Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The NL North- Chicago's domain for now

Chicago Boomtown (S7: 92-70 1st S8: 111-51 )
Shakazulu5- 7th season (5 first place); $85.4 M Player Salary

Key Additions: Fernando Ordonez (C), Javier Uribe (P), Ted Walsh (P), Keith Rando (P), Juan Bennett (2b), Robert Kerr (P), Kevin Perez (P),

Key Losses: Stew Grace (power RF, 38 hr, 101 RBI, due 4.1 M) John Banks RF (contact hitter, 300 ab s7, due 1.7M), Rabbit Buck SS( due 5.3 M, not worth it), Lonny Sinclair RP, Dustan Brown SP, Tommy Branson SP, Darren Burke SP

Outlook: Chicago was one of the most active teams in the league this offseason as he retooled his pitching staff and declined some options. Molitor and Durbin are almost carbon copies of each other on offense and are the keys to the defense as well. The key to the offense however is Matty Dotel. Dotel will be in the running for the MVP this season. The lineup as a whole is good but lacks a little depth, they will miss former Armstrong Stew Grace.

The rotation is where the biggest changes took place with three of last years starters being shipped out. Bryant, Walsh and Rando could all be in the running for the Cy Young with Bryant being the true team MVP by starting close to 50 games and logging over 300 ip. He likely won’t last over 5 ip in many starts but that’s fine because the bullpen is solid. There is not a weak link in the group. This is a strong team that retooled and got stronger. Shakazulu5, team owner, has stated that anything short of a World Series appearance would be a disappointment. He very well could get his wish. If it is going to happen though it needs to happen soon as the 3 best starters are aged 36,35,33. Two major parts of the bullpen are also on the wrong side of 35.

X-Factor: Closer Kevin Perez may hold the keys to the post season dreams here. He is 38 and has begun to see some performance slippage. If he can make it through another season like last year, or even better the season before, good things will happen.

Augusta Gnomes (S7: 77-85 S8: 68-94 )
Norbert, 8th season (2 first place); $98.6M player salary

Key Additions: Damian Gabriel (RF, promotion), Julio Johnson (LRP, promotion), Brutus Christians (LRP, Promotion)

Key Losses: None worth mentioning

Outlook: Augusta’s offense is decent. There are no standout MVP types but there are also no slugs. The two offensive keystones are 2b Don Livingstone and 3b Brian Morris, both of whom are 32. The one area I think this team could really improve is at 1b. At a position where most of the league has great hitters Augusta is relying on a mediocre Chad Holden. He is not awful, or even bad just not the all star caliber player other teams have. What is the biggest mystery to me is why the teams best hitter, Ron Blair, is sitting in AAA,

On the pitching side Mitch Fox and Tommy Olerud should be the anchors of a solid rotation. Sadly both are going to have a difficult time making a start every 5 days. Fox is actually set up as the long A right now. Wouldn’t surprise me if he replaces Russell in the rotation before to long. Another players to watch are Johnson and Calloway who, on paper, seem better than the current 4 and 5 starters, but a notch below Olerud. Past them however the bullpen is shaky and will struggle holding leads. One potential solution there is the reliable looking Dennis Simpkins, waiting for the call in AAA.

This will be a tough season for August, as they will struggle to match last years out put. I think there are some useable chips on this team and it would help them if they couls spin them off for some solid pitching prospects.

X-Factor: C Trevor Wilkinson will be asked to do a lot to keep this team together. He is a solid bat n the lineup and calls a heck of a game. How he does at both tasks may determine how successful this team is.

Portland Cannons (S7: 77-85 S8:88-74 )
Jway11- First season; $58.6 M Player Salary

Key Additions: Bryce Stewart SP, Felipe Franco CF, Danys Cortez, Tony Collier, Abdullah Barnes

Key Losses: None that I saw.

Outlook: Portland’s offense has got some pop. They will hit a lot of home runs as a team this season. SS Calvin Kline will be fun to watch. He is silky smooth in the field and his swing is like fishnet stockings, full of holes but always a sign of a potential round tripper. He has the chance of hitting 40+ homeruns but he may also bat under .225. 2b Matt Nunnally is the heart and soul of the lineup and will provide a veteran presence in the clubhouse. One of the big strengths of this team is defense with Kline and two other SS Bierbrodt and Kennedy all vying for playing time. Before the end of the season all will be playing regularly somewhere on the field.

