Thursday, April 16, 2015

NL South Season 31 preview

NL South

Season 30 Standings
Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's 96-66
Texas GalvestonWave 83-79
Houston Roughnecks 70-92
Jackson Juggernauts 63-99

Louisville took the South for the third straight season and 4 out of the last 5 now. Once again though, they came up short in the post season. Their 96 wins were a franchise record. They also reached the post season for the 8th time in the past 12 seasons. Texas fell short in their quest for a post season berth. It was the 8th time in 11 seasons that they failed to make the playoffs. They have had 4 consecutive winning seasons. Third place Houston missed the playoffs for the fifth time in a row. That is the longest drought for the franchise since seasons 1 through 5. Jackson missed the post season for the seventh straight time.

Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's
owner-Arfy(16th season)
Last 5 seasons- 454-356
Payroll- $87.9

The ARF's were one of the best offensive teams in the NL last season. They had speed, power and the ability to get on base and score runs. Russell Powell, and Brendan Latham are the top batters in the lineup when it comes to getting on base. Art Niemann and Rafael Hernandez aren't guys that will hit a lot, but they have some good power. Ben Tate can hit and steal a base, but the guy rarely takes a walk. In the off season they added a high obp guy in Sammy Ramirez that should make the offense even better. The offense should be just as good or maybe even better than last season.

The Louisville defense was above average last season. The loss of Eduardo Ortiz is a blow to the defense, but the promotion of Eduardo Tabata will make up for that a bit. Hank Herndon is the shortstop on this team and he's got an average glove with decent range and a good arm. Tabata is a reserve that can play anywhere and be solid. Ben Tate is the centerfielder and he's got an average glove with good range. Brendan Latham is the second baseman and he's got decent range and a solid glove. The team even has a little depth which is why they likely finished above average last season. This is a close to average defense.

Louisville had a slightly below average pitching staff last season. Most of their off season moves were directed at pitching. None of those were impact players though and the trade of Geronimo Estrada is going to hurt. Clay Vernon and Felipe Ramos at the top of the rotation are a good 1 and 2 but neither is an ace. The rest of the rotation is below average though. In the bullpen Darren Banks is really good. Adding Tyreace Green through trade will help the bullpen out. Javy Amaro and Jared Witt are average arms. The bullpen is solid but not enough to make up for the rotation. This will be a below average pitching staff.

Texas Galveston Wave
owner-erichanville(7th season)
Last 5 seasons-422-388
Payroll- $100.8

Texas was a slightly above average offense last season. They traded for Bubbles Conger, and only lost PT Rosa. That should be a solid improvement for them. Alan Wilson is the guy that sets the tone for this offense. He's a great on base guy that should continue to bat a .300 plus while getting on base at a .400 clip. Dick Stanley will strike out a lot, but he makes up for it with his great power. He's another guy that can get on base a lot. Conger will add some power to the lineup as well. Alfonso Salinas is a guy that can get on base and when he does, he's a threat to steal. The offense really has some nice pieces to it, but I think they are just above average.

The Galveston Wave defense was just about average last season. Stephen Salmon is the shortstop and he's got a good glove and arm, but lacks good range. Don Hughes will also play the position, but he's just average. Jake Ashley is a really good third baseman. This team really is lacking a centerfielder and second baseman. They have a few gloves that can play those spots, but they are mostly just backup players. This defense is below average.

The pitching for Texas was just above average last season. They added Al Manto and Kiko Hanrahan through free agency, but they are both back end of the rotation starters. As a matter of fact, most of their rotation is filled with mid to back end guys. They don't really have any bad starters though. In the bullpen is Mike Clinton leading the way. He's good, but not great and this team really lacks anybody else that can help out. The pitching staff should end up in the bottom half of the league.

Houston Roughnecks
owner-bagwellbuff(10th season)
Last 5 seasons- 368-442
Payroll- $18.9

Houston had a below average offense last season. They were below average in a lot of categories, but they were pretty good at stealing a base with 161 steals and only 52 times being caught. They traded for Gorkys Gonzales and he should add some good pop and the ability to get on base. They got a steal in the Rule 5 draft with the addition of Donne Benard. The promotion of Francisco Cervantes adds a dynamic offensive threat that can hit, get on base by walk, and knock the ball out of the park. Other promotion of Andres Rivera, and Louis Fitzgerald will also help this lineup and signals a youth movement that is going to make this offense pretty good. I think they are above average and could end up better than that.

This team had one of the best defenses in the NL last season. They also had really good range. Sam Bryant has a great glove and arm at shortstop, but his range is just slightly above average. Vic Bennett is a really good backup to have. Fitzgerald has gold glove abilities in centerfield. The same could be said for Nigel Martin in rightfield. The team really lacks a second baseman with good range and a solid glove. That is the only thing holding them back from the designation of best defense in the NL. They should be a top 5 defense though.

Houston finished in the bottom half of the league in pitching. The promoted Stewart Hall, who is a mid to back end of the rotation starter. Timo Lee was added in free agency, but he has control issues. Albert Olivo is a legit top of the rotation starter. His stamina is a bit of an issue, but he's so good that the stamina shouldn't hold him back. The rotation altogether is solid. The bullpen looks good. The have Rodrigo Andujar, and Khiry Clark and both of them are good at getting batters out. The rest of the bullpen is just average though. This staff looks about average to me.

Jackson Juggernauts
owner-bobbyj7(19th season)
Last 5 seasons- 363-447
Payroll- $39.8

The Juggernauts offense was anything but that last season. They finished near the bottom of the league in scoring runs. They were around league average in hitting though and led the league in steals. They did finish last in homers though. Looking at the lineup, the only impact hitter they have is Vic Romero. I like Rule 5 addition Jose Arencibia, who can hit for power and hits left handers especially well. The promotion of Rick Backe adds a solid young hitter. Cliff Gray can really hit the ball, but he needs to get on base more. He is a real steal threat though. This team still has an offense that will finish in the bottom half of the league.

Jackson was below average in fielding, but they did have some good range. Chuck Hissey has really good range and arm for shortstop, but he's only about average with the glove. Josh Kirkland could be a gold glove second baseman if he played full time. Tony Franco is the second baseman and he's a former gold glover himself. Cliff Gray won a gold glove in centerfield mostly due to his amazing range. His glove is below average. This team only has average gloves in the field, but the range that they possess allows them to get to balls most teams won't. That's why I think they are above average.

