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Saturday, September 27, 2008

ML AL South (Season 6) Preview

Prediction: 1st Place in the Division
Last Season: 2nd Place in division (83-79)

They were fairly active this off-season. Free Agent signing Terrence Rivers was really the only player that was kept despite 5 invites to spring training. Jimmie Walker is a great Rule V pickup to go along with Macbeth Crawford who can play almost any position in a crunch. However they were not active in the trade market. They have a plethora of young incredible power hitters (none of them older the 28) including Rich Watkins, Rube Steele, Mike Cox, Ken Wight, and Horacio Galvez. The pitching is anchored by stud Brian Hara who may soon hand over the reigns to some of their young studs including Luis Cordero, Napoleon Oliver, and Jose Carrasco among others. This may be there year.

Prediction: 2nd in the division (possible first ever playoff appearance)
Last Season: 4th in division (58-104)

They made no free agent signings but did make 4 rule V selections including T.J. Garcia who was traded back to NY, Darren Lombardi, Paul Lee, and Ty Bowman who all go straight into the line-up. Bowman is likely the most important as the move to a pitchers park makes him vital. They made some trades for the future but only Carmine Munoz who will serve as DH and back-up Catcher will make an immediate impact. It is finally time for their young players to stop being kids and to start being veterans. This includes Ernie Perry, Jon Brock, Victor Rijo, O.T. Lincoln, and Herbert Fisher. However, the real playoff key will revolve around whether Jacque Cunningham can pitch to expectations this season or not as last seasons 6-18 performance was unbelievable.

Prediction: 3rd in Division
Last Season: 3rd in Division (79-83)

They made some great off season signings while spending nearly $20 million including Stan Rowand, Derrek Phelps (one slightly questionable signing), Devon Charles, and Bing Penny (another questionable signing and an expensive one at 35 years old for 3 years for a player with low makeup). However, they chose no Rule V players or made any trades which could come back to bite them. The pitching staff of aging George Ramsey, Cy Durrington (who lacks control and splits), aging Rafael Villafuerte who also lacks splits, but has great pitches, Joaquin Maduro will be important, especially considering his poor pitches. Al Silva is by far the best they have as he anchors the bullpen. Offensively they will rely heavily on Charles, Wilson Reagan, and Buddy Krause (the most important).

Prediction: 4th this season
Last Season: 1st in Division (96-66)

Their only free agent signing was an older set-up guy who will have minimal impact. They made no trades and picked up a usable player in Clay Green in the Rule V draft. With offensive stud Midre Manuel and Nomar Welch the offense is in good, young hands. However, they lost their biggest HR hitter from last season. Also gone is Turk Park there stud SP. Rudy Perez will have to step up this season if they are to be successful. Behind that the rotation is weak. They may struggle this season.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Season 6 AL East Preview

Prediction: 1st Place + possible AL Champ
Last Season: 2nd Place (97-65 + wild card)

They didn't make any substantial off-season signings with the exception of some catching help. However, They have the leagues reigning 2-Time MVP Miguel Fernandez but gave up a TON to get him. Can he push them over the top and bring them back the division title? They retain offensive stud David Tamura who is on the decline but still a force. Their rotation is anchored by 3x All-Star Darrel Waters. I am shocked that Sam Jackson and Harry Forrest aren't in the rotation, but with possibly the majors best staff I guess you can afford it...

Prediction: 2nd in the Division
Last Season: 1st in the Division (100-62, DCS Winner)

Again, how much do you change a 100 win club? However, they have new ownership and that may help or hurt them. The gap has also closed as they didn't make any off-season moves. They have a stud closing for them in Charles Moreno, at 25 he has some great years ahead of him. Darryl Morgan anchors a solid, but not spectacular rotation. I am a big fan of their ace (in my opinion) is Raul Duran. Young SS's Chris Reid and Otis Edmonds and CF Erik Maroth are the keys to the now and the future for them.

Prediction: 3rd in the Division
Last Season: 3rd in the Division (80-82)

I hated the off-season moves. Frank Ledee is not worth the $30+ million 4 year deal her got. Nor is Louis Palmer worth his $2 million per season. $12 million in free agency should have gotten this squad more as they had a glaring need for pitching that they attempted to fill. They need their best player Sherm James to step up this season. They also lost their biggest hitter Jeff Glynn which will force them to rely more on Benito Colome and Felix Dawkins.

Prediction: 4th in the Division
Last Season: 4th in the Division (75-87)

Kevin Knight and Jack Conway are nice value signings that have an immediate positive effect on the pitching staff. But it won't be enough to move them up in the division. They need to continue building for the future and Charlie Norton (there rule v pick) may be the future of the franchise. He can be a long-term major league starter for them. Theo Griffiths also looks primed for a good season.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Season 6 AL North Preview

I will be better with the blog this season. It starts today with a brief overview of predictions for the season. I am hoping to get up 1 division a day.
Prediction: 1st in the Division (Possible AL Champ)
Last Season: 1st in Division (110-52)

How much do you have to change when you have averaged 106 Wins per season over the last 5 seasons? Vernon Hubbell returns as this season after knocking out 40+ HR last season at age 26 while taking home a 2nd All-Star Appearance. He is joined by potential 40/40 man Marino Moreno (if he stays healthy) and super hitting stud Catcher Sean Moehler. The rotation is anchored by Cy Young Winner Lonnie Hammonds who went 20-2 last season. Stan Lewis may be the best player in the league, however the pitching staff is anchored by older players and that may need to change going forward.
Prediction: 2nd in the Division (would be their highest finish ever)
Last Season: 3rd in Division (72-90)
Toronto made a HUGE commitment to now with some of their off season moves. Lou Hunter is a stud and will close out as many as they will win. Ernie Morgan is another stud in the bullpen but both are extremely costly. Will they be enough to get them a wild card spot this season? Wiki Alvarez and Luis Ontiveros are solid role players as well.
Can Jumbo Cerveza become a 50/50 guy this season? If so that would go a long way to getting them into the playoffs for the first time ever. Overall they have some incredible young hitting talent. And, Can Ralph Mora be the #1 starter that they need to reach the next level? They will also need Calvin Yo to pitch this season the way he ended last season.

Prediction: 3rd in the division
Last Season: 2nd in the division (72-90)
Elston Taylor could be a hidden stud and a steal free-agent signing in the rotation. Bill Vernon will also make a big impact. I am not a fan of the signing of Justin Medina or Tomas Padilla but Padilla was waived and claimed so that works fine for them. Orlando Valentin was an interesting signing for $5 million as they already have a similarly talented SS making $5.4 million. Next year may be their season as they have some great young talent now maturing in the majors. They include Micah Hill who may hit 50 Home Runs this season. Junior Fernandez is a great young catcher. Tony Costilla will have a good year but is a season or 2 away from being Cy Young caliber and now joins a major league staff that has youth and experience. Andres Gutierrez is a shut down closer who should help them keep the wins they get.
Depending on maturity they could challenge for 2nd in the division and possibly a wild card spot as well.

Prediction: 4th in the Division
Last Season: 4th in Division (66-96)
I wish I could say that the winds have changed but I just don't think that is the case. The only significant free agent signings Jaime Price and Billy Grimsley both have no business even being in the majors. Their best player is 37 year old pitcher Gerald Lim is still a stud but is nearing the end of the round. Rodney Grove should put up big numbers offensively and at only 23 he has a bright future ahead of him. A huge concern here is players like AJ Castillo being rushed to the majors at only 19 years old, this future stud's growth will now be destroyed and with it may go the future of the franchise.