Thursday, February 12, 2015

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 -