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).

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