Monday, August 18, 2008

NL SOUTH - Season 10 Preview

Tampa Bay Fighting Hamsters : mirky (6th season)

Last Season: 44-118 (4th)

Key Additions: NONE

Key Losses: Pat Murphy

Outlook: At first glance it may appear mirky is asleep at the wheel but don’t be fooled by the lack of off season acquisitions. The past several seasons have been spent gathering and developing young talent and it appears they are ready for the big show. Nineteen of the twenty five players on Tampa’s ML roster are 25 and under, with rookie of the year candidate Jeff Simpkins leading the way. The loss of last season’s HR leader, Pat Murphy via trade, shouldn’t have a huge impact on the lineup as this team is still loaded with power at several positions. Felipe Rodriguez could be a future all-star pitcher but the rest of the youngsters have a ways to go. Look for this team to improve but not compete for the division.

San Juan Wizards : patrickm885 (6th season)

Last Season: 81-81 (2nd)

Key Additions: Albert Javier (FA), Dick Jordan (RULE 5)

Key Losses: Timo Kondou (FA), Glenn Minor (FA)

Outlook: After winning the division and making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history during Season 8, the Wizards followed up with a disappointing 81-81 record and a second place finish. Still hopes should remain high in San Juan as large amount of young talent surrounded by some solid vets should have this team competing for the division again. Twenty one year old 2B Brad Terrell leads a slew of young talented hitters that will occupy the middle of a dangerous lineup. Pitching will once again be the biggest problem for the Wizards who lack a true #1 starter. The addition of Albert Javier should improve the team’s bullpen but many holes still remain. Expect San Juan to challenge Charleston for the division title.

El Paso Elephants : cshort13 (1st season)

Last Season: 65-97 (3rd) As the San Antonio Shadow Boxers

Key Additions: Brian Morris (TRADE), Fernando Zapata (WAIVERS), Darwin Meyers (FA)

Key Losses: Kris Richardson (RELEASED), Albert Lane (FA), Hunter Donatello (TRADE), Orel Spradlin (TRADE)

Outlook: First year owner cshort13 takes over a franchise that has seen five different owners and only one winning season. Much work needs to be done after last season’s 65-97 3rd place finish and it appears cshort13 is up to the task. Several moves have already been made letting the Ruth World know this he’s ready to start molding this team into a consistent winner. Player budgets have been cut, down 22 million from last season, with the money going to bringing in young talent for the future. The losses of Kris Richardson and Albert Lane allowed the team to cut payroll but have left the team without a star. Youngster Jimmy Hayes will have to carry this offense on most nights for this team to be successful. Rookie Eugene Wilkins could be a bright spot on a rather average staff. Don’t look for much ML production out of the Elephants this season but the future looks bright!

Charleston Charge : r0b0t (10th season)

Last Season: 83-79, (1st)

Key Additions: Mark Morgan (RULE 5)

Key Losses: Javier Terrero (FA)

Outlook: Don’t fix what isn’t broken. The Charge, lead by owner r0b0t, captured their 8th division title last season and made the playoffs for the 9th strait time. Few changes have been made to this lineup despite tying a franchise worst 83-79 record last season and falling out of the playoffs early once again. Still the Charge should continue to be the team to beat in the NL South. A powerful line up lead by Peter Belinda and the resurgent Alex Belliard will keep opposing pitchers awake at night (that is if imaginary baseball players sleep). Under 30 starters Danny Lennon and Rodrigo Gutierrez should lead a well balance staff into the post season for a 10th strait season. Despite the success in the division Charleston fans have to wonder if this team will ever repeat their Season 1 playoff success…

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