Monday, August 15, 2011

NL/AL West S21 Preview


Cheyenne Marmots- Starting to platoon many of the aging stars with the next generation of studs. Edgardo Lima, Ralph Terry and Del Granados Are no longer 500 Ab guys on this team but can still contribute. They might improve with time to catch their breathes. The Marmots overall are a solid offense and defensive team. In the field only Pedro Riveras fielding in center is a huge red flag where he had 4 – plays no plus plays and a .960 fielding average. He just isn't covering the area a centerfielder needs to do. AAA CF Rabbit Benton might be a solid addition to pick up the defense late in games. LF Eddie Slusarski and rookie Quilvio Cabrera along with veteran Travis Stokes make a solid core in Cheyenne and should cost a few pitchers their confidence in S21. The pitching staff will have its struggles in S21 Ace Eduardo Feliz isn't going to be ready every 5 days and will need extra rest during the season. He still can be one of the more dominate guys in the NL when he's rested right. Both Vicente Cruz and Brian Power tire quickly and if opponents increase their pitch counts the Marmots will be in trouble. If they can run a smooth game and keep their counts in check they can hold their own. Injury prone Phil Morgan has had so many issues with his elbow the past 2 seasons the Marmots have to wonder if he can be the same pitcher who went 15-5 with a sub-3 ERA in s18. If he can be that guy and stay healthy the Marmots will be sitting pretty. The pen struggled in S20 behind Babe Allen who had a poor season as the teams closer. He will be on a short leash this season being part of 19 decisions is too much for the go to closer. Cheyenne needs to be able to get him the lead and for him to hold it. Cheyenne needs to evaluate if there is another guy who can do this job better. AA Pitcher Brutus O'Keefe might be that guy, but the Marmot has been slow to move him up. More than likely we will see at some point AA relievers Harry Jones and re-tooled Everett Kennedy, both have potential.
Projected Finish: 77-85 4th Place
FA Rumors: need to look at the market for better bullpen guys.

Colorado Mile High Club- Not going to let Lucas Martin put on anyone else's uniform. Colorado blew 60M to ensure he is in Colorado through his prime. Very affordable at 10M a season. Martin is the centerpiece of a potent lineup with Frias, Pena and White all making up a strong center of the lineup. 1B Del Prieto is returning after sitting out the season with bad forearm. He is not able to play more than 250 AB anymore and Colorado will have to bring in other guys to hold down 1B. That guy might be AAA LF Aaron Walker who has the tools to play and still could grow into the role. Colorado has one of the best mixtures of Defenders and Offensive powered guys in the league, but has been unable to translate this into playoff success. You have to think this will be the season for that. The Rotation has Aces Steve O'Malley and Yorvit Vincente who both looked brilliant at time. Neither gets much respect in the way of hardware, but pitching in Colorado does do that to you. But they do an amazing job. #3 Pablo Javier is a proven veteran. Rounding out the rotation will be Scot Barnes and Damian Carter both have struggled and are wild cards when they have control of their pitches they can be among the best, but they are a crap shoot almost every night. You probably can do better than leaning on Torey Darnell as the closer, but he did save 41 last season, not always pretty, but he did accomplish that. He doesn't have to worry about the competition on the Ml roster there isn't much.
Projected Finish: 1st Place 98-64
FA Rumor: still need to improve the pen if they want to play ball with the top lineups, the back end of the rotation is too weak to lean on the Pen.

Colorado Springs Organizational Filler- Returned Pedro Cela late in FA, he is an asset for the team and should be able to hit this team to the top. He will need to find a new position with Santo Montero being paid top dollars to be the starter at SS. Look for him to play occasional CF or take over time at 3B where Walt Harris is still very good. Rookie Rickie Ray will be given a shot at 1B in the spring and by most account should win the job and compete for ROY. Ace Ismael Perez is coming off his worst season and should rebound . He leads a group on inexperience pitchers with Jim Gulan, Yusmeiro Mairena and Daniel Carson not even having a full season between them all. This will be a huge test for CSP to see if these guys can sink or swim. Veterans Dale Taylor and Everett Roosevelt will be waiting to get the call when and if these guys can't get it done. Closer by committee approach has been successful in CSP they have the right guys. Campos has been very good for many seasons, Santos Cedeno can be elite in the pen and the rest are all above average. They will be playing short and each should be worked hard.
Projected Finish 2ndt place 90-72
FA Rumor: love to see an upgrade at CF on the defense, but most likely this team can ride the way they are and trade at mid-season.

Salem Slammers: Salem is getting old fast. They still have high caliber players, but if they falter out of the gates they will be looking to move big contracts and older fading stars for a fresh start. They might be the most watched team by those looking for pieces to complete their playoff puzzle. Starters Orber Leon and Angel Mateo looked good at the top of the rotation and they kept Salem in games. Starter Charlie Johnson never seems to get his season together with shoulder troubles. Those seem to be still affecting him this spring where he looks hittable and struggles to get outs. LRP Hal Friend will be looked at to pitch Salem out of a lot of jams this season. Only his 2nd in the ML. Closer Alex Gonzales looked very hittable last season and will not be able to get away with as many mistakes this year. Salem might look to move to a closer by committee approach and just bring in the best pitcher for the situation instead of leaning on one man late in games. Minor League Closer stud Felix Tucker is still recovering from major arm surgery, when he's ready this pen will have a new look.
Projected Finish: 3rd Place 86-76
FA Rumors: they might want to sit and see where they land this season and then see if they want to add or subtract.


Salt Lake City Prospectors- Last season brought in Candy Zoltan to be the catalyst for the Offense and he seem to fit right in, but never dominated. Who needs to be a dominant force on this lineup when it is strong up and down with plus hitters who find a way to get the job done. Edgar Tarraga is the masher, and he is coming off a down season for production, if he steps his game up he will again drive this offense. On offense alone this team will be tops in the standing, but then you see the rotation and you really see what's going on here. Ryan Perry is 36 and still the best pitcher in the league. A future Hall of Famer, he controls and dominates games he pitches. Marty Hooper is a 3 time all-star but one of the best #2 guys in the league he is always capable of winning 18 games. Jack Coke is a solid option when he controls the pitch count, work him out of his rhythm and you get him out early. And Start working on the weaker bullpen Starter Hector Tarasco is a fan favorite, but probable not ever going to touch 22 wins again. Last season was a tough one, if he starts weak look for SLC to pull him quickly. The Pen has 3 plus arms. Trenidad Guerrero and Jose Lopez should only improve this season and be forces for the future. Wilson MacRae is a great stabilizing force. They work pretty low pressure behind a dominant starting corp.
Projected Finish: 104-58
FA Rumors: payroll is spending watch for them to let it ride.

Helena Mail Order Cowboys – Offense is in place with studs Juan Estrada and Jose Frias the rest of the guys all feature good power or plus wheels. The Defense is also close to perfect, this is an offense that can score runs and should score runs. AA Prospect Ebenezer Price could get a call up since he is just burning options in the minors and is ready to roll. The pitching will be the stumbling block again. SP Ronnie Leach is a capable starter when he is able to pitch, he no longer can throw 100 pitches and turn around and do it again 5 days later. You still need him in the lineup and he needs to return there. Jorel Stanton and Tony Rigby both walked more than they struck out. This will need to change if this staff is to get off the ground this season. Rex Plesac is not a capable ML starter and needs to go. LoA pitcher Tom Forrester might be an upgrade though he is strictly a 5 inning guy, but he is a huge upgrade to the rotation. AAA Santiago Nunez is another option for pitching. Fernando is a gem of a Rule 5 pick and should be solid this season in the pen and could be a feature in a few seasons. He is added to a group of strengths in Cody Millwood and Grant Waltman. AA pitcher Juan Cabrera is a 5M issue in AAA and should get another shot in the ML.
Projected Finish 4th 74-88
FA Rumors: need starters badly.

