell and Pizzaro could keep that offense afloat for the next 5-6 years. - All comes down to Prior and Paul becoming top of the rotation pitchers. If they do, this team can compete, although it doesn't help being in a division with 3 top level coaches.

Ghutton9 (Seattle)I think if my team will ever be in position to make a run at a championship then it will be this season. The pitching staff is the best I've ever had and the lineup is pretty stacked too. I Actually have too many starting caliber position players and 3 starters that are ace material.

Toe64 (Colorado Springs)After last year's disappointing season I don't expect much. Got a late start managing this season due to some other commitments so I have not been able to make any needed changes.

Brentcnb (Oklahoma City)In the division OKC is in the team can be a little better and still not finish any higher than it did the season before. The Prairie Dogs should have enough speed to be a threat on the bases, but you can't steal 1st base, and the team is middle of road offensively. The pitching should be about average. If the team can improve defensively OKC might have a chance finishing 2nd. Otherwise a bottom of the pack finish might be in the offing.

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