The pitching in Portland is solid I count 7 above average starters on the major league roster with Lee(34), Latham (21), Riley(27), Duckworth(34), and Chance (23) being the best of the bunch. Duckworth and Lee’s health make the presence of Mordecai and Stewart important. Sherman is the closer but Gentry and Collier are all solid enough that they should get their chances.

Portland should improve on last year’s record and push themselves into second place. They still have a little ways to go to catch Chicago. There does not look to be much help available at AAA but there are enough young guys at the ML level to explain why. This team has a great core of players that in two season they should be taking the division from Chicago, who is aging quickly

X-Factor: Gail Latham is a special player and potential Cy Young winner in the future. He was a 15 game winner as a rookie last year and should be able to improve on that this season.

Montreal The Greenies (S7: 59-103 S8: 48-114 )
Wolvie14- 8th Season; $85.3M Player Salary

Key Additions: None

Key Losses: None

Outlook: The Greenies of Montreal are a team that can hit. They do not have a ton of power but they do know how to get the bat on the ball. Mark Perez and Ricky Kent are the best of the group and both provide the main power in the lineup. The defense is a a potential downfall for this team as there is neither an above average defender at SS or CF nor a bench player who could come in late as a defensive replacement. When they get to the ball they do a decent job fielding it, they just might not get to as many as the pitchers would like.

On the pitching side things do not look so good. One time phenom Josh Moore is the anchor of the rotation. Bill Harvey is decent but getting older and Yosida will be ok against righties but get pounded by lefties. Past them I do not have much confidence in the staff. Kiki Estalella may have the stuff to be closer as far as getting people out but he also has suspect control and has only averages 37 ip for the past 4 seasons.

Down on the farm Mark Patterson and Albert Cairo are ready to step up when called on however both are 3b and will be competing against each other for ab. Richard Lee is also eager to get the call and would provide that defensive spark the Greenies may need at ss. Travis Fiore is the most polished pitching prospect at AA but he would be better served learning to trust his stuff at AAA

X-Factor: The GM. The is going to be a long season in Montreal and there is nt too much hope at the AAA level. There are some good offensive players in Simms, Donald Lee, Piper, Peron, Prinz, and West who are all on the wrong side of 0. They are running out of chances and could help another team. The question to me is not should they be traded but instead what can Wolvie14 get in return.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

NL South Preview

Charleston has won this division the last seven seasons by an average of 17 games. Could this be the season that they are knocked off their perch? San Juan and the expansion Texas Blue Stirrup Stockings would like to think so. They have both improved, so at the least this season should bring a much tighter race to the NL South. Tampa Bay will continue their rebuilding efforts this season.

Here are the team outlooks with last season's record, followed by projections for season 8:

Charleston Charge

(S7: 87-75, 1st place, lost to New York in 1st round; S8: 82-80, 1st place)

Key Additions: SP Dustan Brown, SP Tommy Branson, RF Yamil Veras, LF Stu Nixon
Key Losses: SP Keith Rando, 3B Jerome Malone, LF Felipe Garrido, RP Tom Saunders

The Charge's pitching staff will no longer be led by Rando, traded to Chicago for Branson and Brown. These two will now head a reliable rotation that lacks in star power, but has plenty of depth throughout. Don't expect their pitching to carry them this season, but it will not hurt them either.

At the plate, Charleston is young but has plenty of pop. After C Desi Glynn's breakout season 7, they have a nice heart of the order including RF Alex Belliard and 1B Peter Belliard. Much of the other regulars are unproven, so it may be feast or famine on many nights with this offense.

Despite unloading a couple big vets, this division is still Charleston's to lose. They won't be flashy, but should win enough games to get an 8th straight NL South title. How far they go will depend on how consistently their young position players produce.

X-Factor: The pitching is deep, but not great, so if SP Orel Spradlin can return to season 6 form (15-6, 3.00 ERA), the rotation will be much more imposing.