Kansas City McCoys – Team might be biding its time until the farm arrives. Kc is capable at the plate with Jose Uribe and D.J. Hoiles leading the charge. They brought up rookie Ron Washington to play 2B, but he might be too much of a defensive liability and end up playing more in LF/RF than at 2B. His bat is too good to pass on though. RF Claude Branson needs to use his wheels more than he has. A capable thief in the minors, he has yet to try to swipe one bag in the pros. Time for the green light on this guy. LF David Seanez is still around to tip his hat to the crowd more of a figurehead now, he still can swing the bat and hurt you if you challenge him. Starter Everett Ritz was a solid pick-up last season and was stability to the top of the rotation. Josias Martin and Aaron Shiell both are suffering from the Madison syndrome and are shell shocked after spending a season pitching in a bandbox. Martin hopefully has figured things out after his demotion to AAA and will return with a fresh mind and arm. Mark Cox is no longer a force after elbow surgery, but he is still a solid arm. The pen is the most grizzled bunch of former star relievers that anyone since Colorado has assembled. Stan Mason, Santiago Frias and Brad Maduro would all have been amazing to have together 5 seasons ago. They will try to shake off the rust and relive the glory days. This is a team waiting for super prospects 1B Tom Putnam (HiA) SS Billy Ray Rizzo(AA) LF Luis Furcal, and CL Cristian Hernandez(AAA)
Projected Finish: 84-78 3rd place
FA Rumors: 2B and another starter they aren't looking to spend long term money

Fresno Golden Falcons- Rodgers should be moved out of SS and into the outfield, he still has the bat to be a major factor, but no longer has the glove. Adding Nipsy Diaz and Footsie Long jumpstarts this offense. 3B Yorvit Gonzales and Long are both penciled in a 3B, most likely Yorvit Gonzales will move to CF where he is defensively capable. Johnny Stroud and Fergie Ryan were also both signed, one will move to 1B or DH. This is an offense that had no one outside of Rodgers coming back and has been completely retooled for the season. Walt Inge and Quilvio Javier return to the rotation with a whole new cast of secondary talent. Magglio Salinas struggled in the Nl and will look to reinvent himself in the Al with Fresno. Scouts feel he will be hit and miss, but shouldn't hurt the team with such a strong offense. Hugh Richardson won 23 games and 18 in the last, he is no longer that pitcher, but he can still pitch. 2nd Year man Wallace Lunsford will be the wildcard if he progresses the way he should this is a team on the rise. Newly acquired Closer Orlando Frias is one of the league's best backend talent. HE can challenge hitters and smoke them. He is part of a pen that could be one of the best in the AL.
Projected Finish: 89-73 2nd Place
FA Rumors: might be active in the trade market and move some congestion for another starter.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

NL/AL South Season 20 Preview


Memphis Amon-Ra - Add Aaron Fox and Vic Castilla to lead the lineup and they brought back the World Series trophy. Fox Struggled during the season batting a measly .225, his worst career year. He was a changed man in the post season batting .321 with 5 HR and 17 Runs, allowing the fans to forget his struggles during the season. . Still has not been a full season in the books for injury prone CF James Jefferies, if he puts in a full season this team will be a monster. Staff ace Osvaldo Azocar is coming off a down year where he couldn't buy a win and seemed to be tipping his pitches to opponents. The rest of the staff seems to adjust well to the rotation with Alvin Cameron, Mike Fitzgerald, Albert Hernandez and Albert Montanez taking regular turns in the rotation. Efrain Borland and Cesar Alfonzo have been easily excitable in long relieve and both tend to over throw the ball and miss the strike zone in tight games. Memphis might look here as an area to upgrade. The Pen returns most of their key members including Closer Bob Thome. Setup man Jack Floyd regressed last season and might be in jeopardy of losing his role in the spring. Watch for Memphis to audition a few free agents and bring in 1 more arm to upgrade the pen.
Projected Finish: 1st Place 94-68
FA Rumors: looking for a 3B and Setup help on a shoestring budget

Louisville Lions -Rookie CF Blade Duncan looked spectacular until an ankle injury sidelined

him for the last ¼ of the season. He is back and at full health starting this season. Add in youthful guys 2B Alex Kwon and C Juan Cervantes and you have a solid core to build around. There are deep holes at 3B; Where Louisville will give CF prospect Thom Rose a go at converting positions as he is blocked behind Duncan. The corner outfield positions are wide open competitions. Farm hands Julian Teheran, Steve Norton, and Steve Norton. Louisville could also bring back Damaso Mota to the ML. Most likely we will see a few Free agents brought in to solidify the lineup for the next few season since the farm is pretty bleak after Rose. The rotation is set 1 through 3 with Troy Carver, Eduardo Mercado and Calvin Coco. The rest of the rotation is tentatively Emilio Lee and, but both could be pushed by new comer Roy Ransom. Long Reliever Matt Fitzgerald could be a real asset if his work is controlled and he is not asked to over pitch on his fragile arm. The bullpen returns most of their arms with a huge upgrade at closer. Bringing in Benito Cortez on a 3 year contract to solidify the unit. Cortez commanded a large contract and signed early indicating the Lions might have overpaid for his services some, but if he can continue his late game heroics he will be worth every penny.
Projected Finish: 2nd Place 82-80
FA Rumors: Corner outfielders, upgrade at pitching long relief

Austin Knights- Last year they brought their cavernous holes into the regular season and they were grossly overmatched. This season Austin brings in major holes at Defensive positions SS and CF and offensive holes at 1B and LF/RF. . The farm seems to be void of positional ML talent, so Austin will have to fill most of these holes with their checkbook. There are a few pieces to build around such as superstar Julio Rios and Thomas Kipling to work with. The rotation is set at #1 and 2 with Ugueth Ortiz and Bruce Yarnall who should be solid again. After the top 2 the drop off in talent isn't too bad, but they will struggle to get extended innings out of Francis Charlton, Calvin Lucas and Benito Vazquez. All will be better set for long relief or spot starts. Austin might consider tandeming their starters. They could also give extended looks at Farm hands David James and Alan Keeler. Neither is going to have a long ML career, but they might be a solid stopgap for a few seasons. Add starting pitching to the need list in Free agency. Maybe a late pickup with some upside would be had for around 3-4M a season. The bullpen is some of the most flexible and rubber armed guys in the game, almost all of them are capable of pitching 100+ innings a season, which is good when the starters struggle to get 6 out of their arms consistently. 2nd Year guys Andrew Bacsik and Henry Terry are among the league's best at their positions. Farm hand Diego Calvo could be some trade bait or further enhance this strength.
Projected Finish: 3rd Place 72-90
FA Rumor: SS and CF need to be addressed first then adding pitching depth in the rotation if there is money left.

