Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Season 30 Preview

Boise Mountain Hawks
Last season's WS appearance was a happy surprise to the fans in Boise. Once superstar Trenidad Maduiro went out for the season only 30 games into the season, many people gave up on the squad. After SP1 Willis Randall hit the DL they were completely counted out. Yet, the rest of the squad went on to win over 90 games and ended up getting downed in 5 in the WS.

To improve the team, the GM gave up on two young prospects in Thomas Portillo and Burt Newman. Sending the youngsters off allowed Boise to add solid SP2/3 Ron Goldschmidt and former Boise 1st rounder C Carl Cammack. These upgrades should help Boise push back into the playoffs, hopefully to win that elusive first WS after their first WS appearance last season.

The only question: Will the pitching staff keep games close enough for Cammack and Maduro to slug Boise past Milwuakee and Salt Lake?
Charleston Kyoudai Musu
Season 30 looks to be more of the same for the Mighty Moose of Charleston. Alving Franco, Vic Osuna and Phil Brown lead the offense. New comer Willie Gonzalez acquired in a late spring training trade should add some extra punch to the lineup. Rookie Julian Rodriquez will take over the 2nd base spot and should provide some spectacular defense while struggling at the plate. Hideki Dong and vets Pedro Santiago, Tony Martin and Ariel Arroyo will anchor the rotation. None are ace type pitchers, but are adequate at best. FA signing Mike Mitchell will also start and FA Nerio Buchanan will provide long relief. Clyde Shipley a "A" type FA who was signed at a bargain price will provide some extra depth in the bullpen. Fernando Alvarez, Kevin Hudak And Don Lim are all experienced in the art of relief pitching. 3B coach Gus Nance begins his 8th season with the team, he has a chance to make it 9 next season. Prediction : 78-84
Cincinnati Stingers
Well the Cincinnati Stingers can only go up at this point considering coming off their worst season ever. But this team isn't far off especially with a lot of great pitching almost ready to break into the majors. The outlook for this season is to tread water. They signed future HOF'ers Calvin Montgomery and Wilson Yeats to fill the empty spots in the rotation and made moves in the Rule 5 with Enrique Gonzalez and Denny Simpson to give the offense some depth behind Spud Riggs and some other potential good young players. Stingers look for a rebound from GG 3B Bob Hart who struggled last season. Overall this is a team that is a year off from contending and rolling out their new look for the future. Prediction: 60-102
Las Vegas Hangovers
The Hangovers aged quite quickly last season following back to back championships. They won the division (barely) but were handily defeated in the first round of the playoffs by Boise. This offseason was tough to gauge as they added some young pieces for the future but traded away all-star closer Wilfredo. Age will once again be a factor and if this team can find the fountain of youth, a deep playoff run isn’t out of the question. It’s tough to predict whether or not they will be trading vets mid-season or acquiring a missing please for a playoff run. Prediction 89-73.
Milwaukee n/a’s
The n/a's have won four straight division titles and have reached the NLCS three straight seasons. With most of the team still in their prime and under contract, expectations were that the team would once again return mostly intact. That was not the plan of the front office however, as their patience had worn thin. Faced with a very thin farm system and the possibility of the current players not getting it done, management decided to move a few key pieces for younger talent in hopes of avoiding a big drop off in a few seasons. 

Gone are Carl Cammack, Hector Bennett and Willie Gonzalez, mainstays in the Milwaukee lineup for quite a few seasons. In return, the n/a's got young prospects IF Tomas Portillo, SS Branden Payton and SP Benji Pineda. All three should be key fixtures on the team by mid-S31. Ismael Cerveza left via free agency as well, leaving yet another spot to fill for this upcoming season. Keith Garcia, the face of the franchise was extended and is seemingly going to play out his career in Milwaukee. Bucky Thompson was brought in cheap to play 2B, where Louie Alarcon played last season. Alarcon will be at 3B to start the season where Gonzalez played. Harry Tavarez was signed to play SS until Portillo is ready, at which point Alarcon will move to SS and Portillo will play 3B. The OF remains in tact with Garcia in left, Yusmeiro Lee in center and Adam Broussard in right. The team was trying to move Lee, who has been a disappointment during his time in Milwaukee. If they can't move him, they will hope he can at least stay healthy, something he hasn't done during his time with the team. Brandon Reid is going to be relied upon to step up big at the plate and help manage the pitching staff. 

Paul Gregg heads the rotation and looks to improve upon a rough first season in Milwaukee. Expectations are high considering his salary doubles to the max this season. Brian Ueno got an extension and will be the no. 2 starter behind Gregg. Tuck Haynes hopes to replicate his debut season in Milwaukee whileJackson Masset is pitching in a contract year and Scooter Sutton will return as the no. 5 starter. With Cerveza gone, the bullpen will rely heavily on 2nd year man Dolf Johnson. Johnson was a pleasant surprise for the n/a's last season and they hope he won't suffer a sophomore slump. The rest of the bullpen is pretty iffy, with plenty of arms in AAA if some falter. 

All in all, this team should be a wild card contender, needing the ball to bounce their way if they want to contend for a very strong NL North.

Prediction : 86-76, 3rd NL North, no playoffs
Mexico City Borrachos
The defending AL champs continue to get older and the elusive championship slowly starts slipping away. The team still has enough power to make the playoffs but winning the division will be as difficult as it's been in any of the past 10 seasons. This year is likely the year the Beers are dethroned as the AL south champs. Prediction: 92 wins, wild card berth
New Britain Bombadiers
The Bombadiers built upon their season 28 division title with 95 wins (only 2 off nwm11's prediction) and another division title last year.

