NL TEAM PREVIEWS
Last season the NL was won by the Atlanta franchise for the second straight season. That set up a first in Pine Tar history with a World Series rematch against Salem. The results were flipped this time though and Atlanta ended up on the losing end. Another rare thing also happened last season. For just the second time in Pine Tar history, there was not a 100 game winner. The last time that happened was way back in season 3. With the league trending towards more parity you would think it was even less likely to have a repeat World Series. 3 of the 4 division champs in the NL repeated last season. The only change at the top was in the West with Seattle taking the top spot from previous champion Albuquerque. The worst team in the NL was Louisville, taking that spot from the Philadelphia who was the season 34 basement dweller. Now onto the previews.
Pawtucket Patriots(Owner HCal11-1st season)
Season 35/ 93-69(Division Champ, NLCS runner up)
ghutton 9's take-This team has won 8 straight division titles and are hoping to make it 9. The offense looks really good. They have some great hitters and should have great obp's. The power on the team comes from 2 players and that may be the only weakness they have on offense, if you can even call it that. This team should have one of the best offenses in the league this season. The team isn't among the best defensively, but they aren't bad. The shortstop situation isn't great but they'll get by. I think they'll be a bottom half of the league defense, but barely. The rotation isn't strong, but it's above average. They don't have a shutdown ace, but they do have about 4 starters that are good. The bullpen is real good though and has some depth. The pitching staff as a whole is good. I think Pawtucket will once again battle for the top spot in this division. If they don't get it then they should take one of the wild cards. This is a pretty good team.
Iowa City Hawkeyes(Owner tk21775-21st season)
Season 35/ 87-75
ghutton 9's take-The offense is looking pretty good for this team. They have good power, good hitting and guys that can get on base. I think they could finish in the top 5 of the NL. The defense is also looking pretty good. They have a really good shortstop and solid gloves all around. The rotation is led by Omar Mercedes and should be among the best in the league. They have 3 top end starters and even a few mid rotation starters that could be aces on a weaker team. The bullpen looks pretty good as well. This might be the best pitching staff in the NL. I think Iowa City could make a real push for the NL title this season. It is a well rounded group that should be tough to beat and has a chance to bring home a World Championship.
St Louis Miracles(Owner ranscott64-7th season)
Season 35/ 78-84
Owner outlook- I took this franchise over in season 31(despite what the history says). When I took over, the minors were the absolute worst I've ever seen and the ML roster was aging and not good. I set out to retool the minors(which I've done, every minor league team in the system made the playoffs last season). Unfortunately, I can't seem to get the ML club over the hump. I've looked at team like Pawtucket. How do you get 3 players on your team rated 90+? Maybe a part of my problem is my team never really bottomed out. Had a few 78 win seasons but maybe that's not good enough to truly embark on a rebuilding program. In any case, I anticipate an 81-81 season and third place. If I luck out, I may win 85 or 86 and sneak in as a wild card.
ghutton9's take-To start, I must say that I've proved that a team dosen't have to bottom out to win a championship. It's hard to do, but surely possible. Timing is everything. When to sell, when to buy and when to overpay for players. When you are a piece or two short then it might cost you to make that jump for those final pieces, but the payoff is worth it. Onto the preview. The offense looks solid. They have some really good contact type players and a few guys with above average power. They also have some players with good batting eyes. They also have some really good speed. The one thing I see that they are missing is a 3 or 4 hitter that can get on base and hit for power. Besides that this is a fairly average offense. I could see them making a move that could change that though and put them in the upper half of the league. The defense is solid, but they have one player that can handle shortstop and it looks like he's not really a full time player for them. They could also use a true centerfielder that has a better glove than what they have currently. They have good gloves in other spots, but due to the weakness up the middle I see them as just about average. The rotation is solid. They lack a top end starter, but they have at least 4 middle rotation type guys. The bullpen is anchored by Kelvim Redmond and not much else. I'd rate this as a below average pitching staff that could move into the upper half of the league due to the park. I wouldn't be surprised to see this team win 85 games. Then again I also wouldn't be surprised to see them win 75 games. A move or two could really change the look of this team as I think they are only a few pieces away from being a division title contender.
Wichita Tornadoes(Owner pinetaar-10th season)
Season 35/ 72-90
Owner outlook- This will be another rebuilding season. Didn't sign any big free agents, and got a little luck in the rule 5 draft with a couple players that will make the roster. There has been some bad luck and poor choices with draft picks and IFA's after the changes in scouting were made to the game. The prediction is a 70 win season and near the bottom of the division. The offense will be near the bottom in homers and slugging, but has some good speed. The pitching will be worse after the departure of last seasons Cy Young Ben Boyer. The ballpark will help the pitching out.
ghutton9's take-Outside of Zack Wathan this offense has little to offer. He's a good piece to build around, but the team needs more guys that can get on base if they are going to use speed as a ways to win. Dee Dee Kelly is coming off of an awful season and should get on a lot more than last season, but there really isn't much offense on the team. The make up for it a little with defense. They have good gloves at most positions but they lack a true shortstop with good range, glove and arm. That makes this a middle of the league defense. The starting rotation is on the weaker side, but I really like the bullpen. I see 4 to 5 pitchers in the pen that will give them good depth later in games. I think the pitching will be closer to the middle of the league due to that and the ballpark. Overall this is a below average team that has a few nice pieces to build around. I could see them winning 70 games this season but with some luck they could push that number up into the higher 70's.
Atlanta Atlanta Apaches(Owner Rattlers-2nd season)
Season 35/ 97-65(Division Champ, NL Champ)
Jacksonville Juice(Owner greygoose123-36 seasons)
Season 35/ 95-67(Wild Card)
Cincinnati Firestorm(Owner jbburner-36 seasons)
Season 35/ 92-70(Wild Card)
Philadelphia Moneymakers(Owner Phillies26-36 seasons)
Season 35/ 74-88
Houston Heaters(Owner az99-1st season)
Season 35/ 89-73(Division Champ)
Jackson Juggernauts(Owner bobbyj7-24th season)
Season 35/ 83-79
Texas Galveston Wave(Owner erichanville-12th season)
Season 35/ 73-89
Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's(Owner Arfy-21st season)
Season 35/ 66-96
Seattle Strikers(Owner ghutton9-30th season)
Season 35/ 83-79(Division Champ)
Albuquerque Komodo Dragons(Owner csudak-17th season)
Season 35/ 76-86
Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs(Owner brentcnb-24th season)
Season 35/ 74-88
San Francisco Journey(Owner downboy-1st season)
Season 35/ 69-93