Sunday, April 1, 2012

AL EAST - Season #21 Preview

Baltimore Renegades

The Baltimore Renegades had a busy off-season.  They made two major trades in an effort to get younger and less expensive.  The Renegades are still trying to get to the World Series for the first time in the history of the franchise. They came up a little short last season as they lost to Detroit in the second round of the playoffs, but the team is still geared to win now as many of their key players are young or are already in their prime.  

The Renegades have lots of fire power offensively.  With the likes of C-Walt Harnisch, 1B- Pascual Sanchez, 2B- Ricky Atchley, 3B- Russell Collins, LF-Pablo Durazo, CF- Stuart Locke, RF-Craig Cook, and DH- Jim Morris...this team is sure to score lots of runs. 

The Starting pitching is decent, with Milt Gagne, Vasco Batista, Walt Koch, Brian Jacobs, and Alex Santiago.  It will be much stronger rotation once Vic Ordonez returns from the DL.  Ordonez has been rehabbing his shoulder since last April, when he was knocked out after only pitching 6 games for the Renegades.  His return will really give the rotation a boost and push an existing starter to the bullpen making it stronger as well. 

The bullpen has been rebuilt and is anchored by third year closer Bengie Plata.  Damian Murphy, Darrin Roth, and Scott Diaz are the set-up guys and give the team great veteran leadership. 

Top Rookie- SS-Craig Jackson (AA) 

Key Players Lost- LHP- Kevin Lawrence (trade), LHP-Victor Palmeiro (trade), RHP-Mateo Leon (trade), RHP-Alex Mangual (trade). 3B-Cory Thomas (trade), and LF-Ian Trammel (trade) .

Key Players Acquired- RHP-Brian Jacobs (trade), RHP-Alex Santiago (FA), RHP-Lon Thompson (FA), RHP- Shane Woods (FA), OF-Alex Calvo (FA) SS-Craig Jackson (trade), OF-Stuart Locke (trade), and OF-Jay Miles (FA).

Key Off-Season Transaction- Trading for SS-Craig Jackson.  I was surprised that Las Vegas finally traded him to us after all the past attempts to get him.  We feel he is a true All-Star and hopefully a HALL OF FAMER in the making .

Chicago Gusting Squal

Top players added: Don Okajima SS, Trenidad Osoria SP. 

Top Players lost: Phillip Pride RP (AAA) , Albert Mondesi SP (AAA). 

Top Prospects: Prospects? What are those? Haven't seen many of them in Chi town

Outlook: The Gusting Squall hopes to continue to contend this season by mashing the cover off the ball with a solid lineup of aging veterans. Management has worked diligently to shore up pitching staff, focusing on groundball pitchers with the hope of keeping the ball in the ballpark while on defense. Management is keenly aware this season could be the last go-around for some of the key veterans, so their sights are set on slugging their way to the pennant!

Columbus Cheese N' Rice

Columbus didn't really loose anybody big. We didn't really add anybody big. We lost David Vincente and Ivan Martin. The goal is to progress with my young team and keep building.  We need to determine who can cut it at ML level - aiming to make big splash next year

New York Surf Riders


AL NORTH - Season #21 Preview

 Buffalo Ice Dogs 

"The Ice Dogs have been frustrating the city of Buffalo for years now, so in an attempt to win back fans they have pushed their rebuilding up a notch by being more active in Free Agency. The hope is by having signed P Matty Diaz, power hitter Humberto Ramirez and 1B/RF Miguel Espinosa along with prospects P Walt Osborne and CF Jose Cueto that this season will be an improvement and serve as a springboard toward the playoffs down the road".

Detroit Wolverines

Detroit had a great season last year making it all the way to the ALCS. We expect our young players to get better and compete again for a playoff spot and possible Division Title. Detroit will burn the base paths with all the speed they have in the lineup.
A look at each position:

Catcher-Robbie Belisle is starting his 5th season and looks to have a breakout year. Reid Barker is the backup and comes in for defensive purposes at the end of games.

First Base-Michael Lee is looking to improve upon his 6 straight season of 30 plus HR’s and 100 plus RBI’s to start his career and has yet to miss a game in his career.

Second Base- The 2B spot is anchored by reigning ROY Roland Street, he is not only looking to improve his rookie campaign but is looking to make the All-Star team and wants Silver Slugger, look for Roland to have a big Sophomore Season. Roland is backed up by Fausto Martin. Fausto will split time as an infielder giving guys rest and DH.

Shortstop- SS will be split by 4X Gold Glover Hong Jin Takahashi and Hal Parrot, this is a position of defensive strength for the Wolverines.

Third Base- 3B has Anthony Thomas again back for a second season with the team, he was injured last year and missed out on 30 HR’s, we expect him to get back to that plateau and compete for an All-Star spot. He is backed up by Tony Melo, entering his 9th Season with Detroit. Tony splits time as a backup Infielder and Outfielder and has great speed.