Jackson was one of the better pitching teams last season and part of that is a credit to the defense. The rotation isn't very good. Joakim Alvarez is the best starter they have and he has control issues. The rest of the rotation is back end starters at best. The bullpen is pretty solid though. DT Cromer is really good coming on in relief. Earl Magill and Vin Baker are solid. Greg Webster and Shane Perez are average relievers. This team has a below average pitching staff and the only thing saving them is the bullpen.

Louisville is the returning champ, but they've announced they are willing to trade players for prospects. The offense looks really good, the defense is OK, but the pitching staff really hurts them. At this point they look like a team that should win about 85 games, but due to their willingness to move players, I'm not placing them that high. The Texas offense is solid but the rest of the team is not. I know they are off to a good start on the season, but there is a long way to go and I just can't see them keeping it up. Houston is a much improved team. The offense looks good and the defense is really good. The pitching could go either way. Right now though I think they are going to be tough this season and should make a post season appearance with a division title. Jackson just doesn't have the team to compete this season. They look like a 70 win team to me.

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

NL West Season 31 Preview

NL West

Season 30 Standings
Seattle Strikers 102-60
Albuquerque Komodo Dragons 91-71
Colorado Springs Night Watchmen 70-92
Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs 67-95

The Strikers took this division for the third straight season with 100 wins or more in all three. They were unable to win in the post season in any of them. The Komodo Dragons finished in second to make the playoffs for the first time since season 27 and just the second time in the past 13 seasons. They didn't just stop there. Albuquerque went on to win the NL title and then lost 4 games to 2 against a dominant Salem team in the World Series. Colorado Springs finished in third which was their lowest finish since season 19 and they missed the post season for the second time in a row. Oklahoma City finished in last and missed the playoffs for the second straight season. They've only made the playoffs once in the past 20 seasons.

Seattle Strikers
owner-ghutton9(25 seasons)
Last 5 seasons- 443-367
Payroll- $108.9

The Striker offense was pretty average last season. They didn't hit very well, but they did get on base and scored runs just above league average. They were a team that relied heavy on speed. The addition of Gus Justice adds some much needed power and he's a guy that can get on base and steal as well. Buddy Berry was acquired in a trade and he'll add a little power and ability to get on base. They traded Raymond Petrov, who had a down season but he was still a good contributor to the offense. Eric Miller and Salvador Gallarado added with Justice should make for a really good middle of the order. Sean King and Benito Sanchez are decent hitters that will be relied upon at the top. This offense is improved and should finish among the top 5 or so teams.

Seattle was above average with the gloves last season. Ozzie Inouoe is an above average shortstop and Louis Luna makes for a solid backup. Sean King is a great glove in centerfield. Graham Richard has great range and an average glove at second base. So why wasn't this team a top defensive team? It was because they needed to find a position for the great hitter Eric Miller who is a DH at best. He'll play left field to keep his chances down, but he hurts this team. I think this is a really good defense with a glaring weakness.

The pitching was great last season. I believe they set the record for best team ERA in a season at 3.06, if not then they were close. The pitching staff is largely the same except for the loss of closer Juan Sierra. He was replaced by the signing of Tom Leonard, but Leonard is not quite on the level of Sierra. The rotation is one of the best in the NL with Tim Daubach and Benny Villano leading the way. Both are aces and Daubach has won the past 2 Cy Young awards in the NL. John McNamara is the mid rotation starter but he's got the ability to be an ace. This is a really good rotation. The bullpen is anchored by Brendan Taylor, who is one of the best relievers in the league. Geraldo Molina is good as well as Louis Post and Tom Leonard. The bullpen is pretty good. Overall this is one of the better pitching staffs in the NL.

Albuquerque Komodo Dragons
owner-csudak(12th season)
Last 5 seasons- 404-406
Payroll- $83.1

It's not really surprising that this team won the NL title last season as they had the best offense in the league by quite a bit. With 954 runs scored they led second place by 103 runs. Their 268 homers also led the NL. This is a powerful team that can also get on base. Leading the way is Neal Hartzell. He can hit and he hits it a long way. Harry Pizzaro, is another great bat in the middle of this order. Bert Heiserman, and Vicente Palmeiro aren't great hitters, but when they make contact, they can hit it a long way. It's should be another high scoring season for the Komodo Dragons. They have one of the better lineups in the NL.

The fielding here was below average last season. Albert DeLeon has the glove to play shortstop, but not the range. He's only a backup for them, but he's their best option at the position. Neal Hartzell isn't bad, but he's below average at shortstop. Ernesto Menez plays mostly third, but he's their best second base or centerfield option. This team is surely not built for defense. I think this team due to a lack of depth and a real shortstop is one of the worst teams in the NL with the gloves.

The pitching staff was one of the worst in the NL last season. That was most of the off season focus for them. The additions of Patrick Wilson, Sammy Johnson and Lou Montgomery are solid, but each has flaws and aren't guys you want anchoring your rotation. The best starter they have is Rey Prior, and he's good, but not really an ace. I also like Ed Paul, but he struggles against right handers and that's not good for a starter. The rotation is just below average. The bullpen features Tommy Callaway and Ricardo Johnson who are both just above average. This pitching staff is below average, but I don't think they are as bad as they were last season. The biggest problem with the staff is control. Add a shaky defense behind them and then the pitching numbers aren't going to look good.

Colorado Springs Night Watchmen
owner-Fantasy Frea(1st season, 10th season overall)
Last 5 seasons-443-367
Payroll- $70.2

The Colorado Springs offense was below average last season. They didn't really change much in the off season. The lineup is built around a really big time power hitter in Keith Williamson, but they don't have much else around him. Pedro Reyes is solid. Eddie Tomlin was added in the off season, but he's just average. This teams offense is going to struggle this season. They could end up as one of the worst in the NL.

The defense was above average last season, but they lacked range. They have some good gloves on the team again, but they still don't have good range. Benny Guerrero is the only true shortstop they have but he's a backup. Kennie McCracken is playing shortstop and he has the glove for it, but his arm accuracy is terrible. Shane Pose is a really good centerfielder. Omar Chavez is good anywhere in the outfield. This defense has the potential to be above average, but the shortstop position holds them back. Right now they are below average.

