Welcome to the Season 17 of the USMLB.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


New Britain Fisher Cats (jway11)
The Fisher Cats have one of the smallest payrolls in the majors, but this team is young and improving. This is one of the youngest but most talented teams in the league as they have the youngest team in the National League at 26.6 years old. This team looks to be at least another year from any serious contention but with a team this talented you never really know what might happen. The team lost Stephen Alexander (SS) (.256, 5, 26), Hector Coleman (C) (.143, 0, 0), and Pedro Padilla (LF) (.235, 19, 75) to free agency. The team signed Felix Riggs (P) (2.53ERA, .239OAV) from the Toledo Holy Men for minor league deal.
Young Erik West (C) (.293, 47, 129) will lead the young offensive of the Fisher Cats that will be full of young hitters that can have some growing pains but also some great rewards if they get hot. Returning players AllStar/Silver Slugger 1B Hoss Boone (1B) (.315, 27, 96), Silver Slugger RF Kevin Montgomery (RF) (.294, 40, 115), Nicholas Herndon (CF) (.249, 4, 46), Pedro Javier (3B) (.301, 11, 73) and Lonnie Grove (2B) (.266, 25, 85) are looking to improve once again. Will the young offensive be able to take last years experience and improve upon it or will sophomore jinks come into play?
The team is full of young starters and experience veteran bullpen, which is the strength of this team. Rafael Machado is the staff ace, but took a huge fall his second year going 8-14, 5.05 ERA, so will he repeat last years struggles or will he return to his first year form? Scooter Clayton 9-15, 4.76 ERA saves the bullpen on most nights as he has lead the team in innings pitched the last two years. Horacio Segui 7-11, 5.31 ERA, Carmen Leiter (Minors) and Ricardo De La Vega (Rule 5 Pick up) will fill out the rest of the rotation. Cameron Holt 25SVS, 3.03ERA is the experience closer that hold the bullpen together. With the pitching staff being so young, will they continue to improve or will they take a step back once again?
Projected Lineup
Nicholas Herndon
Pedro Javier
Kevin Montgomery
Erik West
Hoss Boone
Lonnie Grove
Kent Stoops
Kennie Sexson
Rafael Machado
Scooter Clayton
Horacio Segui
Carmen Leiter
Ricardo De La Vega
Cameron Holt
Projected Record – 78-84

Detroit Demolition (yanks0218)
The defending champions start the season with a few changes but the core of the team is still intact to defend the trophy. The Demolition have been on top of there division both years, only losing a one game tie breaker there first year. Even though Detroit is the second oldest team in the National League I still don’t see any problems for them to once again challenge for a divisional title and possible another championship. The team lost Gene Guerrero (P) (8SVS), Freddie Brush (P) (1win), Kevin Franco (SS) (.259, 3, 44), Cesar Martinez (LF) (.115, 0, 1) to free agency. The team traded away Tommy Crede (RF) (.266, 23, 80) to the Cleveland Barons for two minor leaguers. The team signed Vinny Menechino (SS) (.331, 15, 64) from the Santa Fe Sidewinders for a 4yrs/14.9mil contract, Gerald Wallace (P) (8-10, 3.60ERA) from the Tacoma Pioneers for 4yrs/12.8mil and Ross Chase (P) (8-9, 5.22ERA) from the San Jose Sabercats for 2yrs/5.4 mil.
Chris Murphy (2B) (.302, 19, 68) will be returning back from a injury that sidelined him for most of the year, so that he hopes that there isn’t any lingering effects from and that he can put of some great numbers once again. Returning players Endy Hemingway (C) (.248, 3, 32), AllStar/Silver Slugger CF/Gold Glove CF Heath Fitzgerald (CF) (.291, 23, 85), Silver Slugger SS Nomar Kirby (SS) (.308, 18, 90), Roy Lansing (C) (.273, 6, 30), Stu Watson (LF) (.270, 11, 56), Vinny Menechino (SS) (.331,15, 64) and AllStar Rex Ross (3B) (.296, 10, 54) will not hit a ton of homeruns expect Murphy but they get on base well and picking each other up. Can this team provide enough runs to keep there pitching staff from working so hard every game or will there be a lot of close games once again?
The pitching staff is the strength of this team with five starting pitchers ERA under 4 last year. The biggest thing for the rotation is the lose of Dave Carpenter (11-9, 3.07ERA) as the team will be looking for someone to step up into his roll. Raymond Pavlov (16-7, 3.18ERA) will be stepping into the role as staff ace this year after leading the team in victories a year ago. Walt Hayes (13-8, 3.91ERA), Frank Nakamura
(8-10, 2.59ERA), Luis Encarnacion (9-7, 2.93ERA), and Ross Chase (8-9, 5.22ERA) are filling the remaining spots in the rotation. AllStar Roger Newfield (39SVS, .189OAV) will continue to close games for Detroit. With the lose of Carpenter in the rotation can any of the young arms in the system provide reliable starts or will they struggle all year?
Projected Lineup
Rex Ross
Heath Fitzgerald
Chris Murphy
Nomar Kirby
Clem Barkley
Roy Lansing
Alberto DeSoto
Cookie Valdes
Ross Chase
Raymond Pavlov
Walt Hayes
Frank Nakamura
Luis Encarnacion
Roger Newfield
Projected Record – 92-70

