: The only change to our lineup will be at the leadoff spot. With the
addition of true leadoff hitter and fellow canadian Iago Padden, the
Austin lineup will be filled with speed, contact and power at the top.
Padden is a perrenial 20/80 threat at the leadoff spot that also hits
for average followed by Trevor Parker who is an on-base machine and
rarely finished under 25/25 and a .300/.400/.520 line. (915 career OPS).
With career .314 hitter and contact machine Miguel Martinez in the
3-hole and Kevin Redmond batting cleanup, opposing pitchers will have a
hard time. They won't have much of a break later in a lineup that will
include future Hall of famer Luther Martin (3000 hits, 600 HRs) and Bill
Stafford who has hit at least 30 home runs and drove in at least 100
runs for 10 seasons in a row. (WOW) At the bottom we'll have our
defensive specialists who can hit the ball pretty good as well with all
of them capable of hitting double digits home runs with good average and
some speed (Morales and Hernandez).
Both our catchers have elite
defensive attributes and pitch calling skills. Our bench is diversified
with speed, contact and power.
Pitching : Our rotation will
feature 3 of the 5 Cy young finalists from last year. Ray Boesch is
arguably one of the best pitchers in the league right now and will go
down as one of the best ever having already won 2 Cy Youngs before
turning 30. Matthew Patterson won the NL Cy Young last year and will
continue to build on a strong career so far in Austin. Alberto Osuna and
Samuel Menechino will fit in the 3 and 4 spots and can both win 15
games + with an ERA below 3,50. Former Cy Young Finalist and 19 game
winner Banana Coles will round up the back of the rotation. All 5 of
them can pitch well over 200 innings and maintain a high level of
production throughout the season. All 5 SPs are in the prime of their
careers right now and will look to improve on a good season 32.
Fun fact : Austin pitchers won 4 of the last 6 NL Cy Youngs. (Paul Gregg, Ray Boesch x2, Matthew Patterson)
Bullpen will rely on our 7-8-9 trio of Damaso Rios, Damian Collins and
BJ Knotts. With our starters pitching late into games, those three
should have no problem preserving leads late in games. The late addition
of Eric Estes will surely strenghten our LRPs when needed.
: With most of our studs under team control for the next 3 seasons,
there is still a good window of opportunity for this team to accomplish
great things. If we want to do so, we're gonna have to go deeper in the
playoffs and start winning playoffs series. We have played for at least
.500 for 9 seasons in a row and have won the division for the past 6
years. Now is the time to take this team one step further and win it all
Prediction : 100-62. 1st NL South. Make it to the NLCS.
Last Season: 88-74 3rd NL North, Missed Playoffs
Key Losses: RF Angel Romero, HOF Andres Gomez, RP Jayson Phillips
Key Additions: RP Ken Cepricky, DH Rick Bell
As Angel Romero had already lost his starting spot to cousin Benji, his
loss won't shake up the lineup at all. The core of the squad is pretty
young and looks to continue near the top of the NL in RS. Couple that
with two guys winning SS in just their second seasons in the ML things
are looking good. With the addition of Rick Bell as a DH and spot play
RF, the Mountain Hawks can sport 4 switch hitters in the lineup.
Whether or not that's a good thing is up for debate... The middle of
the lineup continues to look solid with a 2-3-4-5 of Hughes. Maduro,
Ramero, and Campos.
Defense will again be spotty in Boise. The
addition of Pedro Renteria up the middle has somewhat improved the
fielding rate, but he has a wild arm and is prone to overthrow 1st base
when he gets excited. The most solid fielder on the squad is backstop
Polin Campos throwing out roughly one third of stealers.
bench is full of role players with Bell the quintecential PH in every
game for a pitcher. LeCure has a ton of pop for the 4th OF, but tends
to K too often. Alfonseca has no real position as he's the 5th OF and a
terrible IF, but steals a lot of bases and has a career BA hovering
Pitching: A new season in Boise, a new pitching staff
once again. It looks like the Mountain Hawks are again putting together
a staff held together with duct tape. There's no #1 or even #2 pitcher
on the staff at this point. It's a staff of #3's. Goldschmidt was the
hero of the squad's WSR just a couple years ago, but had a rough year
last year. If they can just keep it close, the bullpen should be able
to close games out in the 7th-9th innings.
The bullpen has seen a
complete overhaul. Three players were released or demoted and another
bolted for greener pastures. The GM pulled in a bunch of guys with
spotty pasts. Most of them have had both great and terrible seasons.
It's hard to know what will come from these guys, but on paper they look
like they can do the job. The 9th will still be held down by perennial
Outlook: The hitting will make every game and
series interesting, but the lack of any real threats on the mound will
continue to hamstring the Mountain Hawks. They fall just short of the
playoffs when their pitching staff decides to give up 10 runs a game for
the last two weeks of the season.
