Thursday, November 13, 2014

AL EAST - Season #31 Preview

Baltimore Renegades -

The more things change, the more they stay the same in Baltimore.  The Baltimore Renegades have made the playoffs TWELVE straight seasons, but still have not won a World Series Championship.  Last season, the team won an American League high 110 games only to be knocked out in the AL Championship Series to the arch rival Las Vegas Gamblers.  The fans are rabid for a Championship and owner/GM Terry Swayne made a flurry of off-season moves to shake up this team yet again.

HALF of the roster was turned over this off-season.  Popular former players Rickey Atchley , Jon McConnell, Octavio Valenzuela, and Jose Velez were brought back to keep Season Ticket sales high.  The Renegades still have a decent young core of productive ballplayers, but their window of opportunity to win a Championship is 2-3 seasons at best.  Bringing back all of the former (age 30+) players says this team is going for it all this season. 

Baltimore's front loaded contract strategy is out the window this season as the team decided to spend money for this year's team instead of worrying about next year's cap.  Like always, the Renegades are a balanced group with no glaring holes.  This is what you would expect from a team that has went to the playoffs 12 straight years.  Speed was added this off-season and that was the one missing element last year.  The revamped Renegades line-up is still the strength of the team.  
The line-up projects as followed...
(1) Jin Nishioka LF
(2) Derek Tanner CF
(3) Peter Carlson 3B
(4) Artie Bukvich DH
(5) Lyle Beck SS
(6) Jose Velez RF
(7) Mariano Terrero 2B

(8) Al Matos C
(9) Rickey Atchley 1B

The five-man bench is flexible with C-Bernie Rosado, 1B/OF- Brandon Wall, 3B/OF-Johny Henley, 3B/OF- Michael Weiland, and UT-Peter Stowers.

Baltimore's revamped rotation is led by experienced LHP- Henderson Sirotka and returing RHP- Octavio Valenzuela. The rest of the rotation is young but talented.  RHP-Jin Ho Uehara  won 22 games last season and LHP's Henderson Riggs and Pablo Taveras show a lot of promise as well. Juan Duran is the emergency starter and long man and his flexability adds to a very strong starting rotation..

CoCo Reagan will be Baltimore's closer again this season.  The set-up men will be lefties Hal Alexander and Willie Estrada, along with righties Jon McConnell and Albert Ramirez.

Top Rookie- NONE 

Key Players Lost- RHP-Derrik Easley (trade), RHP-Rashun Gonzalez (trade), LHP-Johan Heredia (trade), RHP-Harry Mateo (trade), RHP-Frank Maurer (trade), 1B-Ty Scanlan (trade), 1B/OF-Benji Aquilera (trade), 3B-David Vargas (trade), SS/OF-Banjo Wiltse (trade), SS-Jose Guzman (trade), CF-Clarence Christopher (trade), and MVP LF-Juam Tabata (trade).

Key Players Acquired- RHP-Jon McConnell (trade), RHP-Octavio Valenzuela (trade), LHP-Henderson Riggs, LHP-Henderson Sirotka, LHP-Pablo Tavarez (trade), 1B-Rickey Atchley (trade), 1B/OF-Brandon Wall (FA), 2B-Mariano Terrero (trade), 3B/OF-Johnny Henley (FA), SS-Lyle Beck (trade), LF-Jin Nishioka (trade), and RF-Jose Velez (trade).

Key Off-Season Transaction- The trade of MVP Juan Tabata to Philadelphia for three players started a domino effect.  Players acquired were traded in other deals which brought in more talent.  The end result is that Baltimore has the strongest 25 man roster from top-to-bottom that it's ever had.  This is a strong, talented team and the fans hope this is finally the year when the Renegades can win it all.

Burlington Black Bears -

Charlotte Tar Heels -

Hartford #Team Cutters -