Mexico City Reds- New ownership might bring fresh life to a dismal team. Outside of rookie of the year SS Javier Ortiz, there are not many bright spots on the ML roster. 1B Fausto Rodriguez looked lost at 1B, but his bat might be too valuable right now to move him without an offensive replacement. Those replacement options might be in the minors with Clyde Kirby and Pascual DeLeon waiting in AAA. Someone is going to have to be traded to an AL team to get some value of these defensively challenged players. Dale Malone runs well enough to hold his position and should again return as the leadoff man and Bartolo Guzman (ML) is a fine defensive catcher, but the rest of the cabinet is bare. The minors have many 4A type players ready to go such as Peter Miles who features solid defense and speed, and LF Bubba Leonard who was recently added to the 40 man roster and could offer some pop to the lineup. The Reds might have to look at accelerating the timetable on AA phenom Miguel Blanco who can offer an offensive upgrade right now, but still have a lot of learning to do about hitting everyday ML pitching. This will be a tough challenge for the Reds in the Spring. The Rotation has its ace in Potvin, but there is little else right now. Closer Eddie Bruce is the only other notable pitcher, and he struggled in S20 and will continue to struggle with everyday closer responsibilities. The farmhands are at least 2 seasons away from being able to compete at an ML level. The reds can bring up and audition AA arms Jose Nunez and Frank Hammel, but neither is the answer. They could also rush Troy Corbin who is close, but still will struggle right now in prime time guys who can fill in for a 2 season window in Free Agency without blocking their prospects with huge contracts.
Projected Finish 4th Place 65-97
FA Rumor: Need to fill almost all positions without breaking the bank discount end of signing period pieces to make a lineup until the real talent arrives.


Houston Stone Cold Killers- Returns about the same team that won the Al last season. There is no surprise here; Houston has one of the top offenses in the league. Neil Robinson might be the best pure hitter in the league and he is surrounding by talent up and down the lineup. Defensively they get the job done. They will be even harder this season where they got swept out of the World Series by the more experienced Memphis. Watch for the a jump in the standings.Sweeny and Iwazaki both performed well as a 1-2 punch in the rotation, but they might be the product of this great offense which lets them pitch without much pressure. Add in Geoffery Frank and Winston Franco and the rotation is close to being set starting the 21st season. The Killers could look a number of places to fill the 5th spot. Farm Hands like Bruce Trammell and Darrin Connelly will both get looks in the spring and both could end up on the team come the start of the season. Dark Horse pitcher Brad Nelson could also turn some heads, but he is more than likely not going to be rushed into action with the solid rotation already in front of him. The Pen returns everyone including Closer Karim Espinosa; they will again be a tough group to hit on. The Killers are in a good position on the farm to deal away some pieces to bring in better arms and upgrade position for the future. CF prospects Milt Radmanovich (AAA) and Vern Meluskey (AAA) might not be superstars but they could be starting for another team and bring some return value for Houston. RF Lawrence Hutton might also be in that same situation.
Projected finish: 1st Place 99-63
FA Rumors: most likely will stay put might deal some pieces in the minors for younger farm talent.

San Juan Saints: Got to love the middle of the lineup with killer swatters Sven Kinkade and Glenn Lemon along with Kurt Morgan. This is a rounded lineup with a few holes in the outfield and possible a chance to upgrade at a few spots in the lineup. They should be fine without spending much bank as they should have a healthy Ivan Spehr back. Mike DeJean, Pedro James, and Neifi Lopez all will return to a solid rotation. Tito Chang should move to long relief or have less pressure on him to pitch more than 5 innings a game. He just wears out to quickly to be a starter anymore. Rookie SP D'Angelo Trinidad could get a shot at starting this season without much competition. Rookie RP Dwight Black could be the new closer if he can beat out Jim Small. Small though is going to fight for that position. Nothing wrong with having both in a great Bullpen Lineup.
Projected Finish: 91-71 3rd Place
FA Rumors: Utility help and another arm for the Rotation.

Texas Tornadoes: The lineup is veteran strong with a few young elite stars. 2B Enrique Alvarezis ready for a full season of action and should really show this season what he's worth. 9M star Edgardo Trinidad could be looking for another home if Alvarezis can win the job outright. 3B Jared Malone and Yadier Lopez both will be learning on the job, which should not be any issue or drop in talent. Ace Diego Gomez made huge strides in the rotation last season and should continue to be a dominating threat this season. Add in Vin Delgado, and Davey Gonzalez and the big 3 are top flight. The 4th and 5 slots might be up for grabs between incumbents Danny Young, Barney Russ, Yamil Servet and Bert Sosa with farm hands Lariel Limon and Andrew Workman. The losers of this competition might not go far end up in the pen as long relievers. Newly signed closer Diego Cruz will take over the closer duties and hope to rebound after a tough S20. He is joined by returning pen hogs Julio Arias and Armando Segui. Not sure this team can maintain their dominance, but they should be very good again.
Projected Finish: 98-64 2nd Place
FA Rumor: Pen help utility pretty complete team.

Monterrey Banditos – Offense has been improved, but there still are some offensive holes. An upgrade at CF would be nice as Wilkins might be a better role player where the team can still benefit from his speed. 3B is also a place where the team could use some fresh blood. Hatcher and Rose are both just shadows of what they were and are holding on to hopes of reclaiming their former glory. Offensively this team is one of the few which doesn't feature an everyday superstar. It will be difficult to get the offense going without that lean to bat this season. The Rotation has an ace in Javier Gonzalez, who should get a full season to show his skills. #2 men Ruben Alonso should also be able to resume his slid S20 with a mid-4 era and solid effort. The rest of the lineup will welcome in Achilles Perez and have an open competition for the final 2 spots. Between incumbent Stephen Smith, and any Free agent pickups. The Banditos need to address pitching through free agency.
Projected finish: 71-91 4th Place
FA Rumors: Need a 3B and starting pitching

Friday, August 5, 2011

NL North/ AL North S21 Preview


Boise Breeze:
Outside of Valerio Guillen the offense has grown old and stagnant they need to add a few more bats. Rookie RF Quentin Lawrence will get a full year to show what he has to offer. He could be in the running for rookie of the year, if he is as good as advertised. Current 3B Arthur Worthington will most likely move across the diamond to the open 2B slot where is a better defensive fit for his arm. Rotation is set for the most part with 20M man Kiki Arroyo and his band of merry men in Cliff Moore, David Tavarez and Pablo Sosa. Darron Walker is the wild thing of this league with the right catcher and a generous strike zone he can be dangerous. He can also be a roller coaster with his lack of control. Closer J.P. Ordonez is one of the best in the game and one of the key reasons this team can win almost any close game. He is lights out shut down type materiel and has proven those fact years in a row. The middle relieve is average without much to tout about, but they can be serviceable.
Projected Finish: 88-74 2nd Place
FA Rumors: should be targeting another bat who can field at least 3B or a plus outfielder.

