Friday, May 20, 2011

AL East Season 17 Team Previews

Wow -- 10th season already. Where has the time gone?!?! As I get ready to embark on this season, I reflect on all the good times (and rough patches) I have endured since joining Jersey League. On the plus side, I've been to the post-season 7 times, won the AL East Crown 6 times, and met some good company in this world. On the negative side, I haven't done squat in the post-season once I get there, and have been called out as a person who would abandon this team (you just wait and see). Well, I am still around and ready for another season of punishment and pain. With that said, I present to you the Season 17 AL East Preview, in reverse order of how they finished in Season 16:

Philadelphia Phillies

Owner: bball10 (8th Season, 447-687, 0 Playoff Appearances)

Franchise History: (1,086-1,506, 1 Playoff Appearance, 0 Division Titles)

Season 16 Recap:

Record: 70-92 (4th Place, 22 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .282 / .354 / .464

R / HR / RBI / SB: 958 / 233 / 931 / 164

ERA / WHIP / SO: 5.60 / 1.61 / 1,061

Fld % / CS %: .967 / .268

Carlos Nunez, RP (Free Agent from Syracuse)
Lew Runyan, RP (Free Agent from Little Rock)
Teddy Evans, SS (Free Agent from New York)
Paul Leslie, 1B (Claimed off Waivers from Norfolk)
Fred Waters, RP (Free Agent from Houston)
Dale Tracy, SP (Free Agent from Minnesota)
Dion Gray, 1B (Claimed off Waivers from Richmond)

Bryan Ross, RP (Free Agent)
Christopher Lockhart, 1B (Free Agent)
Kyle Hobbes, LF (Free Agent)
Graham Mitchell, SP (Free Agent)
Jumbo Guerrero, 3B (Free Agent)
Paul Chang, RP (Released)
Terry Shannon, SP (Released)
B.J. Ducey, RP (Released)

Another busy offseason for bball after another fourth place finish. Although, he did accomplish his personal best in wins in Jersey World at 70, he is still in building mode. He has made some nice acquisitions in the IFA market over the past few seasons, and may make a significant impact in a season or 2. In the meantime, he will continue to plug in holes, hoping that he will have a team that can compete past the All-Star break. On the offensive side, this is the best team in the East. Led by Achilles Ramirez and Billy Bush, they were near the top in many offensive categories in Season 16, scoring 107 more runs from Season 15. The first of the IFA crop has been planted into the ML roster in Woody Ganzel. Needless to say, the offense isn't the problem. On pitching, bball signed Dale Tracy from the World Series Champions PeaceFrogs to help bolster a staff that finished near the bottom of the AL in ERA and WHIP. If Tracy can stay healthy (big IF), then there may be some Philly talk after the All-Star Break.

Pittsburgh sluggers

Owner: larr100 (10th Season, 672-786, 1 Playoff Appearance, 1 Division Title)

Franchise History: 1,275-1,317, 4 Playoff Appearances, 2 Division Titles)

Season 16 Recap:

Record: 75-87 (3rd Place, 17 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .268 / .337 / .437

R / HR / RBI / SB: 847 / 213 / 827 / 147

ERA / WHIP / SO: 5.35 / 1.579 / 1,010

Fld % / CS %: .980 / .346

Doug Fox, CF (Free Agent from Washington, D.C.)
Vernon Lloyd, SP (Free Agent from Iowa City)
Midre Jacquez, RP (Rule V from Iowa City)
Brett Hughes, RP (Rule V from Anaheim)
Felipe Saenz, 1B (Promoted)
Phillip Good, SP (Promoted)

Taylor Everett, RP (Free Agent)
Mark Woo, RP (Free Agent)
Patrick Peavy, RP (Free Agent)
Damian Chang, RP (Free Agent)
Willie Prieto, RP (Free Agent)
Alan Molitor, LF (Released)
A.J. Cannon, RP/SP (Free Agent)

Although Pittsburgh saw an better record in Season 16, their pitching once again faltered past the All-Star Break. On offense, this team improved, but wasn't enough to satisfy larr100, as he goes out and lands one of the top FA's in the market in Doug Fox to help bolster a lineup that signed Felipe Romo last season. On the pitching side, Vernon Lloyd joins the rotation to help out perennial All-Star Pedro Tavarez. If this team can avoid the grind of the regular season and stay competitive without any major losing streaks, we may see the Sluggers back on top of the AL East for the first time in 10 seasons.

