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


AL NORTH - Season #22 Preview

Boise Cartel


Buffalo Ice Dogs


Detroit Wolverines


Philadelphia Dusters


AL SOUTH - Season #22 Preview

Houston Wranglers

The Wranglers have hovered around .500 the last two seasons and we don't realistically expect much more than that this season. Team goals are to finish above .500 and to properly develop younger talent. 

The Wranglers were pretty quiet as far as pre-season moves. We traded away the talented 1B Kenny Tobin much to the ire of the league! Tobin would not be around when the Wranglers are "good again" so he was traded away on the cheap. Live and learn my friends. We did sign a lot of mid level talent to fill in some depth issues.

There are several young position players on the squad that we are looking forward to watching develop. The young power hitting catcher, Lenny Smart, among them. Smart is still a few seasons away from the big leagues. We also have two talented young short stops in Leon Bolick and Nipsey Hill. With these two coming along together it's likely that we'll see a position switch with one of them.

We also have a couple of young pitchers on the team that we are excited about. Both Kevin Aoki and Andres Moreno should continue on their respective paths to big league stardom.

Tampa Bay Sunburnt Tourists 

Not to be confused with the copy-cat franchise Florida Tourists, Tampa rebounded last season with an 83-79 record after a 76-86 showing the season before. Tampa took a couple flyers in the FA market by signing former ROY SP Sergio Richards, who is recovering from a decimating injury which cost him nearly his entire seaon 21 campaign. They also signed Rico Pizzaro, who owns a career .396 OBP to play RF. Tampa got good value in these two players, which should help make up for losing Joe O'Leary to FA, and keep them progressing.

In the minors, last year's first round pick slugging COF Cody Eischen (who looks like a steal at #14) can probably make an impact in just a season or two. Season's 20 first rounder, Gordon Halter is their CF of the future.

The ML offense is led by Bunny-squared; Adcock, who provides the speed and OBP, and Justice, who supplies the power in the middle of the line-up. 

Little Rock Rockabillies


Santa Fe Railroads  


AL WEST - Season #22 Preview

Anaheim Aardarks

Outlook: Trying to break through a streak of 6 losing seasons (though none have been horrific - around 75 wins/yr). Really sort of a stopgap year before some strong prospects are ready to be worked into the ML lineup. Will be a long-shot to contend currently but should be ready for serious contention with young talent if some additional pitching talent can be found.

C Tony Costilla (FA)
1B Virgil Stark (FA)
RF Petey Douglas (FA)
CF Jerry Watson (FA)
RP Royce Washington (FA)

1B Javier Hernandez (Trade)
C Matty Servet (FA)
SP Duke May (FA)
SP JT Scott (FA)
P James Hoyt (Rule 5)

top rookies - 
Not really any rookies currently on the roster - a bunch of 2nd or 3rd year guys, but talent at AAA could get time if the team falls out of it such as C Gio Gonzalez, RF Izzy Fox, SS Elmer Reagan, and SP Trevor King.

Best Move
Probably the low-key singing of Tony Costilla - who has started off very strong and will prove a mentor to Gonzalez when he comes up. Also picking up Howie Boyle in the Hernandez trade will help the bullpen in maybe 2 years - he should be an anchor in the pen in the future. 

Las Vegas Gamblers 


Salem Slayers


Salt Lake Movers  Shakers


NL EAST - Season #22 Preview

Richmond Spiders

It’s been far too long since the Richmond Spiders have broken the .500 plateau. This year the rebuilding stops and the winning (hopefully) starts. The season started with a purge of most of the untalented players on last years MLB roster.  We have promoted 5 players that are looking to fill in some pieces, but not contribute right away. The main pieces of this teams core are young and I hope to build the core of the team around in these players in the future. 

Red James (RF) is a first round draft pick from season 15, and he’s legit at the plate. He’s in his 4th major league season.  Also on offense we have traded for 2B Ed Jones. Jones was a first round draft pick in season 14 and we hope his solid approach at the plate will contribute to a team that was near the bottom of the league in runs scored last year. 

