Tuesday, August 19, 2008

AL North and East

Team Previews

On rating teams I provided .5 points for a league average player and 1 point for an all star player. No points were awarded for below average players.

AL North






Syracuse snow belt

schedule1 *




Ottawa Braves

mmustain *




Cleveland Armpits

bxtxcx *




Cincinnati Panthers

tzentmeyer *




Syracuse (24 out of 35)

Offense (8 out of 10): Well the team will hit. Aurillia, while aging is still very productive. Is this the season who transitions to 1b full time? There really is no weakness here

Bench (3.5 out of 5): The bench players are all good defensive replacements and decent to good bats. Can’t argue with that.

Defense (3.5 out of 8): The team has good ss and 2b. The other skill positions are at or below average defensively. There is no real pitch calling catcher on the team, that may hurt. There are also several 2b and SS who will play out of position, so it is difficult to really rate this team here. If one of them ends at CF that would take the rating to a 4.5.

Rotation (4 out of 5): The rotation is very young. Schedule1 has reloaded this rotation for the long run. Matt Petterson looks like he will be very good for a long time

Bullpen (5 out of 7): Hawk Walker returns for one more season and will be the long man in the pen. I can’t figure out what Bud Collins is doing on this team. Marshall Hitchcock closing things out and looking cool.

X-factor-Who plays CF? There are several decent options here. So this player would be the x-factor whoever he is. Maybe Bernie Williams will put down the guitar and fill in for a season

Overall Comments: Syracuse is very good. They set the league record for wins in a season last year. I know this season will be seen as a failure though for Sched unless it ends with a WS trophy.

Prediction: 110-52

Ottawa (20 out of 35)

Offense (6.5 out of 10): Armas is a beast. Mathews and Batista will rake as well. The rest of the group is solid but not great. The team will hit well.

Bench (1 out of 5): McMurtry does not add a lot with the bat but neither did Charlie O’Brien. My big issue with the bench is it is all corner OF/1b types. There really is not back up player for up the middle and Mercado, Albert and Lane will need time off possibly about a combined 400 AB worth.

Defense (5.5 out of 8): The defense is at or above average for most positions. They will not give many away

Rotation (4 out of 5): Durability issues may force Ottawa to go with a 6 man rotation. They have the arms though to make it work. I am not sold on Steve Peterson though, he is going to struggle some. Then there is the reliable Roland Springer, just give him the ball.

Bullpen (3 out of 7): Depending how the rotation works out there are some potential IP issues. Several of these guys are going to be called on to pitch often and when they do pitch they won’t last long. They have good arms but not the ability to pitch enough or long enough.

X-factor- The Starting rotation is the key here. How long they go in game and whther they can go every 5 days will determine how far this team goes. They have the skilled players to win but will it come together? I say yes.

Overall Comments: This team is poised to make a step forward. They are young enough around the field and on the mound that they still have yet to peak. But they are in the same division as Syracuse and until someone knocks Schedule1 off it is still his division

Prediction: 93-69

Cleveland (16.5 out of 35)

Offense (7 out of 10): Offensively this team is primed to hit. Good players from top to bottom in the lineup led by Wendell Lambert. 9 of the 13 offensive players are making under 400K. That tells you a bit about this team. I would like to see Edge Stone given an increased role on this team.

Bench (3 out of 5): There are certainly plenty of options here. There is no true DH on the team so I assume the plan is to use one of the catchers as a DH, I do not think he is the best option though.

Defense (3 out of 8): The starters are all at or below league average. The range is mediocre and the gloves may cause some trouble. The replacements are all above average defensively so they should not lose it late. They may however cough it up early.

Rotation (1.5 out of 5) Victor Nieves is a beast on the mound and could challenge for a major award (he plans on displaying it is his living room window). Past him I see major question marks.

Bullpen (2 out of 7) Cesar Vasquez is the Victor Nieves of the pen. He will dominate when he is out there. Sadly those around him may hurt his chances.

X-factor- The GM. I would say the focus is squarely on the GM and his ability to get some pitching. This team has some great looking young bats and if they could be cashed in for some added pitching this team could challenge.

Prediction: 70-92

Overall Comments: Combine the defensive question marks with some spotty pitching may lead to some difficult stretches in Cleveland. The team will hit but in this division just hitting is not enough.

Cincinnati (16 out of 35)

Offense (5 out of 10): The offense is about league average. I see a team that was very good a few seasons ago and is now hitting the down slope. They also seem to lack power, outside of Don Smart who is cut from the Pete Incaviglia mold.

Bench (1 out of 5): The bench does not add much in the way of bats. They are mostly there to serve as defensive replacements. They have their strengths but the also have flaws.

Defense (2 out of 8): Neither catcher impresses much and runners will cut loose on them. I like Hugh Smith on defense in CF but short of him there will be a lot of missed plays, booted grounders and dropped flyballs.

Rotation (3 out of 5) I like Cerveza and Houston should be good but past them is mediocre.

Bullpen (5 out of 7): So here is the tough part. The bullpen looks very good. Sadly though you need your pen most when your starters can’t make it far in games because of performance or durability. In this case I think they will be pitching with a defecit often.