The deep farm system is fueling a balanced attack on a low budget, led by one of the top stars in all of Ichiro - Allan Michaels. Chan Satou provided another Bombadier top-5 ROY candidate in season 29 and Malcolm Burns (SP), Diego Alomar (SP), and Juan Franco (2B) could do the same in season 30!

The bullpen has been strengthened with Domingo Palmeiro as closer, while the strong OBP of Jalal Ramirez in the lineup for a full year will help the top of the order.

Season 30 Prediction: 96 wins and NL East Champs holding off a tough Jacksonville squad.
Sacramento Savages
My team sucks. Prediction: 75-87.
Salt Lake Moguls (formerly Madison Beavers)
Previous Season: 88-74 ,lost first round playoffs
Key Additions: Albert Maranon (SP), Karim Castillo (2B/3B)
Key Losss: Howard Jenkins (1B/RF), Rodrigo Frias (SP)
Season Prediction: 90-72 and back in playoffs.

Despite playing in one of the toughest divisions in Ichiro, SLC welcomes a team that is ready to win now. This is the most complete team under the current ownership.

What they lack in power numbers from last year's ROY candidate Jenkins, they make up for in the boost in defense from Castillo, who is still well above average offensively. The Moguls really shored up their defensive IF this year as the trade allowed them to move Paul Hoffman to the OF where he really belongs. SLC still expects to be among the league leaders in run scored though with quality hitters everywhere except vs. LHP at SS.

The pitching staff gets a big boost in ace Maranon to anchor a rotation that has above average skill but has underperformed so far. Prized prospects Cameron Dobbs, Ron Bigley and Orber Toca will make an impact this year and could turn SLC into the surprise pitching staff of the year.

Barring injuries this team could compete for the division championship with Boise and Milwaukee. To get there though the team might have to find help at SS and CF if the current guys don't get it done.
San Francisco Begonias
At this point, these could write themselves. Over the past three seasons we have won 73, 77, and 75 games. Nothing like a little consistency! In the past, we had 17 straight winning seasons, and one WS title. Since then, we've had 4 losing seasons in six.

Does it look any better for Season 30? Not really. I have a potentially excellent 21-year-old short reliever, which is nice but hardly pennant-worthy on its own. I have a CF with three consecutive GG who doesn't hit. I have a pretty good 2B, and a C who looks to be very good and is only a year away at most. I have the 12th pick in the draft, but my past draft results have been good-not-great.

In short, once again I'm hoping for a .500 season, with a title contender in Season 31.
Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls went out in the offseason and revamped our pitching, spending a lot of money doing so. Bringing in 2 starters, De La Rosa and McRae to go along with Johnson, Feliz and Durrington should help fortify a starter rotation that will be greatly improved from last season. Going along with the 2 starters brought in, we also brought in 3 relievers including Bob Sullivan, that will help compliment the solid year of Robinson and the all-star year for rule-5 draft pick Richardson. The most important addition may have been the acquisition of former all-star catcher Canseco. He will be a tremendous improvement defensively and can still hold his own at the plate. Looking for him to help the pitching staff be more competitive and to help the team improve dramatically over last year’s performance.
Sioux Falls is looking for a 15 to 20 game improvement with the additions made to the club this year with outfielders Robinson and Smalley, along with top pitching prospects Vernon, Smart and Simpson waiting in the wing for their time to get the call to the bigs.

Prediction- 74-88

81 wins, basically the same team that won 81 last year.

Tacoma Method
This Tacoma Method team is a bit of an anomaly.....the parts are there to compete on the hitting/fielding side and the pitching has the control to keep the ball in the park, but still they lose. Now with spring call up SS Nap Scheffer out for the season, I am really unsure of this team more so now.....I am hoping we can get back to the days of 80+ wins and come close to the last Wild Card spot. Only playing the games will tell, and the management in Tacoma have their fingers and toes crossed that the tide has turned from last season. Or the owner will have them by the short & curlies.

Texas Rangers-
Not sure what to expect this year, after a disappointing year last year. Trying to rebuild around younger talent, but keeping the veteran Asdrubal Park to stabilize pitching staff. If the season goes south, Park may have to move to a contender. If we are a contender, then he will be having an excellent year.

Pittsburgh         94-68
Tampa Bay     91-71
St. Louis              94-69
Anaheim            90-72
Philadelphia     85-77
New York        84-78
Mexico City          92-70
San Francisco   81-81
Trenton              85-77
Cincinnati       66-96
Louisville             85-77
Seattle                 75-87
Sioux Falls        68-94
Boston             55-107
Kansas City        83-79
Wichita                65-97

Salt Lake City     90-72
New Britain        96-66
Austin                100-62
Las Vegas         86-76
Boise                  88-74
Jacksonville      90-72
Texas                 84-78
Sacramento       75-87
Milwaukee          86-76
Syracuse          81-81
Charleston        78-84
Honolulu             73-89
Fargo                 60-102
San Juan          77-85
Florida                64-98
Tacoma               70-92

American League Championship Series: Pittsburgh vs St. Louis
National League Championship Series: New Britain vs. Austin

World Series: New Britain vs. St. Louis, New Britain (4-2).