Colorado Springs finished near the bottom of the league in pitching. The rotation looks below average. Mo Lee, Louie Dorsey and Jack Brown are the teams top starters, but they are better suited as mid to back end starters. The bullpen isn't much better. The addition of Pat Chen gives them a solid reliever, but the rest of the staff is average or worse. This pitching staff will finish near the bottom of the league again this season.

Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs
owner-brentcnb(19th season)
Last 5 seasons- 383-427
Payroll- $85.8

The OKC offense finished near the bottom of the league last season. There wasn't much they did well. The addition of PT Rosa gives them a proven average bat and the rule 5 selection of Brian Tamura could be a nice addition to the bench. The lineup is built around Jin-Chi Yamamoto. He's a great hitter that can hit a lot of home runs. Carlos Zorilla and Phil Gonzales are a couple really good hitters to compliment him. The lineup drops off quite a bit after that. They lack good contact and batting eyes. This defense isn't one of the worst in the league but they are below average.

The Prairie Dogs were just above average of defense last season. They did lead the league in plus plays and had the fewest minus plays. Pete O'Brien is the shortstop but his glove is below average. He has plenty of range and arm though. Jose Lopez is a really good second baseman with good range. Overall, the defense has some really good gloves at other positions and looks to step up near the top of the league this season. If they had a better glove at shortstop then this team would be one of the best.

The pitching staff was in the upper half of the league last season. Not much has changed for them. Erik Zaun should be the ace of this staff but they have chosen to use him in the bullpen. Milt Leary is another good pitcher that could be a starter but is used out of the bullpen. With those two in the bullpen there isn't much left for the rotation. The pitchers that will be starting are below average. Obviously with Zaun and Leary in the bullpen, that is the staffs strength. That makes Oklahoma City a below average pitching staff.

I'm a little biased of course, but it looks to me like Seattle is the most well rounded team. It's going to be really tough to knock them off of the top. If Seattle can't make it deep into the post season now then they never will. Albuquerque will have a great offense, but the defense and pitching really set this team back. I'm not sure the offense can carry them to the division title but they'll make a run at another post season berth. Colorado Springs looks about ready for a full rebuild. The team just isn't ready to compete this season. They have some good pieces that could be traded for quality prospects. Oklahoma City isn't a bad team, but they have too many holes to make a run at the post season. The pitching staff confuses me and the offense isn't very good.

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

Monday, April 13, 2015

AL West Season 31 Preview

AL West

Season 30 Standings
Salem Volcanoes 124-38
Vancouver Canucks 95-67
Fresno Grizzlies 85-77
St Louis Arch Angels 79-83

Salem won this division for the third straight time last season and also won an amazing 124 games. In each of those seasons they've won 100+ games and made it to the ALCS with 2 World championships. They have been dominant lately and will likely be a force again this season. Vancouver finished in second and won 95 games, which is the most for them since season 9. They made the post season for the seventh time in nine seasons. With 2 AL titles in the past 5 seasons, a World chapionship is the only thing they haven't accomplished. Fresno made it back to the post season after missing it for just one season. That gives them 3 out of 4 seasons with a berth. They have not won the division since season 16, but have not had a losing season since season 24. St Louis finished in last place and missed the post season for back to back seasons. That's the first time that's happened to them since season 16. One thing to notice about this division is that over the past 5 seasons combined, no team has a losing record. The AL West has been the dominant division in the AL.

Salem Volcanoes
owner-jkenned(9th season)
Last 5 seasons- 491-319
Payroll- $73.6

Of course, Salem had the most dominant offense in the AL last season. They led in runs scored, average, obp, home runs and finished second in steals. Not only were they good, but they were well rounded. The losses of Wolf Dodd, John Satou, and David Guerrero will hurt them some. The promotion of Brian Woolf will add some power but his hitting won't compare to any of those three. MVP Ruby Prieto is the man that makes this lineup go. He is a great player that will continue to put up MVP type numbers. Harry Gibson would be the top hitter on many teams, but he's second fiddle here. Hipolito Arrendo is another guy that makes the middle of this order just downright scary. Salem might not be as good as last season, but they still look like the best offense in the AL.

Salem finished second in fielding last season. Lefty Twitchell is a dynamite shortstop and should challenge for a gold glove. Harry Rosario is the backup and is just as good. The lack players with good range to play centerfield and second base. That is the only thing that keeps them from being the top defensive team in the league. Even though they aren't the best, they still are top 5.

As you'd imagine from a team with 124 wins, they also had the best pitching in the AL. They really do have a great pitching staff. They traded for Aurelio Ozuna and that is just going to make them even tougher. The rotation features Lonny Gonzalez, Gerald Foster and Rymer Tavarez. All three are top to middle rotation starters and Ozuna is as well. The bullpen features a couple of the better relievers in the league in Dennis Coleman and Lou Lomasney. Glen Dunston and Mike Franklin are pretty good as well. This is the best pitching staff in the league, if not both leagues.

Vancouver Canucks
owner-skplayer07(14th season)
Last 5 seasons- 439-371
Payroll- $105.7

The Canucks offense was well below average last season. The addition of Rafael Unamuno in free agency should help them. The loss of Mac Braden nearly offsets that, but he's only a part time player and Unamuno should get more at bats. An offense that features Houston Graves at the top and Bo Long as another guy that can get on base shouldn't finish in the bottom half of the league. Willie Tarasco is an MVP caliber player that powers the middle of the order. There is plenty of power on this team and guys that can get on base. I think they are above average and should bounce back from a down year.

The defense for this team was above average last season. Mix that with leading the league in plus plays and the defense is an asset. Nolan Bourne has an average glove at shortstop but his range and arm make up for that. Christy Hayes is a nice backup to have. Luis Sojo is in centerfield, but his range isn't ideal. The addition of catcher Melky Torres is a boost behind the plate with one of the better defensive catchers in the league. Overall though, this team is likely to step back a bit defensively. I think they don't have the depth and the starters just aren't great. They look below average.