Montreal Expos They still have one of the best core hitting groups in the NL North in Harvey Carson, Oscar Baker, and Don Orosco. SS Matty Cela is a better fit at 3B maybe even in the outfield, but is a poor shortstop option and will cost the team more runs than he will produce. The Expos will be to shore up their defense if they hope to compete with the rest of the division. They need to find fielders in both SS and at CF, if they want to win. 7 year minor league pro Ken Quinn might be an option at SS, though he will not contribute much at the plate, he might not hurt too bad either. Another option might be Hi-A SS Felipe Flores who spent a season in Milwaukee in season 16 where he performed fine as a defensive specialist. LO-A RF Lenny Joseph looks pretty close to being ready and could break in to the lineup this season at 1B. The Expos have a surplus of starters who can pitch average or slightly better. No one can really stand up and lead the rotation here, but they have enough talent that they could trade away some mid-level arms to strengthen the farm or improve the bottom line. They might also add a key role player for the S21 team. SP Hal Orie has been kept out of the starting rotation for the past 4 seasons; he should make his return this season, along with #1 starter David Dominguez. The rest of the rotation will be an open competition between Johnny McGehee, Pascual Otanez(coming off knee surgery), Mariano Bonilla and Johnny Powell. The loser will join a crowed long relief field which features young Eduardo Pena and most likely an open competition between prospects Andres Brogna and Yuu Lee. Closer Preston Guerrero will potentially be showing the ropes to 7 year minor league pro Marcus Tucker who should get a look this season out of spring training.
Projected Finish: 84-78 3rd

Cincinnati Ramrod Hitting will not be a problem this season in Cinci. Cinci should have to been able to power their way to the top of the division, but instead middle their way around. A season of playing together with huge star Heath Peterman. Peterman and the rest of the crew Tony Bravo, Hector Fernandez, and Alex should meld together pretty well this season and be a tough unit to get through without being tagged. Prospect SS Juan Eusebio could find himself in a position to take over at 2B this season if he looks good coming out of spring training. The starting pitching is led by young ace Roland Bryant who looks ready to come of age this season and consistent under achiever Junior Martin, who might improve with a lower rotation spot this season. Amos Casey will be a solid #3 guy, but the rest of the rotation is in disarray . Leading contenders are incumbents Ronnie Banks and Yoo-Nah Huang. Huang has the potential, but just isn't there yet. Huang still is being penciled in at #5. The Ramrod could actively look for a #4 starter or turn to AAA prospect Jeromy Pride who arrived last season from a deadline deal with Madison. Former closers Tomas Rivas and Guy Bibby will compete for the privilege in the spring this season with the other being the key setup man. The pen is in very good shape coming into the season.
Projected Finish: 89-73 1st Place
FA Rumors: need a solid 2B and a starting pitcher.

St. Louis Twains- The lightest swinging bats in all of baseball outside of Desi Almonte the team does not drive the ball very hard, but they are fast. Easily could lead the league in stolen bases and would beat anyone in a foot race, but they are also prone to running errors, and poor judgment, This tendency has plagued Aaron Holt's career and keeps him from being in the conversation for elite leadoff man. The Twain does need to add at least 1 more guy who can drive the ball and clear the bases. Potentially an outfielder with some pop could be had at a discount. SP Yeico Chavez returns as probably the ace of the staff, he has23 career starts, but is by far the most skilled starter the twain feature. Harvey Harville and Wilson Dolan, Wilson Dolan and Eric Erikson should hold their rotation stops, but there are much more talented guys out there to look at and replace them with. Rookie Arthur Gwynn is already being written in as a ML starter this season, but he has yet to throw above a half season of AAA ball. Closers Arthur Wayne and Willie Estrada will headline an average pen. With prospects on the verge of being in the big time StL will not want to look at long term FA deals. SP Dario Chang and SS Larry Griffin (HiA) are right around the corner from dominating the league.
Projected Finish: 76-86
FA Rumors: power bat, another starter, reliever upgrade.


Seattle Fainting Goats - brought in a bunch of mercenaries last season and they when they were way out of the picture traded most away for prospects. The lineup right now is piecemealed together around Dh Garret Hall (ML), 1B Torey Martinez (ML) and CF Sean Swan (ML), not much of a current offense, but if you drill down you will find a farm system choked with talent. , Seattle could bring in Storm Parrish who has cruised through the minors to take over at DH or the aging Hall. SS prospect Randall Borbon is also Ml ready and could be the everyday option at 3B. Also RF Miguel Navarro is probably a season away, but he looked hot in AA and could make the jump after a huge spring. The question in Seattle will be to wait on these young guns or roll some out this season. The rotation features trade deadline arm Buck Smith, who seem to adapt well to Safeco Field. He has his scary moments, but could be someone special in Seattle. Tony Maradona, Jaret Redman and Felipe Melendez all are coming off down seasons and should recover enough to retain their rotation places. The 5th spot will be an open competition between Jimmie Eusebio (struggled in S20) Donnie Coppolecchia (walked more than he struck out) and Tom Stahoviak (career 1.56 whip). Not one would excite too many people. AA Starter Matt Holder would be that guy, but he is probably a season away from claiming his rotation spot. The Pen should be fairly young around Cl Kenny Foster who entering his 3rd season as closer has been very successful. Should get an opportunity to see Prospects Bo Rothschild, and potentially Kenny Callaway before season's end=. Both would be upgrades in the pen Though Seattle might want to bring in some low cost filler to give these guys some more experience without the pressure.
Projected Finish: 71-91 4th Place
FA Rumors: not going to spend much to fill the holes the future is coming quickly..

Madison Massa's - The hitting is still intact led by Brett Sanders and Lee Liverman. New leadoff last season in Alex James seems to fill in fine for the traded Marcus Thompson. Defensively this is a stronger team than 1 season ago, but they still need to find a better platoon partner for Jeromy Sele than Pedro Chavez . The lineup is younger than in the past and has more potential which bodes well for Madison in the Standings. The rotation is also pretty close to set with Ray Wright and Hideo Tamura playing a strong 1-2 punch and Trade deadline adds Albert Maurer and Rob Black (who went 9-1 in a Massa uniform). The 5th spot is up for grabs between Jesus Azocar and William Gibson who have both experienced the long relief and starting roles on this team last season. The pen is showing its age with Neil Young being elite closer and his band of top notched setup men. With no one under 30 they are the now unit. Many
Projected Finish: 92-70 2nd Place
FA Rumors: Tandem starter for SS pitching depth

Burlington Ice Storm (AL) three very similar Catchers could open one up for a trade. The storm need to add an upgrade at 2B and their Catcher depth might facilitate that. Burlington is strong across the lineup. With young studs David Johnson, Earl Boswell, Benny Sherman, and Alex Lucano. Many came to the league early and have plenty of on the job learning. The storm should be in a position to hit their way toward the top of the AL. Sp Josias Cortez is the ace in waiting, but he is still a few seasons away from commanding games, right now he is just a young guy with loads of potential. Current starters Patrick Foster and Jody Olsen both are coming of great seasons, expect them to come down to Earth some. SP Alfredo Andujar is also a guy who is playing before his time, he will have his ups and downs. Pitcher Donaldo Gonzalez is most likely on the hot seat and could have competition both from FA and from last season's #6 pick Victor Lopez. He like most of the storms pitching isn't ready, but hell he's full of talent. The best choice might be AAA pitcher Johnny Smart who can play now at a high level, but might require a few extra days off during the season. The Pen is made of 2 top end arms in Miguel Mondesi and Reagan McQuillan but the rest of the pen will struggle and lost the storm some games. Burlington might be able to turn 7 year pro SS Hunter King into a reliever with interest from other teams. Still think the pitching is at least 1 year away from being eaten alive by the rest of the division, but they should realize 500 this season
Projected Finish: 82-80
FA Rumors: Pitching help for the Pen maybe a short term deal for the rotation as an upgrade.