The strength of this team comes from its pitching staff. Free Agent signings Hanley Perez and rule 5 draftee James Hoyt will fill out the back end of a rotation anchored by young guns Torey Olivares,  Tony Zapata, and Phillip Seay. All are in their 2nd ML season. Olivares was signed as an IFA in season 19, Zapata was an IFA in season 18, and Seay was acquired in season 18 from Baltimore for Russell Collins.  

The other key move in the offseason were trading set-up man Miranda. Overall the Spiders franchise has had only 1 season in 20 years over .500, I hope to make it two this year. The future looks bright in Richmond 

Rochester Rodents Of Unusual Size

Season 22 has brought about some changes in Rochester. We faced a crossroad as arbitration loomed during budgeting. Following 3-4 seasons now with essentially the same team & only 1 WS loss to show for it changes were in order.

Out goes perhaps our two top players, if not at least top commodities in Derrick Henderson & Emmet Collins, along with some relievers with great core pitching ratings but questionable dur/stam combo to make those effective in Holder & Blank.

Our goal was to improve defensively, get better pitching & increase our bench flexibility. In comes overall #1 draft pick Pablo Durazo, Bengie Plata & young SP Brian Jacobs (nice upside still) along with defensive SS Alving Sanchez. 1b was addressed with trading really nice young prospect Howie Boyle for (5) 70+ offensive ratings bat Javier Hernandez. Then the capper was a boatload for Fred Tobin to give me 5 legitimate SPs.

We aren’t completely dry in the minors, but we have pretty much cast our lot with this group for the foreseeable future. 

New York 9


Washington D.C. Whalers


NL NORTH - Season #22 Preview

Cleveland Rockers

Cleveland is looking for a bigger taste of the playoffs this season after getting knocked out in the first round last season.  We went out and spent a bunch of money on a couple of bullpen arms (Graeme Wilkerson & Pepe Flores) and the starting rotation is all back with an extra year of experience under their belts.  We return all of our position players as well with the exception of our former 1B, Rico Pizzaro. He will be replaced internally by season 20 ROY Ty Scanlan. Cleveland is in position to be competitive now and for the foreseeable future.

Montreal Bloody Sox

With new ownership taking over in the off season the bloody sox traded away some of their heavier contracts with aging players opening to door for a solid triple a squad to battle for the positions. This season we are looking to take the division go deep into the playoffs and to rebuild the double a and lower division with multiple high draft picks.

Toronto Express

The Toronto Express will be getting alot younger this year, already with 7 Rule 5 picks on the roster. Also brought in veterans Pablo Sanchez, Paul Tanaka, and John Gao. It will be interesting to see all these guys along with a few more at AAA develop into major league players. 

Trenton Waves


Sunday, July 1, 2012

NL SOUTH - Season #22 Preview

Atlanta Alpa Chinos

After another disappointing season in which we again just missed getting into the playoffs despite the heroics of sluggers Charlie Hull, Scot simontachi and Thom Christenson (who combined for 130 HR), our franchise hoped to rebound. We move the club from Miami to Atlanta, where the park's dimensions should help the sluggers even more, while still protecting the pitching staff.

The pitching staff is led by 17-game winner Rex Andrews, who signs on for another 5 years to keep the 1-2 punch of he and Harry Mathews togther for at least another season. The staff is also hoping to get a lift by having mid-season acquisition Dario Sasaki around for a full-season. All three heads of the back-of-the-bullpen beast return in Ratliff-Ripken-McEnroe, who have done a phenomenal job in protecting leads after the 6th for the past few seasons.

The club is also excited about rookie speedster Patrick Boyle, who is expected to make the team out of spring training, with the hopes of providing a spark at the top of the order.

Jackson Jayhawks

The Jayhawks return to Jackson after a season away from the town and the new owner hopes the fans will flock out to the ballpark to welcome the guys back.

After a disappointing campaign last season the hiring of 21-year veteran coach Bingo Harris is intended to get the rookie and big-leaguers blended together from the outset. Given a good batch of up-and-coming youngsters the spring training session did not look attractive from nthe 4-14 record. However, the experience gained should reap benefits.

