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.
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 -
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.
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 -
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.
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
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 -
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 -
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)
* Wild Card
NLCS Austin defeats Las Vegas (4-3) ALCS Tampa Bay defeats Trenton (4-2)
Austin defeats Tampa Bay (4-3)