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.

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