San Juan Wizards
(S7: 74-88, 2nd place; S8: 79-83, 2nd place)

Key Additions: RP Robinson Frederick, 2B Timo Kondou, P Dennis Seabol, CF Jeremy Beckett
Key Losses: SS Sammy Bonilla, 2B Marvin Adams, SP Robert Kerr

The Wizards are hoping they're ready to leapfrog Charleston atop the NL South. Along with new additions Kondou and Beckett, slugging 1B Rob Adams will round out a potent top of the order. But the remaining five regulars have 5 combined years of ML service, so they'll need some quick development from these prospects.

San Juan's problem will be keeping the ball in the park, not especially easy in this ballpark. Frederick should add depth to a decent bullpen. Seabol will start the season out of the pen as well, but don't be surprised if he's starting before long. If Tomas Polanco can cut down the HRs allowed, he'll be a great complement to last season's breakout SP Brent Shields.

This division will certainly tighten up this season. The Wizards have a young team, so their ability to challenge Charleston will come down to them staying fresh and injury-free late in the season. If the division is tight, San Juan may look for a mid-season trade to bolster their pitching.

X-Factors: There are 2 here, 2nd year slugging LF Howard Mashore and rookie C Tarrik Holmes. Management is expecting huge things out of these two, evidenced by them being plopped into the #4 and #5 spots in the lineup; their ability to drive in runs can make or break this team.

Texas Blue Stirrup Stockings
(S7: 70-92, 3rd place; S8: 75-87, 3rd place)

Key Additions: 1B Julius Kiner, 3B Jerome Malone, OF Stew Grace
Key Losses:

Getting back to .500 for the second time in franchise history will be on the broad shoulders of this offensive attack. Adding Stew Grace (#5 career HR leader) will add some pop to the middle of the order, while Gold Glove CF Albert Lane will still man the #3-hole. This team will need to win some high scoring games to win consistently.

As solid as their lineup looks is as shaky as their pitching is. Young ace Danny Lennon will provide the only real trouble for opposing managers. Given their hitting and sound defense, they don't need to be great on the hill. But there are plenty of question marks throughout the staff.

More than San Juan, if Texas is in the midst of the division race toward mid-season they'll need to find more pitching to have a chance. Texas fans will certainly be entertained all season long with high scoring affairs, but may not be too happy with the results when all is said and done.

X-Factor: With the bats playing such a huge role for Texas, 1B Kris Richardson will need to forget a disappointing season 7 and put up big numbers hitting behind Lane and Grace for Texas to make some noise this year.

Tampa Bay Fighting Hampsters
(S7: 37-125, 4th place; S8: 42-120, 4th place)

Key Additions: -
Key Losses: -

The Fighting Hampsters will return many non-household names from a team that finished last in the NL in both runs scored and allowed. But they have improved each of the last two seasons, and Tampa fans are hoping that trend continues.

The bright spot of the Fighting Hampsters' lineup should be LF Hunter Hentgen, who hit well in his brief stint up with the big league club last season. Expect to see a minor league prospect or two come up and contribute at some this year.

Pitching will again be a weakness for Tampa, as they allowed over 7.7 runs per game last season. With some run support veteran ace Kent Sosa could be a 15-game winner, but he may be more beneficial to the club in reeling in a couple good young players if he's dealt to a contender at mid-season. Tampa Bay is looking to climb out of the cellar, but it won't be for at least another season.

X-Factor: 25-yr old SP Dave Thomas could develop into the #2 starter behind Sosa. To better their record from last year Tampa Bay will need two reliable starters, and Thomas looks like the best option.

NL East Preview

Two perennial offensive juggernauts, St. Louis and New York, return largely unchanged lineups and figure to sit atop the division. Atlanta chose to keep things in-house and will need inspired play from their young prospects if they want to return to the postseason for the first time in three years. Meanwhile, the Boston Colonials are under new ownership and are likely facing another rebuilding year after seven years of futility.

Here are the team outlooks with last season's record, followed by projections for season 8:

St. Louis Armstrongs

(S7: 118-44, 1st place, beat New York in Div Series, beat Tacoma in NLCS, lost World Series to Louisville; S8: 108-54, 1st place)

Key Additions: CF Phillip Borchard, SS Andruw Knight, RP Abdul Duncan
Key Losses: CF Luis Benitez, RP Alfredo Morandini

The Armstrongs dominated the NL all season, averaging a ridiculous 7+ runs per game. They'll return nearly the same team, but could miss Benitez (58 HR, 158 RBI), choosing instead to upgrade defensively.