New York Mutuals

Owner: piratestros (9th Season, 633-663, 2 Playoff Appearances, 2 Division Titles)

Franchise History: (1,323-1,279, 6 Playoff Appearances, 6 Division Titles, 1 American League Championship)

Season 16 Recap:

Record: 83-79 (2nd Place, 9 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .276 / .352 / .431

R / HR / RBI / SB: 918 / 187 / 889 / 286

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.77 / 1.47 / 1,044

Fld % / CS %: .975 / .237

Juan Valdivia, SS (Promoted)
Bryan Thomas, RP (Free Agent From Trenton)
Richard Withem, 1B (Free Agent from Tacoma)
Tom Justice, 3B (Free Agent From Las Vegas)
Julio Palacios, RP (Free Agent From Washington, D.C.)
Omar Gonzalez, RP (Free Agent From Norfolk)
Oleg Pearson, SP (Rule V from Syracuse)
Will Hobbes, RP (Rule V from Trenton)
Brady Moran, RP (Rule V from St. Louis)
R.J. Johnson, RP (Rule V from Minnesota)

Marino Martinez, SP (Free Agency)
Geronimo Tatis, RP (Free Agency)
Willie Wells, RP (Free Agency)
Ron Niekro, RP (Free Agency)
Vladimir Hernandez, LF (Free Agency)
Teddy Evans, SS (Free Agency)
Ray Hogan, C (Free Agency)
Aaron Marshall, RF (Released)
Earl Page, SP/RP (Released)
Vin Romano, RP (Released)
Ross Boskie, LF (Claimed Off Waivers by Philadelphia)

Another offseason, so that means another busy time for piratestros. It is rumored that the management is getting quite frustrated with what has transpired over the last few seasons. In his mind (and possibly the general opinion of the league) the Mutuals had the best team on paper to be the East representatives. Yet, for one reason or another, they seem to be looking up at the Phanatics by the end of the season. Relief Pitching saw a major overhaul as many of the veterans were released to make room for younger pitchers from the Rule V. A little risky, but piratestros is never one for conventional strategy. On offense, this team is loaded, led by All-Stars Dan Blank, Calvin Lee, and Osvaldo Montero. They added 3B Tom Justice to add insult to injury for the AL East. The real question for this Mutual team lies in the Pitching. After J.P. Henriquez and Luis Rincon, the remaining staff is either really young or injury prone (Kirk Gardner). Whatever happens, you know this team will never be dull from season to season.

Norfolk Phanatics

Owner: ratatat72 (10th Season, 745-713, 7 Playoff Appearances, 6 Division Titles)

Franchise History: (1,241-1,351, 9 Playoff Appearances, 8 Division Titles)

Season 16 Recap:

Record: 92-70 (1st Place, Beat Iowa City in the Division Play-in Series, 3-2
Lost to St. Louis in Division Championship Series, 3-1)

BA / OBP / SLG: .266 / .336 / .417

R / HR / RBI / SB: 759 / 205 / 735 / 148

ERA / WHIP / SO: 3.79 / 1.32 / 975

Fld % / CS %: .984 / .251

Angel Tatis, RP (Claimed Off Waivers from Helena)
Rex Cosby, C (Promoted)
Sadie Knight, SP (Free Agent from Boise)
Rigo Franco, SP (Traded from Las Vegas)

Omar Gonzalez, RP (Free Agency)
Louie Martinez, RP (Free Agency)
Wilt Grant, RF (Free Agency)
Doc Huckaby, LF (Free Agency)
Stephen Tomlin, C (Free Agency)
Bernard Perez, SP (Released)

The Phanatics took a small step forward last season. Despite falling in wins from Season 16 to Season 17 (albeit, only 1 win short), they finally managed to solve the puzzle that is the Iowa City Independence in post-season play. However, they were quickly kicked to the curb by St. Louis, as the pitching just wasn't up to snuff against the offense of the Cardinals. Ratatat finally had himself a busy off-season in the FA market, as well as the trade lines. Pitching was the focus, as Sadie Knight and Rigo Franco were added to help Brett Henry improve the rotation (which was already pretty good last season). Relief pitching will be the biggest question mark, as they need to figure out who will replace LRP Omar Gonzalez and closer Louie Martinez. On offense, they saw the worst performance last season under ratatat's regime. Phanatic fans are hoping that the offense can rebound, especially with the movement that the other teams of the division are doing. If not, the reign of division supremacy may be soon coming to an end.