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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Season 18 AL Preview

Obviously this is prior to free agency and trades. Once those occur I will try to update my projections.

AL North Projected Standings

Vancouver 88 73
Tacoma 83 79 5
Iowa City 79 83 9
Madison 79 83 9

Vancouver won the division last season and projects to repeat slipping by only one game. Their balanced attack (7th best offense, 5th best pitching staff, best defense) is led by slugger Darryl Thomas and pitchers Matty Dyer and Irv Coles. Tacoma should be able to beat .500 with a little luck. Unfortunately, their expected 83 wins is down from the 88 wins they earned last season. Their pitching is ahead of the rest of the team (9th best offense, 6th best pitching, and 14th best fielding). The team's best hitter is Quentin Conigliaro and Dennis Day is the 4th best pitcher in the AL. Newly claimed Iowa City should fight Madison for the cellar of the AL North. Their 79 wins is 3 less than last season. While Jeff has some work to do, he own the team with the 11th best hitting and 8th best pitching. One are of concern for Iowa is the worst defense in the league. While Gene Dorsey gives him a hitter to build around, the true gem of his system is Vern Roa--the best pitcher in the AL. Madison is the best bet to finish last, but their 79 projected wins is up an impressive 13 wins from last season. Their 10th best hitting and 12th best pitching should be helped by the 3rd best defense in the AL. Pitcher Willie Tabaka will be on the cover of their media guide.

AL East Projected Standings
New York 72 90
Dover 71 91 1
Washington 66 96 6
Baltimore 66 96 6

Look up "winable division" in the dictionary and you are likely to find the AL East. New York killed last season, screaming to 89 wins. The number say, however, that they will return to their previous win totals. That said, 72 wins is a lot when the second best team has 71 wins. New York projects to having the 14th best offense, 10th best pitching staff, and 10th best fielding. Vinny Francis and Omar Lima are among the pitchers in the AL. Dover should give New York all it can handle as it improves 1 game from last season. The may struggle to score runs with the 15th best hitting, 11th best pitching staff and 12th best pitching. Hitting Bernie Rodriguez and pitcher Juan Merced would be a welcome addition to any ball club. Washington projects to have the same record they did last season. They should be able to build around their 8th best fielding as they try to improve the 13th best hitting and pitching. Rolando Ramos would be the best pitcher on many teams (including mine). Madden is one of my favorite owners, but he's got some work to do. Though he has the 2nd best fielding, it won't be enough to overcome the 12th best hitting and 14th best pitching in the AL. 66 wins is down 6 from last season, but Pat Sefcik and Tom Holt give parts to build around or very interesting trade chips.

Projected AL South Standings
San Antonio 104 58
Texas 85 77 19
Louisville 85 77 19
New Orleans 62 100 42

The AL South is good. Not only do they have the best team in Long Haul, but they also have last season's AL Champ. This season the division should not be in any doubt. Though they have not had a lot of post-season success, 104 wins is up 1 from last season. They have the 2nd best hitting, best pitching and a respectable 5th best defense. While their stars are almost too many to mention, Todd Clark, Gary Quinn, Pascual Santos, Henry Velaquez and pitchers Ismael Calderone and Reid Bordick seem likely to make the all-star team. Texas looks to improve with 6th best offense, 7th best pitching and 13th best defense. Pitchers Philip Benard, Joe Byrd, and Darrell Weiland are studs on the mounds. Reigning AL Champ Louisville may be off a little from last season despite the 3rd best pitching the AL and the 8th best hitting, though the 15th best defense may hold them back. Louisville is loaded with stars including Marianno Guerrero, Sal Gwynn, and Eduardo Rincon at the plate and Edgard Montana and Steven Ashby on the mound. New Orleans is in a new location, but has the same great owner who seems to be improving his team in leaps and bounds. While that might not show up this season, as they have the worst hitting, worst pitching and 7th best fielding in the AL, they will be a force in the future.

