Thursday, November 13, 2014

AL EAST - Season #31 Preview

Baltimore Renegades -

The more things change, the more they stay the same in Baltimore.  The Baltimore Renegades have made the playoffs TWELVE straight seasons, but still have not won a World Series Championship.  Last season, the team won an American League high 110 games only to be knocked out in the AL Championship Series to the arch rival Las Vegas Gamblers.  The fans are rabid for a Championship and owner/GM Terry Swayne made a flurry of off-season moves to shake up this team yet again.

HALF of the roster was turned over this off-season.  Popular former players Rickey Atchley , Jon McConnell, Octavio Valenzuela, and Jose Velez were brought back to keep Season Ticket sales high.  The Renegades still have a decent young core of productive ballplayers, but their window of opportunity to win a Championship is 2-3 seasons at best.  Bringing back all of the former (age 30+) players says this team is going for it all this season. 

Baltimore's front loaded contract strategy is out the window this season as the team decided to spend money for this year's team instead of worrying about next year's cap.  Like always, the Renegades are a balanced group with no glaring holes.  This is what you would expect from a team that has went to the playoffs 12 straight years.  Speed was added this off-season and that was the one missing element last year.  The revamped Renegades line-up is still the strength of the team.  
The line-up projects as followed...
(1) Jin Nishioka LF
(2) Derek Tanner CF
(3) Peter Carlson 3B
(4) Artie Bukvich DH
(5) Lyle Beck SS
(6) Jose Velez RF
(7) Mariano Terrero 2B

(8) Al Matos C
(9) Rickey Atchley 1B

The five-man bench is flexible with C-Bernie Rosado, 1B/OF- Brandon Wall, 3B/OF-Johny Henley, 3B/OF- Michael Weiland, and UT-Peter Stowers.


Baltimore's revamped rotation is led by experienced LHP- Henderson Sirotka and returing RHP- Octavio Valenzuela. The rest of the rotation is young but talented.  RHP-Jin Ho Uehara  won 22 games last season and LHP's Henderson Riggs and Pablo Taveras show a lot of promise as well. Juan Duran is the emergency starter and long man and his flexability adds to a very strong starting rotation..

CoCo Reagan will be Baltimore's closer again this season.  The set-up men will be lefties Hal Alexander and Willie Estrada, along with righties Jon McConnell and Albert Ramirez.

Top Rookie- NONE 

Key Players Lost- RHP-Derrik Easley (trade), RHP-Rashun Gonzalez (trade), LHP-Johan Heredia (trade), RHP-Harry Mateo (trade), RHP-Frank Maurer (trade), 1B-Ty Scanlan (trade), 1B/OF-Benji Aquilera (trade), 3B-David Vargas (trade), SS/OF-Banjo Wiltse (trade), SS-Jose Guzman (trade), CF-Clarence Christopher (trade), and MVP LF-Juam Tabata (trade).

Key Players Acquired- RHP-Jon McConnell (trade), RHP-Octavio Valenzuela (trade), LHP-Henderson Riggs, LHP-Henderson Sirotka, LHP-Pablo Tavarez (trade), 1B-Rickey Atchley (trade), 1B/OF-Brandon Wall (FA), 2B-Mariano Terrero (trade), 3B/OF-Johnny Henley (FA), SS-Lyle Beck (trade), LF-Jin Nishioka (trade), and RF-Jose Velez (trade).
 

Key Off-Season Transaction- The trade of MVP Juan Tabata to Philadelphia for three players started a domino effect.  Players acquired were traded in other deals which brought in more talent.  The end result is that Baltimore has the strongest 25 man roster from top-to-bottom that it's ever had.  This is a strong, talented team and the fans hope this is finally the year when the Renegades can win it all.





Burlington Black Bears -




Charlotte Tar Heels -




Hartford #Team Cutters -
   

AL NORTH - Season #31 Preview

Buffalo Wings -

Looks to be mainly a rebuilding year for the Wings, but we've added some quality veteran talent as well. We'll see what happens...



