Wednesday, May 20, 2015

AL EAST - Season #33 Preview

Baltimore Renegades -

The Baltimore Renegades have made the post season THIRTEEN straight seasons; but, ALL THIRTEEN have ended the same way...without a World Series ring. The team had solid pitching perfomances from three members of the starting rotation, as Harry Newman (21-6, 2.60 ERA), and Henderson Riggs (15-10, 2.81), and Jimmie Veras (16-10, 4.16) carried the team last season.  Jin Ho Uehara (11-9, 4.15) and veteran Angel Estrella (10-13, 4.13) pitched well at times, but were not as dominant has they have been in season's past.

The Renegades' philosophy has changed this off-season; as, the team is shedding their big salaries and long-term contracts in an effort to shift to a long over-due rebuilding process.  Baltimore still has a few very good players left, but the line-up is no where near as dangerous as it once was.  Gone are Lyle Beck, Artie Bukvich, Oswaldo Padilla, Jose Velez, and Al Matos.  
The Renegades' newly revamped line-up projects as followed...
(1) Jin Nishioka LF
(2) Jason Arnold CF
(3) Craig Jackson 3B
(4) Derek Tanner 2B

(5) Rubby Velez RF
(6) Humberto Samuel 1B
(7) Carlos DeRojas DH

(8) Walt Harnisch C
(9) Joaquin Cordero SS

The five-man bench is flexible with C-Bernie Rosado, 3B/OF-Dee Edwards, SS/UT-Peter Stowers,  2B/OF-Stewart Hall, and OF-Wally Harris.

Baltimore traded away RHP- Harry Newman and his remaining $80M/4 year contract. The free agent broke the bank last off-season by signing a 5 year/$110M contract, but Baltimore's front office was fearful of an arm injury and traded him away this offseason. This year's rotation is led by left hander Henderson Riggs. Veteran righties, Jimmie Veras and Angel Estrella round out the top of the rotation.
Veras and Estrella are in the "walk year" of their contract, and both are gearing up for a big year, so they can cash in this off-season. The Renagades added RHP-Phillip Davis and LHP-Johan Heredia (a former 16 game winner for Baltimore just three seasons ago). RHP-Rashun Gonzalez, will be the spot starter and long man out of the bullpen again this season.

Raymond Tanner was traded to Fresno, so Pat Valdes will be the closer this season. Both set-up men return, as lefty Hal Alexander and righty Albert Ramirez will remain the bridge to get to Valdez. LHP's-Freddie Kim and Julio Aramboles round out the bullpen.

Top Rookie- For the first time in 5 seasons...Baltimore has a rookie or two worth writing about.  mega prospects Rubby Velez (3B/OF) and future closer Jimmie Hoffman were acquired from Fresno in the Harry Newman deal.  Baltimore also acquired C-Corey Daley in a separte deal with Salt Lake.  All three players are extremely talented and will be counted on heavily as cornerstones of a "retooling" franchise. 
Key Players Lost- RHP-Colby Barker (trade), RHP-Harry Newman (trade), RHP-Raymond Tanner (trade), RHP-Jin Ho Uehara (trade), C-Al Matos (trades), C-Eugene McCracken (trade), 1B-Oswaldo Padilla (trade), 3B-Lyle Beck (trade), SS-Jose Guzman (trade), RF-Jose Velez (trade) and DH-Artie Bukvich (trade).
Key Players Acquired- RHP-Phillip Davis (FA), RHP-Jimmy Hoffman (trade), RHP-Pat Valdes, LHP-Julio Aramboles (FA), LHP-Johan Heredia (FA), C-Corey Daley (trade), C-Waly Harnisch (FA), 1B-Humberto Samuel (trade), 1B-Ricky Atchley (trade), 3B-Craig Jackson (trade), 3B/OF-Dee Edwards (FA), OF-Jason Arnold (trade), 2B/OF-Wally Harris (trade), 3B/OF-Rubby Velex (trade),  DH-Carlos DeRojas (FA).
Key Off-Season Transaction- The trade of Harry Newman, as it finally gave Baltimore two young prospects to start the long process of re-stocking the farm system.

Charlotte Tar Heels -

Chicago Clubs -

Hartford #TeamCutters -

AL NORTH - Season #33 Preview

Buffalo Wings -

Looking forward to Pep Saunders' rookie campaign... And can sophomore Leon Jenkins continue his excellent spring into the regular season???

Detroit Wolverines -

Outlook: Detroit has completely rebuilt its roster over the last couple of seasons and have 11 players that didn’t end last season with the team. After hovering a little above and below the .500 mark over the last few seasons and unable to make the playoffs, the Wolverines are looking to contend with the flurry of acquisitions they made this off-season. 4 new everyday players, 4 new Starting Pitchers, 2 new Relief Pitchers and 1 new bench player. The team added players with 94 Homers,288 RBI’s and 57 SBs with their acquisitions as well as 58 wins and over 650 innings from last season.

Players Added: Free Agent Acquisitions- C Al Matos, 1B Torey Almanza, 2B Tomas Delgado, LF Ted Van Hekken, SP Willie Harville, and RP Benjie Plata; Trade Acquisitions SP Louis Okajima, SP Otis Reese, and RP Orlando Navarre; Waiver wire pick up SP Octavio Valenzuela; Rule 5 Draft Pick 2B Lorenzo Aviles

Players Lost: To Free Agency C Gregory McGrady, SS Walt Stohr, SS Junior Kimura, SP J.D. Randall, SP Juan Duran, and RP Heinie Starr; By Trade 1B Darren McConnell, and 2B Jumbo Noesi; To Waivers RP Albert Mercado.