Outfield- The Outfield features lead off man Sammy Costilla in Left, Rookie Al Alvarez in Center who is finally getting a chance to see what he can do with the big club. RF has long time player Chul Pan( who is 3rd in league history for SB’s) splitting time with Rookie Sensation Charlie Little. Charlie has made the big club at the age of 21 and is expected to supplant Chul from a starting spot during the season.

Starting Pitching- The starters have 3 youngsters and 2 veterans and are led by Tom Cota, Carson House( the big FA acquisition for the team after winning 15 games for Rochester last season), J.D. Randall( who won 17 games in his second full big league season), Angel Estrella( who won 11 games as a rookie), and Veteran Josh Curtis as the 5th Starter.

Relievers- The long relievers can start if there are any injuries and are led by veteran Paul Summers and Chick Sweeney. The other relivers are led by Rob Rekar and super closer Harry Cooper who already has 111 Saves in just 4 Seasons.

Minors- There aren’t expected to be any new players making a name for themselves coming up through the minors this season as last year saw a couple. There are a couple of pitchers that are on the cusp and look to possibly n the major next season in Alan Shave and Horracio Sierra. Kirk Brown also has an outside shot. 2B Ken Montgomery also could see the Majors next season depending on his development.

Philadelphia Dusters

Philadelphia Dusters will try to repeat as AL champs with most of the team returning. Newcomers Willie Estrada, Carter Sexton and Al Sosa will try to put them over the top. The offense led by Stephen Rivera and a veteran pitching staff will attempt for a fifth straight AL North crown and a chance to get back into the World Series.

Boise Cartel


AL SOUTH - Season #21 Preview

Santa Fe Railroads

The outlook for the railroads looks pretty good.  With a good young nucleus of Justin Kubenka, Phillip Oliver, and Andres Navarre, plus with the upcoming return of Cameron Price from the DL  the offense looks to be in good shape.

the pitching staff should be a bit more stable.  Pasquel Prieto was brought in to manage the SS hole, while FA signing Emmett McDonald and rule 5 pick Tony Alomar add some depth to the bullpen, which may get a boost soon from top prospect Coco Reagan. The railroads are looking forward to competing and hopefully adding a pennant this season!

Charlston Shannon Faulkners

Little Rock Rockabillies


Tampa Bay Sunburnt Tourists 


AL WEST - Season #21 Preview

Anaheim Aardarks

Players added:
Carlos Mendoza, 1B/DH, FA .312-25-84 with SF in PY.
Javier Hernandez, 1B/DH, Trade
Alejandro Paningua, C, FA, backup/defensive guy
-Players re-signed
Parker Stovall, 1B/LF/DH
JT Scott, SP - re-signed late in spring due to injury to Duke May.

Players Lost
Don Wager, CF, Trade
Carlton Mills, 1B, FA
Jorge Rosario, SP, FA

Top Prospects
- Gio Gonzalez, C, AA, Int'l FA last year - .318, 39 2b, 25 hr, 124 rbi at high A PY. Threw out 29% of SB attempts.
- Izzy Fox, RF, AA .281, 59 2B, 23HR 133rbi, 23 sb split between low and high A ball last year.
- Trevor King, SP, High A. 18 wins 1.28 whip 228 SO/241 IP first 2 years.
- Oswaldo Cueto, Low A. 2-0 with 7 saves in rookie ball. 25 SO/25 IP. #1 pick PY.

Will rely on Francisco Melian, 2B, Michael Wieland, SS, and Jimmy Jaramillo, DH to be the offensive anchors. Will be looking for better OBP from the top of the order. With Wagner gone, Chris May and Ruben Samuel will get every chance to win the CF job. Future HOF Parker Stovall and his 700 career HR is back for his 18th ML season with the club in what will be a part time role now that he is 35.

With the lack of starting pitching in Free Agency the club will be looking to young starters Ubaldo Chavez, 23, and Douglas Bailey, 22, to lead the staff. Chavez already has 46 ML starts under his belt (19-16 record). Bailey got a taste of the majors at the end of last season going 2-1 in 4 starts with an impressive 0.63 WHIP and 1.61 ERA. Veterans Duke May, David White, and JT Scott will round out the rotation with Drew Ducey also in competition (note: Duke May is now out due to Elbow Surgery for an injury suffered in Spring Training).

The bullpen will once again be anchored by Bryant Christensen and his 286 career saves. Getting to him could be an issue as the rest of the bullpen will look to improve from prior year with mainly the same cast of characters. Stone Johnstone will be the primary setup option (3.99 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) as well as a young Juan Duran, who appeared in 66 games last year in his rookie campaign (3.56 ERA).

Las Vegas Gamblers


Salem Slayers


Salt Lake Movers  Shakers