Monday, October 19, 2015

Season 33 NL East Preview

NL East

Season 32 Standings
San Juan Dw'Arfy Mojados 106-56(NL Champ)
Jacksonville Juice 84-78
Cincinnati Firestorm 69-93
Philadelphia Moneymakers 66-96

It was finally time for a breakthrough in San Juan. Not only did they win the division for the 3rd time in the past 4 seasons, but this time they went on to win the National League title. They fell short of the ultimate goal, but it was a season of success as it was the first NL title for the franchise. The division title was also only the fourth for this franchise. Jacksonville finished second in the division and missed the post season for the sixth straight season. It has been a tough road for a franchise that had been to the playoffs 19 times and all of those were in the first 26 seasons. They did end a run of five straight seasons with a losing record. Cincinnati missed the playoffs for the second straight season and finished in third. Philadelphia finished in last place for just the fourth time in team history. The 66 wins were the second fewest ever for them.

San Juan Dw'Arfy Mojados
owner-jibe(10th season;11th season overall)
Last 5 seasons- 426-384

1. Win the division
2. To make it back to the World Series

My take
1. San Juan should be tough again this season. Winning the division will only be a problem if another team made significant enough improvement to challenge them.
2. Making it back to the World Series should be a goal for San Juan. They have a great offense and a bunch of really good pitchers. I'd be surprised if they flop in the post season.

What to look for
Homeruns galore
1-4 tandem rotation
Strong bullpen

My take
This team should put up some really good power numbers this season. They have 5 players with elite power in Willie Guerrero, Rickie Halama, Eli Cruz, Tony Caballero, and Humberto Ortiz. Any of those guys are a homerun threat every at bat. The power doesn't end there either. They still have plenty of pop at other spots in the lineup as well.

The tandem rotation is something I've never been a fan of. This team seems to pull it off nicely though. They have the perfect pitching staff to do it also. They have really good pitchers with long relief/ starter stamina. San Juan should have one of the better pitching staffs in the NL this season.

The bullpen is also pretty strong. Juan Sierra is one of the best closers this league has had. Brendan Taylor should be a future Hall of Famer as he has been dominant for a long time and he's not a usual reliever. He puts up a lot of innings and can do it game in and game out.

Differences from last season
Traded away a gold glove type shortstop

My take
They traded away  Rafael Santana, who is a really good shortstop. The team still has Sam Halter that can play the position. It doesn't seem that they value defense over offense though as he won't be the starter.


Jacksonville Juice
owner-greygoose123(33rd season)
Last 5 seasons- 342-468

90+ Wins

My take
The Juice have the look of a team that can put together a pretty good season. 90 wins is not a stretch for them, but it will take some things going right to get there. They don't have much room for error or injuries though. Most of this teams talent is on the top end and the bench has little talent. The NL has quite a few good teams this season. Making the playoffs will be a real battle and Jacksonville will be one of those teams in the mix.

What to look for
Additions Gus Justice and Alex Espinoza
The young players

My take
I really like these additions the club made this season. They added an MVP candidate in Gus Justice to anchor the offense and then added an innings eater that will help keep the bullpen fresh. On offense, Justice can hit for power, and average while also stealing some bases. Throw him into a lineup with youngsters Raul Quintero, Tanyon Graves, Marcell Escobar and Doug Mitchell, and then this team has a really good offense. Each of the players mentioned are young and will continue to get better. I think Jacksonville has a really nice future outlook offensively.

Differences from last season

My take


Cincinnati Firestorm
owner-jbburner(33rd season)
Last 5 seasons- 378-432

At least a .500 season

My take
This is a fairly average team. Getting to .500 might still be a stretch for them though. With a tough NL this season this team may end up closer to 75 wins than 81. The good news is that they will be competitive and then anything can happen.

What to look for
Can the catchers improve the pitching
How this team is built for the ballpark

My take
I'll start with the first thing. The catchers can make the pitchers better. I'm not sure by how much though. The pitching staff isn't bad, but in Cincinnati a good pitching staff could look bad. That brings me to the next point. I just don't see enough pitchers that can force groundballs. They aren't loaded with flyball pitchers, but they only have a couple of pitchers that can routinely get groundballs. The only thing that can offset that in a hitters park is velocity and pitches. Cincinnati has some pitchers with really good pitches, but the velocity numbers just aren't very high. I feel like this will end up being an average pitching staff at best. The offense is built a little more for the park with some power hitters, but the 3 big hitters they have are not very good at making contact, hitting for average or taking bad pitches. That will negate their power abilities. They do have plenty of solid power hitters that could hit 20+ homers. I see a team that can hit plenty of homers, but they won't have many guys on in front of them to drive home. Another thing about hitters parks that I like to see is good gloves on defense. This team is average with the gloves. They have some players with really good range, which is nice for second base and shortstop but not a necessity in the outfield.

Differences from last season
Tried to improve the hitting and defense.

My take
They have done both of these with the acquisitions of Nolan Bourn and Jorge Santana. Travis Fiore will be a good defensive addition and Pedro Reyes can still hit. The team should see a slight improvement in both of these areas of play.


Philadelphia Moneymakers
owner-Phillies26(33rd season)
Last 5 seasons- 353-457

My take
Offensively this team is pretty solid this season. They don't have much power, but they do have guys that can hit for average and steal some bases. The defense is looking decent as well, but they lack depth. What this team really needs is some better starting pitching. They added Miguel Zumaya, who can eat innings, but he's not very good. The rest of the rotation isn't as good as he is. The bullpen is better than the rotation, but even they aren't great. Yannick Truby is a really good reliever. They have a few other above average relievers, but if the rotation isn't good then these guys are going to be gassed early and often.


I'm not sure any team in the division can give San Juan a real run for the title this season. They are a team that should make a run at a World title again. Jacksonville is a good team and should battle for a wild card spot, but they aren't going to give San Juan a good enough battle for the division title. Cincinnati is an average team, but average isn't good in this league. I don't think they have much of a shot at the post season. Philadelphia is not a bad offensive or defensive team, but the rotation keeps them from having any shot at a winning record.

1. San Juan
2. Jacksonville
3. Cincinnati
4. Philadelphia

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