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

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