Pitching seems to be the name of the game in this division. The Canucks finished second to Salem in the AL last season in ERA and WHIP. They led the league in complete games and shutouts. Cy Young winner Rock Randall is coming off of an amazing season that will be tough to match. Yoshinori Zhou matches up with Randall to give this team a great top of the rotation. Alberto Rivas and Sammy Salinas are two really good mid rotation starters. This is one of the better rotations in the AL. The bullpen features Vance Pettyjohn, and Apollo Fletcher. The other pitchers are below average out of the pen. The bullpen is the weakness on the pitching staff, but if the starters pitch to their potential then the bullpen won't be needed much. This is a top 5 staff this season.

Fresno Grizzlies
owner-dlmose(3rd season)
Last 5 seasons-441-369
Payroll- $93.6

The Fresno lineup was just below average last season. They hit well, but didn't hit for power and didn't get enough runs home to be considered any higher. They didn't change much in the off season and look much the same. Benny Navarro leads the offense with his great hitting ability although he has lost much of his speed. Felipe Osoria is a great young hitter that is going to be great. Besides them the lineup isn't very strong and looks below average.

The Fresno defense was among the worst in the AL last season. Joel Reid is the shorstop and he's average. Ismael Baerga is the third baseman and he's really good in that role. This team really lack a player with the range to play centerfield and secondbase. That is why I think they are below average.

Fresno was well above average in pitching last season. The rotation features Wilt Sizemore, who can eat up innings, but he's more of a mid rotation guy. Besides him, the rotation does not look good. The bullpen is another story though. Diego Benitez, Juan Ramirez, and Mitchell Hayes are all really good relievers. The rest of the bullpen is pretty average, but those three make it a good bullpen. Overall, I don't think this is a good pitching staff. I think they are average at best, but the rotation makes me lean toward below average.

St Louis Arch Angels
owner-Flucie(17th season)
Last 5 seasons- 428-382
Payroll- $74.2

St Louis was a very average offense last season. The only move they made to improve was the promotion of Wallace Duffy and he should hit. The strength of the lineup is Willie Oropesa and Valerio Martinez. They are great all around hitters that can hit for power. Calvin Pecina can flat out hit. After those guys, this lineup drops off quick and they lack depth. That makes them an average offense with the potential to be more.

This team also was an average defensive team. Cecil Pratt is the shortstop, but he's lost the range to play the position like he once did. Enny Tejera is a good glove for centerfield, but his range is below average. Skeeter Mottola will play a really good third base. That is really all this team has though. The depth isn't there and other positions feature below average players. This defense is below average and won't likely do as well as last season.

St Louis was above average in pitching last season. I'm not sure how. The rotation looks really rough. They have a patchwork rotation of back end starters at best. The bullpen is slightly better with Phil Linton anchoring it, but they are mostly average pitchers. This pitching staff doesn't look very good to me and my guess is they finish much lower this season.

I don't think I can seriously say that Salem has a challenger this season. Salem is the most well rounded and their strengths are great and weaknesses few. I wouldn't be surprised to see them win another World Series title this season. Vancouver is a really good team that would win a few other divisions in Pine Tar, but not this one. I think it'll be a closer race than last season, but that's only because I doubt Salem can put together another season like that. Fresno is an average team and should win around 80 games this season, but I don't think they'll find a way into the post season again. St Louis is below average, but they have some really nice offensive pieces. It may be time for a full rebuild and they could use those pieces for some good prospects.

1. Salem
2. Vancouver
3. Fresno
4. St Louis

Friday, April 10, 2015

NL North Season 31 Preview

Scranton and owner reggie988 dominated the NL North, winning 102 games and securing their third straight division title.  The Red Barons fell one game short of making a return trip to the World Series, as they lost to Albuquerque in game 7 of the NLCS.  Iowa City and Fargo tied for second place, but finished 29 games behind first place Scranton.  Hawkeyes’ owner tk21775 traded away some offensive stars for prospects and ended the season with 12 fewer wins than in Season 29.  Fargo moved to Minnesota, where first-year owner ranscott64 hopes to get the Huskies’ franchise on the right track after two years of rebuilding.  Helena finished in fourth place and is openly rebuilding, as owner pinetaar dealt a bunch of high-priced talent during the offseason.

Helena Copper Kings (pinetaar - 5th season)
Payroll: 39.8M
Draft Pick: #5

Season 30 Record: 67-95 (4th place)
S30 Runs Scored
S30 Team ERA
S30 Fielding Percentage
705 (8th in NL)
5.04 (16th in NL)
.980 (14th in NL)

Offense:  Expect the Helena offense to go from average to one of the worst in the league with the losses of Benito Rodriguez, J.A. Stanley, and Alex Suzuki.  Bengie Romano (.267 BA, 53 RBI, 27 SB) has a nice blend of contact and speed, and Ian Langston (.286 BA, 22 HR, 58 RBI) should drive in some runs.  However, the Copper Kings need much more to be competitive.  Keep an eye on the following AAA players, who could contribute if they get promoted: Vin Volquez, Matthew Rivera, and Mike Lawson.

Pitching: The Copper Kings should again see themselves near the bottom of the league in pitching, after finishing dead last in Season 30.  The starting rotation will struggle, led by veteran Miguel Rivera (3.96 ERA, 1.24 WHIP), who might be better suited for the bullpen with his stamina.  The bullpen has a couple of promising youngsters in Rigo Jimenez (3.87 ERA, 20 saves) and Luigi Duran (3.69 ERA), but could use a few more solid arms in order to preserve leads.

Fielding: Helena’s middle-infield is decent as Bengie Romano is one of the best 2B in the league.  Jerry Greenwood will hold his own at SS, although his arm strength could be a deficiency.  The Copper Kings lack a true CF and have an average catcher in Delino Fuentes (31% CS).  I predict that they will rank below average, but not bottom of the league like last season.

Iowa City Hawkeyes (tk21775 - 16th season)
Payroll: 48.0M
Draft Pick: #14

Season 30 Record: 73-89 (tied 2nd place)
S30 Runs Scored
S30 Team ERA
S30 Fielding Percentage
529 (16th in NL)
3.39 (2nd in NL)
.989 (1st in NL)

Offense: Iowa City looks to improve upon a ranking of dead last in runs scored during the previous season.  The Hawkeyes return Alexei Marrero (.380 OBP, 27 HR, 72 RBI) and Max Barrios (.298 BA, 20 HR, 84 RBI), who should be their top offensive threats.  They also acquired contact-hitter Elroy Epstein (Cincinnati) and power-hitter Eugene Harvey (Scranton) in the off-season.  Iowa City should have an improved offense, but still slightly below average in my opinion.

