Welcome to the Season 17 of the USMLB.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

AL South Preview

Iowa City Raiders (deerhunter63)
The Raiders are looking at there third different owner and different location, after spending the last two years in Tampa Bay and Jacksonville. This team is the youngest team and the fewest years of major league experience in the majors. The out come for this team still doesn’t look good with the pitching still not really being improved from last year’s team that gave up 1060 runs. If there pitching can come around they might be able to win a couple more games, but they will probably still be in last place again. The team lost Charles Martin (P) (47GP), D'Angelo Alomar (SS) (.239, 9, 43), Brad Betancourt (RF) (.260, 23, 74), Omar Santos (P) (9-14, 6.04ERA) and Wilfredo Flores (P) (61GP) to free agency. The team only signed Toby Parker (SS) (.265, 15, 72).
What can be said about Bosco Campbell (3B) (.298, 64, 157) that no one in the league doesn’t know, he’s a 25 year old power hitting machine, and just hit in the middle of the order for this team for some time now. Tom Saberhagen (RF) (.283, 20, 90) needs to be the protection for Campbell that will be needed this year or teams will walk Campbell all year long. Returning players Marty Bloomquist (2B) (.267, 1, 43), Carl Shave (1B) (.296, 22, 79), Ruben James (SS) (.285, 7, 46), Yamid Gonzalesand (LF) (.282, 10, 54) Zeus Glover (CF) (.297, 31, 102) will need to be able to protect Campbell or this team just will not score enough runs to compete with the other AL South teams. Will teams walk Campbell all year long or will somebody in this lineup provide the protection that he needs.
What do you do with pitching staff that gave up 6.54 runs a game, you reach into your minor leagues to find young pitching that might be able to improve that, well that’s what deerhunter63 thought was the best way for his team to improve. Tito Stone (6-14, 7.31ERA) had a rough rookie season but the team still expects him to be an ace someday. Rookie Bobby Clemens (Minors) is young but also does have some good skills but will it translate to a good rookie season, will have to wait and see. Elston Long (10-13, 5.31ERA), Dennis Strittmatter (Rule 5 Pick up) and Jim Boyd (6-17, 7.40ERA) will fill out the rest of the rotation. Stewart Benson (1SV) is young like most of the pitching staff and has been giving to job of closer games for this team. Will the pitching staff be the disaster that it was last year once again, or will they show improvement, only the season can tell us?
Projected Lineup
Marty Bloomquist
Toby Parker
Carl Shave
Bosco Campbell
Ruben James
Tom Saberhagen
Adrian Hutch
Yamid Gonzales
Zeus Glover
Tito Stone
Bobby Clemens
Elston Long
Dennis Strittmatter
Jim Boyd
Stewart Benson
Projected Record – 65-97

Santa Fe Sidewinders (jwinner5)
The Sidewinders have found themselves looking up at the Texas Talley Whackers both years of play even though they made it as a wild card team last year. It’s amazing that the second youngest team in the majors has had so much success so far. The GM was joking that his team might lead the league in runs scored, but might give up the most runs as well. He also said “Watch out of Eric Sisk, probably the best hitter I’ve ever seen. We also have some decent arms in AAA that is at least a year away, we might promote if in the race for the playoffs is tight.” The team lost Chet O'Connor (P) (37GP), Ryan Larson (P) (6-11, 5.96ERA), Peter Baek (P) (12-8, 6.00ERA) and Preston Wright (P) (15-12, 5.92ERA) to free agency. The team didn’t make any off season moves, instead letting the younger players shine, which has worked so far, so why would Jwinner5 change that philosophy
Eric Sisk (RF) (.316, 62, 157) is a 24 year old monster at the plate, should win a MVP award in no time. Guy Williams (C) (.349, 49, 127) is the veteran that is teaching Sisk the art of hitting while provide the protection that he needs. Returning players Andrew Hampton (SS) (.294, 10, 89), Benny James (3B) (.323, 21, 108), William Kraemer (2B) (.350, 27, 120), Tony Alvarez (1B) (.302, 48, 120), Vicente Melendez (C) (.323, 32, 87), and Andrea Rooney (LF) (.328, 19, 109) will fill out the most dangerous lineup in the majors. How many runs will this team score?
Santa Fe is not a great place for pitchers to pitch, if they can hold team under 7 runs a game, they just might win most of there games with there offensive. Sam Little (0-1, 6.31ERA) I think that the team is asking too much out of Little to go from the bullpen to number one starter for this but you never know it might be a brilliant decision. Young Frank Stokes (Minors) might just have a tough rookie year this year but if he can just pitch ok he will probably be fine. Howard Phelps (Minors), John Cho (16-10, 5.21ERA) and Anthony Montague (8-5, 7.20ERA) are filling the remaining spots in the rotation. Lon Riggs (12SVS) will be asked to be the closer this once again. The sidewinders are going to be asking a lot of the young pitchers on the team, but will that hurt them in the long run getting pounded more often then not, or will it make them stronger, so when they enter there prime they can dominate?
Projected Lineup
Andrew Hampton
Benny James
Eric Sisk
Guy Williams
William Kraemer
Tony Alvarez
Vicente Melendez
Adam Buck
Andrea Rooney
Sam Little
Frank Stokes
Howard Phelps
John Cho
Anthony Montague
Lon Riggs
Projected Record – 88-74