The top of the order would make the '27 Yankees jealous, with LF Marvin Aurilia, fresh off his third straight MVP award, right smack in the middle. The 1-5 hitters are all 30 years or younger, and hit the heck out of the ball, so St. Louis figures to be in the WS hunt for a number of years.

While their bats get all the attention the pitching staff can be just as dominant, allowing the second least runs in the NL last season. SPs Esteban Franco, Roland Springer, and Vic Mendez will give their offense a good opportunity to win any ballgame, and their bullpen will usually close the door. As long as they stay healthy, expect to see them playing in October.

X-Factor: Young P.T. Espinosa will be asked to make the jump from the bullpen to the rotation. If he can give some quality starts, this team will be that much more dangerous.

New York Mets
(S7: 93-69, 2nd place, Wild Card, beat Charleston in round 1, lost in Divisional Series to St Louis; S8: 92-70, 2nd place)

Key Additions:
Key Losses: 2B Timo Kondou, LF Quentin McCarthy

The Mets remained somewhat inactive this offseason, preferring to count on their outstanding young core of hitters. New York will once again sandwich Silver Slugger 1B David Andujar between C Buddy Bacsik and RF Pablo Abreu. After averaging over 6 runs per game last season, expect the scoreboard to get plenty of work.

While Shea has long been considered a pitcher's ballpark, this is the biggest concern for the Mets if they want to challenge St. Louis. A solid top of the rotation, led by Midre Aquino, gives way to a vulnerable back end. Clyde Sparks is as good a set-up man as there is, but they'll need some young arms to step up if the bullpen's going to hang onto leads.

New York won't overtake St. Louis this season, as they didn't make up the 25 game deficit in off-season activity, but they will be right there in the Wild Card race at the end of the year.

X-Factor: RP Carlos Nunez will be asked to close out games. Sparks will get him the ball with the lead, but he'll need to be much better than last year (7 blown save in 19 opportunities) if he wants to be on the hill in the ninth innings during a playoff run.

Atlanta Gay Pirates
(S7: 72-90, 3rd place; S8: 77-85, 3rd place)

Key Additions: SP Dennis Park, SS Gus Fujiwara
Key Losses:

Pitching remains the question mark in Atlanta. They tried to shore up the rotation by signing veteran SP Park (3.71 career ERA) to a 3-yr deal, but will need big contributions from some youngsters. The bullpen doesn't need to be spectacular- they just need to get the ball to Alex Rijo (30 saves, 2.90 ERA).

The offense will feature four players ready to spend their first full-season in the bigs, but the heart of the order remains the same with 1B Rigo Trevino and 2B/OF Mariano Romano garnering the most attention.

Atlanta's success will be determined by the production of their youngsters. If they can contribute all season long, look for the Gay Pirates to contend for a Wild Card spot. But more likely, they're a year or two from being a serious threat.

X-Factor: With all the rookies, it's hard to pick one, but Brett Gload will be roaming CF and leading off. If he can consistently reach base ahead of the big bats and cause some havoc on the basepaths, Atlanta could surprise some teams.

Boston Colonials
(S7: 69-93, 4th place; S8: 66-96, 4th place)

Key Additions: SP Gerald Roosevelt
Key Losses: OF Patrick Hobbes, SP Pat Martin, SP Charles Hansen

The Colonials will lean heavily on their pitching this season. Last season they had the second worst run production in the NL, and not much has changed, so don't expect many slugfests.

Roosevelt will join 100-game winner Felipe Henriquez and young ace SP Alan Ward in the rotation. Brian Bechler (31 saves, 3.51 ERA) will convert back to being a starter for the first time since season 4, leaving the bullpen very suspect.

Nothing will come easy for the Colonials this season, as they'll need a lot to go their way in order to finish better than 3rd place in the NL East for the first time in franchise history.

X-Factor: Following a nice rookie season seeing limited action, OF Victor Wengert must produce as an everyday part of the middle of this lineup if the Colonials are going to put some runs on the board.

The NL West: Tough and About to Get Tougher

The National League division that registered more victories than any other in Season 7 looks to be even stronger in Season 8. An always very tough Tacoma Pixies club -- world champs in Season 6 -- and ever improving teams in LA, Tucson and Fresno set the stage for a spirited West Division race.