Pitching: Iowa City has definitely played to their ballpark, as pitching was once again a major strength last season.  The rotation should be above average with 4 dependable starters, including Sean Shipley (2.98 ERA, 129 career wins).  The bullpen currently consists of zero players with major league experience, so I’m not sure what tk21775 is planning.  Look for AAA relief prospect Junior Martin to be a star when he gets called up to the bigs.  I expect the pitching to drop to average, due to the bullpen.

Fielding: The Hawkeyes led the NL in fielding percentage last year, and should be near the top again this season.  Cam House (21 plus plays) finally got recognition for being one of the best shortstops in the league with his first gold glove award.  Iowa City returns its catching duo, who threw out 41% of base stealers last season.  I only see slight deficiencies in range at CF and 2B.  Overall, this should be a solid defensive team.

Minnesota Huskies (ranscott64 – 1st season)
Payroll: 62.2M
Draft Pick: #13

Season 30 Record: 73-89 (tied 2nd place)
S30 Runs Scored
S30 Team ERA
S30 Fielding Percentage
639 (13th in NL)
4.29 (11th in NL)
.978 (15th in NL)

Offense: The offense had a major decline last season, after the previous owner traded a number of stars in order to rebuild.  Minnesota’s offensive strength is speed, as they have multiple base-stealing threats including Octavio Espinosa and Geoff Weems.  The Huskies lack enough contact and power hitters to improve upon last season’s low ranking.  Junior Shigetoshi (.418 OBP, 65 RBI) is the exception, and should be the Huskie’s top offensive player.

Pitching: The Huskies pitching was below average last season, and could get worse with the trading of star pitcher Aurelio Ozuna.  As a group, the starters will struggle, as most are bottom-of-rotation guys.  Ben May (25 years-old, 13 wins) and Emil Martin (26 years-old, 3.86 ERA) are exciting young starters who will continue to receive the opportunity to showcase their skills.  The bullpen has a dependable closer in six-time all-star Rickie Metcalfe (37 saves), but I’m not sure that they have the setup guys to send the game to Metcalfe with the lead.  Overall, I predict that the Minnesota pitching staff will rank near the bottom of the NL.

Fielding: The Minnesota defense has the potential to improve upon their low Season 30 ranking, where they finished 15th in errors and last in plus plays.  Jhonny Castro is a good shortstop with great range, who will make some spectacular plays for the Huskies this season.  The catching will be solid, as the duo of Jonny Lincoln and Shigetoshi nailed 35% of steal attempts last year.  The big question will be who plays 2B and 3B?  If Lazy Barkley and Darren Hogan are in the lineup on a daily basis, then I believe that this defense will be average, if not better.

Scranton Red Barons (reggie988 - 9th season)
Payroll: 64.7M
Draft Pick: #31

Season 30 Record: 102-60 (1st place – Lost in NLCS)
S30 Runs Scored
S30 Team ERA
S30 Fielding Percentage
851 (2nd in NL)
3.49 (3rd in NL)
.987 (3rd in NL)

Offense: Scranton should again have one of the best offenses in the league, as they have a successful blend of hitting and power.  The Red Barons return season 30 MVP Eugenio Canseco (.321 BA, 38 HR, 124 RBI), all-star selections Jim Hawpe and F.P. Gentry, and ROY runner-up Luis Cruz (.282 BA, 23 HR, 90 RBI).  The speed is lacking, but that didn’t seem to hurt them last season.

Pitching: The Red Barons have a deep rotation, with three starters returning who had at least 15 wins last season.  Gustavo Santos (17-5, 2.49 ERA) has established himself as an effective ace, and finished second in Cy-Young voting.  The bullpen has a number of strong arms, and should be able to hold leads.  Veteran Alberto Blasco was signed in free-agency to go with Avasail Soto and Mitch Mota (28 saves, 2.34 ERA).  Expect Scranton’s pitching to rank near the top of the league again, where they finished 3rd a season ago.

Fielding: Scranton’s fielding should be above-average, but not at the top of the NL like last year.  The strength of this team is their outfield, which lets very few balls drop due to their outstanding range.  Gold glove winner Vladimir Toregas (30 plus plays) has also been great at 3B.  The weak spot for the Red Barons defense is the shortstop position.  They don’t have a true shortstop, and last season Jim Hawpe struggled with 23 errors and 11 minus plays.


If Las Vegas generated odds for HBD, then Scranton would be about a 1-10 favorite to win their fourth consecutive NL North title.  The Red Barons should win the division easily and be able to make a serious run at the pennant.  Scranton should enjoy their success now, as some of their young stars are about to become very expensive with arbitration.  The remaining three teams have been rebuilding and are not yet ready to contend.  I expect Iowa City to finish second in the division, and come close to a .500 record.  The Hawkeyes have great defense, respectable pitching, and an improved offense.  Minnesota and Helena are in a much deeper rebuild.  Not only will they be in a neck-and-neck race for last place in the NL North, but also for the #1 overall draft pick.  I believe that Minnesota will finish a few games ahead of Helena, due to slightly better fielding and pitching.

1.  Scranton
2.  Iowa City
3.  Minnesota
4.  Helena

Thursday, April 9, 2015

AL South Season 31 Previews

AL South

Season 30 Standings
Nashville Merchants 104-58
Florida Retirees 69-93
New Orleans Zephyrs 66-96
Tampa Bay Thunder 61-101

Nashville took the division last season after winning 100+ games for the seventh time in franchise history. It was a second straight division title, but once again they came up short in the post season. They are a rising team that should be tough again this season. Florida came in second and finished well out of the division race. With that they changed ownership and moved the team to El Paso and renamed the team to fit the city. New Orleans finished in 3rd and missed the playoffs for the second straight season since their last division title. With that, they also changed ownership and switched cities to Huntington. Their new team name has nothing to do with the city choice and I believe it has more to do with how the club plans on handling each loss this season. Tampa Bay finished in last place with the worst record in franchise history last season. Three straight last place finishes and sub 70 win seasons have never been experienced by this franchise before.