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Season 29 Preview

Fargo Cats
Milwaukee n/a's - With their third straight division title and getting to their second straight NLCS, falling only one game short of the World Series, most would say it was a successful season in Milwaukee. That was not the feeling you got from within the organization however. Even with slugger Carl Cammack out in the NLCS the expectation was World Series or bust. That rolled over into an off-season with a lot of question marks. Key pitchers Davey Estrada, Jim Allen and Dennis McCartney all were free agents and would have been impossible to bring them all back. McCarteny and Estrada were free to go elsewhere after initial attempts to keep them failed. The n/a's made more of an effort to keep Allen, but their efforts fell short. So in a last ditch effort to keep stability in the rotation, Milwaukee opened the bankbook and brought in former Cy Young winners Paul Gregg and Tuck Haynes. The contracts left many scratching their heads, but will once again put Milwaukee in the discussion of elite teams in Ichiro. Offensively they remain mostly intact. Tsuyoshi Tazawa's great postseason was not enough to secure an extension and he remains a free agent. Louie Alarcon will be asked to fill his shoes. Extension were given to Santo Lopez, Hector Bennett and Yusmeiro Lee. The hope is Lee can bounce back from a disappointing injury-riddled season. Keith Garcia will once again be the ignitor leading things off and Cammack returns as one of the best hitters in Ichiro. Another guy to keep your eye on is Brando Reid, who started slow, but finished strong last season. The bullpen is more of a question mark with the departure of McCartney. Ismael Cerveza continues to be one of the best closers in the league and bounced back nicely after a slow start. Aside from that, it will a fight amongst numerous pitchers. Many of whom have no ML experience. If this teams bullpen holds up and they remain healthy, the new coaching staff has all the pieces of a championship contender. Safe to say World Series or bust once again this season. Prediction: Another division championship and a 95-67 record.

Madison Beavers Predicted Record: 82-80. The Beavers failed to address their biggest need in the offseason - starting pitching. Two trades last season improved the staff but GM Irondawg was unwilling to make big money long-term commitments to some of the more attractive free agents. Making matter worse, division nemesis Milwaukee did. For the Beavers to make a return to the playoffs, they'll need to score early and often and that may not be a problem. Prospects Howard Jenkins and Ismael Bernadina could be ROY canidates. Trade acquision Al Soto also brings his big bat to the lineup that already featured two 40 HR theats in Ed Moustakous and Paul Hoffman. Bench is full of veterans who can hopefully provide some leadership and help off the bench when called upon and the bullpen appears solid. So the pressure in on the starting rotation which looks to be very hittable, especially at the SP4 and SP5 spots. Expectation is to fight for wildcard spot unless a in-season trade or ML ready IFA is added to the rotation

Boise Mountain Hawks Prediction: 96-66 NL Wildcard. Last season's late surge was spurred on by Wunderkind Trenidad Maduro. He vaulted a middle of the road NL offense to the top of the league in his first 100 games. He was the bat Boise was always looking for in each offseason since Letchkins took over. "He has power to all fields whether he bats left handed or right. I can't gush enough how much I love to watch him at batting practice." Boise collapsed in the divisional round of the playoffs with an utter lack of pitching last year. They went out and picked up 9 time Cy Young winner Andres Gomez, (probably the most impressive pitcher to ever take the mound) to help solidify the staff. They also stole longtime rival Felipe Lugo from Madison to help shore up the rotation. Ultimately, Boise's season hinges on the pitching staff coming back into line (I'm looking at you Davis and Chavez) and the offense putting up some monster numbers with Maduro in the middle of the lineup. With a healthy mix of vets and youngsters, Boise will definitely be a team to watch this season and going forward.

New Britain Bombadiers The Bombadiers are now back to their winning ways following a "rebuilding phase" for a few years after a World Series victory in Season 15 and 7 consecutive NL East division championships. It's finally coming together with a deep farm system emerging into the Majors. Allan Michaels (LF) won both ROY and NL MVP at age 21! Domingo Castillo and Javier Rodriguez both finished in the top-5 in ROY voting! Malcolm Burns (SP), Chan Satou (SP), Diego Alomar (SP), and Juan Franco (2B) lead an influx of ML-ready talent over the next 2 years ... so the Bombadiers will continue to grow without investing heavily in the FA market. Russ Gates will provide a talented veteran presence at multiple positions. Wladamir Blasco is the ace the team has searched for and anchors a deep rotation. The bullpen will rely on young talented arms to step up into key roles ... but should be supported by the farm system in the stretch run. 2014 Prediction: 93 wins and NL East Champs

Jacksonville Cubbies
Syracuse Marshals 80 wins
San Juan Pirata

Texas Rangers Season outlook: We will be disappointed if we do not win 85+. Last year we lead the division for a good portion of the year, but faltered after the break. By adding Troy Henderson to our under appreciated duo of Nap Golver (should of gotten some consideration for MVP last year) and Joshua Canseco (perennial all star snub), the offense should be able to hold up. Our young pitching staff has been adequate and is led by Asdrubal Park. This is a tough division as always, but we look forward to the challenge.

Charleston Kyoudai Musu Meri-Kurisamasu from the Mighty Moose of Charleston! This team is in a semi-rebuild stage. With 8 out of the first 80 picks in the upcoming amateur draft the team has the opportunity to reload for the future. The team again should have a solid offense led by All-Star Alving Franco and his 71 sb. A comeback from slugger Phil Brown is needed after he missed a good portion of last season with injury. FA pick ups Bucky Thompson (2b) and Roger Holmes (3b) moving Del Romero to LF should help improve an awful defense. FA pick up Tony Martin should off set the loss of Tuck Haynes or whatever his name was. FA Pedro Santiago could be a big help if the team is still in contention when he comes off the DL. FA signings Fernando Alverez and Don Lim help strengthen the bullpen. If this team can score more runs than it gives up, it will have a chance to win some games. But again Saru mo ki kara ochiru! Prediction 79-82 wins.

