Cheyenne Marmots- a year older and many of the veterans are starting to slip considerably. With a division chalked full of young talent they might find themselves struggling to slip into the playoffs again. That being said Cheyenne is still featuring one of the better pitching staffs in the NL and if I have learned anything from NL play it's having a great pitching staff will put you near the top. Still this is the downward swing of a mighty team and they might find themselves on the wrong side of a tough division. They have a lot of ready talent on the farm both in pitching with the likes of SP Jimmie Perez and RPs Vicente Cruz and Javier Fernandez. They also have a few clutch hitters to look at in RF Quilvio Cabrera (AAA) 1B B.J. Leach (AA) and 1B Donaldo James (AAA). They could translate into fine players for Cheyenne in the future.
Projected Finish: 90-72 4th Place
FA Rumors: should spend a little time to pluck up a middle of the road reliever on the cheap to solidify one more run or stay put and draw from a stocked farm system.
Colorado Mile High Club- One of the better NL Hitting clubs, they take advantage of the Colorado air to power across their runs. Not a team that's shy about bringing up prospects early, Colorado is known to throw their stars to the fire at first chance to maximize their value for the big club. With this strategy come some growing pains as players learn their positions, o how to pitch on the job. This might be the 1st season where this all some together with elite feel. They have elite hitters in Lucas Martin, Terry White, Jose Pena and Delino Frias. Along with Ace Yorvit Vincente they have a good chance of sticking close and letting the offense take over early. Colorado does have a misfit bullpen that will need to find a few steadier hands. In the past they have had success plucking old veteran relievers to fill this void.
Projected Finish: 2nd Place 94-68
FA Rumor: Sp Damian Carter (L) Might be insurance, RP's Benny Miller, Orlando Martinez, Bruce Spencer, and Ellis Watson should send flyers.
Colorado Springs Organizational Filler- Similar to Colorado in Offense, but more refined. Their top end might not be as high, but they do well at what they bring to the table. Defensively this is a subpar unit with some major deficiencies in the starting unit. The pitching staff can hide many of these issues with the pure domination that Valdez can be. CSP also features one of the most dominating Bullpens in the league. If anyone struggles I'm sure the Fillers have no worries when the bullpen gets the call.
Projected Finish 1st place 96-66
FA Rumor: Could make a play at oft-injured CF Sean Swan or Defensively minded Brad Finnessey and still land an insurance pitcher.
Salem Slammers: losing a lot of starters to FA this season and will have fill holes at SS,3B and OF along with gaping holes in pitching. The good news is most of this can be handled internally with SS Edinson Maradona and RF Jacob DiFelice close to being ready. Add in a farm system which is loaded with bullpen help and a few shining stars in the starting ranks, Orber Leon, and in reality Salem might need to go after 1 or 2 starters.
Projected Finish: 3rd Place 90-72
FA Rumors: SS Aaron Fox's number is in the rolodex already if they can get him at the right price. Might make a run at SS Daniel Young, but SP Ray Wright seems the most logical fit.
Salt Lake City Prospectors- World Series champions don't need to add much to stay near the top. The offense is set with the exception of Right Field which will be an open competition between Farm talent RF Len Willis and CF Rafael Rosario or a Free agent veteran. The pitching staff is one of the best in the Al Led by back to back CY Young winner Ryan Perry and a crew of capable starters. Most of the league is still waiting for the bubble to burst on Hector Tarasco, but he has averaged no less than a 3.9 Era with 17 wins a season in Salt Lake. Damn Mormon Prayers!
Projected Finish: 99-63
FA Rumors: Carlos Feliz, Mendy Barfield, or Tony Jacquez
Helena Mail Order Cowboys - Find themselves a pair of aces short in the rotation with the potential exit of both Ray Wright and Max Estrada. They need to fill those holes who even though they played in S19 still only guided this team to a below .500 record. Not bringing much up from the farm to help in the field or on the mound. They will need to gather at least one more hitter to compliment the combo of Vic Castilla and Jose Frias if they want to bring success to Helena. They will also need to score at least 1 pitcher to solidify the rotation. Not a lot of cap room to do all that
Projected Finish 2nd 77-85
FA Rumors: Ray Wright or Max Estrada both has homes in the Area, but Jeremy Linden might be a short term fix until a direction is found. Might entertain an idea to give Carlos Hernandez or Minnie Coleman a shot to compete on the cheap.
Kansas City McCoys - The McCoys have money to burn and lot of holes to fill. Without fear of losing a 1st round pick they might make a huge splash in Free Agency. They have holes almost everywhere though. , but primarily they might target a top end starting pitcher and an elite level hitter and defender. Still there are too many players on the wrong side of 30 and not enough money or farm hands to cover everything this season. The farm does have a few talent ready guys in RF Gregg Washington and SP Darron Gross who should get plenty of ML time. If KC can make a big signing, they could climb but the standings and play around .500 ball.
Projected Finish: 70-92 3rd place
FA Rumors: Big push for CF Heath Peterman and 2B Mendy Barfield. SP's Angel Mateo, Ray Wright and Everett Ritz Classic's in KC Blue might also get some love such as Jeremy Linden
Anaheim strasfigor- They have hitting talent, but many of their best hitters stare at the wrong side of 30 and are on the decline. All-Star Everett Rodgers struggles in the field at SS and needs to move and open up the position for someone who can field it. The real problem is the pitching who season after season struggles to get the ball consistently over the plate, with an average skilled pitching staff location means the difference between a slow grounder and a whopping homerun. The defense doesn't do the pitching staff any favors when the ball is put into easy play. Without 1 or 2 more solid pitchers this team will again struggle to see .500
Projected Finish: 68-94 4th Place
FA Rumors: SP Angel Mateo or Royce Hurst would look solid.