Best Prospect: C Reagan Ulrich

Best Off-season move: Acquiring 1B Torey Almanza in Free Agency

Milwaukee Blue Ribbons -

Scranton Sharks -

AL SOUTH - Season #33 Preview

Jacksonville Jungle Cats -

Little Rock Rockabillies -

Montgomery Cornbread On The Brain -

New Orleans VooDoo -

AL WEST - Season #33 Preview

Anaheim Aardvarks -

Las Vegas Smash -

Salem Slayers -

Salt Lake City Movers & Shakers -

NL EAST - Season #33 Preview

Boston Bulgers -

Philadelphia Phillagers -

Richmond Spiders -

Washington D.C. Whalers -

NL NORTH - Season #33 Preview

Cleveland Rockers -

Montreal Bloody Sox -

St. Louis Griffins -

Witchita Winners -

NL SOUTH - Season #33 Preview

Jackson Jayhawks -

Another season and another chance to show the wonderful fans in Jackson that the Jayhawks are for real. Heard it before? Sure, but the owner is still right behind his club and will put in the cash where it is needed.

Season 32 may not look good in terms of a 64-98 won/loss ratio but that was a plus twenty on the previous year. Eagle-eyed people of HBD will note that it was still worse than the 76-86 achievement in S30. The minors produced some good races in their divisions but, sadly, none came home with a WS crown.

Loyalty to the coaching staff sees renewed contracts for J P Howard (rookie in S32) at bench, Dann Rapp at pitching and Magglio Bonilla at hitting.

The team is lead by veteran outfielder Yannick Williams (age 36) who will, again, have to lead-off and get on base if runs are to be scored. Long-ball will be with Charlie Little (RF) who put 22 over the wall last season as well as knocking-in 93.

Speed on the bases will be Caleb Jerchower (2B) who was 35/42 on the stolen base board; getting on base will be important at the number two slot behind Williams.
Brad Janssen (OF) at 25-years-of-age needs to show that his skills match his projections now that he has a big league season behind him. And stepping up to the top level is R J Taveras (OF) after five seasons in the franchise farm system.

Looking to get his call-up at some point in the campaign is the best Jayhawk prospect seen in a decade: Harry Nieves (IF). This 23-year-old could be the tonic to kick-start something great for the people of Jackson.

Pre-season FA saw two excellent pitchers signed and they head the rotation. Tim Leiter comes from a career in Baltimore and immediately gets the #1 spot whilst Tom Parker from Las Vegas starts in the number two slot. The bullpen will be a bit of a committee-at-work on a day-to-day basis.

A good start to the campaign is vital. Injuries should not be a real worry as most of the roster have high ratings and the medical team are well funded.

Roger Brown (loosecc)
Maidstone England


Mexico City Hombres Azul -

This is probably the low point for Mexico City, almost all the stars are gone, and the majority of the prospects are not quite ready.

The only quality on the 25 man roster are 2 or 3 of the starters: Kosuke Suzuki quietly went about pitching 200 innings in the last campaign with an ERA of 2.97 and a WHIP of 1.09, Allie Mlicki and Eury de la Vega will contribute as well.

On the farm: 1B Kevin Knight, and SPs Frankie Redman and Paul Lewis are close to ready, with OF Norberto Sosa and SP Trever Bagley a couple of years off.


Monterrey Border Jumpers -

Texas Rangers -

NL WEST - Season #33 Preview

Colorado Evil Empire -

Biggest news of the offseason was our relocating back to Fresno after three years in Colorado which saw us win two World Series trophies. We loved our time in The Mile High State, but it was time to come home.

Outlook: - It's World Series or bust once again as we are led by All-World OF- Tomas Cairo who picked up his unprecedented 10th straight MVP last year and shows no signs of slowing down. Put him in the HOF already. Within a couple of years he should hold most all of the Mike Squires offensive career records.
Ownership opened up their wallets and cleaned out the farm system with a couple of monster trades with BAL and MTY.

Alex James who was runner-up in the NL MVP race was brought in to join Cairo and Marino "The Kid" Vazquez in what has to be the best OF in all of HBD.
Benny "Pippin" Uribe and young stud Leo Conner will join Vicente "The Beast" Ciriaco and the reunited Jose Velez in what has to be our best offensive team ever. Bench players Mark Sears, Artie Bukvich, Rodrigo Campos, Mariano Terrero, Hugh Stetter and Phil O'Leary could start for any team, but as it is they will provide nice depth and injury insurance.
The biggest fish we brought in this offseason was ACE starting pitcher and 21-gm winner Harry "No Nonsense" Newman from Baltimore who joins the ageless future HOF Niko Kirby and 3-time CY winner Yuniesky Delgado in what should be a dominating rotation once again especially being back in Fresno. The bullpen also got a much needed addition in flamethrower Raymond "Lights Out" Tanner.

Losses: Many young talented prospects like Rubby Velez, Jimmy Hoffman, Jesus Delgado, Ricardo Sanchez, Hector Jacquez, Rio Maduro, and Victor Matos were traded to provide them an opportunity for regular playing time they deserve. We wish them nothing but the best with their new teams.
Trading away those quality prospects is never an easy decision, but to make those moves and still retain our two best young SP's in Alex Sojo and Yordano Uribe makes it very easy to digest.
With these moves and along with our ever increasing payroll, the days of plucking out the top IFA's appear to be coming to an end. This should make the rest of this world very happy.
Don't foresee many more changes necessary for this team, but the door is always open for trades.