Fargo Woodchippers (calolson)
The Woodchippers fell to second place after winning there division the first year of play for the team. The youth movement for the team is still underway leaving team thin with major league talent. GM Calolson was quoted as saying, “As far as my team's outlook, the bulk of our talent is young or in the minors, so we're probably not serious contenders for the divisional title but we're hoping to compete for a wildcard spot and getting back to the playoffs.” The team lost Trent Burns (P) (4.15ERA), Byung-Hyun Shibata (SS) (.271, 4, 25), Esteban Ozuna (C) (.163, 0, 3), Pablo Montero (P) (4.14ERA) and Alfredo Santiago (P) (9SVs). The team signed Philip Dunn (C) (.255, 8, 23) from the Colorado Sky Sox for 1yr/1.4mil, Nicky Duran (1B) (.285, 17, 51) from the Scranton Beet Farmer's for 2yrs/7.2mil, and Willy Banks (P) (16SVS) from the New York Highlanders for 1yr/595k. With the minor league players not quite ready for the majors yet, these moves aloud the team to hold these positions till the prospects are ready.
Nick Ball (3B) (.261, 30, 107) numbers fell from the previous year but he is still only 25 years old and will be a big bat for this team for sometime to come. Perry Erickson (RF) (.268, 38, 108) is the other big power bat in the lineup taking the advantage of hitting next to Ball should help his numbers once again. Returning players Ricky Gibbons (C) (.258, 24, 73), Esteban Juarez (LF) (.272, 17, 57), Hugh Cepeda (1B) (.262, 12, 55), Jaime Basile (2B) (.301, 11, 54), Livan Guerrero (SS) (.247, 5, 40) and Pinky Cora (CF)) (.264, 9, 49) will try to get on base on a consistent basis to allow the power hitters to bring them in this year. Can this offensive still rely on two people all year again or will another one step up?
The pitching staff as to be the main concern for this team, as it will probably determine if this team is a .500 team or not this year. Brendan Cora (17-6, 2.99ERA) is without a question the staff ace, as he counted for nearly 25% of his team’s victories last year. Jim Little (5-10, 4.26ERA) is a nice young arm that should step up in the rotation this year. Timo Park (9-10, 5.06ERA), Harry Beltran (5-11, 6.09ERA) and Harry Blanco (9-12, 4.56ERA) should fill out the rest of the rotation. Rico Martin (22SVS) had a great rookie season, and will be the closer once again. Will Cora have to carry more of a load this year or will another arm help him?
Projected Lineup
Ricky Gibbons
Nicky Duran
Jaime Basile
Nick Ball
Livan Guerrero
Pablo Mesa/Perry Erickson
Pinky Cora
AJ Balfour
Brendan Cora
Jim Little
Timo Park
Harry Beltran
Harry Blanco
Rico Martin
Projected Record – 81-81

Milwaukee Melders (brewfanks)
New Brewfanks took over the Ottawa Senators and moved them to Milwaukee to see if a change of scenery will give to there first 70 win season. I hate bring the Milwaukee fans down but unless there pitching can bring down the 5.30 runs they gave up a game last; I don’t see them winning 70 games. The team lost only John McConnell (RF) (.230, 4, 23), Stan Ruffin (P) (3.71ERA) and Artie Ramsey (P) (84GP) to free agency. The team signed Ebenezer Canseco (P) (10-13, 4.52ERA) from the Ottawa Crawdaddies for 3yrs/17.2mil, Mitchell Pickett (RF) (.281, 12, 57) from the Scranton Beet Farmer's for 3yrs/16.5mil and Pablo Montero (P) (4-6, 4.14ERA) from the Fargo Woodchippers for 3yrs/11.7mil. The off-season moves seemed to replace the players that the team lost to free agency.
Eugene Brooks (1B) (.268, 38, 107) and Wesley Stanley (3B) (.291, 43, 120) will this offensive that have four good power hitters. Returning players Alfredo Perez (CF) (.271, 6, 41), Heinie Miller (SS) (.218, 11, 50), Julian Hartley (LF) (.257, 37, 95), Chris Bellhorn (C) (.258, 25, 91), and Tomas Olivares (CF) (.299, 7, 43) that can pound the ball of the fence with ease but there average needs to get better. The hitters don’t have a problem with getting runners home if the team can get them on base on a regular basis.
Canseco and Montero are expected to be the staff aces and provide some leadership to a young staff. John Woo (10-13, 5.89ERA), Justin Scutaro (10-14, 5.52ERA), Mike Vander Wal (9-16, 4.97ERA) and Del Friend (3-1, 4.09) fill out the rest of the rotation that needs to get better at keeping the runs down. Vernon Bolton (37SVS, 2.22ERA) should once again be one of the best closer in the game this year. Will the new additions to the staff help this team keep runs down or will they once again find there offensive trying to play catch up?
Projected Lineup
Alfredo Perez
Tomas Olivares
Eugene Brooks
Wesley Stanley
Chris Bellhorn
Julian Hartley
Mitchell Pickett
Heinie Miller
Ebenezer Canseco
Pablo Montero
John Woo
Justin Scutaro
Mike Vander Wal
Vernon Bolton
Projected Record – 68-94