Austin Powers Prediction for season 29: Decisions had to be made in Austin this offseason. Management decided to go Billy Beane instead of Brain Cashman letting go of high priced free agents in favor of picks compensations and leaving spots open for youngsters. I would be surprised if we finish over .500. I hope I'm wrong. I also hope we have a deep draft class! Good luck to everyone!

Florida Flame After playoff appearances in three out of the last four seasons including a World Series title, the Florida Flame started the rebuilding process with two mid-season trades last season, including trading future Hall of Famer Tony Ueno. The Flame are not expecting to contend in season 29 but are trying to rebuild around 22 yr old Wascar Barrios and pitchers Davey Scutaro and Watty Rossy, while focusing on the amateur draft.

Las Vegas Hangovers Coming off back to back World Series championships the Hangovers will be hoping for a 3-peat with its aging roster. Returning all starters, the offense will again be led by the big 4 of Magnuson, Stratton, Rosado, Vega (combined for132 hr and 408 rbi). The staff will be counting heavily on a trio of 35 yr olds Trammel (the lifer in Vegas), Palmer, Howard along with reigning Cy Young Slick Kubenka (the pup of the staff at 27) Vegas hopes to avoid the injury bug and make a run at the 'ship. Prediction 94 wins.

Tacoma Method The run down on the Method with a line-up and the pitching all in tact from last season, we should be able to compete and hopefully get that last Wild-Card spot. But, this is why we play the games. For nothing is written in stone. Barring any major injuries, it should be an exciting season in Tacoma, and if not, it may be time to dis-mantle and add some depth. With some much needed parts on the cusp, only time will tell and of course the overall record come the All-Star break.

Sacramento Savages Despite an aging roster, I predict my squad surpasses 85 wins for the 12th season in a row and claims the second wild card spot. They will then get ousted in game 5 of the first round. Eric Hill will some how pitch another year without his arm falling off.

Honolulu Tsunami

Pittsburgh Pounders
Trenton Hazmats
Philadelphia Trappers
Sioux Falls Scalpers Season preview. Rough, rough year in Sioux Falls last year. Nothing went right with the free agents brought in to help the younger players out. We had a rough year with injuries, including key injuries to Smart and Feliz. This year we are looking for the younger talent to finally take that step froward offensively, led by Baez and nice group of core younger players. We have some talent developing in the minor leagues with some promising young pitching. Our rule 5 selection, Richardson, is expected to shore up a terrible bullpen along with free agent signings Robinson and Salmon to help us be more competitive in the later innings. Sioux Falls should be a better team this year, one more draft away from really producing some depth in the minor league system. All in all 73-89 this year for Sioux.

Tampa Bay Black Dogs
Toledo Berserkers Expectations are low in Toledo. This team is simply looking for an identity. Staying out of last place would be a moral victory.

New York FlyingSquirrels Not sure what to expect from the Flying Squirrels this season. The offense will be led by OF Edgar Bonilla, 3B Tyler Hansen and OF D'Angelo Estrada. Starting pitching will begin with Henry Grace who should improve on the 8-12 record from last season. Ezdra Valentin and Jermaine Gonzales will follow in the rotation. Some bullpen depth was added in free agency but finding the right combination will be a work in progress. Overall it should be a decent season for the Squirrels who will be hoping to be better than a .500 team again this season. Help is also on the way from the minors with OF Dwight Cook and 3B Dale Franco probably only a season away or could possibly make the jump sometime this season.

Cincinnati Stingers The Cincinnati Stingers once again appear to be in the midst of rebuilding. SP Tony Newsome, LF Spud Riggs, and 3B Bob Hart were all signed to long term deals in the off season giving this team a good core to build around. Cincinnati fans are hoping young SP's Al Skinner and Ryan Smart can take that next step in their careers as solid middle of the rotation starters while former Cincy relieving greats Luis Rosa and Cody Jensen were brought back as stop gaps in the bullpen to finish off their careers as Stingers. Offensively they will need 1B Lance Bergman to provide some help to Riggs and Hart and hope veteran DH Vic Saenz has one more good year left in his bat. My prediction: 65-97.

Louisville Sluggers This season will see some of our talented prospects make their ML debut. Tim Ojeda (p) will start the season with the big league club. Adding Ojeda will give the team more SP depth. Other prospects on the rise and are expected to see some ML action are Jake Simmons © and Caesar Rivera (DH) and Tony Chirinos (P). Superstar Prospect Flash Shea continues to make improvement strides and is on track. Depending on his development he may make his ML debut next season. Overall we expect to hover around .500 this season. Prediction 82-80.

St. Louis Rovers The St. Louis Rovers are looking to challenge for the top spot in the AL South in season 29 and possibly a World Series run. Reigning AL Rookie of the year Tony Morton, allstars Pasqual Bennett and Felipe Valentin and sluggers Frank Freeman and Tony Ueno lead a potent Rovers offense. The bullpen is anchored by AL fireman of the year Carl Purcell. The big question for the Rovers this season is do they have enough depth in the rotation? Hamill, Maduro and Murphy return, but vets Gomez and Martin are gone via free agency. Jim Allen was acquired thru free agency to take up some of the slack.

Mexico City Borrachos Positive: Team showed in their World Series run last season that when they're hot, they can beat anybody. Negative: An aging team going downhill that likely has missed their chance at winning a title. Prediction: 92 wins, division championship streak is broken but still sneaks into the playoffs.