Prospects: - Not much left, but guys like OF-Luis Lima and pitchers Wilin Mercado and Luis Gutierrez chould make their big league debut very soon.

Good luck to everyone in Season 33...

Portland Pines -

A view through the forrest-

From news conferences of owner Chris Hampton and manager Rob Ryan it seems the Portland fans need to be a bit more patience. While Hampton pointed out that the franchise had improved since he bought the Omaha franchise that lost 222 games in their only two seasons there (only 173 losses in his tenure as owner) that to really build a championship franchise everyone needed to be patient and build the team the right way.

Ryan picked right up on that by saying , the team might be better, but the strenght of the team was corner outfield , corner infield. Ryan's vision of a superior team is one strong down the middle and in the bull pen. So while Ryan waits on top prospect Fonzie Mahay to take over the catcher position and last years first round choice Pablo Polanco to find a postion the team must battle on.

According to unnamed sources in the Portland sport circles, minority owner Fred Snead is demanding that the Pines sign an agreement with sportingBDW agency. BDW claims that their scouts caan find cheaper and better players in Australia, China, and Scandinavia. 

Seattle Somethings -

Even though S32 resulted in the third consecutive playoff appearance for the Seattle Somethings, the season was still considered a disappointment relative to preseason expectations. After languishing at or below .500 for the first 90-100 games, the club made yet another late run which resulted in clinching the 6th seed in NL, even without star infielder Max Cerveza due to injury. This time it resulted in an early exit to eventual champion Colorado.

In the offseason, management decided to move long-term commitments Cerveza and Osoria in a mega-blockbuster with Monterrey for SP Melky Quixote, 3B Ozzie Calderon, and OF Sidney Shields. As expected, the club suffered heavy losses in free agency, including the unexpected departure of reigning S32 NL Cy Young winner Walt Osborne. Walt had been willing to stay in S32 negotiations but his agent changed his mind at the 11th hour. Thus, Seattle was forced to re-sign Clark Hume instead.

For S33, management expects to take a slight step back but is likely to still contend for the 6th spot with typical challengers including Albuquerque (formerly Honolulu), Texas (formerly Kansas City), Montreal, and St Louis. It would not be a surprise if the club missed the playoffs for the first time in the last 4 seasons

Arrivals: SP Quixote, 3B Calderon, CF Shields (all trade w/ MTY), RP Cueto (FA- WIC), RF/1B McConnell (trade w/DET), LF Tejera (AAA- S30 R1 P10), 2B Navarre (AAA- S28 IFA), SS Anderson (AAA- S29 R1* P54), 1B Adkins (AAA- R6 P196, 257 career minor league HR), RP Quintanilla (S28- R1* P35), RP Romero (trade, AAA- S18 R1 P13)
Departures: SS Cerveza, 3B Osoria (both trade w/MTY), RF K. Martin (trade w/LR), SP Reese (trade w/DET), SP Osborne (FA- MTL), RP Stock (FA- ABQ), 1B Aquino (FA- CHI), LF Silva (FA- MTY), SP Bordick (FA- N.O.), RP Sheehan (released in arb)
Draft picks: 27, 30, 45, 48, 50, 61, 64, 68, 78, 90, 120, 122

C Mota
1B Parkers
2B Navarre
3B Calderon
SS O'Malley
LF Shields
CF Presley
RF McConnell
C Nixon
INF Nunez
OF Forster
SS Anderson
LF Tejera
1B Adkins

Albuquerque Nuclear Warriors -

Thursday, February 12, 2015

AL EAST - Season #32 Preview

Baltimore Renegades -
The Baltimore Renegades DID make it to the World Series last season but after leading 3 games to 2...they lost to the Colorado Maize N' Blue.  That makes TWELVE straight seasons of playoffs appearnces without a World Series ring.  The team had solid perfomances from three key starting pitchers last season.  Henderson Riggs (20-8, 3.41 ), Jin Ho Uehara (15-7, 4.15) and veteran Octiavio Valenzulea (14-3, 3.24) all pitched extremely well during the regular season and throughout the playoffs.  The Renegade's philosophy has changed this off-season; as, the team is going with pitching and defense this year instead of a stacked line-up.  Baltimore still has a decent core of productive ballplayers, but the shift in thinking means they won't have to score 11-12 runs every single game...they should be able to win the low scoring games now too. 

Owner/GM Terry Swayne has decided NOT to front load long-term contracts any more and the team is going to spend the money available to go after free agents until the farm system can develope players again.  
The revamped Renegades line-up projects as followed...
(1) Jin Nishioka LF
(2) Derek Tanner 2B
(3) Lyle Beck 3B
(4) Artie Bukvich DH
(5) Oswaldo Padilla 1B
(6) Jose Velez RF
(7) Al Matos C

(8) Joaquin Cordero CF
(9) Juan Guzman SS

The five-man bench is flexible with C-Bernie Rosado, C-Eugene McCracken, 1B/OF- Robert Bland, SS/UT-Peter Stowers, and 2B/OF-Stewart Hall.