Minnesota Wobegon's Best hitting team in the division when Healthy. Herm Young, Jose Ayala, Murray Woolf and Bo Glanville all return to the center of the lineup. LF Tsubasa Kojima looks healthy for the 1st time in 2 seasons and could be hitting closer to .300 than .250 this season. This is a very capable hitting squad who should be able to make the game fun and be the team to beat in the North. But this has been the case for 3 seasons and huge injuries and bad luck have dimmed the dreams of the Wobegon's. Pitching is incredible deep with top end starters Damaso Martinez, Sterling Daniels, Antonio Lankford, and Steven Adcock. They should be the toughest in the AL, once they realize their talents..
Projected Finish: 94-68 1st Place
FA Rumors: Utility players on the cheap end.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

S21 NL South/ AL South


Norfolk Train Wrecks: Inexpensive and talented group who will be building on last season's success. You have to love the middle of the lineup featuring the likes of 1B Max Bennett, 2B Bobby McClain and clean-up man Gustavo Figureoa. SS Al Encarnacion came in strong for his rookie campaign but also showed that he wasn't as durable as Norfolk hoped tiring 3/4th through the season. Norfolk will need to bring in a comparable glove and bat to rest him more or be willing to rest Al more for his defensive replacement Tike Shelley, who has a history of struggles and is up for arbitration. Norfolk also needs to find another guy to plant on top of their batting order who can be a base threat other than Encarnacion. Norfolk should also be shopping around for upgrades at 3B where Felipe Campo just exists, but doesn't seem to excel at any one thing. OF Duffy Hudek could get some spring time reps at the hot corner. The farm is still choked full of talent with 2B Del Hyun getting a spring audition, but still a season away. Of prospect Hector Purcell should get plenty of notice in the spring as well and could crack the team as a 4th outfield, he will be competing with Frank Kulik. No reason Prospect SP Joshua Quinn isn't in Norfolk in the spring, he dominated the farm splitting time between AA and AAA last season, and has nothing left to prove. Adding him to the top of the rotation will give Norfolk a huge 1-2-3 punch with O'Donnell and Henry. The 4th and 5th rotation spots are a bit of a tossup veterans Samuel Jackson and Wayne Clark both have not shown much to have faith in handing the rock to every 5th day. Rule 5 pick-up Fred Boucher seems to be a better fit for long relieve, but did perform solidly in his brief starts. Also in the mix for the final spots might be international Prospect Matty Tatis who commanded 22.8M in bonus money last season. He will not be in the minors for long at that sum and should see if he can make the break this spring. Also in the mix is AAA pitcher Matty Tatis who showed some command issues last season in AAA, but is said to have work out his mechanics this winter and is looking sharp off the mound. The Pen should get a full season of newly touted closer Larry High who looked in control in his 9 appearances in season 20. He will be joined by setup men Charles Bang, rule 5 season 20 and former closer Frank Jackson. The Pen should be a position of strength for Norfolk in Season 21. Norfolk still could invest some capital in finding a strong FA starter and give Tatis another year to season. They might also be able to swing an upgrade for 3B and Defensive specialist to round out the team.

Projected Finish: 92-70 2nd place
FA Rumors: NEEDS LEAD OFF HITTER, PITCHING UTILITY HELP all get some consideration.

New York Dolls- Once again the Dolls will be the team to beat in the NL East. From top to bottom they have the most potent offense to work with. -1B Kenneth Springer is a consistent threat to hit 50 home runs. And Shayne Owens has found his stroke lead off this offensive juggernaut. The bench and defense might be a little undersized and on off days for the starters this team could be vulnerable. Bart Hogan and Christopher Joseph both will compete to be Ben Hogan's backup at catcher. Neither offers much behind the dish, but both can be offensive threats. Hogan himself also lacks a lot of catching finesse. Utility man Moises Bonilla seems to offer speed off the bench, but he finds himself struggling in the key defensive positions of Shortstop and Centerfield where he is a defensive downgrade over the starters. AAA SS Ernest Sutcliffe could be a fine replacement and a low cost alternative in the utility role this season. AAA 2B James Pribanic will also garner a few extra reps to see if he can offer some speed and defense for the bench as well in the spring. The pitching staff is developing flaws that other teams seem to be eating up. Shayne Nagy has struggled with his control and is looking increasingly hittable the past 2 seasons, although he still has the potential to dominate any game. Starter Dick Lewis also finds himself looking at the plus side of 4 the past few seasons, a rare experience for NY starters. A lot of hope is riding on Alex Alomar's arm this season. He has been a bust so far in his career and seems to be getting compared to other high potential prospects that never seemed to carry that potential into the ML. This will be his make or break season. The pen will be able to hold most any lead given to them and should serve as the nail on many NL team's coffins. The 5th starter spot competition is wide open with a few long relievers who could capable step u. NY also has a few arms that have nothing left to prove in AAA in Juan Belliard and Vic Cruz; both could be in NY uniforms at some point in the season or be playing elsewhere. Neither is going to win a Cy Young, but they might be solid 5th starter investments. NY could also try to make a splash and land another top end starter and further separate themselves from the pack or even bring back FA-to-be Allen Roundtree.

Projected Finish: 99-63 1st Place
FA Rumor: bottom end starter on a 1 year contract Defensive utility guy. Defensive Catcher.

Hartford Whalers- New Ownership might mean a new direction for a team which has many holes on the offense and defense. Catcher still stands as a position of need. Marcus Thompson a trade deadline acquisition is a professional lead-off hitting machine, but he is blocked in the field by the superior Larry Perry. His best move might be to take over at 1B and upgrade that position of need. The middle of the lineup is strong with the aforementioned Perry, Thompson and CF Midre Jordan. The rest of the lineup is very pedestrian and could use another bat to tighten up the offense in a tough division. The starting pitching is above average at the top of the rotation with Parrish and Crosby, but takes a big dip in the middle with Alberto Rodriguez and John Jensen. Rodriguez seems to underperform and might prove a quality innings with more seasoning right now he has been hit or miss with each start. The Whalers should be in the running for a flasher starter to add to the rotation. The bullpen can hold its own with Joe Coleman and closer Howard Neal. Both are coming off tough seasons, but should bounce back this year. Neal is starting to let his mileage show but he still can be one of the better relievers in the game any given day. Luis Perez should probably he looking for work elsewhere and would be an easy reliever to upgrade on. Not much to look for on the farm yet. To fill their holes they will have to find those answers through trade or Free Agency. If Hartford gets to worried they could look to bring back both Schultz and Estrada as part-time platoon partners to fill the gaps in the offense.
Projected Finish: 76-86 4th Place
FA rumors: need to add a catcher and one more offensive weapon.

Atlanta Braves- Give this teams an everyday 1st and 2B that can produce consistently and you could have one of the better offensive teams. The mid-season trade that landed them C Santiago seems to have worked out well giving the Braves a solid 1-2 behind the dish. Grace, Tartabull, Nunez, and Post are all 30 this year, so it gives the season a now or never vibe. The team will miss the offense of Tim Sutton, but his price will be quite restrictive and might better serve the team as a Compensation Pick. Young Stud Woodie Gross though gives the future a nice glean. The pitching rotation is seasoned well and should hold their own in S21. They tire very easily though and will depend heavily on the pen to throw a lot of innings. Atlanta might want to look for a workhorse starter to give the pen a rest on occasion. Atlanta does have Ricardo Martinez and Ivan Johnson in the pen both are capable of 100+ out of the pen and both throw quality innings. Not enough ready on the farm to fill the holes in the lineup and rotation, Atlanta will have to make smart moves in Free agency or through trades.
Projected Finish: 78-84 3rd Place
FA Rumors: Looking at 1B, 2B and a workhorse starter.