Kansas City Golden Spikes

Wichita Shockers

Seattle Pilots After a disappointing sub .500 season the Seattle Pilots are in a state of flux. After losing two key bats to free agency from a team that only scored 747 runs last season and replacing them with unproven prospects on top of a rotation with three new starters has left fans with a sense of unease with the direction of the franchise. There are still rumblings of impending trades and the team still has talent at key positions so some optimism is warranted. It's a coin toss as to how the season will go but word is that they could be sellers by all star break if things aren't going well. Prediction 75-87.

San Francisco Begonias Last season, my expectations were to "improve on last season's 89-loss team, and contend in Season 29." I did improve, by 4 games, but we've still got a ways to go to contend. I listed as a positive that I had 5 first-round picks in the upcoming draft. That draft wasn't as successful as I had hoped. I got 2 catchers who may end up at DH, a CF and a SS who have some promise, and a SP who may end up the best of the bunch. Not bad, but not good enough, considering how many picks I had. For Season 29, I have a young team. I picked up a decent RF via free agency, and I have a top catching prospect waiting in AAA. I'll also get the first full ML season from my top SP prospect. And so, my expectations are pretty much the same as last season's: improve on the 85-loss team, and contend in Season 30.

Anaheim Bacteria


Milwaukee 98-64 New Britain 92-70 Texas 85-77 Las Vegas  94-68
Boise* 96-66 San Juan 80-82 Austin 77-85 Sacramento* 91-71
Madison 82-80 Syracuse 79-83 Charleston 77-85 Tacoma 87-75
Fargo 55-107 Jacksonville 63-99 Florida 68-94 Honolulu 51-111

Trenton 91-71 Tampa Bay 100-62 St. Louis 97-65 Anaheim 98-64
Pittsburgh* 89-73 New York 83-79 Mexico City* 95-67 San Francisco 77-85
Philadelphia 73-89 Cincinnati 65-97 Louisville 82-80 Seattle 75-87
Sioux Falls 60-102 Toledo 55-107 Kansas City 77-85 Wichita 64-98

NLCS Milwaukee vs Las Vegas, Milwaukee wins in 7.
ALCS Tampa Bay vs St. Louis, Tampa Bay wins in 7.

World Series Tampa Bay vs Milwaukee, Tampa takes home the title in 7.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


NL North

Fargo Cats - 74-88, though I genuinely have no feel for how this team will do with all the changes.

The positive aspect of the ballclub, for the first time since season 11, we have three or four players who if healthy who could each steal 25 or more bases and the team has more speed than perhaps at any time in its history. Since most of the home run hitters are still here, combined with the speed, the offense could surprise some in total run production.

Side note, the long term future of the club is a growing positive and perhaps that will only strengthen after the draft October 14.

The negative is clearly the starting pitching. Our rotation feels like a gasoline tanker with matches stored and ready to be lit just a few feet away from the tanker, with the plan to start the season featuring a younger pitcher in Murphy and four veterans who could pitch well or blow out at any time, with our inability to get righties a particularly troubling concern, see the move to long relief for guys like Telemaco and Evers.

Milwaukee n/a's - After two consecutive NL North titles, the n/a's are now poised to take the next step. Another aggressive off-season cleared out what was left of a once stacked minor league sytem, but brought in the likes of Yusmeiro Lee and and Santo Lopez. Being young can no longer be used as an excuse as the core of this team is either in or heading into their primes. A deadly lineup will be the strength of this team along with one of the best setup and closer tandems in Dennis McCartney and Ismael Cerveza. A rotation that lacks a true ace, but has five very good pitchers should be ample enough. Depth may be a concern if they find themselves in injury trouble. If they remain healthy, it is World Series or bust in Milwaukee.

Boise Mountain Hawks - Prediciton: 88-74 just out of the playoffs.

Boise continues attempting to improve through Free Agency. After adding solid hitter Virgil Ramirez last season, the solid additions this offseason are Rico Medrano and Carlos Corpas. This team should finally start getting people on base and improve on the league worst offense they've trotted out the past two seasons.

Unfortunately, none of these additions are world class hitters. This will have to be an offense that kills with a thousand cuts. With no big bat there's no one in this lineup that will garner IBBs or scare opposing pitchers.

The pitching staff continues to be decent, with the bullpen being the strong point. The starters are all SP3's there's no Ace in Boise.
Madison Beavers - Madison badly needed some SP upgrade during the winter meetings, but couldn't get an FA other than Brad Young to sign the dotted line. In the end that might doom the Beavers unless the offense can score in bunches and a solid bullpen can get good years out of several players.

Paul Hoffman, Benji Romero and Ed Moustakos form a potent middle of the lineup and AAA slugger Howard Jenkins may force his bat into the lineup by mid-year if the Beavers are struggled to score runs.

Overall it's a slightly above average defensive group, but it's going to take career years out of a few SP to bring Madison back to the playoffs.

Prediction is to finish just a few games out of the wildcard spot.

NL East

New Britain Bombadiers - Team outlook: The Bombadiers have rebuilt the farm system after a World Series victory in Season 15 followed by 7 consecutive NL East division championships. It's finally coming together with a deep farm system after a few down seasons ... now led by prospects Allan Michaels (LF) and Malcolm Burns (SP). This year the Bombadiers look to break over the .500 mark, regain past glory, and compete for the division title yet again.

Prediction: 90 wins and NL East Champs

Positive: The lineup. The Bombadiers should have five 30+ home run hitters surrounded by the 200-hit Blake Riley, .370+ OBP Bud Buckley, and 25+ HR youngster Talmadge Waters.

Negative: Lack an ace. While there is depth to the rotation, the top of the rotation starters won't be ready for the majors for another couple of years.

