Monday, July 2, 2012

AL EAST - Season #22 Preview

Baltimore Renegades

The Baltimore Renegades went to their first World Series last season.  Unfortunately, they came up a little short, losing to Montreal in 6 games.  The Renegades' Management believes the team has a 3 season window to win, and to WIN NOW.  Baltimore's win now mentality has came at a hefty price though, as the team's minor league system is in shambles.   The team has signed at least one Type A free agent each of the last four seasons, making an already anemic Minor League system even worse.  Baltimore actually rated dead last in regards to their Minor League system.  So, there is no help on the way for the Big League club.  Injuries and age may play havoc on this team in the coming months.  

The good news is that the team has a great young core of super stars who have been locked up to long-term contracts.  The hope is that the team will be able to invest more into their Minor League system in future seasons to come as the long-term contracts were mostly front-end loaded.  

The Renegades have lots of fire power offensively.  With the likes of C-Walt Harnisch, 1B- Emmett Collins, 2B- Ricky Atchley, 3B- Russell Collins, LFCarlos Sosa, CF- Derreck Henderson, RF-Craig Cook, and DH- Jim Morris...this team is sure to score lots of runs. The bench is also strong with 5 guys who would be starters on 90% of the teams in the league.

The Starting rotation is by far the team's weakest link.  After the top-two (Vic Ordonez and David Vargas) the rotation is a mismatch of over-the-hill and once promising arms that either have fallen-off the league's radar or never got on it in the first place.   Vasco Batista, Walt Koch, Alex Santiago. Paul Summers, and Brandon Wooten will fill the last 3 spots in the rotation and the two who lose out on the rotation will likely win bullpen spots. 

The bullpen has been rebuilt again this season and is anchored by new closer Darrin Roth. 

Top Rookie- NONE 

Key Players Lost- RHP-Scott Diaz, RHP-Milt Gagne,RHP-Brian Jacobs, RHP-Benji Plata,  LHP-Lon Thomson, 1B-Pascual Sanchez, 3B-Paul Tanaka, LF-Pablo Durazo.  

Key Players Acquired- RHP-Brandon Wooten, RHP-Mark Holder, RHP-Lou Satin, RHP-David Vargas, LHP-Olmedo Ramirez, 1B-Emmett Collins, 3B/CF-Derrek Henderson.

Key Off-Season Transaction-Acquiring young bats Derrk Henderson and Emmitt Collins in the same deal.  Both players are entering their prime and ready to shine with the Renegades.

Chicago Gusting Squal

Last season we saw the former Cincinatti franchise get back to the playoffs with a solid 89-73 record after the team dipped the year before, ending a decent run of success.

This off-season, the club lost Damian Chang to FA, but to compensate for the loss in the line-up, they signed Butch Phillips and Jose Manto. The big signing however, was starter Jamie Bennigson, who inks a five year deal worth $19/season. Bennigson is expected to lead the rotation for years to come.

The offense is led by the winner of the last 2 MVP awards, Willis Livingstone.

Florida Tourists

The successful former NY franchise in the AL moves to Florida after faltering to a 76-86 record last season. The club lost several good veterans to FA in pitchers Albert Delgado and John Schmidt, and position player Daryl Waters and Luis Estalella. Only a few minor pieces were added through FA, so it appears that a rebuild is in the making.

On the farm, future closer Roger Thompson and good-hitting prospect Jason Kydd are probably a few seasons away from making an impact. At the big league level, 23 year-old SP Derrick Cunningham is poised to become a legit #1. On-base machine Tomas Andujar sparks the top of the line-up with a combination of speed and power.

Columbus Cheese N' Rice