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.

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