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 -

AL WEST - Season #30 Preview

Anaheim Aardvarks -

Las Vegas Gamblers -

Salem Slayers -

Salt Lake City Movers & Shakers -

Monday, August 4, 2014

NL EAST - Season #30 Preview

Syracuse Orange Crush -

The Syracuse Orange Crunch have a new stadium, new name and are the team of mystery this season. They could have a great year or a disappointing one depending upon how their new 2B Richard Osuna does for them. Does he earn that contract or not?

Florida Dolphins -

Richmond Spiders -

Washington D.C. Whalers -

NL NORTH - Season #30 Preview

Fargo Sno Balls -

A senior laden team, with most in their 30's, an overall ranking of 22 out of 32 teams, and a modest budget, Fargo is rebuilding as evidenced by their AA & HiA teams leading their leagues. So while these major leaguers enjoy eating the "Sno Ball" cupcakes one last time, the future looks younger, slimmer, and much more talented!

Montreal Bloody Sox -

Building off of last years progress with a younger group of players, our organization will be featuring 5 rookies this year. A rule r draft pick in Sammy Gill, 2 international signings Raul Flores and Onelki Viciedo and 2 draft picks in Marc Detwiler and clean up man James Hawkins. We are also very excited that we have been able to lock up closer Wilin Lee for a couple more years and bring back speed daemon Charles Scarsone. With the addition of Kevin Aoki to our pitching rotation we have a young strong front to build off of and hope to be taking the division in the next 2 years.

Cleveland Rockers -

Minnesota Norsemen -

NL SOUTH - Season #30 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

Kansas City Googly Mooglies -

Monterrey Border Jumpers -

NL WEST - Season #30 Preview

Honolulu Rainbow Warriors -

The Honolulu Rainbow Warriors felt great about their chances this season after eating Ricky Atchley's terrible contract in order to acquire ace Octavio Valenzuela.

Then Valenzuela blew out his elbow. Now we have no faith in anything.

The end.

Seattle Somethings -

S30 marks the 4th season that Seattle is under pjfoster13 leadership, and rumors of ownership's unrest persist. While the Mariners are experiencing the tease of rebirth midway thru 2014, the Somethings have yet to taste that type of contention. However, GM Foster points to the overall strength of the depth chart and organizational control as signs of substantial progress.

Management expects a slew of ML-caliber prospects to hit the majors within the next 2 seasons. The ML roster is finally turning over with some of the fruits of its patient development labor. Two first year players and two solid rookies with legitimate expectations start the season in the bigs, and another three major pieces from a AAA team that won 105+ games are scheduled to arrive about two dozen cycles into the season.

External roster moves have been kept to a minimum since mid-S29 blockbuster with Omaha, although some insiders believe the winds of pre-season trade rumors continue to hover over Safeco like springtime clouds coming in off the Pacific.

After buying into the hype of expectations that were set way too high in S29, Seattle's jaded yet restless diehard fanbase appears prepared for another postseason-less campaign, but serial optimists will point to the depth of the starting rotation and the quantity & quality of incoming prospects to argue that Seattle could, in theory, approach 80-85 wins if given the right combination of roster adjustments, player development, and luck. Recent history shows that the 6th and final playoff spot is within range of this win target.

Outlook: In transition

Acquisitions: Rule 5 COF Kevin Martin (former 1st round pick with great speed, good defense, and servicable bat)
Subtractions: LHRP Valerio Prieto (FA)
top ML players: Starting rotation. 2B Ringo Bradley. C Rodrigo Campos, 1B Vicente Ciriaco
top rookies: RHRP Reggie Page, SS Mateo Nunez (AAA), RF Lenny Parkers (AAA), LF Marc Oswalt (AAA)

Colorado Evil Empire -

Omaha Thunderbirds -