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

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