Sunday, February 13, 2011

Season 20 Preview: AL East

New York Crunch II
Season 19 Record: 76-86
Budget for players: $71m budgeted, 39 spent
Pitching Staff:  3 of 10
Offense:  5 of 10
Bench:  5 of 10
Defense: 6 of 10
Minor League Grade: A
Divisional Finish: 2
Notes:  The biggest hole on offense is the lack of a true power hitter.  There is some power there and Shawn Koskie is a player anyone would want but after him is a 34 year old rf on the decline and 24 year old catcher who is still developing. Rogers Weston is now 12 hits from 3500.  The defense is pretty strong. This pitching staff is going to see some ugliness.  Josh Moore was once the hottest prospect in the game, now he is finishing it up on an also ran.  Really the staff has some solid contributors but in all I count 7 of the 13 as players who probably shouldn't be in a major league pitching staff and certainly not all in the same one.  At least 13 positional prospects and 13 pitchers have a shot at making the majors and some of them will dominate.  This is the best minor league system I have seen from top to bottom.  When I did this team first I assumed they would finish fourth.  Then I did another team.

Indianapolis Inconceivables
Season 19 Record: 67-95
Budget for players: $58m with $13m left in cap space at the moment.
Pitching Staff:  3 of 10
Offense:  4 of 10
Bench:  4 of 10
Defense: 6 of 10
Minor League Grade: B
Divisional Finish: 3
Notes: Geoff Ruffin will be good one day.  The offense is a collection of average to below average players.  The only area where they will excel is SS defense.  The rest of the defense is fine.  The pitching staff has some decent prospects and some bad vets.  There are a few good prospects, Vladimir Reyes may be the best of them.  There are quite a few flawed prospects who look great until you notice that one rating that makes you take a pass.

 Scranton Coal Crackers
Season 19 Record: 77-85
Budget for players: $70m with $5m left in cap space at the moment.
Pitching Staff:  3 of 10
Offense:  4 of 10
Bench:  4 of 10
Defense: 9 of 10
Minor League Grade: D
Divisional Finish: 1
Notes:  The catchers are on the roster for their gloves and appear to be so bad with the bat you would want to DH for them and let the pitchers bat.  I am kidding of course.  One of them had an OPS over .800 last season in 200 likely platoon or fill in at bats.  The other guy was possibly the worst batter in the league and will only face lefties.  Rafael Santana is just like the one for the mets in the mid-80's. This offense is unbalanced, there is no middle ground.  The batters are either really good or really bad.  I think they will struggle to score.  The defense is very strong.  14 pitchers on this staff is probably 2 to many.  They are a good bunch of arms and with that defense behind them will keep Scranton in a lot of games. The best pitchers in the minors all struggle with control.  Timo Burgess is a mystery.  His projections look good to me but I also see no way he meets them from where he sits now.  The two best positional prospects are DHs and there are better aging vets on the FA market who can fill the role better than them.  This minor league system needs some work.  Although I am picking this team for first place I am not expecting a winning record.

 Baltimore Bandits
Season 19 Record: 49-113
Budget for players: $70m with $2.5m left in cap space at the moment.
Pitching Staff:  2 of 10
Offense:  3 of 10
Bench:  3 of 10
Defense: 7 of 10
Minor League Grade: D+
Divisional Finish: 4
Notes: No way Harold Cashman maintains that 100 speed platooning at catcher.  The defense meets or exceeds just about every reccomended rating.  The offense has two players with a VR over 70 and only 5 over 60.  They will struggle to score.  While we are bust ripping the offense the pitchers got jealous because they expected me to be harshest to them.  I understand why they feel that way but I am not going to beat a dead horse. Einar Ordonez says it best. Trevor Donovan is not too far off the all-time home run record, sadly he is toiling away in AAA.  He is also the second best positional prospect in the minors.  On the pitching side there were a couple possibilities.

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