Monday, April 9, 2012

AL East Season 20 Team Previews

Twenty Seasons! Where does the time fly. Admittedly, I haven't been here all 20 seasons (you'd have to be one of the CRAZY ones to admit to that!), but as one of the most seasoned veterans in the AL East, it has been quite the roller-coaster ride, for sure. As a 'knowledgable' owner (I know, that is DEFINITELY a relative term), I can honestly say that the AL East has been the most enjoyable division that I have been a part of. Enough of the waterworks -- let's look at these schmoes that I have to contend with :)

Pittsburgh sluggers

Owner: larr100 (13th Season, 901-1,043, 2 Playoff Appearance, 2 Division Title)

Franchise History: 1,502-1,574, 5 Playoff Appearances, 3 Division Titles)

Season 19 Recap:

Record: 67-95 (4th Place, 18 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .260 / .330 / .431

R / HR / RBI / SB: 794 / 206 / 774 / 111

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.89 / 1.49 / 1,030

Fld % / CS %: .981 / .354


Brad Williamson, SP (Free Agent from Boise)
Davey Torres, SP (Free Agent from Tampa Bay)
Juan Santiago, C (Claimed off Waivers from Omaha)
Juan Santiago, C (Promoted)
Erik Cooper, SS (Traded from Texas)
Lenny Page, RP (Traded from Texas)
Gerry Narveson, RP (Promoted)
Socks Hamilton, LF (Promoted)


Phil Boggs, RP (Traded to Texas)
Ted House, 2B (Free Agency)
Alex Valenzuela, LF (Free Agency)
Vince Baker, RP (Released)
Louie Canseco, SS (Released)
Felipe Montero, CF (Released)

Another disappointing season in Pittsburgh, another busy offseason for larr100. Now 2 seasons removed from his Division championship (albeit won on a tie-breaker from yours truly), this team has fallen on some tough times. Statistically, this team has trended downward in each season since that division championship. Looking at the team, it doesn't make sense to me. Offensively, this team is led by Jose Pascual and Doug Fox, who are both capable of 20/20 seasons. On the pitching side, they have Pedro Tavarez, who is always capable of stopping losing streaks. What they need is to stop the losing streaks and start the winning streaks. Despite the downturn the last 2 seasons, this team can still become a worst-to-first team in this division. Health seems to be a major concern early in the season though. Pittsburgh doess NOT need any long stints on the Disable List, or it will be another long season in the Steel City.

Wichita Wolves

Owner: awilley14 (2nd Season, 78-84)

Franchise History: (1,513-1,575, 6 Playoff Appearances, 6 Division Titles, 1 American League Championship)

Season 19 Recap:

Record: 78-84 (3rd Place, 7 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .259 / .327 / .376

R / HR / RBI / SB: 749 / 122 / 731 / 351

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.04 / 1.36 / 1,053

Fld % / CS %: .982 / .223


Tom Bryant, SS (Free Agent from New Orleans)
Darrell Stark, SS (Free Agent from Trenton)
Felipe Arroyo, RP (Free Agent from Ottawa)
Shawn Griffiths, SP (Rule V from Seattle)


Napoleon D'Amico, SS (Free Agency)
Tom Justice, 3B (Free Agency)

When an owner comes in and improves a team's season win total by 43 games, you take notice! OK, OK -- so he didn't have a high bar to set, and the team he had was not a total waste dump. And the owner in question is actually an established owner that KNOWS what he is doing. But, still, 43 win improvement! Offensively, this team returned to its rightful perch atop the league standings in Stolen Bases, improving THAT statistic by 199 from the previous season. Realizing that these players will NOT hit home runs, awilley turned the green light on and broke the switch to make sure it stayed on green. Manufacturing runs kept this team in the running until the very end, where it seemed the team just ran out of steam. The bases will once again be in jeopardy this season, led by

Rafael Navarro (who was perfect in 87 stolen base attempts last season), Dan Blank, Eduardo Miranda, and Osvaldo Montero (between these 4 players, you are looking at 242 of the team's 351 stolen bases). On the mound, they are still looking for a comnplete rotation, but having J.P. Henriquez and B.C. Grace is a good start. For this team to compete, they will need to round out the rotation after Henriquez and Grace. All the speed in the world won't help if your pitchers aren't helping you out!