AL East

Toledo Mudhens - Huge hole exists at CF. Rhodes is at best a part time starter at 2B and SS Cesar Carreras has 284 career at bats in 11 seasons of pro ball. The offense has a number of huge contracts on that the new ownership will have to tip toe around, while filling holes in the lineup. The offense still has plus weapons in Pedro Osuna, Jose Park and Dan Kashmir. Al Frazier is a solid bench player at this point in his career. And should get a good number of at bats . Former ace Alex Wang looks worn-down after last season and might to be able to give the Hens a quality 6 innings this season. He is still a guy you need to get into the game and his best contribution might be as a setup guy. Starters Juan Escuela and Joel Perry should bookend the rotation, but the middle of the rotation will be up for grabs. Candidates included last season acquisition Edwards who went 5-0 in 5 starts down the stretch, but is considered overmatched in a full season of work. Jim McMahon who is a former high end starter who just seems to disintegrate in late inning work with a worn arm . Also in the mix is former starter now at AAA Trent Boone who has huge control issues, but loads of talent. Prospect reliever Fernando Valdez should get action this season in the pen and could allow the Mudhens at least 1 chip to trade to fill other holes. Coming off one of the worst years in franchise history they should rebound quickly in S21 with the right moves, but they will need to do so in a cap conscious manner. Might want to see if SP Don Shelby (R) or Victor Perez (L) wish to return at a discount. FA to be Max Mills might get a return nod, but his cost might be too restrictive at this juncture for the team.
Projected Finish: 73-89 4th Place
FA Rumors: Rotation help and a part timer at 2B

Chicago Wolves- Chicago has built a team to rival all teams. They have a strong 4 man rotation , each capable of Cy Young potential. Clarence Morgan, Cristobal Jacquez,, and Luis Candelaria are former all-stars and C Davey Santana has been ranked as one of the 10 best catchers in Ryan History. This is an offense that can crush you while the pitchers blaze the ball by you. The Wolves might need to add one more proven arm for the pen and maybe have another guy in the reserves for the rotation in case of injury. 2 of their own FA might get calls to see their price tags in Doug Evans (R) and Al Riveria. If the price is right these guys only make this rotation that much more lights out. A few Utility guys would not hurt to hold in AAA, if they can be had cheaply. Prospect OF Kevin Takada could provide nice punch for the bench, but will allow for a break for the starters without a lot of drop off in production.
Projected Finish 100-62 1st Place
FA Rumors: late mover in FA they might just bring in a few bargain pieces if they can find them, they will not need to overpay for talent..

Durham Bulls - A.J. Rollins has a new 3B to work with in Bonk Wells, both should be the catalyst for the offense in Durham. Add in young starters Emmanuel Horton and Frank Yamamoto and you have the making of a solid young core to build around. There are still plenty of holes, but they might be easily to fill and could be done cheaply. !b and Catcher both need upgrades on the offense AA prospect SS Joey Taft could get a lot of attention in the spring and could skip AAA.
The Pitching has played some of the worst innings ever recorded for the skill level of the starters. To be blunt they just have underperformed. Hurst, Wight and to a lesser extent Martin all seem to be pitching to long in outing, pitching tired and end up throwing with dead arms. Their pitch counts need to be dropped and the coaches need to be ready to pull them when they no longer have their pitches. If cared for these guys should be closer to the mid 4 ERA range instead of plus 6 ERAs. Granted this will mean bringing in a few stretched arms to pitch the 4-6th innings on occasion and maybe investing in a few more inning eaters, but this should come cheaply. SFA SP Phil Chapman might be given another year to make up for his bloated ERA in Season 20. There is no reason as a team Durham can't shave a full run off their team ERA without much effort.
Projected Finish: 77-85 2nd Place
FA Rumors: Needs a 1B C and Pitching Depth.

Boston Redsox -
Offense is well intact with a solid murders row in Fergie Ryan, Juan Cervantes, and David Gardner. The rest of the lineup shows flaws and can be exposed in games.. It shouldn't be too hard to find upgrades at 2B and 3B and possibly a 4th outfield without breaking the bank this season. SS Prospect Julio Mota has been fast tracked, but is still a season away from making an impact and will not benefit riding the bench this year in the ML versus starting at AAA. The rotation is in flux behind Ace Omar Ramirez. The talent level is a steep drop off with Christian Lim, Orber Bonilla, and Adam James better set to compete in a spot starting role then an every 5th day choice. FA Preston Walker will almost have to be brought back to help this rotation. Boston will have to invest in a few arms and open their wallet if they hope to compete. SP Guy Costello sits down at AA, but he is more than likely looking at 1 more season before a call-up. If things do go great in Free Agency he might be the one in Red and White in the Summer though. Demoted starter Hugh Richardson has the experience, but many fear his career is washed up, a spring audition will answer that question. AAA pitcher Vic Pena might be another cheap option., but he has notably struggled against right handed hitting. The pen is right now bear with the only guy worth the paper it's written on is CL Diego Cruz who is coming off a down season, but should be back this season after playing strong in winter ball. Projected Finish: 74-88 3rd Place
FA Rumors: Needs pitching @b and 3 B upgrades Relievers.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Season 20 2nd Power Rankings

1(1) Chicago Wolves – 37/59 in quality starts to go with top 10 era, whip and strikeouts.

2 (5) Texas Tornadoes - Aurelio Espada has picked up where he left off last season batting a ludicrous .357 with 19hr and 7SB. He is an absolute animal this season.

3(3) Salt Lake City Prospectors- SLC is the best combination team out there they have a great 3 man rotation, good speed and solid hitting, not one guy dominates either the pitching or the hitting, the sis a well-built team top to bottom. Outside of Hector Tarasco, I hate Hector Tarasco.

4 (6) New York Dolls -
struggling at home with only a 13-13 record, they need to shake off the new York Raspberries and start playing to the home crowd advantage.

5(8) Memphis Amon-Ra - CL Bob Thome has 2 all-star appearances, but no Fireman of the year awards what does this guy got to do to be respected in this league. He has been near unhittable for 4 seasons.

6(7) San Juan Saints - San Juan would be easily the team to beat if they could pick up their fielding issues. 59 error is 21 more than the league average.

7 (4) Colorado Springs Organizational Filler- Rookie SP Jim Gulan got his 1st start of the season this week. Posting a respectable no decision in 5 innings of working giving up 6 hits walking 1 and striking out 3. He still has work to do, but scouts expect more out of him.

8(14) Pittsburgh Pirates – Closer Dizzy Wynn was been shut down in his sophomore season complaining about pain in his forearm. Doctors suspect nerve damage and don't want him on the mound for 6 months. It will be late next season before we will see Wynn again. Huge lose for a closer who was posting a 1.99ERA.

9 (9) Minnesota Wobegon's - SP Damaso Martinez could be the best rookie pitcher this league has seen in a while, strike that he could be the best pitcher this league has seen in awhile

10(10). Colorado Mile High Club- RF Harry Rojas is making the most of his playing time in a monster lineup, seeing the cookie better than ever and driving it over the fences, he is on pace for more than 45 HR this season.