Nashville Merchants
owner-blapo21(5th season)
Last 5 seasons- 363-447
Payroll- $44.8

The Merchants had the second best offense in the AL last season. 2nd in runs scored, 2nd in average, obp and slugging. They didn't have much speed but they had plenty of pop. You'd think that the trade of Bubbles Conger would hurt the offense, but it just made room for the young prospects Angel De La Rosa and Abraham Logan. Adding those 2 to a lineup that includes the phenom Phil Yamamoto will only make this a much better offense. This team has power, contact and good eyes at the plate. Nashville will challenge to be the top offense in the AL this season.

Nashville had an average defense last season. They did have some really good range and finished 2nd in plus plays. They really lack an ideal shortstop. They have some solid gloves at other positions, but they are not strong up the middle. I expect them to be in the bottom half of the league this season.

This team had a pretty strong pitching staff last season and finished among the top teams in the league. The rotation isn't particularly strong, but the bullpen is. The team added Ernesto Ozuna and Derrick Jacquez through trades in the off season and Enerio Granados by free agency. They add them to Jose Goya, and Alex James. They are 2 of the better relief pitchers in the league. This bullpen will be tough this season and they have depth. Even a weaker rotation will be aided by these guys and the team should finish in the upper half of the AL.

El Paso Arfydillos
owner-buffalo_rob(1st season, 4th overall)
Last 5 seasons- 385-425
Payroll- $67.8

El Paso was among the worst offensive teams last season. There wasn't very much they did well on offense. They didn't do a thing in the off season to change that. Vic Ward is a good hitter and Masao Saitou can provide the long ball, but this lineup won't have much else going for it. I'd expect El Paso to finish near the bottom of the AL again this season.

The defense was right about average. If you add in their lack of range then they were really a below average squad. Nothing has changed here either. They lack a true shortstop although they do have a few solid gloves on the team. Just none of those players can play a decent shortstop. I'm not expecting much from this defense as they are below average.

The pitching was below average last season. They did make some moves in free agency to sign pitchers but most of them are roster filler type players. The rotation does not look very good and they lack a top end or even mid rotation type starter. The bullpen is solid with the additions of Marco Russell, Jesus Amezaga, and Alex Martis. Adding them in with Omar Colon and Willie Fisher will make for an average bullpen. Overall the pitching staff lacks starters and that will tax these relievers early and often. I expect them to finish near the bottom of the league in pitching.

Huntington Drunkin'BArfys
owner-nyaggie98(1st season)
Last 5 seasons-404-406
Payroll- $87.8

This was the worst hitting franchise in the AL last season. Strangely enough, they were above average when it came to scoring runs. My guess is that they scored runs thanks in part to the long ball. They were above average when it came to hitting home runs. The addition of Shouta Wang will add some pop this season. Howie Osborne and Peter Komatsu will hit some homers, but they lack the ability to hit the ball enough to take real advantage of their power. Sam Slotnick can still hit a bit but his age is catching up to him and his power numbers are going to keep dipping. This team has a below average offense and I'm not sure they'll be able to put up the runs again this season.

The defense for Huntington was slightly below average last season. They have an average shortstop in Diory Encarnacion, but nobody else on the roster that can play the position well. Mark Millwood played shortstop last season, but he's better suited for second base. Ed Darnell would also make a good second baseman and he can also play some centerfield. Overall this team really is just an average defense, but the depth isn't there and they could end up near the bottom of the league.

Last season this team had the worst ERA in the AL. The addition of Miguel Zumaya will help some. Everth Benitez is solid but he's more of a mid rotation starter. This team lacks top end talent in the rotation. The bullpen added Frank Murphy in the off season and they promoted Willie McDonald. The bullpen is looking about average. Overall, I think the pitching staff looks below average but better than last season.

Tampa Bay Thunder
owner-rxw1(31st season)
Last 5 seasons- 378-432
Payroll- $83.7

Tampa had an average offense last season. They were light on power though and that led to them being below average in runs scored. This off season the team added some power. Phil Shibata should be a nice addition to go with Ron Atkins and Junior Yang. I'd expect this team to hit for more power this season. They are still an average team at getting on base so the added power should make them an above average offense.

This team had one of the worst defenses in the AL last season. The team has Jesus Esposito, who is an average to slightly above average shortstop. Ideally, Junior Yang should be the thirdbaseman and Anthony Wiltse playing second. That would make for a pretty good infield which just leaves the problem of them missing a centerfielder. This is a team with little defensive depth and just not enough to bring them up. I think they'll finish near the bottom again this season.

The pitching for Tampa Bay was near the bottom last season as well. The rotation looks pretty weak to me. Vinny Chang and Bo Carter are solid mid rotation starters, but this team doesn't have much besides them. The bullpen is a bit better than the rotation, but not by a lot. This staff is going to struggle this season and will likely end up near the bottom again.

Nashville is the team to beat in this division and I doubt it'll be close. They have the offense to make a serious run at the AL title, but the rotation and defense will likely be their achilles heal. El Paso looks like a team in the middle of a rebuild and only finished second in the division last season because somebody had to. They are weak in too many areas to make a run at anything this season. Huntington is a close to average team, which is better than what they were last season. I think they'll improve this season, but I don't count on them being a threat. Tampa Bay has improved the offense, but the defense and pitching are going to really hurt them. They are a team that is clearly rebuilding and will likely finish close to where they were last season.

1. Nashville
2. Huntington
3. Tampa Bay
4. El Paso

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

AL East Season 31 Previews

AL East

Season 30 Standings
Boston Pilgrims 90-72
Durham Doormats 80-82
Indianapolis Valhalla Varauders 75-87
Rochester Retards 71-91

The Pilgrims ran away with this division last season and locked up a 4th straight championship. It was the teams 6th division title in 8 seasons and 7th playoff appearance in that span. The club dropped 16 wins from the previous season and that is a trend they don't want to continue. The Doormats missed the post season for the third time in 4 seasons and failed to have a winning season for the first time since season 18. Indianapolis has been extremely consistent over the past 3 season with 74, 73 and then 75 wins. For them, that isn't the type of consistent they'd like. The franchise has failed to make the post season in 10 straight seasons now. Rochester finished at the bottom of the division and missed the playoffs for the 4th consecutive season. They are hoping that with a name change to a more fan friendly ArfArfys, that they can build up some excitement at the ballpark this season to get the team pumped up to move up the standings.