X-factor-Like Cleveland the GM is the key. I do not see this team competing but they do have some marketable pieces in the rotation and the pen. If they can be spun in an effort to build for the future it may be time to think about it.

Overall Comments: This team is the worst in the AL North, the defense is below average and the bats are getting old. This team will struggle to compete and may best be served by building for the future.

Prediction: 65-87

AL East







Louisville Sluggers

raiderzman33 *





Philadelphia Freedoms**







New York Crunch II

SyrCrunch *





Baltimore Inner Harbors






Louisville (22 of 35)

Offense (6 out of 10): Redding and Guapo are the true stars here. Past them are some decent bats and some not so decent bats.

Bench (4 out of 4): This bench provides a good deal of flexibility. A good defensive catcher who can hit some and some players who can play any position and ht some as well.

Defense (5 out of 8): I like Guapo’s defense I just don’t like how he calls a game. Vargas and Beltre both leave a little to b desired up the middle and may struggle to get to and hold onto all the balls they should. My assumption however is that Fujiwara is going to play SS, which takes away the prior criticism of the SS position.

Rotation (5 out of 5): 11 of the 13 pitchers have a stamina rating above 60 and 7 of them are above 70. This pitching staff is almost entirely starters! I like Gibbons best of all but really all of them are good.

Bullpen (2out of 7) I would really have to look closer at how this worked last year. It just seems so foreign to me to even try it. I count 2 true relievers. Ramirez is going to be very good.

X-factor- The pitching staff…see above

Overall Comments: I think raiderz needs to talk to the Cleveland GM about spinning off a couple of starters for some minor league depth. I like this team, they should make the playoffs.

Prediction: 95-67

Burlington (19 of 35)

Offense (6 out of 10) There are some really good bats here and they should win a lot of games with big run totals. Trevor Donovan is the big star here.

Bench (2 out of 5): Miller Robinson offers great value for his skills. Otherwise the bench is a few RF and SS. Not a lot of variety here.

Defense (6 out of 8) The defense is good enough to not cost ht e team games and from time to time win a game. I would however add that Caballero is not a shortstop and should not be played there. He makes Derek Jeter look like Ozzie Smith.

Rotation (3.5 out of 5): 8 players with staminas over 70! Is this the division of starters? You guys need to share these with the rest of the league. Actually after Mendoza, Perry and Slaughter there may be a reason why so many starters are in town. None of them may be able to do it too long.

Bullpen (1.5 out of 7): Harry Owen= Best reliver in the league

X-factor-Pitching. Past the top three guys in the rotation the opponents are going to see Harry Owen a lot. If he can hold teams down they will win their fair share. Really how the bullpen handles the demands of 2/5 of the rotation will determine their season.

Overall Comments: Can I have Harry Own? I have a man crush on him. He will pitch often and effectively. This team has a good mix of offense, pitching and defense. They should win and they should compete with Louisville for the division. I see Louisville holding on in the end though.

Prediction: 88-74

NewYork (17.5 of 35)

Offense (6 out of 10): This team has some offensive ability. They will hit and score lots of runs. It is largely a team based on team speed Coleride will have opportunities to drive in many runs.

Bench (1.5 out of 5): The bench is about speed and defense. They will all do their job and serve a role. Nothing spectacular but good enough

Defense (4 out of 8) I would like to see better defense in CF and Morgan really looks more like a 1b than a LF. Oddly, for a team built around running I think they may struggle shutting down other running teams. I like Mota a lot.

Rotation (2 out of 5): Yawn…7 starters with a stamina above 70. All of them appears to be league average or below. They will struggle as a staff in this division.

Bullpen (3 out of 7): Of the 4 members of the pen all of them are solid. They will do a good job holding leads that are handed to them.

X-factor-Speed. Will the focus on speed translate into more runners on base and more runs scored?

Overall Comments: The offense is interesting but the pitching is lacking. This team is behind both Burlington and L-Ville. Add a couple of starters and that will change.

Prediction: 75-87

Boston (16 of 35)

Offense (6 out of 10): Uhoh, 14 players on offense is the first thing I notice. Wilfredo, Cone, and Zero James make this an offense to watched. They will score many runs but are there enough AB for all these bats?

Bench (2 out of 5): The bench has many options, each for its own need. This bench has many interesting players. Each of them seems to do one or two things very well while having big weaknesses in other places.

Defense (4 out of 8): I do not like the catching defense and around the infield Stone seems the safest bet, depending who is at short. The outfield looks like it has 3 first basemen to choose from out of the 4 players listed as of.

Rotation (2 out of 5): A few seasons back I went after Antonio Zheng hard. I still think he could offer a lot to may teams. Sadly Boston doesn’t have enough Zhengs. This staff will give up runs and tax a short staff.

Bullpen (2 out of 7): I like Sampson and Morandini but after them there is not a lot to like

X-factor- The pitching staff. I do not think there are enough arms here to make it through the season. There will be some really taxed arms.

Overall Comments: This team has got some really bright spots but they also have some really ugly cankers. This is a team that may benefit from marketing some of its better young players to stock for the future

Prediction: 60-102

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