Prediction: 85-77, 3rd NL north, Miss Playoffs
Last season's record & finish: 78-84, 3rd Place
Key additions: SP Harry Lugo
Key losses: SP Odalis Rodriguez
& Fielding: The Stingers return their entire cast of position
players from last season. The star veteran coming off a career year in
LF is Spud Riggs. Riggs practically tore the cover off the ball last
season recording 57 HR & 146 RBI. The Stingers will have a big
decision to make as the 30 yr old is in the final year of his contract.
The other big offensive bats will once again be youngsters 1B Miguel
Barrios and DH Reginald Barney who look to build on solid sophomore
seasons but know their best seasons are still ahead of them. 2B
Trenidad Merced looks like he's finally ready to become one of the elite
young players in the league. CF Torey Bradshaw and the platoon of RF's
Denny Simpson & Neifi Marrero won't have much expected but the
Stingers hope for solid production. Veteran 3B Bob Hart returns for
what will likely be his last season in a Stinger uniform. The platoon
of catchers Edgardo Johnson & Juan Espinoza will once again bring
solid defense and pitch calling to the position and dependable bats.
Overall, the Stingers should continue to put up more and more runs then
seasons past as their young team develops and the always solid defense
should once again be top 10 in the league minimum.
much has changed in the way of pitching as well for the Stingers. The
only loss was SP Odalis Rodriguez who was awful last season and spend
most of the season in AAA. They added Rule 5 pick Harry Lugo to
hopefully take his spot at the end of the rotation along side ace
Donatello Turner and solid #2 Julio Henriquez. Youngster Carl Thomas
will hopefully provide solid production at the #3 starter spot in his
first full season in the show. Veteran Watty Rossy will spend this
season rounding out the rotation until big prospect Benny Aviles is
ready to come up next season. The bullpen returns solid set up vets in
Al Smith & Anibal Pujols. The question is how long relievers
Ernesto Santiago, Ryan Smart, and William Pong fair this season. Pong
was the only bright spot among the 3 last season. Closer Trot Frederick
returns after solid freshman and sophomore showings but will likely
struggle once again with keeping runners off the base paths. Overall,
the young staff should continue to improve over the past few seasons.
& Prediction: The young Stingers team should finally be ready to
start contending for the playoffs this season. Whether they make it or
not remains to be seen but they should be in the picture up until the
very end. Prediction is 84-78, just squeaking in with the final wild
Last Season: 81-81 2nd NL South
Key Losses:, RF/1B Vic Osuna, CF Alvin Franco, P Trace Stewart, P Hidecki Dong, and SS/IF Julian Rodriguez
Additions: RF/1B Melkey Del Rosario, LF/1B Johnnie Mattes, C/DH Herman
Duncan, P Sammy Zorrilla, 2B/OF Santo Duran (Rule V), 3B Hiroki Isshi
Hitting/Fielding: The Hippo lineup will be
significantly different than in prior years. Gone is the speedsters in
the outfield of CF Alvin Franco, RF Esmil Osoria, and LF Vic Osuna (who
combined for over 120 SBs last season). They are replaced with a new
and emerging group of younger, more powerful, outfielders in Melkey Del
Rosario, Johnnie Mattes, and returning outfielder Kirk Hariston. Rule V
draftees, Santo Duran and Hiroki Ishii will be asked to step in and
compete for playing time on the left side of the infield, while the
right side of the infield is still somewhat up in the air, but with
slugger 1B Santiago Chavez looking to get a full season of at bats under
his belt for the first time in a while. Catching will feature
Vector21’s usual platoon approach to the position, but will only have C
Rod Beck available to call a decent game. Recently acquired C Herman
Duncan may see some time in the ML lineup soon, but the GM would like to
see him stay one more full year at AAA to work on developing his
Depth for this team will be a problem, with very limited role
players available to replace any starters who get injured during the
season and not much ML-ready help available this year in the minor
Pitching: The pitching staff will probably be the
Achilles heel of this team as the starting rotation is made up of
journeyman free agent signings. No starter had a record better than
.500 last year or an ERA under 4.50, except for former long-reliever
Ajax Sirotka, who managed to vulture his way to a 13-1 record last
season as the team’s mopup pitcher (ERA 5.15)
The strength of the
pitching staff will be their relief core, anchored by All Star Closer
Kevin Hudek. Fans of the Hippos are concerned that getting to the
relief pitching with leads for them to hold will be few and far between.
FA signing Sammie Zorrilla will be relied upon to close out games in
the 8th inning, while a combination of limited endurance Ps Dennis
Garland, Cody Thurman, and Alex Guzman will need to work together in the
6th and 7th innings to get to the back of the game pitchers.
This team will struggle to maintain their 81-81 record from last year.
Expectations of a playoff run are not in the air for the team this
year, but nobody is giving up hope just yet, but will be no doubt
building for the future.
Prediction: 72-90, 3rd NL South
Last season finish, 74-88, 4th in NL North.
