Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Season 33 NL West Preview

NL West

Season 32 Standings
Albuquerque Komodo Dragons 85-77
Seattle Strikers 85-77(Wild Card)
Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs 83-79
Colorado Springs Sky Sox 70-92

Albuquerque won the division for the first time since season 17. They have now made the post season in 3 straight seasons. That is the first time in franchise history that they have accomplished that feat. Seattle ended a run of 4 straight division titles, but still took a wild card spot. It was just the third time that the team has earned a wild card compared with 16 division titles. Oklahoma City missed the playoffs after making it a season ago. They still finished with a winning record. Colorado Springs missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season while finishing last in the West.

Albuquerque Komodo Dragons
owner-csudak(14th season)
Last 5 seasons- 415-395

1. Don't get off to a slow start like last season
2. Win division again
3. Try to not give up the most runs in the NL

My take
1. Albuquerque is in a division that isn't as tough as it was a few seasons ago. I believe a fast start is in the cards for this team.
2. I think it's going to be another close race this season in the West. This time it will be a battle between Oklahoma City and Albuquerque though. The division title is within reach for them.
3. This team does not have awful pitching, but they play in a hitters park. That will leave them in the bottom half of the league at least. The only way to avoid that would be to load up on great pitching, which is not something they have.

What to look for
1. How is Terry Holmes seemingly getting better the last 3 years when he should be on the downside and will it continue.
2. Will Ed Paul actually put a season together that matches his ratings.

My take
1. At age 33, Terry Holmes, is on the back 9 of his career, but I don't think he's quite done yet. He has the ratings to continue to hit and playing half of his games in Albuquerque will allow him to put up similar numbers to last season. He may drop off a bit, but not much.
2. Ed Paul has some really good ratings, but he's weak against right handers. There are more hitters batting from that side of the plate than the left side. His velocity and first pitch should make up for his weakness though. My guess is that his very low rated 4th and 5th pitch get used too often thanks in part to throwing to a catcher with low pitch calling. That can kill a pitcher that has a couple bad pitches.

Differences from last season
1. Offensively nothing changed.
2. Let go of some high priced pitchers that never met expectations.
3. Invested in a few bullpen arms including a new closer.
4. Trying to lower starting pitcher pitch counts. Using higher stamina relievers.

My take
1. Why change anything on offense? They scored the second most runs in the NL last season. I wouldn't either.
2. This team really needed to make changes in pitching. They ranked near the bottom of the league last season.
3. Phil Linton was a really nice addition for this team. He should upgrade the bullpen.
4. This team has a lot of pitchers with good stamina. This will work for them, but only if the pitchers are good enough to take advantage of it. I still see some lower control pitchers that will run up their pitch counts.


Seattle Strikers
owner-ghutton9(27th season)
Last 5 seasons- 495-315

1. Stay close to .500 ball this season.
2. Sign an IFA or two that can help in the near future.
3. Get back to what helped me sustain success for so long(defense, and speed).

My take
1. I should be able to keep this team close to .500. The speed and contact hitting the team has should help score enough runs to do that. The pitching is nowhere close to last season, but is solid enough to stay competitive. I got rid of the power hitters and brought in more contact and speed.
2. This remains to be seen. I've found some solid cheap additions in the past through IFA's, but the way the game has changed makes it all about luck. We will see how this goes.
3. There is a lot more speed on the team this season. The question will be if those guys get on base enough to take advantage of it. The defense looks pretty good, but without a true shortstop we'll have to cross our fingers and hope it is where we want it to be.

What to look for
1. Is Bert Anderson a long term answer at 1B and batting leadoff.
2. Can the rotation hold up without a true ace.
3. Will the bullpen struggle?

My take
1. He got the chance last season and did quite well. The batting average isn't great but his OBP and stealing ability make him a nice leadoff hitter. Most teams prefer power at 1B, but playing in a pitchers park changes that.
2. Gerald Foster is quite good, but not a true ace. He makes a really good #2 starter. Putting him as an ace means that other starters are moved up in the rotation as well. The rotation is going to be rough this season.
3. The bullpen is solid. I really like the pen, but with a weaker rotation it's going to put a lot of stress on them.

Differences from last season
1. Everything.

My take
1. This team has been overhauled. It started last season and we still made the playoffs. There are  a lot of solid young players mixed with some good veterans. I think we can still be competitive, but no way we can win the division. This is the start of a rebuild.


Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs
owner-brentcnb(21st season)
Last 5 seasons- 402-408

My guess would be that this team has the goal of making the post season. They were close last season, but fell short. I really like the offense and pitching this season for them. They made some solid signings in Free Agency and the promotion of prospect starting pitcher Hugh Perez will push this team near the top of the division. They should battle it out with Albuquerque for the title this season.


Colorado Springs Sky Sox
owner-Fantasy Frea(3rd season, 12th overall)
Last 5 seasons- 391-419

This is a team in rebuild mode for the past 4 seasons. They must feel they are close to competing this season. They made some nice Free Agent signings to help boost their win totals. The addition of JA Stanley adds some much needed power. I like the signing of Jim Hawpe as well. The pitching staff got an upgrade with the signings of Jamie Saito, and Pat Chen. The promotion of young starter Ellie Coleman is a decent addition for them in the rotation. This team may finish close to .500 this season and out of the basement.


Albuquerque has a great offense and solid pitching with decent enough defense. This team is the favorite to win the division again, but it won't be easy for them. Oklahoma City should make things tough. I really like what they have on offense and the pitching is pretty decent too. The defense is going to struggle though. That is the one thing that holds me back from picking them to win the division. Seattle is a team in rebuild mode and will probably make more moves to further that this season. I don't figure them to be in the race for a playoff spot. Colorado Springs must feel like they are closer after some free agent signings this season. I'll be interested to see if they can make some moves to make a push this season. Right now I think Albuquerque and Oklahoma City should make the post season or at least be in the race for the wild card spot.

1. Albuquerque
2. Oklahoma City
3. Colorado Springs
4. Seattle

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