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.
Last 5 seasons- 380-430
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
Last 5 seasons- 402-408
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
Last 5 seasons-354-456
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.
Last 5 seasons- 402-408
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.
2. Kansas City
4. New York