Losses: CF Desmond Keller, 1B Julian Fontana, 2B/3B/OF Paul Hoffman,
SS/3B Hector Bennett, C Jesus Izturis, SP Michel Lopez, RP Kevin Evans,
RP Doc Glass, RP Gerald Ishida.
Key Additions: 1B Hugh Alexander,
3B/RF Julio James, C Brandon Reid, c/1b/dh (via rule 5) Jose Mendoza,
CF Dick Rogers, OF/1b Angel Romero, SP Allen Grudzielanek (claimed at
end of last regular season via waivers), RP Jayson Phillips, RP Art
Biddle, RP Max Hennessey.
Fargo was able to
accomplish a key offseason goal, upgrade the offense and the bullpen
while hanging on to key foundation pieces obtained through recent drafts
and international signings. The lineup will be anchored at the top by
free agent Dick Rogers who will man center field. While his career
numbers are not eye popping .272/.332/.313, he represents a return to a
type of player the Cats always had in the glory years at the top of the
order, a high contact player with at least an average batting eye and
great speed and base running ability, as Rogers is a true base thief to
the tune of 166-16 as a big leaguer. From there, Fargo goes to more of a
power look this season. Mac Lin could hit 15-20 homers and this should
be a breakout year for the Japanese stud who enters his fifth season at
just age 23 with career marks of .271/.333/.426 and a stolen base
record of 117-29. He will primarily play in right field, but time will
also be spent at first base and in left field if needed. The best
offensive player is left fielder Keith Bold who continues a fast assent
toward super star status. His defensive profile is just a tick below
Lin and thus his primary assignment in left. Bold enters his age 22
season already with 102 homers and a batting line of .308/.369/.547. If
recently reacquired first baseman Hugh Alexander gets traded, then Lin
would switch to left and Bold to first. Alexander was obtained via
trade and he will get a good bit of time at first, but against lefties
the rule 5 pick Jose Mendoza who profiles truly speaking as a David
Ortiz masher with no real defensive position could see some time there
and behind the plate where defensive skills are below average. Think
Jesus Montero but with better value. He was the steal of the rule 5
draft and an offensive contribution is expected, though he is
immediately a very valuable trade chip. Mendoza hit 32 homers in less
than 400 AAAA at bats last season and for his minor league career of
less than 1300 at bats, he has a batting line of .312/.395/.583 with 88
homers, 59 in roughly 750 AAA at bats the last two seasons. Alexander
mean while needs to prove he can produce with the power his profile says
is available. After a 26 homer season with the Cats in season 29, the
slugger played a part time roll in seasons 30-31 in Vegas, so it was a
letdown to see his homer total of just 18 when he returned to a full
time job last year in the desert. Maybe returning back to his original
franchise gives him a jolt as the competition for playing time will be
Free agent Brandon Reid brings a much needed
offensive upgrade to the catcher position and he will hit in the 5 or 6
slot in the order on most days depending on the situation. Based on his
career numbers, the Cats hope for 20-25 homers with a .290/.360/.480
line and reasonable defense in roughly 400 at bats.
Latham returns and will be the primary second baseman, his speed and
power are attractive, the contact is a bit below what you would want in
this slugger. The same is true but even more so for free agent third
baseman/right fielder Julio James. He will be part of a defensive
replacement system if he is on the bench, which would have him enter in
right field, but he will get plenty of starts at third where his defense
will be of greater value. Fargo hopes for at least career average
performances from both of these players, .250/.360/.450 for Latham and a
line of .275/.335/.480 from James. Fargo is also considering trade
options with Latham, so if an appropriate deal is struck, it could
result in one final roster change, with the new player taking primary
time at second or center depending upon the ultimate trade.
Mathews who went to free agency was signed to a 4-year team friendly
deal and he will continue as the primary option at shortstop, though he
will almost always bat 8th in the lineup this season. The bench is much
stronger, as corner outfielder and first baseman Angel Romero was
signed and he provides a key cog that the team missed last season, a
true bat that can spell Alexander, Lin, or bold for fatigue reasons.
While it will be hard to find 500 at bats for Angel Romero, he will get a
ton of time spot starting for Lin, Bold and Alexander. Fargo will be
thrilled if he can produce numbers around his career line of
.284/.345/.482. Romero though weaker at third could even see some time
their if needed. In addition to Jose Mendoza, the Cats bench features
another rule 5 pick in shortstop Tori Webster who is valued for his
defense. Similarly, the cats signed minor leaguer Tacahiro Ono as a
utility specialist who can play all but short and catcher.
