Friday, February 5, 2010

Season 12 AL East Preview

Season 12 is finally upon us. Hope you enjoy the AL East Preview writeup.

Pittsburgh sluggers

Owner: larr100 (5th Season, 303-345, 1 Playoff Appearance, 1 Division Title)

Franchise History: 906-876, 4 Playoff Appearances, 2 Division Titles)

Season 11 Recap:

Record: 63-99 (4th Place, 27 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .249 / .310 / .393

R / HR / RBI / SB: 668 / 189 / 650 / 102

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.78 / 1.53 / 973

Fld % / CS %: .980 / .187


Gerald Grissom, RP (Free Agent from Scranton)

Esteban Marquez, LF (Free Agent from Houston)

Denny Branson, RP (Rule V from Norfolk)

Max Jacquez, 1B (Promoted from AAA)


Steve Clayton, LF (Free Agency)

Preston Beckett, 1B (Released)

Willis Munoz, SP (Released)

Entering his 5th season, larr100 has done what very few can claim to have done in their first four seasons with the same franchise – place 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th – in that order. Since taking over, this team has declined in wins in each season (90, 79, 71, 63). Along the same trend, their team Batting Average has declined over the same span (.275, .262, .256, .249). The last 2 seasons, they have ranked last in the AL in batting average. They addressed this with the addition of Esteban Marquez from Houston. Last season, he hit .296 with 15 HR in 348 AB’s last season, and he has in the past shown the potential to hit 30-40 HR, though those days may be behind him. He still will bolster this offense regardless of his power numbers. On the pitching side, they still have the same rotation, anchored by Pedro Tavarez and Max Winchester, who were the only 2 pitchers not to miss a start during the season. Closer Phil Boggs did an outstanding job in his rookie season, recording 29 saves and had a 2.94 ERA.

Philadelphia Phillies

Owner: bball10 (3rd Season, 122-202, 0 Playoff Appearances)

Franchise History: (761-1,021, 1 Playoff Appearance, 0 Division Titles)

Season 11 Recap:

Record: 64-98 (3rd Place, 26 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .271 / .342 / .395

R / HR / RBI / SB: 770 / 145 / 741 / 209

ERA / WHIP / SO: 5.14 / 1.59 / 1,078

Fld % / CS %: .973 / .285


Rafael Borbon, CF (Free Agency from Norfolk)

Fred Miller, RP (Free Agency from Oklahoma City)

D'Angelo Beltre, RP (Free Agency from Monterrey)

Curtis Graham, RF (Free Agency from Las Vegas)

Chad Simmons, RP (Rule V from Vancouver)

Birdie Terrell, RP (Rule V from Santa Fe)

Juan Perez, 1B (Claimed off Waivers from Oklahoma City)


Banana Baxter, SP (Free Agency)

Otis Mullaney, RP (Free Agency)

William Woods, SP (Released)

Louie Ortiz, RP (Released)

Ringo Thompson, C (Released)

Philadelphia did improve in the second season under bball10, though it may not have been enough to satisfy. They did not finish with 100 or more losses (which I predicted last season – chirp, chirp), and they did not finish in the cellar this season. To build off that, bball10 continues to look at the Free Agent market. He signs Type A Free Agent Rafael Borbon from Norfolk. who at 34 may be showing signs of an aging veteran but will still produce offensively for Philly, and Curtis Graham from Las Vegas to shore up his outfield (though rumor has it he is already shopping Graham). As per last season, they continue to find the right mix in the bullpen, obtaining 4 Relief Pitcher via Free Agency and the Rule V draft, led by Chad Simmons, who should fill in nicely as either 8th inning setup or closer for many seasons to come.

Norfolk Phanatics

Owner: ratatat72 (5th Season, 314-334, 3 Playoff Appearance, 2 Division Title)

Franchise History: 810-972, 5 Playoff Appearances, 4 Division Titles)

Season 11 Recap:

Record: 88-74 (2nd Place, 2 GB, Lost in Wild Card Round to Syracuse Comics)

BA / OBP / SLG: .280 / .356 / .410

R / HR / RBI / SB: 865 / 143 / 828 / 223

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.43 / 1.42 / 1,029

Fld % / CS %: .982 / .282


Stephen Tomlin, C (Promoted from AAA)

Patrick Ford, 3B (Free Agency from Colorado)

Malcolm Cornelius, 1B (Free Agency from Nashville)


Rafael Borbon, CF (Free Agency)

Edgar Telemaco, DH (Free Agency)

Ugueth Castillo, 3B (Free Agency)

Chili Satou, SP (Player Declined Option)

Benji Lopez, RP (Free Agency)

Woody Ross, RP (Free Agency)

Glen Prince, 2B (Released)

For the third straight season, the Phanatics were able to make it to the postseason. However, this season they earned a Wild Card rather than winning the division. They had their chances to win the division, but got swept in a late season series against the Mutuals that ended them up in 2nd place in the division. Injuries also played a factor, as 2 of their 5 starting pitchers hit the DL as the season ended. Still, this team had a lot to brag about. They finished 3rd in the Majors in OBP, tied for 3rd in the Majors in SB, and led the team in Team Saves. They lost a lot of players that were key contributors to their success last season. Ratatat72’s objective is to continue to fill positions from the farm. The biggest product from the farm expected to fill big shoes is Darrell Rossy, who will take over CF duties for Rafael Borbon, who opted for Free Agency. Free Agents Patrick Ford and Malcolm Cornelius will play major roles at 1B and 3B, respectively. On the pitching side, Brett Henry will anchor an otherwise questionable starting rotation, whose departure by Chili Satou will surely be felt.