Jacksonville Cubbies - The word in Jacksonville.....Jacksonville has 6 starters that should hit 20+ homeruns for the season. A player (2B Jordan Norton) that has the potential to steal 60+ bases. Last seasons Rule 5 acquisition Grant Walters may prove to be exciting on the base paths as well. We just need to get him on base and find a way to get him in the lineup. All that will most likely be moot due to their pitching staff is below average. They will be giving up a lot of runs.
The Cubbies front office is asking the fans to be patient. Their losing ways may take a turn for the better in the next couple seasons once their draft picks mature enough to be in the majors.
Only time will tell.
Prediction for the Cubbies this season: 70 to 75 victories.

Syracuse Marshals - 90 wins,positive young team,negative young team

San Juan Pirata -

NL South

Texas Rangers - The Rangers are looking forward to another tough season in a strong division. The pitching looks to be strong, if Glover and Canseco can provide enough offense, than we should contend.

Charleston Kyoudai Musu - Konnichiwa from The Charleston Kyoudai Musu:

The Mighty Moose of Charleston are counting on their offense to carry them to playoff glory this season. They was second in runs scored in the NL last year and led the NL in home runs. Veteran's Phil Brown ( 54hr 115 rbi .315BA), Russ Gates(18hr .324BA) and Vic Osuna(32hr 90rib)
along with one of the better leadoff hitters Alving Franco(129rs 89sb) are being counted on to have big seasons. Pitching...what pitching? The team was dead last in pitching last season and dead last in fielding. Not much improvement in both areas. Counting on Tuck Haynes to bounce back from an off year (7-14) and Ariel Arroyo (9-11). Kevin Hudek is a adequate closer. Veteran Guy Gabriel was signed to add some bull pen depth.
The reality is this team can hit and that is it. 75-77 wins is the prediction for this season. Could see a major fire sale around mid season to build for the future.

Austin Powers - With season 27 Cy Young Winner (Paul Gregg) and NL MVP(Luther Martin) on our team, Austin will have another great season this year. We have enormous depth at many positions with our AAA squad filled with ML ready talent.

This season will see Prospect Trevor Parker as our new starting second baseman with Luther Martin moving to third base and Bill Stafford moving to right field. This should bolster our offense which was already one of the best in the NL. It will also help us defensively adding skill and depth to our ML Squad.

Our pitching will be solid as well with Cy young winner Paul Gregg anchoring the rotation along with young 20 game winner Ray Boesch and control freak Matthew Patterson.

The only aspect of our team that I wouldn't qualify as a strenght would be the bullpen. Damaso Rios, B.J. Knotts and Damian Collins are very skilled but lack experience. We should experience a great battle between Knotts and Collins for the closer spot this season. They should both develop into great ML relievers/closers.

I expect my team to win at least 92 games and claim the division again this season !

Florida Flame - The Florida Flame will be seeking their 3rd playoff appearance in a row and 4th in 5 seasons with a veteran roster-probably too veteran,which could be one of the team's weaknesses.

The Flame's strengths will be hitting and the bullpen.The biggest weakness is starting pitching and that,of course,is a bad area to have a weakness.My prediction is an 84-78 record that will just miss the playoffs. 

NL West

Las Vegas Hangovers - The Hangovers fresh off their championship season will be looking for a repeat. Never an easy task by any means nor is replacing 37 wins by 2 SP. 20 game winner Marc Browne and 17 game winner Todd Hodges have left via FA and enter incoming vets Norm Palmer and Reed Howard to take their spots in the rotation. Offensively the Hangovers seem to have gotten even stronger on paper. Along with the big 4 of Stratton, Magnuson, Rosado, Vega leadoff man Benny Crespo and solid ML LF John Pong have been signed to stretch an already potent lineup. Overall predictions a 99-63 record with high hopes of returning to the world series.

Tacoma Method - The one thing with this team, is that we play in Tacoma - a pitcher friendly park - for 81 games......it is the other 81 games that do us in. With the right move or two, the Method could compete for a playoff spot this season. We have a nice core of fielders/hitters on the ML squad, with a few that are on the brink of making the jump up. Same goes for pitching......Just have to be able to put it all together, and hope for some break-out seasons from the players that should be producing at the plate, and get that batting average up from being at the bottom of the World last season.

As long as we can get on base, that will open up the running/speed game that the Method are trying to produce for the Tacoma fans.....Billy Ball is in the air in Tacoma to hopefully get rid of the stench that has been lingering for so long.

If it falls into place, this team should be around the .600 mark and hopefully make that push for a Wild Card spot. Which hasn't been done in 7 seasons.

Sacramento Savages - Prediction: The Savages will win 90+ games again but will struggle in the playoffs Strength: Pitching depth, team speed Weakness: Power

Honolulu Tsunami -

AL North

Pittsburgh Pounders -

Trenton Hazmats - Prediction 95-67

Postive: pitching remains strong and pickup of Ricky Rogers should keep the offense in the top half of the league.
Negative: age. Team is getting up there and if age catches up with team, we could fall.

Philadelphia Trappers - Prediction: 2nd place in Division

The Trappers narrowly missed the playoffs last season but a deep and maturing group of SPers should have them in the hunt again.

Positive-Strong SP depth. DH Richie Walters

Negative-Bullpen lacks depth

Sioux Falls Scalpers - This season is gonna be another rebuilding year for Sioux Falls. We have a lot to look forward to with the young starting lineup that will be entering their prime within the next two years. Some good players about to see the best part of their careers in Romero, Peters, Lopez, Lansing and a good catching tandem of O'Neil and Owen. Baez leads a young group with his great ability at the plate and hopefully Lindsey brings some veteran leadership at 3rd. This team will struggle in the bullpen with with an average age of about 24. They will have a lot of growing to do this year. Feliz is starting to come into his own and hopefully builds off a solid year he had last year. Mitchell was brought in to help bring some leadership along with Johnson and Durrington. We do have some budding young pitchers both in the pen and rotation that are a few years away. All in all we are probably looking at a 70 win season here in Sioux Falls with an exciting future upcoming.   