Here are team by team capsules, in order of their Season 7 finish (w/Season 7 records and Season 8 predictions in parentheses):

Tacoma Pixies (Season 7/102-60, Season 8 Proj./95-67)

The Pixies' three top attributes are:

1. Donnie Brown (W-L 27-7, Inn. 310.1 WHIP 0.92 ERA 2.35)
2. Donnie Brown
3. Donnie Brown

While All Universe Brown is starting to get a little long in the tooth, he seems to just be getting better. We see no reason for that to change in Season 8. His numbers will be impressive and he'll compete for another Cy Young Award.

Other Pixie starters pale in comparison to Brown, so a strong bullpen, anchored by Greg Lewis, Jim Walker and Delanor Deveraux, will be busy and need to keep games in hand so the Pixies big bats can make the difference.

Speaking of bats, oh yeah, they get big wood on the ball, with some of the best power in the NL.

3B Cristobal Quixote, and OFs Scot Rossy, Joaquin Carerras and John Sveum all can bring it with superior power and average.

And Gold Glove 2B Albert Russell is a human vacuum cleaner.

Despite a slight question mark regarding the Pixies starting rotation after Brown, this team remains solid and should be considered the favorite to win the West again. It will be a push, however, for them to regain the World Series title they relinquished last season.

Los Angeles Knights (S7/93-69, S8 Proj./89-73)

The Knights sport two of the West's best starters, 18-game winner Luis Johnson and 14-game winner Courtney Fullmer, and arguably the league's premier closer in Fireman of the Year Willis Little, who was 30 of 30 last season in save opportunities. The rest of the Knights' bullpen is reliable, but its 3, 4 and 5 starters are slight question marks heading into the season. Example: free agent pick-up Zach Roundtree brings his 6-21 record from last season with him (admittedly, he toiled for an awful Fargo team in the AL) and will need to radically improve to help the Knights compete for the division title or hold on second place. LA can only hope that Roundtree benefits from not facing DHs.

As for hitting. LA has it in spades, starting with perennial crusher 1B Sherman Lawton, Silver Slugger 3B Derek Jordan, 2B Alex Ortiz and OF John Henley. CF Wendell Ball's 50+ SBs don't hurt the cause either.

So, if the Knights new SPs pull through, the team has the hitting to win it all. A very tough club, no matter.

Tucson Electric Lizards (S7/84-78, S8 Proj./76-86)

Gone is super-starter Ted Walsh, dispatched to the East's Chicago Boomtown, as if they needed him, coming off a 90-win season. Walsh was a losing-streak stopper and innings eater who will be missed sorely -- but not by West teams that had to face him multiple times each season. The Lizzies got some excellent prospects for Walsh, but two of them are skedded for the minors this season and the third, starter Darren Burke, has been average at the ML level (save for his Gold Glove last year). In fact, only one of the Lizards five starters had a winning record last year. That says a lot. The Lizard bull-pen is certainly adequate.

As for hitting, the Lizards have some of it, though not at the level of the other three teams in the division. All-Star SS Tyrone Beltre is a crusher who hits for average and Andres Carrasco is the total package with the bat and on the basepaths, with more than 50 steals last year. A guy who just might have a break-out year is 3B Nicholas Bennett, who scouts out at a 90 total and possesses all the tools. Nonetheless, a very improved Fresno Farmhands team is likely to leap-frog the Lizards and send them to the cellar.

Fresno Farmhands (S7/78-84, S8 Proj./90-72)

The perennial cellar-dwellers from California's Central Valley are hell-bent on competing for the division title this year and were super active on the trade/free-agent market. The 'Hands picked up two Season 7 All-Stars, CF bopper Luis Benitez and SS Sammy Bonilla, to beef up their power and defense. That duo will complement existing stars LF Ebenezer Sexson, RF Denny Hammond and C Sammy Herrera, who is still one of the ML's top defensive backstops and due to rebound from a mediocre season -- for him -- at the plate. Slugging/high average hitting 2B Tomas Ontiveros comes over from rival Tucson and gives the Farmhands another monster bat.