starting rotation is largely a return of what the team had last season
in new staff ace Cooper Green, future ace Bucky Simmons, and a young and
developing Giomar Diaz. Fargo will swing between a 5 and 6 man
rotation, opting to start out with a 6 pack of starters. Sam Karns
takes the #4 rotation slot, joined by Allen Grudzielanek who was claimed
off waivers at the very end of the previous regular season and Alex
Feliz who spent the majority of the previous campaign in AAA. While the
offensive improvement should give more latitude to a starting staff
that has some questions at the back end, the bullpen that will be called
upon to put out fires and save tight games is much stronger. Career
minor leaguer Barry Silva was claimed off waivers and he will be the
long man when games get out of hand early. Art Biddle can pitch
occasionally in long duty if needed, but for now he will be part of a
deep core of middle and late inning relief pitchers. Joining him are
returning Cat pitchers Felix Jones, Corey Kinney and Tony Park, along
with free agent Jayson Phillips and Max Hennessey who was obtained via
trade. The bullpen will play a critical role in Fargo’s ultimate
performance. Corey Kinney must step up to keep a roll in the back end
of the bullpen, his best seasons between seasons 29-32 were ERA’s of
4.00 and 3.93 in seasons 29 and 31, with an opponent batting average in
both seasons between .260 and .267. Similarly, it is not clear if
fourth year relief pitcher Felix Jones will return as closer, Jones had
his best season in terms of ERA in season 30 when he posted a 3.12 mark,
though his best mark in terms of opposition batting average was seasons
30 and 32 at .262 and .261 respectably. The lack of improvement from
these two prompted the moves to obtain Max Hennessey who had his best
season by far one year ago pitching for the first time in a ballpark
that favored hurlers, with a .227 OAV and a 2.08 ERA. Jayson Phillips
is a pitcher who has had mixed results, with two seasons below a 3.0 ERA
and several more with an ERA between 3 and 5. The best comparison that
could translate into Fargo success would be his campaign in season 28, a
season at Boise with a .251 OAV and a 3.49 ERA. Art Biddle has had his
best success as a relief pitcher and the Cats hope that he returns to
more of his career marks of a .250 OAV and 3.65 ERA. Tony Park while
not blessed with great stuff in terms of velocity or effectiveness does
have high command of his top two pitches, which have allowed this
relatively low rated and cheaper player to have a positive impact. The
Cats will gladly take another season that mirrors his career marks in
the big leagues that include a .260 OAV and a 3.88 ERA. Park is also
79-23 in his career at converting saves. Fargo may ultimately go closer
by committee, but Park, Jones, Biddle and Hennessey could all at times
assume the closer duty.
This team is one of the harder
teams to forecast. If the offensive production is at or above average
based on the combined careers of the players on this squad, this team
could hit a ton of homers and hit .275 to .280. but this offensive
group has a degree of high risk/high reward and the numbers could be
below expectations. Similarly, the top three in the pitching rotation
should continue to get better, but the back end no matter if the
rotation is at 5 or 6 is questionable at best and this is truly the weak
link of this roster that could prevent a return to postseason, a
drought that is now at 9 seasons and counting. The bullpen has been
upgraded significantly and this could help cover up some of the bad
starts from this rotation and it is hoped that with several relief
pitchers on board that have had previous success, a couple will step up
and help nail down tight ballgames throughout the season in what will be
a very competitive division.
After being too
bold in my assessment last season, I’m calling for a team that goes
84-78 and finishes 4th in a very good NL Northern Division. With a
little luck though, this is a team that could win 92 games and slip in
as a wild card.
Fargo signed another free agent who has low demands. Albert
Garces has been signed and he will take the role assigned to Takahiro
Ono, Ono is a piece the organization will hang on too given the low cost
four year contract, so Ono is for now in AAA. He is the first callup
if anyone gets hurt at a position other than catcher or pitcher.
Jacksonville enters another season with uncertainty. Their aging bats
are and have been consistently slowing down the past several seasons. Their
pitching staff had some gaps due to departures from free agency.
Stopgaps helped fill those voids. Not much in the Minors and this will
be the reason the Cubbies will be a constant participant in free agent
signing the next few seasons. Thirdbaseman Sherry Howard will
continue to be the big stick in town and should contend for the MVP
award. Or at the very least be a silver slugger contender. Providing he
can stay healthy. Starting Pitcher Bruce Fister will anchor down a
below average pitching staff. The bullpen seemingly will be overworked
Last Season: 76-86 2nd NL West
Key Losses: SP Slick Kubenka, SP
Placido Gonzales, SP Marc Browne, Rl Al Griffin, RF Jalal Ramirez, 1b
Hugh Alexander, C Herman Duncan
The offense will need to carry the load if the Hangovers even want to
sniff .500 ball. Veterans Julio Rosado and Todd Magnuson will anchor the
lineup. Rosado signed a 3 yr deal in the offseason that should keep him
LV for life and his career totals approaching 500 home runs (488), 381
hits shy of 3000. Perennial MVP candidate Magnuson is still manning the
hot corner (for now) but trade speculation has been running rampant in
Vegas and not many see the potential future HOF finishing his career
there. The offense will boast some young bat in C Max Bennett, 2b
Charley Quinn and 1b Julian Fontana. Quinn fresh off his 33 hr rookie
campaign looks to build on it and in his first full season in the show,
1b Julian Fontana hit 24 hr and drove in 79. Defensively Vinny Shumaker
is among one of best defensive CF in the league and Magnuson owns 3 gold
gloves. After those two players the rest of the team is average to
below average fielders.
