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 -