Also joining the club are two strong free-agent starters, 20-game winner Gary Hughes and 15-game winner Hector Schmidt. They join a rotation including up-and-coming Cameron Carter, who was 18-6 last season while climbing from AA to the ML level, and 14-game winner Nolan Wallace. The Farmhands' bullpen is adequate. Their biggest question mark will be whether former All-Star starter Derek O' Malley can adapt to the role of closer. We shall see.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

American League Team Capsules- Season 8

Disclaimer* the projected win total is not scientific. I did not add up wins and losses to see if they make sense. In fact it came to 1334-1263. Don't have the time to truly balance it. Maybe I will revisit it tomorrow night.

AL North- Until Syracuse losses it this division will remain theirs.
1. Syracuse: 110-52 Great rotation, great lineup, very good bullpen. The team has averaged 105 wins a season. The one chink in the armor may be age however as half the pitching staff is 30 or older. Conversely this team has the second lowest player payroll in the league so I am positive there are guys to plug in to fill the holes.

2. Cincinnati: 99-63 Lockwood, Stewart and Cerveza carry the rotation. Coleridge may be good but I suspect he will have a few bumps along the road. The offense will hit and the defense is solid

3. Ottawa: 81-81 This team confuses me. There are some good players and then there are some Sammy Riveras. I count 9 guys who are starters and 4 guys in the pen, one of whom (Simpkins) will probably only pitch 40 innings. The offense is decent and the pitching staff has some star power but too much has to click for it to work all season.

4. Trenton: 63- 99This team is young and a few players project to decent major leaguers. The pitching staff, if they develop, will carry this team in the future although I expect them to take a few lumps this season. On offense this team has about 3 players who will be decent long term major leaguers. Joncast has his work cut out for him here but there is hope, especially that pitching.

AL East- This division is tough from 1-4. Any team could win it and it would not surprise me.
1. Philadelphia: 95- 67: The offense, defense, and rotation of this team are very good. They will hit all season and their top 5 starters will carry them. The one hole is the bullpen. They need a stop, someone like Hitch**** to end the game for them.

2. New York: 92-70 Hurst, Morgan, Barker and McCarthy are pushing for one last run as members of the Crunch. Their window is closing but there are several very good options coming in to replace them. This offense is going to score a lot of runs. Martin is the guy to really watch here though. The arms on this team project to be very good but at this point they are still developing.

3. Louisville: 90-72: Can the World Champs repeat? Defense will be the biggest question for this squad. They catch the ball when it’s hit to them but if they have to move for the ball they lack a bit of range. I do wonder how long Key will remain at short. He has lost a step and would make a better 3b or lf. The offense is solid from top to bottom and the rotation is one of the best in the league.

4. Baltimore: 83-79Cone is due for a break out season and Dickerson will appreciate the protection. The lineup lacks a little bit of punch it seems and could use one or two more bats to put them into the race for the division. The rotation and bullpen are solid and will help keep the team afloat. Will King be with the team all season or will he be dealt for another bat?

AL South
1. Richmond: 89- 73 This team will hit a ton of homers, with Cortez and Guerrero both hitting over 50, and score a lot of runs. On the pitching side I see a lot of filler arms. Harris and Anderson will carry the rotation. Magee could be a good long man or 5 inning starter as well. Pitching is the question mark here. Maybe Baltimore and Richmond should trade some pieces.

2. Durham: 88-74: Another solid offensive club. Reese, May, Abercrombie, O'Connor, and Dickerson will keep the scoreboard busy. Sadly I could say the same about the rotation. I am not certain who the starters will be however as I count 11 players who appear to be starters. McConnell and Mendoza are the best of the bunch there. The bullpen has two very good arms in Becker and Carrasco.

3. Santa Fe: 68- 94: No true catcher on the Major League level. I assume Johnson is going to fill that role. I like this offense they are young and have good potential. On the pitching side, Garces, Lane and Ordaz look really good. If they can overcome the 32 pitch calling DH they could win a bunch of game. The pitching staff as a whole though seems like it has some gaps and some of these guys probably should not be in the majors (Carlos Sosa).

4. Memphis: 63-99: Thomas, Linton and Gilbert are the heart of this lineup. It is solid but not the best in the league or the division. Pitching is a big question mark here. In a division where the top two teams are carried by offense this team will struggle.

