ML AL South (Season 15 Projected Standing)
Texas Tornadoes 85-77 The youth on this team will make them good for the long haul, This season will be a learning yea, but they could surprise
Houston Buffs (AL) 75-87 To many holes to fill in the field, they need to get guys in the right positions and bring in a name for the pitching staff to settle things some.
Louisville Loud Mouths 87-75 made the playoffs and won the division with a sub-.500 record. They should not have to more about being under .500 this season
St. Louis Rustlers 62-100 WANTED STARTING PITCHING; IF YOU CAN GET THE BALL OVER THE PLATE INQUIRE WITHIN.
St. Louis Rustlers
44M (56M) Estimated Opening Day Payroll
KEY OFFSEASON MOVES: SP B.J. Kipling- Bottom of rotation starter, C Kevin Martin- offensive catcher, LRP Roger Forbes- spot starter, no longer a guy for the rotation, SP Harry Palacios- average starter, RF Gerald Monroe- has been ML'er, 2B Fausto Solano- still have speed and defense to offer. ADDED: RP Teddy Kline- 4A Player.
Offense: with 4 spots left on the roster and a lot of holes to fill, it is hard to evaluate the Rustlers. They have a solid CF in Hutton who should be able to build on his freshman effort. The true start of the show might be Steven Driefort, who should again lead this team's offense. They might look to free agency or Rule 5 to pick up a starting 3B.
Defense: On a hole the defense is strength, Schmitt is capable at Short, Hutton holds up well in CF, Driefort is great at 2B. Perez will make a fine LFer. The biggest Question marks are at 3B and at Catcher where Will Stone can't throw out anyone.
Rotation: I'm not sure which 5 pitchers St. Louis will throw up on the mound each day. They have a staff of solid long relievers lead by Newhouse, but not a whole lot of guys who can give the team 5+ innings. Unless they pick up a few veterans or a couple of rule 5 guys these pitchers will be destroyed.
Bullpen: Orlando Frias is more than capable as the closer, but like the rest of the bullpen they get to much work and get worn very quickly. Better starters will make this Pen shine.
Houston Buffs (AL)
58.5M (71M) Estimated Opening Day Payroll
KEY OFFSEASON MOVES: SP Francis Charlton- probably not worth 20M, but still quality, RP Luis Camacho- has shown improvement last 3 years, CF Peter Hunter- could be a solid OF'er, RP Winston Ryan-solid middle inning option, RP Julio Vargas- good long relief guy, DH Slim Edwards- all hitter, no fielder, 2B Harry Vosberg- over 2000 career hits and still has a few left to swing, DH Willie Torrealba, probably a DH at this point. ADDED CF Al Rincon- solid defense and speed, but no bat, C Victor Navarro- defensive catcher, SS Kiki Guerrero- could be a great Right handed platoon defensive wiz, SP Steve McDonald- solid starting pitching option.
Offense: off-loaded a lot of the big guns last season and whittled off a few more this year. Dubois, Duran, Richie and Parks should provide enough offense to keep the Buffs in games.
Defense: Donnie Dubois should not be in the field at this point in his career, He still offers a lot at the plate, but his glove and range will not cover enough fields and he won't help the pitching, Duran's arm probably isn't good enough to be full-time in Right, but he should at least get to the ball. The rest of the defense might be close to stellar at their positions.
Rotation: Ace Charlton is gone in his place comes Steve McDonald, a green rule 5 guy from s15, Joining McDonald are Darrin Powers and Winston Franco all are solid, but unspectacular. Done will take control of the game, but should at least pitch well enough to give the Buffs a chance.
Bullpen: Skeeter Nelson might be my pick to lead this bullpen; he has amazing durability and stamina for a setup guy and should eat a lot of innings as the key setup man for the Buffs. I'm not sure who you let close though.
63.7M (75M) Estimated Opening Day Payroll
KEY OFFSEASON MOVES: P Max Milliard- better suited in Long Relief at this point, 1B Eric Ford- long solid career could be at an end, SS Alex Zorrilla- great defensive option still, RF Victor Mondesi- still a viable option, SS Arthur Dunn- solid defensive option, RP Vic Rijo- still a solid pickup. P Alfredo Velazquez- solid long reliever pickup.
Offense: Aurelio Espada is still the man, but he has 3 capable 3rd basemen in the ML behind him (crespo, Martin, Salinas). With this kind of depth it allows Texas to either trade away some of this talent to improve other areas or even have a bunch of killer bats on the bench. The Offense should be able to make noise.
Defense: Defense is going to be good around the infield if they spread out their logjam correctly at 3B, they still might need an upgrade at Center, but they could get away with the talent they have without too much issue.
Rotation: Leach, Gonzales, and Young showed flashes of their skills and will build on their rookie seasons and should be a great backbone for seasons to come.
Bullpen: CL Benito Cortez struggled as a closer in s15; I would not expect him to have as many issues this season in that role. . RP Andres Coronado should also be better. This is a young and capable team in the pitching department. A Team to watch out for in S16 and beyond.
Louisville Loud Mouths
55.9M (70M) Estimated Opening Day Payroll
KEY OFFSEASON MOVES: SP Roy Robinson- Solid Middle rotation guy, CL Walter Gentry- solid pen guy with Closer experience, SP Yannick Fonville- he has had success through a long career, RP Dicky Chen- should be retirement soon, RP Gerald Ma- still solid, SS Carlos Garza- solid backup option.
Offense: Stubby Wilson was the only guy last season to break the 100 RBI club that is hard to believe with talent such as Ivan spehr, Roger Post, and Louie Rosario in the lineup. The latter all settled in with 80+ RBI seasons. With the right combination this lineup should pound out the runs and stay very competitive.
Defense: All the key positions are covered fairly well; they have a deficit at Catcher, but nothing to be afraid of.
Rotation: Tino Chang replaces Fonville and should have better success; the rotation still has a few guys who will give up to many walks for my taste as everyday starters, but the staff should hold its own every day. The rotation has good upside and should keep things close for Louisville.
Bullpen: Small, Wayne and Hernandez should make for good competition to close out games for the loudmouths. They will also make a great pen no matter how things shake out.