Detroit Wolverines -


 



Milwaukee Blue Ribbons -





Wichita Winners -

AL SOUTH - Season #31 Preview

Houston Wranglers -







Little Rock Rockabillies -






Montgomery Cornbread On The Brain -




New Orleans VooDoo -

AL WEST - Season #31 Preview

Anaheim Aardvarks -




Las Vegas Gamblers -





Salem Slayers -





Salt Lake City Movers & Shakers -

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NL EAST - Season #31 Preview

Philadelphia Phillagers -

1) We're trying to contend

2) Juan Tabata, Harry Mateo, Clarence Christopher from BAL.... Tike Stokes from BOS.... Damaso Mangual from COL... Tony Colome from BAL

3) Richard Osuna, Henderson Riggs, Jin Nishioka, Jerome Hill, David Herrera, Jorge Andrus, Ricardo Sanchez, Tommie Clark via TRADE... via FA: Benito Marichal, Andres Macias

4) Danny Small

5) Tabta trade procured young, perennial MVP candidate and shed 4 years of a huge contract for good player but not worth that contract (career >340 OBP and .824 OPS... not bad but not $1$79M over 4 years good)




Boston Bulgers -




Richmond Spiders -







Washington D.C. Whalers -

NL NORTH - Season #31 Preview

Minnesota Norsemen -
The contract options of Chet Gibbons, Bart Lane and Dennis Herzog are finally declined and Minnesota is out from under the shadow of a bothersome $19m. With their new found financial freedom, Minnesota was able to sign key free-agent Sting Remlinger to a 3 year - $33 million deal (mutual option on 3rd). The Norsemen are counting on Remlinger to provide some lineup protection for sophmore 1st basemen Harry Gimenez and 3rd year RF Kyle Leius.

CP Galahad McAnaney, SP Rafael Ortiz, RP Benji Salinas, 2B Adeiny Mota, SP Pete Webb and C Richard Chen will all make their ML debut on the Opening Day Roster. These young additions will add to the already rebuilding roster.

Minnesota's staff will be lead by all-star hopeful Chris Hubbard, veteran Brent Harmon and 2nd year man Elmer Wigginton. The rebuild is on and in full-swing in Minnesota, who holds four 1st round selections in this year's Amatuer Draft including #5 overall.


Cleveland Rockers -



Fargo Sno Balls -




Montreal Bloody Sox -

NL SOUTH - Season #31 Preview

Mexico City Hombres Azul -
The game-plan for season 31 was one of rebuild, and as such the club chose not to re-up several borderline ML players. However, the trade market was quieter than usual, and unable to find a suitable trade partner for Phillip Davis or Lou Hendrickson GM Sneekes changed tack and dove into the free agent market in order to replace those expired contracts.

The Hombres Azul said ”thanks for the memories but enough is enough” to:
SP Drew Ducey
LF Dave Uggla
2B/OF Mickey Reid
C Joshua Fife
2B Horacio Mujica
RP Homer Zornes

They said “welcome to Mexico” to:
2B Delino Silva
3B Benito Marichal
OF D’Angelo Cedeno
CF Stewart Hall
SP Allie Mlicki
RP James Bradford

They also said an initial goodbye, but then an unexpected “Welcome back brother” to:
SP Tomas Blanco
RF Russell Hunter

The Rule 5 Draft brought in:
RP David Ramirez

The upshot is a team that has moved a shade or two away from the “get on base then leg it” tactics of its heyday, with more of a focus on defense, and a little more reliance on the long-ball.

The outlook for Mexico City is a little more positive than it was two years ago, the noisy neighbours from Monterrey are a very real problem, but at least now the ballclub from the capital has managed to a). acquire some free agent talent without paying inflated fees, and b). managed to restock the farm.
That farm system won’t start to bear fruit until Season 32 or 33 - when we might expect to see 1B Kevin Knight and/or SP Paul Lewis. Until that point – Mexico City will probably be fighting KC and one of the NL West clubs for the last Wild Card spot.




Jackson Jayhawks -

After Season 30 the fans of Jackson finally have something to feel optimistic about going forward. Following six successive 100+ loss seasons the franchise showed that better batting and reasonable pitching can bring rewards; a 76-86 record. Now to maintain the momentum.

Jesus Duran is in his third year as bench coach in the big league and ninth with the franchise.

This year's pitching rotation is lead by veteran starter Tom Cota and he needs to recover some of his former control. Oswaldo Cueto has cemented his place as closer and will want to improve on his 46/54 save/opp achievement in S30.

Leading off the batting is Charlie Little (RF) picked up from FA having spent the last few years in Detroit.. The team captain is Sal Clarke (3B) and his potential has yet to be proven in terms of his stats. Maybe S31 will be his breakout year.

Maintaining the w/l improvement will go along way to keeping the franchise in Jackson.