Baltimore's revamped rotation is led by RHP- Harry Newman.  The free agent broke the bank and signed a 5 year $110M contract with Baltimore during the offseason.  Last season's top two starters LHP-Henderson Riggs and RHP- Jin Ho Uehara return to make a formidable top three for Baltimore.  LHP-Tom Cota, last year's late season acquisition will be the #4 man, and newly acquired Jimmie Veras, a former Renegade, returns to be the #5 man in the rotation.  Another former Renegade, RHP-Rashun Gonzalez, will be the spot starter and long man out of the bullpen this season.

CoCo Reagan was traded to Las Vegas, so Raymond Tanner will be the closer this season. Both set-up men return, as lefty Hal Alexander and righty Albert Ramirez will remain the bridge to get to Tanner.  LHP-Freddie Kim and RHP-Colby Barker round out the bullpen.

Top Rookie- NONE
Key Players Lost- RHP-Oswaldo Cueto (trade), RHP-Juan Duran (trade), RHP-Midre Encarnacion (trade), RHP-Octavio Valenzuela (FA), LHP- Pablo Taveras (trade), LHP-Coco Reagan (trade), C-Ignacio Rondon (FA), 3B-Peter Carlson (trade).

Key Players Acquired- RHP-Colby Barker (FA), RHP-Oswaldo Cueto (trade), RHP-Rashun Gonzalez (trade), RHP-Harry Newman (FA), RHP-Raymond Tanner (trade), RHP-Jimmy Veras (trade), LHP- Freddie Kim (FA), C-Eugene McCracken (FA), 1B-Robert Bland (trade), 1B-Oswaldo Padilla (trade), SS-Juan Guzman (FA).
Key Off-Season Transaction- The signing of Harry Newman, as it finally gives Baltimore the young ACE it has been looking for. 


Toledo Tauntauns -
Toledo is a team that finds itself at a crossroads. Burdened with several contracts that will prove difficult to move and tedious to carry, including over $15 million currently sitting in AAA, the Tauntauns must act with caution this season. There are several young players to build around, but only a couple on their way to the Big League roster. Ortiz, Cho, Perdomo, and Ethier return to lead the offense. Eugene Hayes and Ian Trammell will add to the offense as long as they remain with the team. Avisail Guerra adds speed, but his glove is a bit of a question mark at 2B. Jayson Wilson will be the team’s main DH.

Kid Parker and James Lamb will share the title of staff Ace, although, we use that term loosely here in Toledo. The rest of the rotation will consist of Cristobal Sanches, Olmedo Valverde, and second year man Ralph Corbin. Jamie Bennigson and his massive contract will be the first out of the bullpen, and the highly desired, but unavailable, Esteban Trinidad will close things out. Barry Morton and Jim “Wild Thing” Snyder , along with 3 Rule 5 pickups , Spruill, Mills and Lopez, will help bridge the gap between the two.

Spring Training standout Eddie Abernathy could be starting in RF by the All Star Break. Banished vets Vincenzo Strickland and Turk O’Leary will both be trying to claw their way back the Majors as well.

With 44.2 Million tied up in 6 contracts, 3 of those in AAA, the purse strings are tight in Toledo. The Tauntauns get some relief next season as two of the contracts end, and Trammell and Strickland can be bought out by mutual option, reducing the cost to 24.875 Million. Declining Guerrero’s option saved the club 7.5 Million this season.

Out: CF Edge McMillon, SS Esteban Guerrero, C Byron Barmes
In: P Ewell Mills, P Larry Spruill, P Jose Lopez
On the way: RF Eddie Abernathy

Hartford #TeamCutters -

Charlotte Tar Heels -

AL NORTH - Season #32 Preview

Buffalo Wings -
The big news in Buffalo is the MLB debut of Minor League All-Star & former #2 overall draft pick Leon Jenkins... We'll see how he lives up to his potential...  

Milwaukee Blue Ribbons -
1) Season outlook: The four-time defending division champion Blue Ribbons hope to remain a contender. A lot of star veterans were allowed to leave in free agency because, for a change, the organization believes it has the prospects to fill in where they left off.

(2) Players acquired: The big addition was workhorse starter Rigo Almonte, acquired from Seattle in order to slot in as Milwaukee’s No. 2 starter behind ace Robin Hoffman, who has returned from elbow surgery. The club also took a chance on a few veterans on one-year contracts: utility player Patrick Boyle, third baseman Elmer Reagan and reliever Freddy Martin.

(3) Players lost: The cost of Almonte was steep, with former 40-HR hitter and Gold Glove left fielder Julian Aquino sent away to Seattle. Aquino had struggled the past couple of seasons and needed a change of scenery. Veteran starting pitchers Willie Harville and Jimmie Veras, as well as star shortstop Pedro Espinosa, all left via free agency—though not without a return of Type A draft picks.

(4) Top prospect(s): Look for the Blue Ribbons to benefit from the arrival of future franchise catcher David Sveum and a pair of shortstops, Willie Lee and Garry Trammell. First baseman Dale Swift could also see some late-season at bats.