Pitching: There is major turnover with 3
of 5 SP from last season no longer there. Hangover lifer Cal Trammel
anchors the staff; he enters the season 3 wins shy of 250. There won’t
be much more bright spot to if/when Trammel hits win #250. The staff
will feature vet David Maduro to go along with Hank Perez (11 career
starts) youngsters Harry De La Vega (16 career starts), Jose Cruz and
rule 5 pickups Enerio Taveras, David Noesi (0 career starts between the 3
of them) will all be in the mix for a spot in the rotation. The bullpen
will once again be a major question mark with a few vets hanging onto
the majors and some young guys hoping to prove they belong.
Outlook: After missing the playoffs last season the first time in 16 seasons, this team will be lucky to hit the 70 win mark.
Last Season: 80-82, 3rd in the NL South
Key Losses: All Star RP Jaokim Romano, GG 2B Larry Saunders
Key Additions: SS of the future Miguel Encarnacion,
Hitting/Fielding: The line up will be led off by speedsters Ronald
Brinkley and Terry Thomas(moving from right to left field). Ramon
Martin will bat 3rd and the All Star will again patrol center field.
There is enough variety and depth with the rest of the team to alternate
again the favorable righty/lefty matchups. Adding some needed power in
RF with the duo of Azocar and Yamakazi. Defense should be good
expecially in the late innings with 4 past shortstops able to help out.
Pitching: Vic James becomes the ace of the staff following up his 14
game/ 2.96 ERA from last year. The 24 year old has the potential to be
special. Asdrubal Park resigned for less than the free agent was asking
for and should be a solid #2, While Patel will work in the #3 and try
to stay healthy this year. The bullpen has a new young closer in Abreu,
but having Encarnacion back there will help the young kid out.
Outlook: This will be the second season in the Memphis stadium, and we
will continue to try to build on the speed, defense, and pitching
blueprint we set out last year. Last year with just a little more run
support we would have been a playoff contender. Hopefully the moves
will bring another 10-15 wins.
Prediction: 88-74, 2nd in NL South, Wild Card contender
Last Season: 89-73 2nd NL North, Wild Card, Lost NLCS
Key Losses: 1B/LF Shane Peters, 1B/2B/LF John Watson, DH/PH Rick Bell, C/DH Brandon Reid
Key Additions: 1B/LF Andres Nunez, IF Esteban Romero
The lineup will be slightly different than last year. Gone is C Brandon
Reid, who lost playing time last season to the more defensive minded
Geoff Stafford. His bat will be sorely missed, but it appears Bobby Ray
Carrol will be called up and provide defense as well in a platoon with
Stafford. The 1B platoon of Peters and Watson will be replaced by new
arrival Andres Nunez, who brings a little more pop with the bat. With
Nunez manning first for the foreseeable future, the infield is set in
Milwaukee for awhile. SS Branden Payton is now the cornerstone of the
franchise, providing solid defense up the middle and possessing a huge
bat (.300/.346/.601). Brandon Hudson looks to build upon an impressive
rookie campaign (.294/.357/.453) at 2B and Tomas Portillo provides
consistency at 3B.
In the outfield, RF Adam Broussard
signed a deal that extends his stay in Milwaukee for the next three
years. Not a prototypical RF in that he lacks pop (278/.332/.383), but
he gets on base and provides good defense. Brett DePaula will try to win
an everyday job in CF, last season getting his playing time versus
righties in a platoon with utility man Louie Alarcon. DePaula provides
great range in CF with a below average glove, hits righties well and can
steal bases. If he can't sew up the everyday job, it could be Alarcon
vs lefties again or Carlos Bogaerts could earn a spot in the platoon.
Keith Garcia continues his great career in Milwaukee now as s left
fielder where he is adequate and his bat is still good (.294/.357/.453,
albeit with less power.
The bench will play an
integral part in this team and it is headed by Alarcon. Miguel Guerrero
will return to provide depth along with recently acquired Esteban Romero. All three can play multiple positions and provide solid defense. 2B/LF Stevie Montgomery secured the final spot with a strong spring.
Pitching: The staff returns
pretty much intact from a season ago. However next season could wind up
looking entirely different with expiring contracts and player options.
Brian Ueno has supplanted himself as the ace of the staff (17-5, 2.97).