AL East

Tampa Black Dogs -

Toledo Berserkers - We will be 70-92 . Our positive is we have good run production. Negative is our pitching is shaky and will need to be spot on for us to be successful.

NY FlyingSquirrels - I think the Squirrels will be an average team this season. On the offensive side we signed a few free agents to help out. One was catcher Chris Pearson who was brought in to help out the young starting staff. Brought in a couple of others with some decent speed to help with the running game. Overall I think the offense will be able to score a few runs but probably not enough often enough. On the pitching side, the starters will be young. Of the first 4 starting pitchers none are over the age of 26. Hopefully they can hold up for the long season. The bullpen is another story. Some aging veterans with large contracts that I will be glad to lose at the end of the season. For the season if this team is right around the .500 mark I would be pleased.

Cincinnati Stingers - It is no secret that the Cincinnati Stingers continue to be in a rebuilding mode this season with season 23's World Championship all but a distant memory. This team will likely struggle to produce runs once again and get average starting pitching at best. On the bright side they have some young talent to build upon with potential All-Stars LF Spud Riggs & 3B Bob Hart and SP Al Skinner & RP Al Smith making their rookie debuts this year. My prediction: 70-92

AL South

Louisville Sluggers - Positive - Young players are continuing to improve and some are getting a chance with the ML team this year. Negative - Team is still too young to see major improvements with the ML team in terms of wins and losses. Prediction - 80 W 82 L

St. Louis Rovers -

Mexico City Borrachos - Prediction - despite the improvement in the AL South (specifically St Louis), the Beers win their 9th straight division title.
Positive - strong team that can knock off any team if they get the right breaks.
Negative - players are getting older and the MC franchise is starting the downhill slide

Kansas City Scouts -

AL West

Wichita Shockers - Our goal for the season is to beat 70 wins and climb the standings. We are learning our roster and you can expect to see a lot of upward movement. We are always open to trades.

Seattle Pilots - The Seattle Pilots return pretty close to the same team as last year. With a mixture of solid veterans and young players with upside they look to match the record of two seasons ago at 89-73. They will once again depend on the front end of their pitching rotation and defense to win them games because scoring runs will be hard to come by this season.

San Francisco Begonias - Positives: I have 8 former first-round draft picks in my minor-league system, and 5 first-round picks in the upcoming draft.

Negatives:I only have maybe one position player who is among the best at his position, along with a couple of SP. The rest of my ML squad is filled with role players.

Expectations for Season 28: we will improve on last season's 89-loss team, and contend in Season 29.

Anaheim Bacteria -
                   PAUL'S PICKS 
NL North                                                    AL North

1. +Milwaukee     (91-71)                           1.  +Trenton          (94-68)
2. Madison           (80-82)                           2. Pittsburgh         (81-81)
3. Boise                (78-84)                           3. Philadelphia      (78-84)
4. Fargo               (68-94)                           4. Sioux Falls         (70-92)

NL East                                                       AL East

1. +San Juan          (88-74)                          1. +Tampa Bay      (98-64)
2. *Syracuse           (84-78)                          2. New York          (83-79)
3. New Britain       (83-79)                          3. Toledo               (70-92)
4. Jacksonville        (72-90)                         4. Cincinnati          (65-87)

NL South                                                    AL South

1. +Austin               (95-67)                         1. +Mexico City       (93-69)
2. Charleston          (82-80)                         2. *St. Louis             (90-72)
3. Florida                (82-80)                         3. Kansas City          (71-91)
4. Texas                   (73-89)                         4. Louisville             (71-91)

NL West                                                       AL West
1. +Las Vegas           (92-70)                        1. +Seattle                 (93-69)
2. *Sacramento         (88-74)                        2. *Anaheim              (92-70)
3. Tacoma                 (81-81)                        3. San Francisco       (74-88)
4. Honolulu               (59-103)                      4. Wichita                  (73-89)

+ Division Champions
*  Wild Card

NLCS  Austin defeats Las Vegas (4-3)      ALCS  Tampa Bay defeats Trenton (4-2)
World Series
Austin defeats Tampa Bay (4-3)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Face of the Franchise

Anaheim BacteriaKarim Puente – SS - 10 years with the team; good hitting SS with quality defense. Had a devastating injury that forced him to 3B but still produces.

Austin Powers – - Ray Boesch - SP - This 24 year old SP, was an All-Star in his two seasons in the league so far. He should be our number 1 starter for years to come. Threw over 200 IP per year. Wins games. Will do better with a better leader behind the plate. Check him out !

Boise Mountain Hawks Willis Randall - SP - The catchphrase in Boise is still, "Wait Until Next Year". With lots of players still developing in the farm system, the one that sticks out in the ML squad is Randall. Randall has been the best pitcher in the Boise system for the past 4 years and finally got his call up this offseason. There's some concern that his curveball never developed properly and tends to hang against right handed hitters. As long as he can limit his mistakes to righties, he should be our squads #1 pitcher until a true ace can be acquired. 

Burlington Mustains
Charlotte Kyoudai Musu

Cincinnati Stingers Harry Reynolds - DH -  I would have to say future Hall of Famer Harry Reynolds has been the face of my franchise over the past 11 seasons since becoming a Stinger. He is one of Ichiro's all-time greats and probably the greatest shorststop in the history of our league.