AL West Projected Standings
Portland 97 65
Scottsdale 95 67 2
Colorado 90 72 7
San Fransico 80 82 17

The AL West should get 1 if not 2 wild cards this season. Recent champ Portland boasts the leagues best offense highlighted by the best two hitters in the AL Dave Bale and Pedro Perez as well as Wladimir Telemaco and Humberto Flores. They project to improve by 3 games. They may need every run they score as they possess only the 9th best pitching staff and 6th best defense. A team likely to make a lot of noise this season is Scottsdale. Likely to be up 13 games from last season they are this man's pick to capture the 1st WC. They have the most balanced attack this side of San Antonio with the 3rd best hitting and 4th best pitching. Their 11th best fielding leaves some room for improvement. Frank Mills is their best player, but Sid Blake and Bubbles Sutton will scare any pitcher as well. Alexander Little is the 3rd best pitcher in the AL. Uncle is going to be upset when he sees he is projected to win the second wild card with 90 wins (down 16 from last season). The league's second best pitching staff is headed by the league's second best pitcher Bruce Wilkerson. The pitching just keeps coming and coming as Orlando Diaz and Carlos Corpas are also among the top 12. Chad Sosa seems to have recovered from stealing Bale's MVP last season and should be their best hitter. San Francisco can hit and field with anyone (4th best in each), but their 15th best pitching staff holds them back. Chico Martin is the 4th best hitter in the AL will be their sole top ten once they move my virtual man crush and 7th best hitter Alez Gomez to Portland. Seriously, Lance Wallace, Jeret Ducati, Derrek Phillips for him right now. . .all right, I'll move on since I can't be rational about a legit CF with 80/80 contact and power.

Playoffs (these are not based on numbers, just me having fun.
1st round
Sco d. NY
Col d. Van

2nd round
Por d. Sco
SA d. Col

Por d. SA

Back to the numbers!

25 best hitters in the AL
team est rc per 27
Dave Bale Por 8.47
Pedro Perez Por 8.21
Frank Mills SCO 8.17
Chico Martin SF 7.64
Sid Blake SCO 7.32
Pascual Santos SA 7.30
Alex Gomez SF 7.16
Edgar Torres SA 7.12
Cam DiFelice Col 7.02
Garry Quinn SA 6.97
Wladimir Telemaco Por 6.84
Sal Gwynn LOU 6.82
Eduardo Rincon LOU 6.79
Todd Clark SA 6.74
Chad Sosa Col 6.74
Mariano Guerrero LOU 6.69
Russell Sanders SF 6.65
Omar Cruz Col 6.49
Al Hicks VAN 6.39
Stephen Jackson MAD 6.37
Bubbles Sutton SCO 6.36
Humberto Flores Por 6.31
Archie Huskey CHI 6.25
Harry Velazquez SA 6.25
Howard Norris SCO 6.22

25 Best Pitchers in the AL
The final column is their projected non-park adjusted ERA

Vern Roa IOW 3.05
Bruce Wilkerson Col 3.08
Alexander Little SCO 3.10
Dennis Day TAC 3.14
Reid Bordick SA 3.17
Billy Palmer CHI 3.23
Joseph Chong SF 3.27
Orlando Diaz Col 3.42
Marty Dyer VAN 3.44
Pat Sefcik BAL 3.51
Carlos Corpas Col 3.55
Irv Coles VAN 3.57
Juan Merced DOV 3.57
Omar Lima TAC 3.58
Phillip Benard TEX 3.59
Vinny Francis TAC 3.61
Rolando Ramos WAS 3.63
Joe Byrd TEX 3.68
Edgardo Montana LOU 3.69
Mark Francona LOU 3.71
Charles Moreno CHI 3.74
Darrell Weiland TEX 3.75
Livan Hernandez SA 3.80
Steven Ashby LOU 3.80
Ismael Calderone SA 3.81

We'll start with this. If there are other things people want I will try to add them. All input desired! I'll put up the NL tomorrow.