Friday, March 30, 2012
NL SOUTH - Season #21 Preview
Florida Ocean Blue
After staying in the wildcard hunt right up through the final day of last season but failing to make the cut, the major objective this off-season was to bolster an offense that finished near the bottom of the league in run production.
Despite the efforts of MVP Scot Simontachi, the Blue fared poorly due to little or no production from 2 outfield spots and SS. Vet slugger Ralph Wallace was signed to play some 1B to get another bat into the line-up, and CF Trevor Grey was brought in via trade to get on base at the top of the order, while skillfully manning the key defensive position. We're also hoping from bounce-back seasons from Charlie Hull and Carlos Sosa, whom we hope gets inspired by playing out his walk-year.
The bullpen remains a strength, led by lights-out closer Andrew Ratliff, but the rotation is shaky behind the 1-2 punch of Harry Mathews and Rex Andrews. Hopefully, the revamped offense will help overcome the weak back-end of the rotation.
On the farm, speed-demon Patrick Boyle is ready for the call should Sosa again struggle, or should we suffer a major injury. Starter Gene Bolden is still acouple years away, and we are excited about the first two picks in last year's draft; 2B Buck Hutchinson, who is already capable of fielding the position, but needs to develop his bat, and starter Jack Browning.
Mexico City Hombres Azul
Hardly lost anyone, Charlie Jefferies tested free agency, but it looks as if no-one wanted him as I got him back for his asking price! Lost Lonny Alomar who was the vL half of my RF platoon.
The only new Hombre is Ronnie Romero who was acquired in a trade with Rochester, Ronnie will start in right field against lefties, and do some pinch-running. The acquisition of Romero compliments the Hombres Azul’s playing style: contact and speed, we now have 4 hitter with 90+ speed, but only one with 80+ power.
The cupboard is bare, almost. Ignacio Rondon will probably be starting catcher in Season 22, glovesmith Flip Riske will make a good back-up infielder, and Horacio Mujica may make a big league 2B if his glove improves.
Hoping for a repeat, it’s pretty much the same team so there should be a decent chance, but standing still is often not good enough, and I’m bound to see some regression from last years Cy Young winner Danys Ayala and silver slugger CF Alan Graham who both had career years. I’m hoping that these will be balanced out by improvements from SS Alving Sanchez, and a full season from SP Rashun Gonzalez.
Kansas City Brownie's Wallbangers
Nashville Neurotic Nematodes