11(12) Dover Doves – Huge Blow for Dover as they lose Matt Chouinard for the season with a neck injury. Matt was on his way to a career year at the plate, and scouts feel this injury might be career threatening. Only time will tell, but he is signed for 2 more seasons.

12(24) Atlanta Braves - Rookie Woodie Goss appears to be the real deal, leading all rookies in batting average with a .336 with 9 hr and 11sb. Should be the front runner for rookie of the year.

13(2) Madison Massa's – 6 complete games and 3 shutouts for Madison a team who finished 3rd from the bottom in pitching in season 19. Pitching doesn't seem to be the problem this year in Wisconsin.

14 (22) Houston Stone Cold KillersCF J.C. Stokes has been an incredible threat on the base paths. When he gets on he is almost guaranteeing a stolen base. The problem has increasingly become his inability to get hits, Houston has watched his average fall the past 4 seasons without signs of life.

15(25) El Paso Massacre at Two Pines - +42 in the field along with low error totals and great overall acrobatics keeps El Paso in the games, but they just lack all the other tools to keep hope alive.

16(30) Seattle Fainting Goats –Seattle is starting the climb out of the basement with a .547 EXP win % they show good promise to make a run at a weakened AL North division.

17(16) St. Louis Twains – RP Del Escobar pitched in 1 ML game to 3 batters gave up 2 hits walked 1 and recorded no outs for his 1st career decision (loss) that will be his career line as he is now unemployed.

18 (15) Charleston Cougars - Should get an offensive pick me up from the return of Carlos Carrasco He should be a better option in Rf over Stu Taylor and Ernest Bailey.

19(19) Burlington Ice Storm- DH David Johnson is playing himself out of a job, when your only job is hitting the ball you should probably bat better than .114 in 70 at bats.

20(20) Anaheim strasfigor- it has to be only a matter of time before LF/1B Clay Cambridge gets a shot to return to the ML batting better than .330 in AAA he has a greater skill set than 1B Hank Norris currently starting for LA.

21(23) Norfolk Train Wrecks – Norfolk is learning very quickly that ST. Louis dropped SP Samuel Jackson for a reason.

22(13) Cincinnati Ramrod – Gary Jenkins and Hugh Samardzija were part of a big pitching shakeup. The Ramrods are looking for anything to put a spark in this bullpen. These 2 showed nothing in their ML time.

23(26) Salem Slammers- LF Carson Sauer is back in the Ml after a short stint in the minors to correct an issue with his swing. While his bat has not returned to force he is hitting the ball harder and driving it much cleaner. Salem has to hope this will result in more hits eventually this season.

24(21) Cheyenne Marmots – 2B Travis Stokes seems to have regressed after 5 strong seasons, he has struggled to find his swing this season and as a result Cheyenne finds themselves looking at possibly their 1st losing season in 4 seasons.

25(11) Charlotte knights - SS Sam Miller is done for the season with a major neck injury, this puts a huge hole on top of the Knight offense, but will give Charlotte the opportunity to audition some the farm hands.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Season 20 1st Power Rankings

1 Chicago Wolves - Former #2 pick Todd Olerud (S15) looks start in his rookie season. "He showed us a lot in the spring, holding batters to under .200 BAA and his 4 Minor league Cy Young Awards probably are a little telling. We knew he could find success, but he has been a rock to lean on" said Bench Manager Felipe Julio.

2 Madison Massa's - The acquisition of Ray Wright has turned around the Massa rotation from last year's dismal performance. With Wright at #1 it allows them to pitch Tamura down in the rotation where he has excelled out of the spotlight.

3 Salt Lake City Prospectors- SLC has been a monster on the base paths with 27 stolen bases and only being caught 2 times. With inexperienced 1st and 3rd base coach who struggled in their playing days making good base running choices, this is hard to believe it will continue.

4 Colorado Springs Organizational Filler- Struggling this season to get pitches in the right place and hitters to swing and miss. 1st year Lee Sherman who coached AAA last season has been trying to get his finger on these guys all season.

5 Texas Tornadoes - Starting pitchers Diego Gomez and Vin Delgado are 2nd and 3rd in the league in strikeouts this season. They might be the dynamic duo in a tough hitter's park.

6 New York Dolls - HOF'er to be Mat Shave looks worn and it is becoming more difficult to find him time in the lineup with his .188 batting average a no power.

7. San Juan Saints - 10-3 on the road makes them the best road team. Only 3-3 at home shows they need to find that groove for the home crowd.

8. Memphis Amon-Ra - The Amon-Ra spend nearly 17M on bringing in Aaron Fox for 3 years and he looks every bit of 34 this season. He has been sluggish in the field and seems to be just hacking at the plate.

9. Minnesota Wobegon's - another season with a huge season ending injury to a big star, this time Sterling Daniels goes down with a major elbow injury. He will be shelved until season 21. Huge blow for a team that will be looking for a deep playoff run.

10. Colorado Mile High Club- 9 time all-star Del Prieto's spring training injury is most likely career threatening and will cost him any shot of getting 3ooo hits for his career. Sad end to a possibly a great Hall of Fame career.

11. Charlotte knights - LF Jimmie Miranda seems to be getting the green light again, if he keeps is batting average up he should beat his career high in Stolen bases this season.

12. Dover Doves – the 2 longest hitting streaks of the season belong to Dovers Matt Chouinard(16 games) and Valerio Guillen(17 for 17 games). Hitting has been impressive.

13. Cincinnati Ramrod – steady reliever Jeff Watson looks like he has lost something off his fastball and curve. Hitters seem to be reading him, league scouts believe he might be tipping his pitches by cheating in his stance to compensate for some lost velocity.

14. Pittsburgh Pirates – 3rd year starting pitcher Richie Hurst has responded well to pitching coach Felipe Dominguez's off-season workout regimen. His fastball looks unhittable to far this season. The team's ERA is a lead leading 2.86

15. Charleston Cougars - RP David Itou wasn't able to get anything started this season after a solid spring, he seemed to lose all confidence and was waived. Better luck in Cleveland.

16. St. Louis Twains – SP Eric Erickson continues to amaze me with his 4 years as at least average pitching. He has been able to keep St. Louis in all his games this season. Still waiting for the wheels to fall off this guy.

17. Helena Mail Order Cowboys - The cowboys are a combined record 9-63 in the minors. Cowboys need to take a look at the farm and protect some of their future investments. At least use Simmy.

18. Cleveland Spyders – After a down power year in S19 Jose Park seems to have reclaimed his swing already nailing 8 dingers in 18 games.

19. Burlington Ice Storm- DH David Johnson is playing himself out of a job, when your only job is hitting the ball you should probably bat better than .114 in 70 at bats.

20. Anaheim strasfigor- Fans in Anaheim are blowing up talk radio all over California about Everett Rodgers's fielding at SS, he just isn't getting to the hole quick enough and his throws are an adventure.

21. Cheyenne Marmots – P Dale Taylor has slid each year since his career year in S17. He struggled in spring training, but in his first 4 starts he was been beyond awful to the tune of 35 hits in 13 innings with an ERA of14.54. He will be skipped in the rotation until his mechanics are worked out.

22. Houston Stone Cold Killers – Houston fans are at a loss on what happened to steady setup man Livan Campos's arm. Some in the media are speculating he is hiding an injury and trying to pitch through it. The results have been awful, a .400 BAA and an ERA north of 11.