He has a player option next season, so will be pitching for a bigger
payoff down the road. The organization spent big money to reel in Paul
Gregg and Tuck Haynes four seasons ago. The hopes were to get the team
over the hump and earn a World Series berth. Unfortunately they weren't
able to improve upon two straight NLCS' berths with anything more than a
third straight and another three seasons later. They both have expiring
contracts and it looks like this will be their last chance to help get
them over the hump. Ezdra Valentin was brought in as an innings eater
and has done just that, while Benji Pineda appears to be the future ace.
The bullpen returns minus lefty specialist Peter
Parnell who saw only limited action a season ago. Anthony McInerney had a
down season after being demoted to a setup role with the arrival of
closer Domingo Palmeiro. Palmeiro did what he has always done (38 saves,
2.61), ending up as one of the premier closers in the game a season
ago. If McInerney can shore up his struggles from a season ago they will
be an elite late innings tandem to close games. Benji Nieves, Shaggy
Herrera, Vic Ward and Jimmy Lloyd will most likely be the middle innings
relievers, while Oswaldo Nunez should once again be the long
Outlook: This team shouldn't
have a dramatic falloff just yet, in fact they have a chance to improve a
game or two and possibly win an always competitive NL North division.
The hope is as always, to remain healthy and get themselves into the
playoffs for a World Series run. It could be their last chance for
Prediction: 90-72, 2nd NL North, Wild Card
Last Season: 94-68 1st NL North
Key Losses: 1B/LF Andres Nunez; 3B Julio James
Key Additions: Jhoulys Aguilar (OF)
Should be a powerful lineup led by MVP candidate Allen McMichael.
Slugging rookie Giomar Owen takes over at 1B while Jhoulys Aguilar
provides added power against LHP. 22-year old Esteban Diaz gets a full
season in the lineup after 140AB with an OPS >1.000. Juan Franco and
Javier Rodriguez round out a lineup that should feature 6 hitters with
more than 30 HR. The other 2 spots feature a .370 OBP platoon at catcher
and a .350 OBP top fielding SS to set the table.
staff will now have a full year with ace Albert Delgado in the rotation,
followed by 2-time 15-game winner Chan Satou and Malcolm Burns (top-5
in SO last year) for a solid top-3. Closing the door will be Jumbo
Cooney set up by Red Jepsen, Tex Kydd, and Benny Franco … all effective
late-inning relievers the past few years.
Outlook: The team should remain in the 90+ win range if key players stay healthy.
Prediction: 91-71, 1st NL North
New ownership moved the team into a pitchers ballpark with an eye on getting team ERA under control.
Last Season (93-69) lost in division championship series. Prediction for season 33 : (100 wins)
Players of Note who left:
Tony Newsome, Type A / SP
Walker Rose , Type A / RP
Key Additions :
36 yr old SP Marc Browne /5 time all star with a WS ring.
38 yr old Felipe Martinez / 2 WS rings.
30 yr old / season 26 rookie of the year, SP Davey Scutaro.
: We took over this team last season and immediately corrected the
minor league rosters and then repositioned the big league club to
maximize defense. The end result was a world record in fewest errors in a
This team is overflowing with defensive prowess and speed.
Former ownership did a fine job in collecting positional talent. New
ownership cleaned house with the starting rotation. We let go two Type A
pitchers and one Type B. This was by choice and we were reward with
some excellent late first round draft opportunities. In their place we
brought in the type of pitchers we feel can excel in a pitchers ballbark
playing in with a world class defense behind them. 36 yr old SP Marc
Brown is expected to have career type numbers and lead the team. Work
Horse Davey Scutaro, a former R.O.Y., was a slight gamble in that he
has't posted good pitching stats in many years but we are giving him
exactly what every pitcher needs to excel. We expect to see his true
potential this season.
Offensively Kirt O'Malley drew a lot of
attention from other clubs trying to trade for him. He is expected to
step up this year and contribute after being called up half way thru
last season and struggling. O'Malley will be a beastly player... it's
just a matter of maturing. We could go on and on about our positional
strengths ,but the real focus this season is going to be on pitching. We
understand other owners don't see our aging veteran FA signings as
being of any particular note, but we think we hit the jackpot with our
Last Season: 69-93, 3rd place NL North
Key Losses: SS Dennys Suh, 3B Onan Saitou, 1B Stuart Smart, Stuart's brother, P Sergio Smart, P Francisco Costilla
Key Additions: 10 Rule 5 picks
The Orioles have begun a youth movement, with all eligible FA's being
let go, and 10 Rule 5 picks being rostered for Season 33. After 7
straight seasons of 70 wins or less, new upper management, has decided
to go with the younger players, and hope for an improvement based on
youth. This season is unlikely to match last season's 69 wins, but hope
by Season 36 to be above .500. The squad still has the rather expensive
pitching duo of Garret McRae ($9 mil) and Pedro De La Rosa ($16 mil).