Roger Brown
Owner




Kansas City Googly Mooglies -







Monterrey Border Jumpers -

NL WEST - Season #31 Preview

Colorado Evil Empire -

The Maize 'N Blue are back. Gone is the Evil Empire moniker which should be passed on to the champs in Cleveland..

This team will once again be led by All-World CF Tomas Cairo who brought home his 8th straight MVP in Season 30. Cairo set the Squires record for RBI in a season last year knocking in 206 with a personal best 70 HR's to boot.
Surrounded by stars like Benny Uribe, Julio Osoria, Leo Conner, and Louie Ibanez who incredibly took home the Silver Slugger award despite missing half of the season to injury, offense should never be an issue.
Young phenom Marino Vasquez takes over in RF with the tough decision to trade away stud Teddy Locke for bullpen help and some salary relief. We love Marino's potential if he can just stay healthy.
Offensive prospects aren't quite ready, but youngsters like Rubby Velez, Harry Nieves and the recently signed Luis Lima should help the big club one day.

Pitching staff is once again led by Niko "The Machine" Kirby who took home his 7th Cy Young award and continues to dominate even at the age of 36. Bret Clayton who combined with Kirby to go 41-1 last year returns along with 2-time Cy winner Yuniesky Delgado and Hee Soep Higshioka to form the best pitching tandem iin Squires..
The bullpen continues to hold this team back and trades have tried to address the problem, but so far it appears to have not helped.
Pitching prospects like Alex Sojo, Rio Maduro, John Ono and Yordano Uribe should arrive in a couple of seasons.
As always it's World Series or bust for The Maize 'N Blue..



Honolulu Rainbow Warriors -

In their ceaseless quest to finally reach a World Series after years of fruitless division titles, the Rainbow Warriors are relying on speed to get them there. The Warriors have loaded up on fast players like platoon monster Salvador Seneca to complement their racing core, and all Rainbow Warrior baserunners have been given the green light to go at any opportunity.

To further their plan, the Warriors made a blockbuster to bring in centerfielder Richard Osuna, a 93 overall stud who is badly overpaid but speedy, smart, and devastatingly handsome. The Warriors parted with two-time Honolulu standout Ricky Atchley and injured former ace Octavio Valenzuela to get it done, and while the Honolulu Advertiser ripped the deal, the general manger responded with only a pithy "Newspapers are dead, shut it."

With Osuna on board, and a mandate to run their way to victory, the Rainbow Warriors are committed to bring a title to the shores of Waikiki at last!



 



Seattle Somethings -

Season 30 for the Seattle Somethings was considered by many as a resounding success. The long-suffering franchise broke thru with its first playoff appearance under pjfoster13's management, and first playoff appearance overall since season 23 and only third overall in Squires history. Anchored by arguably one of the deepest pitching staffs in the ML and the youngest starting lineup in the ML, the Somethings have every reason to believe that continued success is attainable. The question becomes whether the squad can perform under the newly-discovered weight of expectations.

The Somethings once again have wild-card expectations in S31. The continued development of its young core players Nunez, Parkers, and Oswalt is essential to Seattle's success. Seattle dabbled heavily in the trade market this offseason, subtracting 26-year old starting 2B Ringo Bradley, 24-year old starting/platoon catcher Rodrigo Campos, 29-year old backup RF Sam Patrick, and 25-year old backup 3B Dee Edwards, but adding 25-year old 2B Marc Sears to shore up defense and offense and RHP Wandy Urbina, LHP Denny Stock, and LHP Gerald Burch to shore up the bullpen which was Seattle's greatest concern coming into S31. CF Glen Handworth departed in free agency, but 21-year old dynamic CF prospect Bill Presley (s28 7th overall) is expected to join the team once the service time period expires. Presley may also be joined by upgrades of top prospects 2B/CF Navarre, SP/LRP Hayes, and possibly a bullpen arm or two. C Mota (S29 9th overall), LHP Carreon (S28 27th overall steal), and LHP Quintanilla (S28 35th overall) are all likely to spend an additional season + 30 cycles in the minors for additional development.

