Wednesday, February 2, 2011

S19 STARS preview

Philadelphia Stars (NL)

S18 record: 66-96
Finish: Third place, NL North
2010 final payroll: $90.9 million
Estimated 2011 opening day payroll: $88 million

Offseason action:

The Stars need to invest in a top level 3B. A superstar would be able huge in that role.
3B Matt Matthews's days at 3B are coming to a close. His usefulness might be still had in the outfield. Matthews is no longer a 40+ HR guy, but still could contribute 25 bombs a season and contribute. The Stars need to find if he is the fit in Philly they need. C Brian Hocking is a great part-time player and will be hard for Philly to walk away from; he should find a solid market for his wears outside of the Stars if he makes it that far. SS Benji Nunez never really got a shot in the big leagues this season, but he's a solid defender and should draw some interest as a defensive specialist. For less than 2M I would bring him back to the Stars.
2B Don Orosco (R), SP Hal Orie (L), and RP Andres Brogna (R) and CL Preston Guerrero (R) are all looking for a sizable raise in arbitration. They are all worth the investment. Bigger questions lie with AAA SP Pascual Otanez (R) who seems to have fallen out of favor with Philly administration, but still could be a ML factor.

Reality check

Oscar Baker
Age: 26B/T: S/L
Born: Salem, MO
Position(s): CF/1B/OF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

The offense is driven by all stars 2B Don Orosco, LF Harvey Carson, CF Oscar Baker and LF George Frazier. They make up a monster middle of the lineup combination. SS Lockwood is a great defensive mind with solid offensive pop, but it's his speed that makes him a great asset, his fit though might be more as an 8 or 9 hitter instead of leadoff. Philly will need to find a more appropriate option for the top of the order. Bringing back Matthews might add a nice insurance policy for the OF and give the fans a favorite son. Philly could also find an upgrade on 1B Alex Galvez who is an all or nothing hitter who swing for the fences in the line of .242 while doing it with 161 SO. There has to be someone better. Philly will audition Gary O'Neill for that role, but they might see a mirror of what they got from Galvez in O'Neill. Prospect SS Ken Quinn will get a shot at being the super utility guy and should be a huge defensive upgrade for whoever he replaces
The Starting pitching was in major confusion in S18. David Dominguez signed a 3 year 18M deal with the Stars only to start the season in AAA. Johnny Powell never found his groove after signing his 4 year $25M deal. His 6.39 ERA and 1.69 WHIP were both career worsts. Hopefully he can get a clean slate in S19 and recover. Adam Miller seems to continue to exceed expectations going into his final year of an 18M deal. He's just nowhere near an average pitcher that he has shown. Bringing back Hal Orie into the starting rotation might be the best option. He should get his best opportunity this season to reestablish himself into the lineup. Also Mariano Bonilla has been relegated to the pen for the past 2 seasons. His skills should be able to bring back memories of his last Starting campaign in S16 where he went 15-6 with a 4.13 ERA. Albert Bennett, Rollie Vernon and Alex Forster have not performed so adequately and the Stars will be auditioning replacements in the rotation. Felix Nelson and Bob Bigley will get a chance to take a spot, but neither is going to scare too many batters. The best competition is in the minors with Pascual Otanez, Pedro Mercado and Donaldo Cordero all offering more talent than some of the lowly starts Philly is putting out each night.
Carlos Mercedes is the answer to the middle relief, but he needs help. Horace Walton showed promise helping take down some innings. Andres Brogna and Jimmie Brown will get a shot to compete for a role in long relief. Closer Preston Guerrero is one of the game's best. Over the past4 season he has averaged over 28 saves and a 2.58 ERA. Prospects Marcus Tucker, Charles Bang, and Roger VandenHurk are all ready to compete at the next level and would be upgrades for the pitching staff. I would expect a few of these guys to be moved in the preseason to improve other areas. Similarly to what will be done in long relief.

Finishing it with a quote:

" I expect big things from Powell after working with him the whole off season. We might be talking 15 wins this season"-2nd year pitching coach Humberto Chavez

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