Season 32 Standings
Salem Volcanoes 112-50
Anaheim Skywalkers 91-71(Wild Card)
St Louis Arch Angels 77-85
Omaha Oracles 67-95
Once again this was Salems division last season. It was their fifth straight 100+ win season and division title. That is now the longest streak in franchise history. It was also the 13th division title for them. Anaheim continued a playoff streak for this franchise having made 4 in a row now and 9 of the past 11 seasons. Unfortunately, only 3 of those have been division titles. The franchise in St Louis, has now moved to Boise and they missed the post season for the fourth straight time. It's hard to believe, but it has now been 10 seasons since they won the World Series. Omaha finished in last for the second consecutive season. It has now been 17 seasons since they last won the division title.
Last 5 seasons- 555-255
We are now well into the season so this isn't really a preview. Salem is looking like they are well on their way to 107 wins. This team has a solid offense, great pitching and phenomenal defense. All of the makings of another 100+ win season.
Last 5 seasons- 446-364
Offensively this team is average or just below average. They have players that will get on base, but outside of Willie Tarasco they don't have much of a power threat. I really like the rotation and the bullpen. This team won't give up a lot of runs this season which will help keep them in games. The defense is going to hurt them though. I really don't like the defense and I think it will hurt the great pitching they have.
Last 5 seasons- 403-407
1-Play at least close to .500 ball
2-Make the most out of my 1st round picks(#18, #24 and a top 50 comp pick so far) despite the budget limitations of the 1st season
3-Finding a useful IFA or two
1-At the time of this writing they are playing close to 500 ball. They look like a really average team and will likely stay close to that this season. They lack depth and an injury could hurt those chances.
2-I hate the 1st season budget limits. Especially with the changes they've made to the game. This is unrealistic and should be changed. Actually, you should be able to set your budget however you want every season. I've still seen teams make good picks with the limitations, but I've also seen teams get screwed over by it.
3-This ties in with the budget problems. Especially with the changes. The wide range of ratings we are now seeing is going to really hurt teams in IFA signings. Maybe people won't overspend knowing that they aren't likely seeing the player correctly. Doubt it.
What to look for
1-How much the change from a pitchers park to a hitters park will affect the team's power-hitter and how far can they carry the team.
2-Can the bullpen overcome the loss of closer Phil Linton
3-Can the rotation at least keep the team in games
1-This team does have some solid power. While Boise is a hitters park, it's not a big time hitters park. I think the team is more geared toward this kind of park and should excel with it.
2-Losing Linton is big. The bullpen doesn't have much else. While it's not a bad bullpen, it's also not one of the better pens in the league. This is a big loss.
3-The rotation really lacks an ace and they are below average at best. I think this is a weakness.
Differences from last season
1-The owner and the ballpark
2-The main losses are closer Phil Linton, CF Enny Tejera and LF Miller Hunter
3-The main additions are Tomas Osoria, Eugene Harvey and 2B Victor Callaspo
1-A new owner will give this franchise a fresh start. The previous owner was a good one, but I don't think he had the patience to wait for the team to make it back to the top.
2-These are some big losses, but the team wasn't a threat with them, so they won't miss them too much.
3-These aren't huge additions but I do like Harvey. He's some nice offense for them.
Last 5 seasons- 404-406
Offensively this team has a little bit of power and some players that can get on base. They aren't great hitters though and could use more contact. The starting rotation isn't very good and is going to hurt them this season. The bullpen is better and they have a really good reliever in Dillon Abbott. The bullpen is a strength for them. The defense is solid with decent depth. They could use more range, but the gloves will keep them from giving up extra runs.
Salem is the clear favorite. I don't see a way they are beat out in this division. They are a possible favorite for the AL title as well. Anaheim has the pitching, but not much else. In a division that will be tight from 2-4 their weaknesses may hurt them. Boise looks like the best of the bottom 3. They are an above average team that doesn't excel at anything. They do have a weakness in pitching though. The same could be said about Omaha.