Sunday, August 16, 2009

ML AL West Division Preview

. Sunday, August 16, 2009

Boise Land Sharks
The team finally started to turn the corner last season.
It ended with a second place finish and the team plans to build upon that this year,
Depth in the rotation is a concern for the team but the offense should be able to carry it for a good portion of the season.
Key Arrivals: None
Key Departures: Andrew Simmons,Harry Diaz
Prediction: 1st Place - 95-67

Las Vegas Immortals
The sin city gamblers are gearing up for another run at the division crown.
While they are very good in certain areas of the game. The team lacks a lot of depth especially in the rotation.
Unless the team can pull in some serious pitching, "runner-up" is in their future.
Key Arrivals: None
Key Departures: None
Prediction: 2nd Place - 90-72

Santa Cruz Banana Slugs
A perplexing team to be sure. One of the few teams in the division with adequate pitching depth.
The offense isn't too bad either. But the stamina amongst their rotation is alarming.
No doubt it's better to get 5-6 quality innings out of a starter than 7-8 poor ones.
However the bullpen is sure to get over taxed early and that could take them out of the race for first place.
Key Arrivals: None
Key Departures: Harold Klassen
Prediction: 3rd Place - 86-76

Salem Blue Jays

Almost no team worked as hard in the off season to make a splash in free agency as the Blue Jays. They brought in some nice pieces but also lost quite a few.
Much like the rest of the division pitching depth will be somewhat of a down fall for this squad.
But this team lacks the offense and balance to seriously contend for the crown this season.
Key Arrivals: J.D. Lloyd & Clarence Brooks
Key Departures: Eugene Gibson,Sean Tanner,Tim Greer,Ken Durham & Posiedon Snopek
Prediction: 4th Place - 82-80


ML AL South Division Preview


Louisville Phantom Regiment
After 4 successful seasons in Texas the franchise has packed up and moved to Louisville.
But the more things change the more they stay the same.
The team has added some pieces to a already potent squad and look to claim another division title this season.
Key Arrivals: Rico Mieses,Butch Mercker & Rick Brantley
Key Departures: J.T. Kelly,Walter House & Joshua Hines
Prediction: 1st Place - 96-66

Atlanta Fairfax
The ATL showed a resurgence last season after a tough season 10 in which the team was too interested in being reigning world champs than playing hard.
The problem is that the lack of effort could be shown again this season.
The Fairfax will likely need to grab a few bats to overtake Louisville, but the race will be very close.
Key Arrivals: Kordell Lennon
Key Departures: None
Prediction: 2nd Place - 94-68

New Orleans Perpetual Hangovers
A very young team this season, something that will both help and hurt them.
The team will see highs and lows this time around but should be better for it in the future.
With so many holes in key areas the team will struggle. They will likely log the best season in some time and promote some prospects.
But the team is playing for next season.
Key Arrivals: Steven Keeler & Rafael Vallarta
Key Departures: None
Prediction: 3rd Place - 72-90

Richmond Sons of Virginia

To say it's going to be a long season for Richmond would be cruel to their fans.
The holes in the rotation and bullpen are enough to cause concern, the alarm goes off when you see the potential lineup.
Not nearly enough impact hitters to offset the rest of the issues.
Key Arrivals: Don Fujiwara
Key Departures: Quilvio Vazquez,Denny White
Prediction: 4th Place - 70-92


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ML NL West Division Preview

. Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The continuing series of division by division previews continues with the NL West:

1 - San Diego Padres

In the toughest division in baseball the Padres have won the last 4 consecutive division titles. The Padres do it with excellent balance of strong starting pitching and timely hitting. The Padres in offseason only re-signed a veteran catcher to catch their solid pitching. Overall the team is young with only 3 players over 30 years of age and numerous talented youngsters. The Padres set the season on fire last season with 117 regular season wins, but got ousted in the divisional round of the playoffs. They look to rebound from that disappointment and return to the World Series.

2 - Portland Rainmakers

In any other division this team would be picked to win the division, but being in the toughest division they will settle for 2nd place and a wild card slot in the playoffs. They have been very consistent the last 6 seasons with 5 playoff appearances as a Wild Card. In a division with a lot of pitching they will try to pound their way to wins with their solid hitting. They are lacking a little in pitching depth but should be enough to provide another playoff appearance.

3- St. Louis Spirits

This team has been on a slow rebuilding project for the last 9 seasons with competitive teams but finishing around .500 most seasons. They have very solid pitching which will need to carry their average offense on most nights. The most significant offseason move was to re-sign steady Starting Pitcher Fausto Guzman. This team looks to make increasing strides and be a wild card contender looking to reach 90 wins.

