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 -