Detroit Wolverines -

Sioux Falls Antelopes -

AL SOUTH - Season #32 Preview

Little Rock Rockabillies -

Montgomery Cornbread On The Brain -

New Orleans VooDoo -

Tampa Bay Spartans -

AL WEST - Season #32 Preview

Anaheim Aardvarks -

Las Vegas Gamblers -

Salem Slayers -

Salt Lake City Movers & Shakers -

NL EAST - Season #32 Preview

Boston Bulgers -

Philadelphia Phillagers -

Richmond Spiders -

Washington D.C. Whalers -

NL NORTH - Season #32 Preview

Cleveland Rockers -

Coming off back to back World Series championships the Rockers were upset in the playoffs last season by the up and coming Seattle Somethings. The Rockers return the core of their team losing only spot starter/mop up man Orlando Navarre and 7th inning man Jair Acosta who through arbitration was quickly pricing himself out of Cleveland's plans. In return they received an intriguing 1B prospect Oswaldo Telemaco who is sure to make an impact at the big level eventually.
The Rockers don't usually participate in the rule 5 draft but after trading Navarre and Acosta it opened a couple spots on the big league roster and they found a useful bullpen piece in Shelley Cornelius. For a rule 5 guy he's a perfect low leverage guy in the bullpen and the price was definitely right!
CF, Wilson Rolls who is sitting at 475 figures to hit his 500th home run at some point this season.
Prospects who figure to make an impact at the ML level at some point season are SP Jacob Kida and CF Raul Valdes. Kida really has nothing left to prove in the minors and deserves a spot in a ML rotation but it's tough to crack a spot in Cleveland's rotation. Valdes figures to break into the bigs as a late inning defensive replacement for Rolls and could eventually take over full time when Rolls contract expires at the end of next season.
Once again the Rockers have their sights set on brining home another World Championship but it won't be easy. The NL has some very good teams. It should be an exciting season!

Montreal Bloody Sox -

 This team had its biggest offseason in its 32 year history! After failing to make the .500 mark again the GM targeted the trade market to bring in top pitchers and run producers. This will not be another easy clinch for Cleveland this year.

We will start with the promotion of Wilfredo Azocar who can hit and field but needs another year or 2 before he can be a shut down SS.

We then move to the free agent market where the GM first targeted some bullpen help landing a long relief in Tony Matos and an aged veteran set up man hoping to have 1 more great year left in him (Theodore Standridge, 1 all star and a WS ring). A defensive bandaid was then brought aboard in Esteban Guerrero (another former all star) hoping to give a season or 2 so Azocar can continue to develop. The strategic move to put Neil Chatwood in CF to keep his bat left 2B open and a steal came when the GM signed 2B Roland Street for 4 mill (ROY, GG, SS, and a 3 time all star with an all star MVP). He will be a top of the order run producer with good speed and base running presence.

If that didn't sound great here is where the fans are turkey getting excited landing 2 top pitchers in Abraham Booker (3 time all star, 3.58 career ERA and an inning eater) and Hee Sop Higashioka (former ROY and allstar with 3 WS rings and a 3.56 career ERA). Both fit in well at the home stadium. Heinie Overbay was another set up guy brought aboard for relief help. They did not stop there going after Benito Marichal for defensive 3B help with great speed and run producing ability. All but Booker is under the age of 30 and locked in a contract!!!

This team has become a shadow of what it once was. Now building around a solid power hitting core of Cesar Molina (.286 / 36 / 121), Steve Brush (.278 / 35 / 121), and James Hawkins (.259 / 20 / 94). The GM has put together a starting rotation worthy of a playoff birth and added bullpen help to protect closer Wilin Lee (4 time all star and former fireman of the year). The most amazing part is how they stay under budget and retained their last 4 years first round draft picks.
Play ball!

St. Louis Griffins -

Despite the fact that their strong playoff push came up short, hopes are high for the franchise this season. A move to Busch from the Metrodome was made to capitalize on the trade deadline acquisitions of starters Bret Clayton and Philip Davis.

The biggest weakness for this team going into season 31 was the pitching staff. Rookie Rafeal Ortiz surprised in S31 going 12-7 with a 3.97 ERA and earning an All-Star bid. Another rookie, Galahad McAnaney also earned a spot in the mid-summer classic posting a 3.69 ERA in 68 appearances (8-7, 22sv, 102.1ip). Chris Hubbard will look to bounce back after having a disappointing S31, going 14-14 with a 5.14 ERA. Brent Harmon will round out the rotation after posting a 4.27 ERA last season.

Mariano Terrero was added in the deal that brought Clayton in. He stumbled initially when going into the lineup but bounced back down the stretch to help the club. He joins the very recent acquisition of 27 year old OF Antonio Choi. These two should bolster an already solid offense that returns all-star catcher Richard Chen and Silver Slugger LF Sting Remlinger.

As much as this organization is looking to succeed this season, eyes will be focused on the High A level and the progression of last season number one pick (#5 overall). 19 year old first basemen Butch Payton looks to be one for the ages and if this season should not go as planned, expect moves to be made to set up the roster for his arrival to the bigs.

Chicago Cubs -

NL SOUTH - Season #32 Preview

Jackson Jayhawks -
The patience of the Jackson faithful has been tested for many years but at least there is one constant: the owner, loosecc, doesn't give up trying to win an elusive WS title. "Dream on" I hear people cry...the Jayhawks are rarely out of the basement.

Well, Season 32 is the dawning on a new era: the big league outfit want to get some of what has been seen at the rookie level where eight division titles in nine seasons has been the result of good talent spotting. Just a pity few get beyond the minor league system.

Anyway, Season 31 held great hope after a 76-86 split the year before but sadly the players did not have the belief in themselves and a 44-118 record was...well, best forgotten. A new bench coach, J P Howard, has been installed (a ML rookie coach this season) and he is supported by many veteran coaches who just want to make a good life out of their job.

The franchise was really zinging when Caleb Jerchaver (2B) was signed in the Rule V draft. Coming with a minor league BA .315 and OBR .408 he is expected to challenge for the lead-off spot in the line-up.