Philadelphia Phillies

Owner: bball10 (11th Season, 650-970, 1 Playoff Appearances)

Franchise History: (1,289-1,789, 2 Playoff Appearance, 0 Division Titles)

Season 19 Recap:

Record: 82-80 (2nd Place, 3 GB -- Lost to Charlotte in Division Play-in Series, 3-2)

BA / OBP / SLG: .268 / .333 / .420

R / HR / RBI / SB: 772 / 185 / 748 / 160

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.67 / 1.45 / 1,045

Fld % / CS %: .975 / .263


Malachi Reitsma, 3B (Traded from Louisville)
Geovany Cruz, SP (Promoted)
Geovany Rosado, RP (Promoted)
Kouhei Chang, RP (Promoted)
Hal Beech, C (Traded from Dover)


Javier Manto, SP (Traded to Louisville)
Paul Leslie, 1B (Released)
Dion Gray, 1B (Released)
Fausto Pineda, RP (Released)
Rick Ulrich, RP (Released)
Raul Candelaria, C (Traded to Dover)

FINALLY! After 10 seasons of building/rebuilding (and then rebuilding again, if I recall), the Phillies made the playoffs for the first time under bball's regime. The race for the East was tight all season long, and bball pushed it to the brink, only to lose it out when they got swept against Norfolk to close the season out (sorry, HAD to put that out there for all to read). Despite how the season ended, I think that this is the beginning of a long run for this team, as it has a low budget going into this season, young players, and they are finally starting to fill the wholes that it has been missing during the previous seasons. Offensively, Aaron Dolan and Larry Wilkins will continue to lead a team that should improve on an already good offensive production. On the pitching side, youth movement continues to surge, led by youngsters Geovany Cruz, Carlton Mussina and Lucas Tanner. This team, on paper, looks to have the best chance for this division. However, I believe it had the best chance last season as well, and it ended just short.

Norfolk Phanatics

Owner: ratatat72 (13th Season, 993-931, 10 Playoff Appearances, 8 Division Titles)

Franchise History: (1,509-1,569, 12 Playoff Appearances, 10 Division Titles)

Season 19 Recap:

Record: 85-77 (1st Place, Lost to Las Vegas in the Division Championship Series, 3-1)

BA / OBP / SLG: .256 / .328 / .414

R / HR / RBI / SB: 780 / 197 / 758 / 139

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.29 / 1.35 / 1,052

Fld % / CS %: .984 / .246


Jose Romo, SP (Promoted)
Stephen Lowry, RP (Promoted)


Danys Veras, RP (Free Agency)
Philip Pagnozzi, SP (Free Agency)
Albert Castillo, SS (Free Agency)
Darryl Whiteside, SP (Released)

Once again, the Phanatic fans reveled in another AL East championship season. And once again, the Phanatic fans got to see their team unravel against yet ANOTHER AL West opponent (should I feel better that it was the World Series Champ I lost too? NAH!). This team continues to age like a fine wine, defying the experts who see this team and wonder how they compete year-in, year-out. This season was especially challenging, as the emotional leader of the offense, Darrell Rossy, was out for almost the entire year with a torn hamstring. Despite that and not having a legit #5 pitcher, this team still scratched and clawed their way to the championship. Offensively, Rossy and Brian Brown will need to produce to provide more offensive spark to a team that lacked that a LOT last season. Pitching, the SP1 through SP4 is the same as last year, with Brett Henry anchoring the staff. Last season, the Phanatics got 'fortunate' despite the loss of Rossy and other health concerns (age, stamina). I don't think that they will be as fortunate if the same thing happens this year. Unfortunately, the end is nigh for this group of ballplayers.

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