Boston Pilgrims
owner-kjmulli(17th season)
Last 5 seasons- 498-312
Payroll- $103.1

The Pilgrims offense was below average last season at scoring runs, but above average at getting on base. With most of the lineup intact and not much added, they appear to be the same. Vinny Hill is the man that this lineup is centered around and he's one of the better hitters in the league. Matt Jaha is really good at getting on base and Boone Brow provides some good power. Overall this is a really average offense and won't be among the league leaders.

The Boston defense was the best in the AL last season with just 68 errors. They were also the best at catching opponents stealing with a 422 percentage. It all starts with gold glove shortstop Miguel Garces. Benito Miranda was a nice pickup that can back up shortstop and play great at any other position in the field. The catching platoon of Cesar Santos and Justin Carson make it a bad idea for anyone to try to steal a base against them. This is a great defensive team and will likely be the best in the AL again.

This pitching staff finished third in the AL in ERA last season. The addition of Shane Osik along side of Hipolito Owen and Moises Olemdo will make for a really good top of the rotation. The only reason I don't think they are great is due to stamina. All 3 of them will need the bullpen to be really good behind them. Lucky for them, Boston has a really good bullpen. Hades Phillips is one of the better relievers in the league and Gerry Redding is pretty good too. Nash Casanova is a guy that is good and can eat up innings in relief. Boston will once again finish near the top in the AL with this pitching staff.

Durham Doormats
owner-alogman1(22nd season)
Last 5 seasons- 434-376
Payroll- $115.8

Last season, Durham was one of the better offenses in the AL in scoring runs, getting on base and hitting for power. They also were a good contact team with the 3rd fewest strikeouts in the AL. The losses of Donnie Friend and Billy Haynes will be more than offset by the additions of Ralph Hatcher and Wolf Dodd. Both of those players will provide some good offense for an already stout lineup. This team will finish near the top in offense again this season and should provide better numbers.

The defense was below average last season and even worse the catchers had the worst caught stealing percentage in the AL which led to a lot of runners in scoring position. Cookie Zapata has the talent to be a really good starting shortstop, but he's a defensive reserve on a team that values offense more than the defense. Tsubasa Mori has great range and a really good arm, but his glove is below average for the position. Overall, this defense does not look close to average. I think they'll finish closer to the bottom of the AL this season.

The pitching in Durham is not helped by the ballpark and finished in the bottom half of the league last season. Pitchers Roberto Lopez, Orlando Cruz and Rick Owens are really good pitchers, but all three lack the stamina to get enough innings to make a big difference. Victor Maranon and Enrique Lopez are solid mid rotation starters. The bullpen is average at best. Overall, this is an average pitching staff that will have the numbers of a below average team due to the park.

Indianapolis Valhalla Varauders
owner-qtip32(7th season, 19th overall)
Last 5 seasons-338-472
Payroll- $50.5

Indianapolis was a very average offensive team last season. They finished close to the league average in most categories. With Roger Byrne and Stone Bennett in the middle of this lineup I expect more than that. This teams issue is what is around those 2 in the lineup. Besides a solid Jamie Abbott, the rest of the lineup is low contact and low eye type players that won't get on base enough to let Byrne and Bennett drive them home. This offense is a few pieces away from ending up in the upper half of the AL, but right now they are average at best.

This was not a very good defensive team in season 30. They finished in the bottom 3 of fielding percentage, but they were above average in plus plays and minus plays. Travis Fiore is a really good shorststop, but he was limited to 99 games last season. Flash Redman has a nice glove at second but lacks good range. Ossie Clemens has great range for centerfield, but he makes too many errors. This is still a below average defense, but when Fiore plays they are closer to average.

The pitching was just below average last season. The rotation is the weakness for this staff. They lack a top of the line starter and fill the rotation with mid to back end type pitchers. JA Burke is a really good reliever. Tyler White is coming off of a bad season for himself and should bounce back to his usual numbers. Overall the team has too many pitchers with control issues and they don't have a top of the rotation starter. This staff looks below average again this season.

Rochester ArfArfys
owner-wylie715(11th season)
Last 5 seasons- 392-418
Payroll- $83.7

This team was below average offensively last season. They just didn't score runs, but could get on base and steal. Blaine Moore is a great hitter and had a phenomenal season, but there wasn't much around him. The additions of Alex Suzuki and JA Stanley will help out the middle of this lineup. The team still lacks players with good batting eyes and contact. That is what will hurt them this season. The additions will make them better than last season, but they only look like an average offense.

Rochester fielded a below average group last season. That was with a close to average shorstop in Tomas Ozuna. This season they don't even have that. Alex Suzuki is listed as a shortstop, but he lacks the abilities. He'd make for a better thirdbaseman. Dan Johnson is a solid centerfielder, but outside of him this team looks bad on defense. I'd almost go as far as saying this might be the worst defense in the AL right now.

Rochester was just below average in pitching last season. They do have a good set of control guys on the staff. The rotation is staffed with mid rotation type pitchers. The bullpen looks worse than the rotation. I don't think they have a really good pitcher in the bullpen that can shut down an opponent rally. This pitching staff is not bad, but with the defense the way it is, this staff could finish near the bottom of the league.

Boston looks like the team with the fewest holes in this division. I think the other teams are going to find it tough to beat them out for the title this season. Boston has the pitching and defense to make a serious run at the AL championship. Durham has a really good offense that will keep them in most games, but the defense will hurt the pitching and the ballpark already does that enough. Durham might make a run at a wild card, but I think the division is out of reach. Indianapolis is a really average team. They could finish right around 80 wins this season. That won't get them into the post season, but it's a sign of improvement. Rochester boosted their offense, but at the same time let their defense get worse. The pitching staff is solid, but the defense will hurt them and the offense isn't good enough to help.

1. Boston
2. Durham
3. Indianapolis
4. Rochester

Monday, April 6, 2015

AL North Season 31 Preview


Season 30 Standings
Milwaukee Magnitude 88-74
New York Damage Controllers 80-82
Kansas City Yardbirds 75-87
Dover Dinklebergs 69-93

Milwaukee won their second division title in a row last season and improved upon their first by winning 88 games, 6 more than season 29. It was also just the second division title in franchise history. New York improved last season but fell short of the playoffs. It was the 13th straight season without a playoff berth for them. That has followed a 14 season playoff streak from seasons 4 through 17. Kansas City improved a bit last season and continued an upward trend for the franchise. They now have 8 consecutive seasons without a post season berth. That is on the heels of 13 straight post season appearances in which the franchise took home 3 World Championships. Dover has been the team that has ruled the division for most of the past 13 seasons with 9 division titles in that span. The team has been rebuilding and they finished at the bottom of the division for the second season in a row. The did improve by 7 games last season though and that is a nice trend to see starting.