Toby Howe (1B) led the team in homers last term with 27; the roster doesn't like the long ball game and his tally accounted for one third of the season total.

Speed comes from Charlie Little (RF) who swiped 48 (from 60 attempts) bases and currently has a ML total of 414 steals in ten big league seasons.

Ricardo Olivares (OF) showed his potential after coming over part way through last season and now needs to fulfil his potential.

Pitching has long been the problem: too many runs given up. New to the starting rotation is Orber Ordonez (left hander), 24 y-o-a, who gets his chance after a decent AAA showing. Ace starter, if you can call him that, is Joaquin Bonilla (9-5, 4.32 ERA in S31). If they fail to hold the opponent's batters then the bullpen will be relied upon and its really a committee at work: no outstanding guys but each could do it on their day.

Spring training has thrown up a little gem. A potential closer in Dana Newman who has gone 6-for-6 in saves with a 0.00 ERA in six outings. So it may not be a full big league line-up opposing him but a job to be done needs to be done to get results.

Owner's forecast for Season 32: 70 wins.

Roger Brown (loosecc)
Maidstone England

Kansas City Googly Mooglies -
The Googly Mooglies have had their share of missteps since moving to Kansas City, but they seem to be finally moving toward some organizational stability with a cost-conscious, flexible major league roster that has several legitimate prospects working their way toward the big leagues.
The KCGMs added a pair of controllable starting pitchers via trade this off-season in right-handers Greg Newsom and Gene Bolden. Not only did the additions come without having to sacrifice top prospect Louie Mori, the slugging Japanese first baseman signed last season, but the deals actually created a place in the lineup for Mori. The Googly Mooglies also signed free-agent right-hander Sal Stratton to a reasonable, two-year deal.

The KCGMs are also in position to add to their farm system this year thanks to a pair of compensation picks for reliever Joseph Martin, who opted out of his contract before signing with Salt Lake City. There's also some flexibility in the budget should the right player pop up on the international market.  After a 90-win season left them just short of the playoffs last year, there’s optimism in Kansas City that the Googly Mooglies can not only get over the hump in Season 32 but that they can stay there for the foreseeable future.

Mexico City Hombres Azul -
In hindsight, the decision to rebuild was made a season too late: after 14 winning seasons, 11 visits to the post season, and 1 world series win – the Hombres Azul lost 96 games. Some major league talent was traded away during season 31 (Philip Davis, Vic Ayala, Lou Hendrickson & Roland Street), and some more this off-season (Oswaldo Padilla & Benito Marichal); there is still some talent on the roster, but insufficient to compete with KC & Monterrey, it’s plain that Mexico City will not be a contender in season 32, and probably not in season 33 either.

The fruit of all those trades is the restocking of what was a very bare farm-system. 1B Kevin Knight and SP Paul Lewis are close the big leagues, SP Frankie Redman and COFs Carlos Guerrero, Victor Bournigal & Norberto Sosa are a littler further off.

Monterrey Border Jumpers -

NL WEST - Season #32 Preview

Colorado Evil Empire -
PAST - Season 31 saw us win our 3rd Squires World Series Trophy., Tomas Cairo won his 9th Straight MVP (in only 10 ML seasons) and Yuniesky Delgado took home his 3rd CY award in 4 seasons while Future HOF Niko Kirby moved to #6 in career wins and #3 in career strikeouts after yet another great season.

PRESENT - The 3-season plan to re-sign Tomas Cairo worked perfectly as "The Franchise" took our MAX offer the very first cycle it was eligible to be accepted. Our final year in Colorado will hopefully result in another World Series appearance and maybe with some luck we win #4.
Those are the expectations as we eagerly anticipate our move back to Fresno in Season 33.

ROSTER ADDITIONS - In Season 31, we brought in four players who contributed in a big way during our playoff run in SP- Lou Hendrickson, C- Rodrigo Campos, Gold Glove SS - Vic Ayala, and World Series MVP 3B/RF - Sam Petrick.
This offseason was also very busy as we added younger and cheaper talent in 2B- Mark Sears and 1B- Vicente Ciriaco, but they came at a price and really didn't lessen our ML logjam.
Signed future HOF'ers Rickey Atchley and Octavio Valenzuela mostly to try and get them their first WS ring before they retire and am very happy to have both back on the squad.

ROSTER SUBTRACTIONS - Budgets and FA contracts dictated that we needed to move some payroll and with that brought the very tough decision to move All-stars Julio Osoria, Hee Sop Higashioka and Lou Hendrickson via trades. We wish all three nothing but the best in their next endeavors.

FUTURE - Trades, drafts and IFA brought in some quality youngsters like future closer Jimmy Hoffman, Speedsters and potential on base producers in Luis Lima and Jesus Delgado as well as future #3-#4 type SP's in Ricardo Sanchez and Hector Jacquez.
Luis Gutierrez, Wilin Mercado, and John Ono should provide some much need RP help in the near future.
The jewels of our Farm System are 3B- Rubby Velez who will replace Osoria in Season 33 and future Ace SP - Alex Sojo will make his eagerly anticipated ML debut sometime after the 25-gm mark this year.
One to keep an eye on would be SP - Yordano Uribe who bounced back nicely last year after missing over a year with an injury. The knuckleballer may never get back to those lofty projections/ratings, but that means little to this owner who thinks Yordano is going to be special and a future ace in a couple of years.

IN SUMMARY - Our only priority this year was getting Cairo re-signed and thankfully it was achieved. Was hoping to bring in another stud SP, but Ben Bolton and Harry Newman both rejected near MAX offers to pitch for The Champs while staying in The AL which helps ease the disappointment of not obtaining one of the two.