Fargo CatsPete LeCure - RF

Florida FlameTony Ueno - 1b - Switch-hitting 1B is the face of the Florida Flame.This 8-time Silver Slugger,5-time All Star has been a two-time MVP and Rookie of the Year.Still onlt 31 years old,he has compiled career stats of a .314 AVG,.445 OBP,.596 SLG and 412 HR's.This season he led to the Flames to the World Seris title and in the postseason hit .414 with a .567 OBP and .900 SLG along with 10 HR's-a true Hall of Famer with several seasons to go

Honolulu Tsunami

Jacksonville Cubbies Jordan Norton - 2b- The face to the Cubbies franchise. He was the #2 overall pick in the season 22 Amateur draft. In his second full season in the majors, he accumulated 200 hits and scored 134 runs. In both of his seasons in the majors he has been voted into the All Star classic at 2B. In his second season, he won the silver slugger award at 2B. He makes numerous charity appearances for no financial gain. Says he wants to stay a Cubbie for his entire career.

Kansas City Scouts –Troy Henderson - DH- Longest everyday player with the team. # 1 draft pick and is among all time team leader in HRs, RBIs, BA.

Las Vegas Hangovers- Cal Trammell – SP – This workhorse has been a lifer with the Vegas franchise. Called up at the ripe age of 19, Trammell is the franchise leader in Wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, games started, snot balls, etc...He has come back strong from a gruesome injury last season to once again anchor the Hangovers.

Louisville Sluggers Flash Shea - 2b - Not often is a 19 yr old the face of a franchise but with a full rebuild this kid represents the future cornerstone of the Sluggers.

Madison Beavers - Paul Hoffman - 2b - The Dan Uggla with a batting average. He’s hit 35 or more homers in each of his first 3 full seasons and driven in 100 or more each season while playing what Madison consider league average 2b defensively.

Mexico city BorrachosAlexei Rodriguez - 1b - It was a tough choice between him and Cruz but a-rod gets it as he's stronger against righties. A deadly hitter who is still recouping from an injury a couple seasons ago, this guy has a bat that I'll put up against anyone in the league.

Milwaukee n/a'sKeith Garcia - RF - Definitely Keith Garcia. He was the #3 overall pick in the season 17 draft. The first of my tenure as owner of the club. He was a late season call-up in season 21 and was a major contributor for this franchise in its first postseason appearance since season 2. Last season signed a 5-year extension to stay with the ball club with this next crop of players who I have high expectations for.

New Britain Bombadiers - Norberto Blanco - C - 4-time all-star who was a rising star during multiple playoff runs starting in season 18 and now is the face of the franchise as I rebuild and reload for a new playoff run soon! 

Philadelphia TrappersRichie Walters - C - He has averaged .311/40hr/103rbi over his first 4 years in the majors. Is there a better 75 OVR player out there?

Pittsburgh Pounders Babe Towers - CF. - He was my first No 1 draft pick as owner of the team and last year won rookie of the year honors. He is the centerpiece of a rebuilding project that hope to have Pittsburgh back in the play-offs for the first time in 10 years.

Sacramento Savages- Eric Hill - SP - The savages acquired the struggling SP in season 14 to fill in as a 5th starter. Despite his poor splits, Hill thrived with the Savages, earning numerous All-Star appearances and being a major part of back-to-back championships. At age 37, Hill is still a horse for the Savages, and is continuing to pile on the wins (220 +) and strikeouts (nearly 2,800)

San Francisco Begonias- Ben Corbin -  Rl - Of the current players, the "Face of the Franchise" is probably Ben Corbin. We drafted him in the 2nd round in Season 11, and he has been with us ever since. He is second all-time on our team in Starts, and 4th in Wins and Strikeouts. He is one of only two remaining Begonias to have played on our Season 18 champions.

San Juan Pirata - Darin Banks - 1b -  This was a tougher decision than I thought it would be. My heart wants to say Christopher Pearson because of his length of time with the team, strong defensive play at Catcher, and solid bat. However, my head says it has to be Darin Banks, plays every day and is a threat for 50+ HR's and 140+ RBI's every year. He is the traditional power bat in the middle of San Juans lineup and at just 28 years old he hopefully has many more productive years ahead of him!

Seattle Pilots- Domingo Palmeiro - RL - 29 years old 7 years with club Season 17 ifa, Fireman of the year 3 times, 6 time all-star, Season 20 World Series champion,253 career saves, 2.05 career era

Sioux Falls Scalpers- Michel Baez - 1b - Face of the Scalpers would be Michel Baez. Very simply put he has played his whole career with the franchise, one of the best hitters in the game with a consistent .315 35hr 120rbi stat line. More walks than strikeouts and should be a hall of famer when it is all said and done

St. Louis RoversCarl Purcell - (RL)

Syracuse MarshalsDaniel Hansen – C - He never complains.

Tacoma Method - Dale Hogan - CF - At 25 he still has an upside to him to meet some of his projections and with them he is very versatile player for the Method. In that he can play most positions and has a decent enough bat to hold his own and we can only hope he wants to stay in Tacoma for his career.

Tampa Bay Black Dogs

Texas RangersReed Howard - SP

Toledo BerserkersChris Benson - SS - He is the player people are coming to the stadium to see. He has been with Toledo since the draft and he is an exciting player. His defensive tools will be on display this season, his first in the bigs. He is a prankster and keeps the locker room loose. He has been seen in the dugout dancing gangnam style and the ladies have been known to go wild for him.

Trenton Hazmats

Wichita Shockers