Texas Talley Whackers (awilley14)
The Talley Whackers have the AL South division for the last two years and defending AL Champions. With most of the teams core players resigned there shouldn’t be any problem for this to once again make it to the playoffs. The team lost Jacque Throneberry (P) (5SVS), Willie Johnson (P) (49GP), Marshall Jameson (P) (75GP) and Harold Morton (1B) (.347, 30, 102). The team resigned Jeffrey Neal (P) (3.38ERA), Omar Diaz (P) (29SVS) and Benji Moreno (C) (.292, 46, 145). The team also signed Brad Betancourt (RF) (.260, 23, 74) from the Iowa City Raiders for 3yrs/11.4mil, Yamil Guzman (P) (15-9, 4.56ERA) from the New York Highlanders for 4yrs/33.2mil plus 3.0mil bonus and Grant Barker (LF) (.307, 0, 68) from the Houston Kings of Kumbia for 4yrs/23.5mil plus 1.0mil bonus. The team also added Ernie Torres (P) (19SVS) in a trade for a minor leaguer.
If there is one offensive that can keep up with the Sidewinders it would be the Talley Whackers. They have a great mix of young and veteran hitters, each one protecting each other in the lineup. Tim Rooney (2B) (.389, 14, 82) is looking to come back from a bad injury last year that cut off his great season to early. Glenn Matheson (LF) (.366, 34, 119) should improve once again for a hitter that is only 21 years old. Returning players Richard Evans (CF) (.289, 17, 98), Alvin Silva (1B) (.288, 44, 126) and Oscar Smith (3B) (.303, 12, 70) will once again give pitchers the hives facing a lineup this tough. This team shouldn’t have any problems scoring, no matter if someone gets hurt as they just have great depth in the lineup.
You would think that if your pitching staff is giving up 5.79 runs a game, that the pitching staff is pretty bad, not so with this team. If they didn’t play in the most offensive oriented division in baseball you would see that number drop probably by another run. Shane Lomasney (11-15, 6.72ERA) may not look to be a staff ace with those numbers but he will be asked to be that ace this year. Harry Santayana (19-8, 3.83ERA) led the team in wins and ERA for the rotation, and will be asked to get the same performance once again. Ignacio Mateo (10-9, 5.79ERA) and Humberto Johnson (2-1, 6.46ERA) should fill out the rest of the rotation. Philip Price (10SVS) will be counted on to be the closer for the team. The pitching can be great or bad, as it depends on the offensive that there playing that day.
Projected Lineup
Henry Anderson
Richard Evans
Tim Rooney
Benji Moreno
Glenn Matheson
Alvin Silva
Brad Betancourt
Oscar Smith
Don Clark
Shane Lomasney
Yamil Guzman
Humberto Johnson
Ignacio Mateo
Harry Santayana
Philip Price
Projected Record – 98-64

Houston Kings of Kumbia (kumbiakings)
The Kings of Kumbia are in a rough spot as there not a bad team, but when you have two offensive juggernauts in Santa Fe and Texas it’s going to be a long season. Which way does this team go, should they go for pitching or hitting, see it’s a very hard place for the Kings of Kumbia to be. The team only lost Francisco Manto (SS) (.312, 47, 142), Willie Izturis (3B) (.297, 39, 103) and Grant Barker (LF) (.307, 0, 68) to free agency. The team resigned Wayne Hitchcock (C) (.252, 5, 46). The team also signed Tony Goldman (3B) (.254, 10, 55) from the Ottawa Crawdaddies for 3yrs/17.1mil and Candy Newsome (2B) (.277, 2, 59) from the Toledo Holy Men for 2yrs/5.6mil.
With the two losing to of the best offensive players during the off season, young players have come up from the minors to try and fill those holes. Anthony Bolling (2B) (.296, 4, 46) is a great little speedster that is great a setting the table for the middle of the order. Hector Acosta (1B) (.305, 17, 115) should have no problem stepping into the role of offensive leader for this team. Wiki Rojas (LF) (.294, 11, 83) and Gabby O'Keefe (SS) (.265, 9, 54) will need to find a way to produce enough runs to compete with the rest of the AL South. Can Acosta take over as the offensive leader with Manot moving on, or will one of the young players step into it?
Cliff Sheets (17-10, 4.76) has become the staff ace even though he’s only 24 years old and coming off a great season the year before. Julio Rodriguez (9-11, 5.97) is the old state men in the rotation but the team is hoping for one last good year from him. Dummy Hartzell (4-11, 6.33ERA), Wayne Root (13-14, 5.22ERA) and Tike Harris (8-11, 7.19ERA) fill out the rest of the rotation that is young but should improve. Boots Gaetti (36SVS out of 37 chances) only blew one save all last year, and is trying to duplicate those same results this year as well. With the team looking towards there pitching to improve this team this year, it looks like there might be some growing pains as a lot of young talent has been infused into the staff.
Projected Lineup
Anthony Bolling
Kenneth Graves
Hector Acosta
Tony Goldman
Pepe Franco
Richard Tabaka
Bud Iorg
Candy Newsome
Wayne Hitchcock
Cliff Sheets
Julio Rodriguez
Dummy Hartzell
Wayne Root
Tike Harris
Boots Gaetti
Projected Record – 78-84