FINAL THOUGHT - Just going to say that I am shocked to have received ZERO interest in trading for one of the best hitters currently in Squires. That guy is Louie Ibanez who has been on the trade block and garnered no inquiries.
At only 5.8m this year he is worth every penny and is even willing to sign an extension at 4.6m which will also be a very good value the next couple of years. A hamstring injury knocked some of his non-offensive ratings down a little (did nothing to his hitting ratings) which I'm guessing is why there hasn't been any interest, but it's guys like Louie that win you Championships and it's baffling that not one owner has inquired about him.
5-time and reigning Gold Glove SS Bartolo Padilla has also been on the trade block all offseason and also received no interest from the world which is also a mystery. Defense especially at SS is one of the most important keys to HBD success, but nobody wants him either ?? One decent prospect or cheap stud bullpen guy could have had both, but I guess nobody needs these proven winners. Oh well..

Good luck to all teams in Season 32 !!!

Seattle Somethings -
Before forecasting Season 32 for Seattle Somethings, let us take time out to reflect upon S31 and recap the tremendous overall progress the historically-tortured Seattle franchise has made.

For about the first 50 games or so, the squad was floundering in mediocrity, posting a sub-.500 record. Out of desperation (as well as merit, in fairness), the club decided to promote 20-year old phenom catcher Alex Mota (S29 R1P9) to the bigs after only 800 career minor league at bats. The club experienced an instant turnaround, improving substantially on defense while breaking about even offensively. As planned, the club also called up rangy CF Bill Presley who managed to contribute a .796 OPS as a rookie. Marc Oswalt and Marc Sears each contributed 20-20ish seasons, and former R5 pick Kevin Martin continued to produce and improve. The starting rotation was the highlight and the bullpen had some standout play. The preseason trade with Colorado appeared to have favored Seattle in the short-term. On a disappointing note, 2B/SS/3B Mateo Nunez and 1B Vicente Ciriaco experienced statistical regression.

When the teams took their leave for the All-Star break, rookie manager Al Vargas gathered his the all-star-less club together and organized an on-site lock-in team retreat to foster improved team chemistry and morale. The results were immediately noticable. Before the break, the club was 5+ games back of the 6th seed with multiple teams to pass. Immediately following the ASG, the club began winning at a feverish pace. Overshadowed by Colorado's club-record (league-record?) winning streak, Seattle simultaneously posted a 10+ game winning streak itself and began to make a spirited charge to validate and defend its S30 playoff berth. However, upstarts Kansas City (nicepiecoro) and Minnesota (cincymike) were not ready to go quietly into the night. Over the last 50-60 games, the three clubs chased one another neck-and-neck. At separate invervals all three clubs led the way, and throughout the entire race neither club was more than 5 games back of the 6th seed. Minnesota went all in with trades to push for the spot, while Kansas City and Seattle stood pat and searched for intrinsic improvement. Also, Kansas City (...controversially...) elected not to immediately assign mega-IFA 1B Louie Mori right to the bigs, instead electing to preserve service time. In the homestretch, Minnesota faltered and the race came down to KC and Sea, and thanks to an extremely fortunate scheduling fate, Seattle profited from facing Honolulu and Colorado squads that had long-ago clinched their playoff berths and were resting key players. Rather begrudgingly, Seattle appeared in their 2nd-straight playoffs.

In the first round, the Somethings (92-70) drew 2-time-defending NL South champions Monterrey Border Jumpers (101-61), led by phenom IFAs Alex James and Melky Quixote, amongst other strong supporting cast. Rather interestingly, Seattle was thrilled to be paired with Monterrey in the lead-up to the series, as Seattle has mysteriously posted a .650ish win % lifetime versus a superior roster on paper. Despite being underdogs, the S.S. rode their late-season wave of confidence to a stunning 3-0 sweep of the favored Border Jumpers, announcing to the league that they were for real and that their playoff qualification was not simply a matter of luck and formality.

In the DCS, Seattle was paired with 2-time defending league champions Cleveland Rockers (106-56). The plucky Somethings managed to steal game 1 against co-ace Julian Scott, but dropped games 2 and 3 against Cleveland's other formidible starters. Facing elimination, and having to go against Scott a second time, as well as former first-overall pick stud SP Billy Campbell in an if-necessary game 5, the Vegas odds were very stacked in Cleveland's favor. Despite that, Seattle managed to steal game 4 with a late come-from-behind victory to force a deciding game 5, and rather incredibly, the Somethings stormed Campbell and advanced to the first LCS in their 31 season history!!!

Awaiting them in the LCS was none other than the Big Bad Wolf himself, scootermcray, and his Colorado Maize 'N Blue, who posted an incredible 117-45 regular season, including a 23- or 24- or 25-game mid-season win-streak. Despite Seattle's attempts to put out every trick in the book, including re-setting its starting rotation to have its groundballers pitch in Coors and its flyballers pitch in Safeco, and a failed attempt to play extreme small ball by setting bunting and baserunning aggressiveness to 5 in the game against Colorado's 0-range 0-fielding SP Hendrickson, the well-rested Maize 'N Blue ran out to a quick 3-1 series lead. However, the plucky Somethings rallied with victories in games 5 and 6 to force an unlikely game 7 against the National League titans and their future Hall-of-fame ace Yuniesky Delgado. Seattle was able to muster its share of offense in game 7, but Seattle fans were heartbroken when the game was broken open by former-Something RF Sam Petrick breaking the game open against former-Colorado relief pitcher Denny Stock, who were coincidentally and cruelly involved in the same pre-season trade for one another.