4 - Helena Triple H's

Another solid team in a tough division. Unlike their WWE counterpart Triple H there will probably be no championship this season with all of the divisional competition. This is another strong pitching team with 2 solid hitters and a bunch of role players. Pitching will rule on most nights with a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 wins and losses. But, this team could also surprise if they overachieve and contend for a Wild Card slot. There is a possibility with 4 teams in this division with over 90 wins but only 3 teams can go to the playoffs which is a shame. There are 8 players over the age of 30 so this team is stocked with veterans that could make a run for the division but the age may slow this team down during the long regular season.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

ML AL East Division Preview

. Sunday, August 2, 2009

Durham Wolverines
Well the good news for the East is that not much has changed for Durham.
The bad news however is that, not much had changed for the Wolverines.
They are still armed with a lethal offense and good pitching to boot.
This season could turn into a "cruise control" finish and another division title.
Key Arrivals: Turk Vaughn
Key Departures: Bill Barry & Patrick Buchanan
Prediction: 1st Place - 98-64

Rochester MCA
The non Y MCA'ers are heading into the season with a big chip on their shoulders.
They feel that last season was their year to win the division, only to falter in the end.
But you can ask the Mets, that and $1.50 will get you a coffee but not much else.
Key Arrivals: None
Key Departures: Howie Langerhans,Joe Murphy,Wayne Robinson
Prediction: 2nd - 89-77

New Britain Blackbirds
The blackbirds are gearing up to make a splash this season. The offense is above average.
They have upgraded the rotation with the prize of the free agency class.
New Britain definitely has enough to make a run this season. Though the question is will it hold together?
Key Arrivals: Albert Ordaz,Jack York,Quilvio Vazquez
Key Departures: Francisco Tejada
Prediction: 3rd Place - 82-80

New York New York
This is a very very young team with alot of potential. Sadly that potential is 2-3 years from making a huge impact.
This team while having a nice array of pitching, is going to have a lot of growing pains.
It will be a up and down season but they should easily finish with their best record since season 5.
Key Arrivals: None
Key Departures: None
Prediction: 4th Place - 75-87


Saturday, August 1, 2009

ML AL North Division Preview

. Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cleveland Blazers
The blazers are back and they are stronger than ever. Armed with very solid lineup further bolstered with off-season moves. Offense will surely not be an issue with the club this season.
Something that will however need to be addressed is the rotation, the front end(starters 1-3) are good but the back end will cause some issues. Overall though, with the additions that will areas of need along with no severe losses. This team is poised to put a stranglehold on the division that if combined with a influx of prospect talent(through the draft and international free agents) may not be released until 4-5 seasons from now.
Key Arrivals: Juan Lopez,Joshua Hines,Carl Lilly & Apollo Page
Key Departures: Kevin Dong & Stephen Becker
Prediction: 1st Place - 92-70

Salt City Jazz
The jazz have to be one of the most perplexing teams in the AL. They're tremendous at the things they excel at, but when there is a weakness. It's beyond glaring.
The team possess potentially the best offense in the division. They also have a fine rotation.
But once you dig deeper you discover a lack of bullpen talent and bench depth.
Combined with a inactive off-season in which the team lost several key pieces.
This franchise as of now won't be in the division race after the All-star break.
Key Arrivals: None
Key Departures: Ricky George,Clarence Brooks & Dante Cheng,
Prediction: 2nd Place - 83-79

Sioux Falls Stonesauruses
The fans in Sioux Falls are excited about the new team. As well they should be, they have a shiny new franchise, shiny new ballpark and a shiny new franchise pitcher.
The team has a nice makeup to it, the pieces they have fit well.
However since the team will be forced to win games 2-1,3-2 and etc close scores. The pitching staff may not be able to get them over the hump. They will hang around in games, the division and playoff hunt potentially.
But without an offensive upgrade at key spots. This team will finish the season offending the fans dreams of a shiny new division crown.
Key Arrivals: Damian Yamamoto
Key Departures: Don Fujiwara
Prediction: 3rd - 77-85

Ottawa Primetimers
How to put into words what this franchise is? hmm... downtrodden.
While the talent of the team is solid, they lack any one "elite" player that can get you over the hump.
For the team to make some noise this season, they will need to play to not make mistakes.
As anyone who is a sports aficionado knows, if you play to avoid mistake then you're not playing to win.
It's entirely possible that this team will make a early run and put a lot of fans butts in the seats.
But once the meat of the season rolls around the team will be exactly what it is.
Key Arrivals: Harry Diaz & Domingo Amaral
Key Departures: Rafael Molina & Pablo Cairo
Prediction: 4th - 66-96