Monday, February 17, 2014

Previews S16

New York Highlanders
The Highlanders look to rebound this year on the backs of some solid veterans that will be with the team for a full year, some expected improvement from some of their young stars and with the addition of a couple of key pitchers to the starting rotation. Carlos Jimenez at 3b and Ceasr Olivo (moving to CF) will be with the team for a full year and (along with vet Bryan Glynn in LF) should provide both solid offense and defense for the squad. Big years are expected of all 3. Blossoming young stars such as Houston Anderson (1B), Javier Martinez (2B) and Jeanmar Chavez (RF) provide a combination of speed and power that should make for a very potent Highlander lineup. The SS duties will be shared by Alex Posada and slick fielding rookie Matt Green. The starting rotation will be centered upon emerging stars Karl Barfield and Carson Gardner who will benefit by the FA additions of Brett Parish, Malcom Wright and Nigel Cho. The ever-steady gene Marshall will be around as usual as an excellent spot starter or long relief man. The bullpen may be a work in progress, but the Highlanders should have enough talent to make some noise in their division this year over and above the booing we heard from the stands last year.

Charleston River Dogs
The River Dogs primary goal will be win the NL East for the 3rd season in a row and hopefully earn a first round bye. We are one of the top hitting teams in world, but were only average in team pitching and fielding. We think our pitching under performed slightly. Fielding probably won't get much better as we sacrifice some fielding to get the best bats on the field.

Former first round pick Ken Small will be promoted this season to be our backup C and spot starter since Canseco doesn't have great durability. Milton Lankford will also be promoted to help anchor one of the top bullpens in the world. Former 1st round pick, Henderson Rodgers, was acquired for former International Bonus Baby Kevin Nakijima. Our SP is pretty loaded right now so even though he has ML experience, he might spend another season at AAA.

Anaheim Knights
Too bad underperforming is not a medal event. If it were, the LAA would have won gold last season. Two pitchers and three position players with a history of Major League quality performances had seasons so dismal that they had to wash their own uniforms. Was that an aberration? Were they exposed for what they really are? The bad news is that no major changes were made. On paper, the LAA should compete for a playoff spot. Though not top notch, it is no stretch that the LAA are second notch.

Philadelphia Freedom
The makeover of the Philadelphia Freedom continues this season. Most of the bad contracts have expired and the youth movement moves forward. The free agent period was spent on upgrading the pitching and left the lineup pretty well in tact. Rule 5 selections Gio Gonzales and Domingo Rosado join holdovers Esteban Perez, Dante Cummack, Lonnie Tice and the Mercado Brothers (Pasqual & Maicer) in an upgraded defense. Prospects Don Antonelli, Del Kondou & Malachi Bowker are all scheduled to make their ML debut and boost the lineup. The pitching staff continues to change as FA’s Allen Seaver & Wille Lamb join holdovers Kory Mathews & Sherm Larson and Rule 5 selection Davey Rosa in an upgraded rotation. FA additions Jesus Rondon, Victor Lunar & Justin Ross join Henderson Davenport and Ted Farrell in an attempt to bolster the bullpen. Look for Domingo Prado and Julian Estrada to join the pitching staff at some point during the season. The Freedom expect improvement this season with an outside chance of playoff contention.

Richmond Rebels
Hoping for a bounce back season from several guys this year. Admittedly we over-performed in season 14, but I did not expect to regress by 20 wins after adding a HOF SP1 in Estalella. He was a principal culprit for our down season, as his 4.24 ERA was 1.5 runs higher than his career average and was his worst season by a mile.

Some positive regression from him will help greatly, as will some expected improvement from my sp2, Luis Cortes. His rookie season could only be described as a disaster - 7-13, 5.42 ERA. HIs ratings would lead me to believe he's a much better pitcher than that.

The big move in the offseason was to move Cervelli, my long time CF masher, for a prospect. Risky move, since I've long counted on his 40+ homers and GG defense in center, but its about time for age to catch up with him so I opted to move him.

I'm probably holding on too long to avoid a rebuild, and if things start the same as they did last year I will probably give in and look to move some of the vets.

Jackson Mallards
Let's just say it's a rebuilding year & leave it at that... :-/

Louisville Steamboats
The Steamboats franchise is a franchise in transition. Moving towards a building from within philosophy, the Steamboats placed themselves in the unfortunate position of having to go 64-98 to avoid 200 losses in 2 seasons to stay off of probation. This team was pathetic last season. Couldn’t pitch, couldn’t knock in any runs, and definitely was not good in the field. We added 3 pitchers to take over the top spots in the rotation as well as fielding 7 new starting position players. In fact, only 9 players return from last season’s team. The pitching staff should be much improved, but the offensive side of things is going to be a tough situation.

Chicago Black Sox
We're looking to break the streak of 3rd place finishes in the tough AL North. With the additions of FA Andres Santos & the arrival of Rolando Cordero & Paterson Buck, we hope to do not just that, but win the darn thing this year. We should have the right mix of veterans and young stars to make some noise this year as long as the starting pitching holds up.

Arizona Firebirds
Arizona is coming off a disappointing 79 win season, but has an interesting mix of young power hitters and veteran arms. I made a number of deals to bolster the team, including one to acquire a good leadoff hitter in Dario Rath and other deals and signings to acquire additional pitching. Arizona hopes to contend for a playoff spot if my veteran pitchers don't fade on me.

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