Despite the loss, Seattle fans and media gave pjfoster13 high praise for performing so admirably against the murderers' row of squads and owners. The first round upset of Monterrey even led to their ownership firing GM runnrun, replacing his Moneyball IFA-centered style with big-budget veteran dubrightway.

Fast-forwarding to S32, Seattle did not rest on its laurels and had an off-season which GMs around the league have rated as extremely productive. With minimal long-term commitments, Seattle was motivated to make a huge splash in free agency or IFA. With no fewer than three potential max- free agents on the market, Seattle was poised to strike. They had to make some tough personnel decisions with their own free agents and arb candidates, electing to allow valuable reliever Wandy Urbina to walk in free agency, but electing to keep playoff scapegoat Denny Stock and defensive-whiz Tim O'Malley for relatively large contracts in 3rd-arb.

This was merely the start of the fun, however. The off-season hot stove was unusually active between S31 and S32, and the Somethings became engaged in fierce trade negotiations with no fewer than a dozen clubs. It became clear to pjfoster13 that the offseason was going to be filled with mass exchanges, and boy was that ever the case. After days of intensive back-and-forth posturing, it was actually Richmond and their GM dabomb167383 who set the first dominos in motion by agreeing to a massive selloff of core players to Hartford. This led to the materialization of a MASSIVE trade for Seattle that had been brewing in Seattle's rumor mill for at least 4 seasons. The prize was the straw that stirred the drink in Richmond, slugging SS Max Cerveza. GM pj openly admitted in interviews that this deal was totally unexpected and literally fell into his lap. GMs around the league complimented the acquisition, considering it only cost young corner bat Marc Oswalt and talented-but-injury-prone 21-year old SP prospect Mark Chen. National media outlets are speculating that GM dabomb163783 may be beginning to walk on eggshells and his reign over Richmond may soon be coming to an end ...

GM pjfoster13 then completed his 2nd massive coup, bringing in 6-time all-star 28-year-old 3B Julio Osoria from Colorado, along with his 3 world series rings, 5 silver-slugger awards, and 2 gold-gloves, as well as 33-year-old SP Lou Hendrickson, in exchange for 26-year-old S31 Gold Glove 2B Marc Sears and 24-year-old slugging 1B Vicente Ciriaco. Colorado was able to get younger and shave some payroll, and Seattle acquired much-needed experience, infield ability, and pitching depth. GM pjfoster13 was STILL not done, sending solid 200+ IP starter Rigo Almonte to Milwaukee for enigmatic / jaded outfielder Julian Aquino. Aquino has declined severely the past several seasons but is still only in his age-27 season, and if the former-40-HR hitter regains his slugging form, the deal will be considered a coup for the championship-thirsty Seattle fans and media alike. Finally, in a minor move, Seattle acquired veteran RH RP Ted Sheehan from St. Louis (formerly Minnesota) for a AAA RP prospect.

Seattle enters S32 loaded with pitchers and hitters in the prime seasons of their careers, and will be looking to maximize their push towards another deep playoff run in S32. Not only that, Seattle's minor league system continues to be one of the deepest in the league, and speculation on Twitter is that pjfoster13 is willing to use some of that roster depth to acquire a key veteran or two to enhance its playoff run. Additionally, intrinsic growth is expected from Seattle's talented core of youngsters including Mota, Presley, Nunez, and Parkers. This may be the season that Seattle overtakes Honolulu for 2nd-best in the NL West, and under extremely generous albeit unlikely circumstances, Seattle could overtake scootermcray and the Maize 'N Blue for top spot in the NL West.

Departures: RP Wandy Urbina (signed with Monterrey, $63.4M over 5 years !!!), RP Louie Abreu (FA, to LAA), 2B Marc Sears (trade to Col), 1B Vicente Ciriaco (trade to Col), LF Marc Oswalt (trade to Rich), SP Rigo Almonte (trade to Mil)
Acquisitions: SS Max Cerveza (trade from Rich), 3B Julio Osoria (trade from Col), SP Lou Hendrickson (trade from Col), LF Julian Aquino (trade from Mil)
Milestones: Club seeking first-ever 100-win season in its history. 3B Osoria needs 28 HR to reach 200 career. LF Aquino needs 3 HR for 200 career. SP Lou Hendrickson needs 6 wins for 150 career, 79 strikeouts for 2000 career. SP Eric Bordick needs 9 wins for 150 career, needs 204 strikeouts for 2000 career.
Best off-season move: acquiring five-tool slugging SS Max Cerveza gives the Somethings an MVP-type, middle-of-the-order middle-infield bat, a huge luxury and a key component to organizations looking to compete at the highest level. Widely considered the biggest coup of GM pjfoster13's career.
Top prospects: LHP Timothy Carreon (ETA S32), 2B/LF Miguel Tejera (ETA S33), RHP Derrik Hayes (ETA S32), 2B/CF Miguel Navarre (ETA S32), LHP Francisco Quintanilla (ETA S32), SS Wayne Anderson (ETA S33), C Darron Wilkerson (ETA S34), 1B Perry Adkins (ETA S32), DITR LHP Mendy Vanguri (ETA S34), RHP Ren Wanatabe (ETA S35)

Honolulu Rainbow Warriors -


Portland Pines -