The big signing is #1 starting pitcher Milt Curtis: 37-year old lefttie. If he is on form then the wins should mount up but if age is found to be catching up the nit could be a long summer. Power hitting will need to come from Roland Hartman (RF) following the season-ending injury to superstar Rob Steenstra (CF).

The owner would like to at least achieve an above-500 W/L record at the ML level with post-season play realistically not being around for a couple of years. After that, the franchise should be competing after the regular campaign at all levels.

Just hours away from the first pitch...and the owner is getting nervous.

Mexico City Hombres Azul

"The big off-season move for the Hombres Azul was the reacquisition of Milt Gagne (he owns two homes, one in Mexico and another in Baltimore and just moves between the two). Gagne is Mexico City’s single-season record holder for wins (21 wins in season 18), he replaces Cecil Holmes who suffered a shoulder aneurysm and was not offered a new contract.

There is a change at short-stop, after three years as a defensive replacement 26 year old Danys Sanchez finally gets the full-time gig. He replaces Alving Sanchez (no relation) who was part of the Gagne trade, Alving never achieved his early promise with the Mexican club, we wish him well in Rochester. The game plan for S22 is not that different to the previous two seasons – it’s speed and pitching.

If the opposition plays an offense first catcher – Mexico City will run them ragged. Reigning MVP Esteban Montero and silver slugger and golden glove winning 3B Benito Espinosa both have the power to compliment the speed in the rest of the team. This is an aging side, probably in its last couple of years at the top, there is very little in the minors to restock the big league team.

SS Flip Riske will probably be called up shortly to provide defensive cover;2B Horacio Mujica and C Ignacio Rondon are in AAA patiently waiting for an opportunity, and there are a couple of reasonable RPs. The only potential big league player in the low minors is last years first round pick 2B/CF Jake Mills."

Charlotte Chiefs


NL WEST - Season #22 Preview

Honolulu Rainbow Warriors

After two straight unsatisfying playoff runs, the Rainbow Warriors are hoping that strong pitching can overcome a worrisome lack of offense.

Last season's marquee trade acquisition, 22-year-old star-in-the-making Takashi Wanatabe, headlines a strong rotation featuring stopper Ismael Salinas, and free agent acquisitions Bubba Pearson and Brandon Linden.
Mandy Hines comes on board to set up after a superlative career closing, joining a powerful bullpen that hopes to shorten games in pitcher-friendly Aloha Stadium.

But Honolulu faces major question marks up and down its lineup. Deivi Alomar is aging, Brian Funaki has underperformed, and Billy Reynolds is lucky if he plays every third day. The only true elite bat is Matty Lee, and power is lacking throughout the lineup.

Scottsdale Maize 'N Blue

First... We stayed in Scottsdale !!!! No more mvoing vans for this franchise.

Key Additions = Tomas Cairo
Key Losses - Niko Kirby

Outlook - Having plenty of young quality SP prospects almost ready for The Big Leagues allowed me to move Niko to get a bonafide young offensive superstar to build my offense around which I think I achieved in acquiring Tomas Cairo.
Was very disappointed to not land either Bennigson or Wilkerson in FA, but I offered both over100m and it wasn't enough. Hope their arms fall off..

Leaves me with over 70m to either acquire talent thru trades or most likely through IFA's. and several prospects will see promotions this year so no reason to think we can't compete for a playoff spot starting this year.

Either way we have built a very solid young foundation and the future looks extremely bright..

Good luck to everyone in Season 22

St. Louis Wish I Had Pujols' 

Hoping to improve on last season as I have brought up most of my best prospects. Acquired Bobby Ray Terry and John Schmidt to try and offset the loss of Bubba Pearson. If this team is going to be any good, those two will be my best offseason acquisitions. My top rookies are VIn Ellsbury and Al Matos. Still looking for that one more big power threat to push me towards contention.

Vancouver Big Blue Bulldogs