23. Norfolk Train Wrecks – SP Rudy Henry has had a tough start to the season, getting rocked in 3 of his 4 starts.

24. Atlanta Braves - 2B Robert Lundquist who has played sparingly through 4 seasons has broken out on the scene this season. Batting a league leading .429 after a spring where he batted .778. Playing like its little league for him. Experts point to his high strikeout total as an indicator his bubble might be short lived.

25. El Paso Massacre at Two Pines - RP Kelvin Shaw's season ended before it started in spring training, most scouts thought he was ML caliber before the injury and will wait to see how he bounces back before commenting on his future, but many proven Major leaguers would struggle to come back from that type of elbow injury and pitch at an ML level again.

26. Salem Slammers- Ace Angel Mateo's shoulder issues from S19 seem to be long since over as he has dominated the NL this season and has been the X factor for the Slammers.

27. Durham Bulls – 2nd year hitting coach Freddy Blauser spend the off season and the spring retooling CF Frank Yamamoto's swing to move Frank from concentrating on hitting for the fences to working more on contact and putting the ball in play. The results are lower power numbers and a .351 batting average to lead the Bulls.

28. Tampa Bay Guls - bullpen is getting a heavy workload pitching 43% of the innings this season in Tampa. They need to get the starters on track or there will be long range issues in August.

29. Philadelphia Stars - SP Johnny Powell has pitched well the past 2 seasons, but fan are getting frustrated that he's only going 4-5 innings a start. The Stars need to check on how to keep him in games longer to put less stress on the pen.

30. Seattle Fainting Goats –Starting rotation has an ERA of more than 6.50. Not going to last long for a rebuilt team.

31. Kansas City McCoys - I refuse to acknowledge that losing Mike Cox to injury in spring training is why this team can't win, but his replacements in the rotation have been stinking up the place pretty bad……so maybe.

32. Richmond James Gang – Pitching coach Banana Upshaw is trying to figure out why ace reliever Lonny Uribe is plunking guys to the tune of every 8 batters. Uribe seems to be guarding the plate like he is pitching in the 40's.

Monday, May 9, 2011

NL North/ AL North S20 Preview


Dover Doves: 6M over the cap coming into the season is not a position any team wants to be in. They might have to trade away a contract or transfer budget to make this team work as it stands. Defensively this is one of the better teams in the NL and should be able to make the pitching staff look better every day. They should be able to get away with a few more hanging curves than other teams can. The Offense has a few holes in the batting order, but they still feature former MVP Valerio Guillen and solid #5 guys Albert Oquist. Recently signed Footsie Long adds a whole other bag of tricks to the lineup and should offer a strong bat to the lineup. The pitching staff is wild at times with poor control over most of the starting staff. They will need to hope the defense can erase some of the extra base runners to make innings smoother.
Projected Finish: 86-76 2st Place
FA Rumors: Need to get their budget number down might do addition by subtraction or the Ai will do it for them.

Philadelphia Stars Offensively this is the best hitting club in the NL North and should be able to score runs easily. They might have issues in the field that will erase their offensive skill set. George Frazier is not a capable CF'er and might be better suited for 3B, but there is a log-jam at 3B capable players. Overall there is a nice corp of hitters to work with. A nice collection of starters mixed with 4A type pitcher for long relief. The Pen is going to need to get things sorted out to give Preston Guerrero a better company to work with. Those guys are littered in AAA with Preston Guerrero, and Andres Brogna and AA pitcher Charles Bang not even getting a look right now and sitting off the 40 man roster.
Projected Finish: 82-80 3rd Place they need to straighten out the prospects and bring up the right guys and this team has a new look
FA Rumors: Talent is in place they need to promote from within.

Cincinnati Ramrod currently carrying 16 pitchers on a NL team. This is about 3 to many for the NL in my Opinion and cuts the bench short, limiting what Cinci can do at the plate. The core base of hitters is solid with both good defenders and elite level hitters, there are definite holes at CF and they could use one role player off the bench. Using some 0of the excess pitching and packaging it could land that starter or bench player. There are still a number of guys in Free Agency that fill that need as well. There isn't much of a farm ready guy to lean on to fill either role right now.

Projected Finish: 88-74 1st Place
FA Rumors: CF Heath Peterman (L) or a poor man's version Jason Tankersley (L) would be of interest

St. Louis Twains the Twain has a numbers of guys coming down the pipe, but more than likely are at least 1 season away from regular ML action. The offense is fast, but very light hitting outside of FA acquisition , The Pitching staff is sub-standard and will struggle in a tough NL and be eaten alive with Al hitting. This is a team that is just biding its time until all its top picks starting cashing in.
Projected Finish: 72-90
FA Rumors: have the money to target another bat and maybe an upgraded arm for both the starters and the pen, they just need to shuffle the roster some to make room, night is a move or 2 during spring training.


Seattle Fainting Goats - Have to like the aggressive take on free agency they brought in talented 2B Mendy Barfield , and a few key veterans in 3B Tony Jacquez and CF Sean Swan. The help they need now is all on the pitching side, they have a serviceable starting rotation, but it has weakness toward the backend and a solid 8-9th inning punch, but they lack the meat in the middle of the pitching staff. AA pitcher Bo Rothschild might fill part of that need. The free Agency frenzy does one good thing small term contracts that leave room for the future to step into starting roles next year and the year following without having a veteran block the road.
Projected Finish: 80-82 3rd Place
FA Rumors: Might try to land 1 more cheap end long reliever and an insurance starter such as Ralph Ainsworth , Vince Sheets or Brandon Roosevelt.

Madison Massa's Lost a number of bench players along with ½ last season's starting pitching corp, yet this team might have improved through the subtraction. A new corp of pitchers were brought in with Ray Wright taking the #1 spot, Hitting will take a bit of a slide with the aging of key veteran Craig Cooper. The Massa's need to find a starting SS or look to Jeromy Sele who is coming off a huge injury and has no ML experience. Pitching should have improved enough to keep Madison in the conversation another season
Projected Finish: 88-74 2nd Place
FA Rumors: Has to be looking at bringing back SS Daniel Young or another high caliber option, Could use another pitcher for insurance.

Burlington Ice Storm (AL) Swing for the fences type lineup in a big park, they are all or nothing batters, mixed in with some young guns. Alex Lucano seems rushed this season after only 1 year in the minors, I would have liked to see him get more seasoning before the call-up but he does have ML skills to offer right now. With only 9 pitchers on the team and 6 open spots they have the space to make some nice FA ads. They need to target 1 more starter and a few more dependable bullpen arms. I more consistent hitter would not hurt the team either.
Projected Finish: 70-92
FA Rumors: LRP Roy Robinson, RP Ricardo Lee or RP Howard Neal should all get looks

Minnesota Wobegon's Like Madison this is a team that can hit, but they can also pitch with young home grown talent like , Damaso Martinez, Sterling Daniels, Antonio Lankford, and Steven Adcock this could be the toughest rotation in the Al. They should have won the Al North last season, but injuries derailed the team and allowed Madison to slip ahead. I would not expect this to happen again. Both injuries the team still carries should be cleared early in the season. When that's done expect the Wobegon to be unstoppable and all this for under 50M not to bad.
Projected Finish: 90-72 1st Place
FA Rumors: Should be quiet might move aging talent to make room for the young guns to get more Abs