Milwaukee Magnitude
owner-horvie78(6th season)
Last 5 seasons- 380-430
Payroll- $92.4

Milwaukee showcases a pretty well rounded lineup. With John Martin at the top of the linuep they have a guy that can get on base and get into scoring position. They have power in the middle of the lineup that can drive guys in with Zip Sullivan, Mac Braden and Michael Chong. Braden was a really nice signing for this lineup although he has durability issues that will limit him to part time duty. Last seasons above average offense should be improved and they could be a top 5 offense.

This team understands the importance of defense and it made a difference last season. They finished near the top of the AL in fielding and should be there again. They have a great glove at shortstop that won't make many errors in Randy Pellow. His range isn't great, but he makes very few mistakes. His double play partner at secondbase is Zip Sullivan and he is a great fielder as well that lacks great range. The middle of the infield for this team is the strength of their defense.

Milwaukee was right around league average in pitching last season. The addition of Dusty Lindsey will help, but it's not enough to put them near the top of the league. The bullpen is really this teams strength in pitching. Ben Boyer is a great setup/ long reliever type. Tex Wagner and Jed Carter are pretty good relievers as well.

New York Damage Controllers
owner-skuff730(12th season)
Last 5 seasons- 402-408
Payroll- $69.9

The New York offense is based around speed. This team is loaded with some speed all through the lineup and should lead the league in steals again. Brady Gibson is the guy that will steal every time he reaches base. Too bad he's not very good at getting on. That is overall this offenses primary weakness. They finished near the bottom of the AL in OBP last season, and I'm expecting the same this season. They aren't a very powerful offense either, but they are middle of the league in hitting the long ball. I expect them to score runs at better than league average, but they are still just about average offensively.

This franchise finished at the bottom of the AL in defense last season and they weren't even close. Unfortunately, I don't see this changing much this season. They lack a true shortstop and that causes the players behind that position to be weaker than average. Defense could likely cost them 10 games this season. That is a high number guess, so I'd count on closer to 8.

With an already bad defense, the pitching isn't going to get much help. That's not going to go well for this team as they are already a bottom of the league pitching staff. They are heavy on velocity and groundball pitchers, but that won't be enough to help them out. In my opinion, the entire staff needs reworked if they plan on contending.

Kansas City Yardbirds
owner-holleybard(5th season)
Last 5 seasons-354-456
Payroll- $67.1

KC finished near the bottom of the AL in offense last season, but I don't think they are that bad. Joakim Valbuena, Braden Fussell and Hugh Paterson are some good bats to have in the lineup. Olmedo Johnson is coming off of a really bad season that he should bounce back from and put up his usualy numbers. Erubiel Pascual isn't a great hitter but he provides solid pop and should drive in runs. I don't think this is a top offense in the AL, but they should be closer to average and at least better than last season.

One thing this club had going for them in season 30 was defense. They finished 4th in the AL and weren't far off from the top with only 82 errors. They also led the league in double plays. The loss of shortstop Esmil Estalella is going to hurt them this season. Louie Nieto was a great secondbaseman, but he's not the answer at short due to his lack of range. Santos Guevara has a good glove but lacks range and his arm is a liability. LJ Stowers could play the spot, but he's below average. Questions at shortstop bring this team back to the pack defensively and I doubt we will see anything close to what they did last season.

The Yardbirds pitching was slightly below average last season. With Sticky Farquhar and Clint Buddie at the top of the rotation they should expect more. Unfortunately for this squad, the pitching talent drops off drastically after them. The bullpen will likely struggle and the rest of the rotation just looks rough. This is going to be a below average pitching staff again this season and likely worse due to the defense.

Dover Dinklebergs
owner-tmfran(14th season)
Last 5 seasons- 402-408
Payroll- $105.2

This is an offense that struggled to get on base and score runs last season. They had solid steal numbers but were caught more than any team in the league. The power numbers were also low last season. Aging stars Lou Montgomery and Armando Mota can still hit, but they are a shell of themselves. Al Pujols is a good bat in the middle of the lineup and he provides most of the pop in this lineup. They just aren't a very good offense outside of those players though. I think if they cut back on the steal attempts that this offense could be closer to average. I just think they are below average right now though.

Dover fielded a pretty good defense last season. The addition of Estalella is going to make them even better. Brent Summers is a gold glove centerfielder and Trent Canizaro will fill in anywhere and provide great defense. Napoleon Charles is another gold glove addition to this team that can play his gold glove position, rightfield, or move to second base where he can help the team more. Besides these guys, this team has quite a few good gloves and should finish near the top of the AL. The defense keeps this team competitive.

Adding Ignacio Torres to a team that finished near the bottom of the AL is an improvement, but not enough. He is a middle rotation starter and this team lacks a top of the rotation guy. Orlando Sanchez is solid, but he's still a mid rotation starter. Terry Kane can pitch at the back end of the rotation fine. With a top starter or two, this could be an above average rotation, but without that it's well below average. The bullpen looks pretty bad this season and they really lack any pitchers with good control. That's going to lead to a lot of walks and that means a lot of runs. This pitching staff will be helped by the defense but there isn't much the defense can do when guys are walking to reach base.

Milwaukee is going to be the favorite to repeat. They are on the verge of being really good and the rest of this division is well behind them. I don't think Milwaukee can win the pennant, but they should be tough this seasons and with a move or two could make a run in the post season. I'm expecting New York to take a few steps backward this season. They have too many holes and I doubt they can make up for them. Kansas City should do better this season than last, but the pitching hurts them. The defense isn't a weakness, but it's only average and won't be the strength of last season. The offense is what brings them up a bit. I think Dover has the best chance of making a big improvement in the division this season. The offense isn't bad, it's just not good, but close to average. The defense is great though. While the pitching is going to struggle, I think they have enough defense to get them close to 75 wins this season.

1. Milwaukee
2. Kansas City
3. Dover
4. New York