Atlanta Atlanta Apaches(Owner Rattlers-2nd season)
Season 35/ 97-65(Division Champ, NL Champ)
ghutton9's take-With 5 straight division titles and back to back World Series appearances this team will find it tough to remain as the best team in the NL. Offensively this team is going to hit and hit for power. They have some great power hitters. If they have any weakness it'll be that they aren't a team with players that will draw a lot of walks. I'm not sure that matters though. They'll be a top 3 offense for sure. On defense Sam Halter is their only true shortstop and they have nobody else that can play the position that won't hurt them. They also lack a true centerfielder. I'm not really feeling this defense and think they could rank in the bottom half of the league. The rotation is looking pretty solid. They have an ace that could shut down opponents on any night in Jesus Dali. They have options on who to start, but the rest are mid rotation types. The bullpen has the potential to be great this season. They are deep and even have a few pitchers that could start in the pen for extra depth. I think this is a top 5 pitching staff. Atlanta is going to be tough this season. The offense and the pitching more than make up for the defense. I think they could challenge for another NL title.
Jacksonville Juice(Owner greygoose123-36 seasons)
Season 35/ 95-67(Wild Card)
ghutton9's take-This team was so close last season to taking the top spot. Over the past few seasons the rebuild has started to pay off. The have an offense that is a little on the below average side of things though. Julio Melendez and Doug Mitchell are going to crush the ball, but the team is lacking much around them. They don't appear to be a team that can hit for a high average and the batting eyes for them aren't enough to offset that. The power is above average but the team just seems to be a bat or two short of ranking near the top of the league. Vic Bennett is a solid shortstop but they have no depth at the position. They also lack a true centerfielder. This defense looks like they'll finish near the bottom this season as they lack good gloves at most spots. The rotation is a bit above average but not by much. Hipolito Owen is a real good starter but he lacks stamina to be truly dominant. The rest of the staff are solid mid rotation types. The bullpen should be good. They have 3 guys that can shut the door late in games. Depth may be their only issue. To be hones, I think this team may take a step back this season. I think they are an average team, but this team is always a team that surprises me so we will see.
Cincinnati Firestorm(Owner jbburner-36 seasons)
Season 35/ 92-70(Wild Card)
Owners thoughts-It's pretty much the same team as last season. I think that the Firestorm should be able to win 85-90 games. It seems the team is always in between rebuilding and going for it all. Both the hitting and the pitching will be average this season. I believe it will take a trade or two to make this team good enough to make a run in the playoffs if they were to make it there.
ghutton9's take-Looking at the Cincy offense, I'm just not sure I see much I like. They'll likely hit for a lower team average and they lack much power. I don't really see players that can work the count and draw walks either. The look like a bottom half of the league offense, but the park can move them closer to average. They have solid gloves at most spots on defense, but they lack a shortstop. Nolan Bourn has regressed quite a bit and isn't much of an option at the most important position in the field. I think they can be an average defense, but they'd be a good defense if they had a real shortstop. The rotation is below average. The lack an ace and none of their starters are top 2 material. They are made up of mid to bottom rotation starters. The bullpen has 2 dominant relievers and a few other solid arms. This may be the strength of this team. I think Cincinnati will have close to average team this season. I think 90 games would be a stretch but I could see them winning 85 games with some things going right.
Philadelphia Moneymakers(Owner Phillies26-36 seasons)
Season 35/ 74-88
Owners thoughts-My team can go in many different directions. I believe I have a good defensive team. However, I'm concerned about the pitching. This has been a challenge for me. Trying to develop a pitching staff that can match the offensive team we've put together. So, what I'm trying to say is if the pitching can hold up, we can compete. However, I don't see that happening. I would say that we're still within our rebuild, but excited about the future.
ghutton9's take-After 8 seasons without the post season things should be looking up for this squad. While the offense isn't going to be great, I do see some solid potential for them. It's still slightly below average due to lack of power, but it's not a team that finish near the bottom of the NL. The do have solid gloves for most positions in the field. The shortstop position has a couple of options but neither are great, just better than average. I could see this team as an defense in the upper half of the league. The rotation is below average. A lack of control seems to be their biggest issue. I might actually rank them near the bottom of the league. The bullpen is better with a couple really nice options, but depth is their issue. I think this staff will rank near the bottom of the league this season. Things are surely looking better in Philadelphia these days, but it doesn't look like this is the year they'll turn the corner.