Prediction: 62-100, 4th place NL North
Last Season: 75-87 3rd NL West
Key Losses: 1B #p4839437Santiago
Chavez#p, OF #p4448492Albert Garces#p, SP/RP/LEGEND #p1974297Eric
Hill#p, 2B #p3365606Sherry Ingram#p, OF #p4243694Anthony Jarvis#p
Hitting/Fielding: The Savages had some success in
beefing up the offense by adding several veterans to a very young core.
By beefing up the bench and adding some formidable platoon guys, the
Savages should now have a much deeper lineup, especially when we call up
OFs #p6637722Richard Cousins#p and #p6266588Mo Payton#p after the
The additions of Saunders (3B), Smith (2B) and
Keller (CF) should go a long way to improve team defense and convert
some of the close games we lost in season 32 into wins this year.
Pitching: ERIC HILL RETIRED!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Savages somewhat filled the void of Eric Hill by adding former Cy Young
winner Slick Klubenka and several key bullpen arms which should lead to
a more consistent pitching staff. The much improved defense should be a
huge benefit to a staff that does not strike out (or walk) many
Outlook: The Savages have improved all faucets of their
game coming into season 33, and should have several offensive
reinforcements coming from the minor leagues as this season progresses.
There is optimism with-in the organization that the Savages could make a
nice leap this year which includes a playoff berth.
Prediction: 87-75, 1st NL West
Salt Lake City
Last Season: 103-59, 1st place NL North, WORLD SERIES CHAMPION
The Moguls decided to mostly not mess with success and the lineup will
be virtually the same. There was talk in the Winter of the team
attempting to upgrade at CF but nothing has materialized yet. The big
change will be rookie power hitter Yunel Gutierrez forcing his way into
the lineup in RF. He should immediately compete for ROY title. Ed
Moustakous and Dante Tateyama should platoon in LF with Al Alvarez once
again manning CF.
The IF only contains once change as the
full-time reigns at SS are officially being handed to Ignacio Gonzalez
who possesses a sick glove and A-rod like power and speed. 1B returns
last year batting champ Al Soto. Karim Castillo continues to be a rock
at 2B and perennial MVP candidate Ismael Bernadina returns to 3B.
Victor Pujols impressed enough last year behind the plate to have his
option picked up. Blends solid defense with a nice hitting stroke.
bench also remains mostly unchanged will play an integral part in this
team’s success. Bobby Roth is the super utility man while Matt Hiljus
is a good glove off the bench. The front office is still looking for one
more bench bat to fill it’s final spot as L. Nunez is the backup C.
No big changes here although there are some guys at AAA getting mighty
restless. Something is going to have to give somewhere at some point
this season, probably via trade unless injuries strike. CY Young
candidate Albert Maranon returns and forms a great 1-2 punch with
Cameron Dobbs. Al Norris, Tom Mota are locks for SP3 and SP4. All four
starters have really enjoyed to move to SLC from Madison a few years
back. Only question is at SP5 where Dan Armstrong will be given one more
change. If he fails one of the young AAA arms will be more than willing
to take the reigns.
The bullpen returns without reliever Vic
Mercedes, but still boasts a potent 8th/9th punch with Ober Toca and Ton
Bigley. Rico Borbon was specatular in middle relief last year so the
club made sure to resign him in FA. David Olivia when healthy is
Outlook: This team should retain its place
atop the NL North again this season, but it’s the toughest division in
Ichiro right now so it won’t happen without a fight. Worst case should
still be a wild card bid and anything less than a playoff berth would be
considered a massive choke job by the Moguls.
Prediction: 100-62, 1st NL North
Last Season: 80-82 1st AL West, Lost Play-in series
Key Losses: Miguel Flores 3B
Key Additions: From the farm system
Hoped-for improvement will come from players promoted from AAA. 2B Raul
Guzman hit .341/.411/.611 between AA and AAA last season. DH Mule
Woodson was .293/.442/.621 in AA/AAA, and then had an .824 OPS in 19 ML
games. Important returnees include CF Ron Powell (6 straight GG and
Pitching: Pedro Santiago and Alan Priddy will once
again serve as the top starting pitchers. Wendell Ramirez, a 7th-round
draft pick who is the only DITR that ever made my ML squad, continues to
improve. Former first-round pick Kent Bolton joins the big club this
season. We don't usually make one pitcher the solo closer, but there is
no question that Ben Fleming is our best reliever, capable of throwing
100 strong innings.
Outlook: We've won the AL West the last two
seasons without managing a winning record. Season 33 depends largely on
how well young players Guzman, Bolton, and Woodson do.
Prediction: 85-77, 1st in AL West, out in Division Championship Series.
Key additions: Edgardo Seanez P. Frank Ishida P. Davey Wunsch P.
