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.

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