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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.

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