Seattle Pilots fans have no idea what to expect from this seasons
hometown 9. They have retooled their starting staff by bringing up the
big three pitching prospects of Frank Ishida, Davey Wunsch, and future
ace Edgardo Seanez. They are counting on Louis Bennett and Rodrigo Friaz
to repeat their performances of last season. The bullpen should be
solid although closer Jose Olmeda who had 31 saves last season is still a
question mark and not a guarantee to keep the job. On offense they are
led by veteran catcher Raul Romero who still provides some pop but will
be more valuable mentoring and handling such a young staff. With 174
stolen bases last season the strategy is clear that this team looks to
manufacture runs. On defense they are led by their gold glove duo of
Peter Sano at SS and Todd Ohka who returns to 2B. The formula is
pitching and defense. The question is will the inexperience and lack of
consistent offense be too much to overcome? Consensus from baseball
experts are that that this team is a year or two and a bat or two away
from truly contending for the AL West again. But all agree they are on
the uptick and worth watching in the future.
Record last season 67-95 Prediction 79-83.
Key Losses: Moises Benavente
Key Additions: Jeremy Crabtree.Lance Polcovich
Hitting/Fielding: strong up the middle
In the outfield,90 hr 282 rbi’s lat year
The bench rule 5 ss 22 year old mitchell villone
The bullpen Ted Thomas 24 all star last year
Outlook: 80 to 90 wins depending on injuries
Prediction: Team gets hot in the playoffs and wins World Series : )
Last Season: 83-79 - Division Title: Lost in the NLDSC to SLC 3-0
Losses: Starting pitcher Yadier Gandarillas was not re-signed due to
the length and salary demanded at his age. Would have been nice to have
him return and give the rotation the 200 innings that he can pitch, but
management couldn't justify the terms asked for to keep him around. Good
luck in Helena.
Key Additions: SS Orlando Pulido was promoted
from AAA due to the injury to SS Omar Tejera; RF Benny Gonzalez was kept
on the ML team after his late season call-up. Due to the injury to
Freddie Woods. With his just above average attributes, he should make an
impact coming in off the bench to give starters a rest during the
season; and finally Rule 5 pick up, 2B Ed Carpenter, should be another
who comes off the bench to add some defense and a nice bat. In the
bullpen, Diory Oliva was called up for now. Depending on his start in
the bull-pen, management is hoping he can stay the course and stick
around for the year.....if not, back down to AAA he goes and the next in
line, Edgard Julio will be back with the big team.
This team is an anomaly..........they can't seem to hit their way out
of a wet paper bag, by finishing 2nd from last overall in hitting with a
.247 team average. But they still managed to finish in the top 10 in
stolen bases with 165 of them. Sure any and all teams love hitting, but
this team is based on its pitching staff and fielding to get them to the
promised land. And that is where the bench will be playing a bigger
than usual role. What with the base of the ML team staying around for a
bit, fielding will not be the problem. They finished 6th overall, by
committing only 83 errors and complimenting that is the 78 plus plays by
Pitching: With an aging rotation, it is gonna be
kids gloves used on them this season. There is Tike Mauer and Tris
Person waiting in AAA and Clem Walsh in AA still a season or two away.
The bullpen, with Bip Hayes and Ramon Murata trying to hold down the
fort and keep the opposition at bay. Sure they finished 3rd overall in
team ERA with a 3.77 ERA, they should be able to match that by playing
at the pitcher friendly Cheney Stadium, but there are still 81 games
played on the road that could give this staff and the coaches some fits.
The outlook for the Method is looking to three peat as NL West division
champs, which at this early stage, is possible. But, they still have to
go out there and perform to what the coaching staff dictates. Even if
they finish with a Wild Card spot, the season will not be lost to them.
Am hoping the team can just do what they are payed to do, and that is
play......otherwise the fans in Tacoma will be performing there own
method of attack, and running them out of town.
the Method can come up with 85 wins this season, management will be very
pleased. 'Cause they know that could be just enough to either win the
division once again or at the least, come away with a Wild Card spot and
then anything can happen once the playoffs begin.
56-106 Last Place
Key additions: No big money additions.
Trenton added pieces like John Watson, OF and Milt Nicolson, OF/IF.
Although they should provide some depth, neither will be a difference
Key losses: Wilfredo Guzman, SS left via free agency.
Trenton is in a complete rebuild and is hoping to use the 3 first
round picks to improve a barren farm system. From a hitting
perspective, Trenton should be below average this year. The loss of
Guzman, without any significant replacement will not help Trenton
improve on a team that scored 704 runs last year. Trenton will have to
hope for a rebound year from solid hitters like Jeremi Cunningham and
rookies like Jarrod Barney.
Pitching: Trenton staff took a blow
with the trading of ace Albert Delgado. They did acquire Diego Alomar
in the deal, but the 24-year old had an up and down first season.
Trenton expects improvement from Alomar and possible future #2. The
rest of the staff remains fairly unchanged from the staff that had a ML
worst 5.67 ERA, so Trenton is likely to finish in the bottom half of the
pitching rankings for another year while the rebuild is ongoing.