The somethings are gifted with youth, pitching, lineup flexibility, and tremendous overall defense, but teeter on the brink of 7th place due to difficult home park conditions affecting its offense. A back-to-back wild-card finish would be welcomed in the highly-competitive National League




Oklahoma City Slickers -

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

AL EAST - Season #30 Preview

Baltimore Renegades -

The Baltimore Renegades have made the playoffs ELEVEN straight seasons, but still have not won a World Series Championship.  Last season, the team had two 20-game winners in Niko Kirby and Octiavio Valenzulea and that still wasn't enough to even get them to the World Series (let alone win it). This  off-season, Baltimore finally made the decision to start rebuilding.  Kirby, Valenzuela, and Achley are gone (along with their massive contracts).  The Renegades still have a decent core of productive ballplayers, but their window of opportunity closed last year.  The team is still determined to play well and do their best, but without a true staff Ace it will be tough. 

Owner/GM Terry Swayne front loaded many of the team's lomg-term contracts and the team has a lot of "friendly salary cap numbers to work with for the next 4-5 seasons.  The revamped Renegades line-up is still the strength of the team, but it is much younger than in year's past.

The line-up projects as followed...
(1) Derek Tanner CF
(2) Peter Carlson 2B
(3) Juan Tabata LF
(4) Artie Bukvich DH
(5) Benji Aquilera RF
(6) Ty Scanlan 1B
(7) Al Matos C

(8) David Vargas 3B
(9) Juan Guzman SS

The five-man bench is flexible with C-Bernie Rosado, 2B/OF- Stewart Hall, 3B/OF-Michael Weiland, OF- Clarence Christopher, and IF-Jumbo Noesi. 



Baltimore's revamped rotation is led by LHP- Johan Heredia, who was lost early last season to Tommy John surgery.  Newly aquired RHP'S-Harry Mateo and Jin Ho Uehara replace Kiby and Valenzuela in the rotation, while RHP's-Rashun Gonzalez and Juan Duran round out the rotation.

CoCo Reagan was reaquired last season and will be Baltimore's closer again this season.  The set-up men will be lefty Hal Alexander and righties Frank Maurer, Albert Ramirez, and Derrik Easley,  LHP-Willie Estrada will be the emergency starter and long man in the bullpen again this season.

Top Rookie- NONE
 
Key Players Lost- RHP-Octavio Valenzuela (trade), LHP- Niko Kirby (trade), 1B-Emmitt Collins (trade), 2B-Rickey Atchley (trade), SS-Sean Waters (trade), and RF-Cory Thomas (retired).

Key Players Acquired- RHP-Derrik Easley (trade), Harry Mateo (trade), RHP-Jin Ho Uehara (trade), 2B-Jumbo Noesi (FA), 3B-David Vargas (FA), CF-Clarence Christopher (FA), AND LF-Juam Tabata (trade).
 
Key Off-Season Transaction- The trades of veteran players like Niko Kirby, Octavio Valenzuela, Emmitt Collins, and Ricky Atchley were long overdue.  Baltimore was trying to keep playoff hopes alive with big payrolls and aging players.  They finally move in a different direction and hope to rebuild quickly.  




Hartford #Team Cutters - 

It looks like it's time to make a run in Hartford. After 21 games, AAA will look a little bare as almost all prospects make the jump, including spring training IFA Raul Ortiz. Hopefully this will at least result in a playoff appearance.

Charlotte Knights -







Huntington Hitmen -

AL NORTH - Season #30 Preview

Detroit Wolverines -

The Wolverines finished under .500 last season and took a new approach, letting several high to mid- priced players go in Free Agency then demoting a couple of aged veterans to make way for a rookie class and younger players who were backups last season the chance to get some time on the field and see how they perform. The team still features a few vets that can rake including INF Edgar Valdes and LF Johnny Henley. The pitching is not a strength nor a huge weakness. The Starting Pitching is led by veterans Teddy Martin and longtime Wolverine Horacio Sierra. The closer is longtime stalwart Harry Cortes. The Wolverines should be a middle of the road team and depending on how the younger players perform could look to move veterans at the trade deadline or become players to add some veteran talent. 


Key Additions: 1B Darron McConell(Rookie), 2B Enrique Castillo(Rule 5 Draft), SS Joaquin Cordero(Rookie), SP Kirk Brown(FA), SP Elston Springer( FA), RP Welington Vasquez(Rookie), RP Lyle Millwood(FA)

Key Losses: CF Tim Taylor(FA), C Anthony Hiatt(FA), SP Rickey Simms(FA), RP Felipe Martin(FA), SP Angel Martin(FA)




Milwaukee Blue Ribbons -





Rochester Rhinos -





Witchita Winners -

AL SOUTH - Season #30 Preview

Houston Wranglers -







Jacksonville Jaguars -





Little Rock Rockabillies -






Montgomery Cornbread On The Brain -