AL West
1. San Francisco: 105-57: I really think Manzanillo could be the MVP of the league. The lineup is solid from 1-9 and the defense is pretty good. I do believe that Posada is overpaid. He is a good fielder but not much of a hitter. The pitching is very good. No studs in any role but every one of them is very good.

2. Anaheim: 81-81 Parent, Garrido, Ayala, Bagley, and Daniels are all solid and all 26 or under. This is a young team on the verge of becoming very good. If either Canseco or Ayala play center this team will be much improved on offense. The pitching staff has a nice mix of old and young guys all of whom are good. Like with some other teams it appears to be top heavy with 9 of the 11 members of the pitching staff being starters.

3. San Diego: 63- 99: The offense is a lot like Seattles. I see them struggling to score runs, especially in that park. The team does have very good speed and defense. On the pitching side there are some OK pitchers who will benefit from the park and some very good pitchers who will be awesome. With that defense, all the pitchers have to do is let the batters put it in play.

4. Seattle: 60- 103: How did Pat Hughes go from making 805k to $8 Million? This may be the worst offense in the AL. Hughes and Walker are the two best hitters and they are replacement level values at best. The pitching is not bad but of the 10 arms on the team 8 of them are starters.

Season Preview Part 1- AL Averages

Starting Lineups I had some really nice charts showing how franchises ranked by starting lineups, starting rotation, and bullpens. They did not look so nice anymore once posted so the short version of it...

1. San Francisco: SF has got a nice mix in all areas. I expect to see Tony Tejero in the several league leaders categories for along time. Sammy Manzanillo may end up as the leagues MVP.
2. Syracuse: Contract year for Aurilia, he is going to have a big season. It will also be interesting to see what a full season of Palacios brings.
3. New York: The team is a little short on power but hits well overall. Hurst, Morgan, and McCarthy are the core of this lineup.
4. Cincinnati: The key to this lineup is what Ortiz does. If he hits righties this lineup can do some big things.
5. Santa Fe: With no true 3b, CF or RF on the opening day roster it is hard to truly gauge who will get the AB. The one thing easy to see is this roster is full of hitters. Based on park factors they will score the most runs. They are also very young, next season they could be #1 on this list.

1. Ottawa: Anderson is my Cy Young pick, provided he can get the innings and run support.
2. Philadelphia: Perry, Cornelius, Slaughter, and Walters will all win 18 so long as the last two stay healthy.
3. Syracuse: If Walker and Osting can go the whole season this team will be tough to stop.
4. Richmond: Anderson and Harris will be very good for a long time.
5. Louisville: This team has 7 starters on the roster and two more who could be used in that role if needed. All are good, only thing missing is a true stud, depending how Mauer ages.

1. Syracuse: only 5 arms here, could fall a bit. Hitch**** is still very good. Too bad no one wants to trade for him.
2. Cincinnati
3. Louisville-
4. New York
5. Richmond

I cut the rationale in favor of AL team capsules.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Biggest FA Acquisition?

So it looks like the biggest free agent acquired this offseason was
All told there were 3 type A free agents signed during the free agent period. The impact of the lettered free agents on this seasons' draft is minimal as there are only 40 picks in the first round. Putting that in perspective, during season one there were 25 type A free agents and 80 picks n the first round of the draft (16 of whom went unsigned). Season one obviously is an aberration as no one could extend the contracts of their best players but 25 down to 3 is a big jump. How about other seasons? Season 2 had 6 type A's, season 3 jumped to 17, Season 4 stayed about the same with 18, season 5 dropped to 10, season 6 fell further to 7 and Season 7 got back up to 9. Three is the fewest type A free agents changing teams so far. Next season looks like we may get a rebound again as there are still several very good players who have not been extended. The best available looks to be Anthony Aurilia
Anthony Aurilia
snow belt
Age: 31B/T: S/R
Born: Pleasant Hill, MO
Position(s): LF
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who is likely to be resigned before hitting the market. On the pitchers side thee are some quality arms but all the best ones are getting older. Is this article premature? You bet.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

HBD Ruth

Hardball Dynasty's first world now has its own blog.

I am not too sure what I would like to see this become but I would like contributions from as many league members as possible. My first goal is to do a preview of the AL. If anyone from the AL would like to do the NL it would be appreciated.

That's it for now.