New York Mutuals

Owner: piratestros (4th Season, 215-271, 1 Playoff Appearance, 1 Division Title)

Franchise History: 905-877, 5 Playoff Appearances, 4 Division Titles, 1 AL Pennant, 0 World Series Championship)


Albert Espinoza, 1B (Traded from Vancouver)

Cliff Parrish, SP (Traded from Vancouver)

Darwin McBride, SP (Free Agency from Las Vegas)

T.J. Richardson, LF (Traded from Seattle)


Al Martinez, SS (Free Agency)

Geronimo Manto, 2B (Free Agency)

Ken Buck, RP (Released)

Henry Christiansen, C (Released)

New York finally claimed the AL East title for the first time under piratestros ownership and the 4th time overall in franchise history. They did so in remarkable fashion -- winning their last 11 regular season games, including a huge sweep of Norfolk during that streak. They took World Series Champs Iowa City the full 5 games before finally losing the series. They look to build off that success of last season, but have already fallen on a small obstacle. They have lost SP Karim DaSilva for the season after he had to have surgery on his elbow caused by an injury during Spring Training. Although this team looks pretty good at the ML level, their future development is pretty bleak (and that is putting it mildly). If they don't start off fast and furious, there may be a fire sale in the Big Apple to get this team stocked for the future.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Season 12 AL West Preview

Home of the last 4 AL pennant winners and 3 of the last 4 World Series champs, the AL West has long been the power division of the American League. Here is a quick preview of this year's edition of the division:

Iowa City Independence Owner carlspenard is trying to bring another World Series title to Iowa City, and with a devastating foursome of starting pitchers including Spike Chase, Luis Santos, Davey Torres, and Hipolito Padilla, plus an always-sharp defense, he's got a great shot. The Independence haven't shifted their strategy much this year, again spending heavily on coaching and training, and again $77M in salary. Iowa City did lose one key Type A free agent, Garrett Michaels, last year's AL Gold Glove CF. Iowa made no trades over the off-season and their free agent signings are mostly from the bargain bin: Kyle Hobbes and Glen Price.

Las Vegas Dealers The Dealers, who had the best regular season record in Jersey last year, appear to have upgraded their offense, but at the expense of a pitching staff that is now less deep. Like Iowa though, their core is still a quartet of home-grown starting pitchers, including Max White, Lance Ward, Luis Rincon, and Rigo Franco. The Dealers again stuck with their financial strategy, budgeting just $70M on salary, but $20M in training and $18M for prospects. The Dealers made some key moves over the off-season, as they were forced to cope with the loss of three free agents including Type A Darwin McBride, with 93 career Dealer wins, along with Type B Curtis Graham, a fast RF with power, and the injured but outstanding reliever Type A Javier Gardel. The Dealers also traded away long-time DH Bronson Irabu, packaging him with prospect Alex Bates in exchange for slugging corner OF Harry Suarez.

Salem Argonauts The Argonauts slipped to just 79 wins last year, but they seemed to underachieve and with a boost in salary they may be primed to make their first playoff appearance since season 6. Salem was active in the trade market this year mostly with right-fielders, bringing young RF Emil Rijo for a catcher and dealing away Skip Wright for two prospects. In the free agent market, Salem lost Type B CF Weldon Flores but brought in Type A free agent Bernie Izquierdo, a 5 time all-star, for a very reasonable $3.3 x 2 year contract. Salem also grabbed Denny Wood, with his infamous 16 durability off the waiver wire. Salem will be bringing back one of the AL West's most feared hitter, young Karl Shea.

Colorado Pee Wee's (First off, why is "Pee Wee's" possessive case? Just asking.) (Second off, do you think highandmighty is an alias? Seems to know what he's doing despite never having another team. Just asking). Last year's basket case franchise that everyone loved to hate seems to have gotten on some steadier footing in season 12, and even the minor leagues look well-stocked. The salary budget was brought down from $122M to $111M, allowing some money for prospects, although the $6M training budget is going to hurt. Colorado mostly stood pat, making no trades (even though numerous big contracts were put on the block), signing no big free agents, and losing just one key free agent, Type B and gold glove 3B Patrick Ford. But, by bringing back last year's team, perhaps with some more on-the-ball management, Colorado does have a chance to win some games. Colorado is still dominated by a couple big contracts, namely Perry Ruth and Chip Huson, who will be fun to watch at Coors Field.