Thursday, July 30, 2009

ML NL North Division Preview

. Thursday, July 30, 2009

To kick off the pre-season a division by divison breakdown and predicted order of finish:
1 - Toronto Trail of Tears
This team is a perennial contender and this season will not be any different. They have 8 division titles (6 consecutive), 4 NLCS Titles, and 1 World Series Title. This defending NLCS champion is stil the force of the North until proven otherwise. Last season was a step back as far as regular season wins go from their normal 100 wins, but still claimed the NLCS Title and went 7 games in a thrilling World Series with Las Vegas the eventual winner. This team is carried by its balanced offense and supported by its veteran pitchers. They are starting to replace some veterans with some new blood which they hope would bring their 7th straight division title.

2- Pittsburgh Outlaws
This team has been consistent in regards to regular season wins for the last 6 seasons with 85, 82, 90, 87, and 86 wins. This team has good balance between hitting and pitching with no player older than 32. They have several players in their prime and if they are going to make a charge for their first division title the time is now. With only 1 playoff appearance in the last 11 seasons it appears this team could win up to 90 games and contend for a wild card which is always a dogfight in the NL.

3 - Burlington Coat Factory
Last season had their worst season in franchise history with a 62-100 record and a 4th place division finish. The GM has made a number of good changes with this team with trades and free agent acquisitions. The team has solid pitching with a pure ace of Pedro Seneca with an up and coming offense. This team can come back to their over .500 days quickly and challenge for the wild card and perhaps even steal 2nd place in the division. Even with all of the improvements this young team won't quite catch the Trail of Tears. We could see this team winning up to 90 games and making their 6th playoff appearance.

4 - Chicago Chargers
This 3rd place division finisher for the last 3 seasons may now dip into last place in this tough division. They have solid pitching but a mediocre offense which may have trouble scoring runs in stretches. Like Burlington they have a solid ace with Daryl Brower. This team could struggle to reach .500 this season and may even be under that due to the improvements of the other teams in the division. A Wild Card run would be a stretch with this veteran group as this team may be looking to rebuild soon.