Welcome to the Season 17 of the USMLB.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Durham Bulls (eric9930)
The Bulls are looking at there third different owner in team history. The team has been over .500 both years as well, with making the playoffs as a wild card team last year. When you playing in probably the toughest division in baseball a .500 team still could mean last place and missing the playoffs, which I believe they have a real shot of making once again. The team lost Odell Hudson (2B) (.278, 27, 58), Benji Cruz (P) (46GP), Dummy Browning (P) (9-9, 4.32ERA) and Tony Diaz (P) (67GP) to free agency. The team resigned AllStar Mike Sewell (C) (.346, 13, 65). The team only signed Phil Milliard (P) (Minors) from the Tacoma Pioneers for 4yrs/16.4mil.
Brian Kim (1B) (.283, 42, 94) should improve a ton since he is only 23 years old and should probably lead the team in homeruns and RBI’s this year as well. P.T. Martinez (3B) (.277, 42, 120) is the prefect veteran to protect Kim and to become the professor in teaching him how to hit. Returning players AllStar/Gold Glove SS Vinny Hunter (SS) (.297, 16, 67), Dario Chong (CF) (.273, 6, 45), Rookie of the year Jim Wilson (LF) (.300, 40, 130) and Joseph Kim (RF) (.253, 44, 89) are hitting in a tough division and will need to bring there A-game, every game. This offensive is probably the most powerful offensive in the NL South and they just might be in the whole National League as well.
The staff knows that they don’t have to be perfect with there offensive, but they play in a pitchers division, so they will need to pitch great on some nights to win. Buzz Jones (13-10, 3.61ERA) will be asked to be the staff ace this year after his terrific rookie season. Mark Matsumoto (6-3, 4.45) will have to be the veteran leadership for the staff, even though he was in the bullpen last year once the Bulls had acquired him from the Santa Fe Sidewinders. Greg Turner (12-11, 4.79ERA), Robin Casian (13-7, 4.30ERA) and William Woo (5-6, 5.73ERA) will fill out the rest of the rotation. Jeremy Morris (2SVS) will be handed the reigns of closer this season, even though he’s never been a closer before. Without question Jones is going to be great this season with another year under him, but can the rest of the rotation keep up with him, or will they have to rely on the offensive to provide the wins for them?
Projected Lineup
Vinny Hunter
Dario Chong
Mike Sewell
Brian Kim
P.T. Martinez
Jim Wilson
Claude Marshall
Joseph Kim
Buzz Jones
Mark Matsumoto
Greg Turner
Robin Casian
William Woo
Jeremy Morris
Projected Record – 88-74

San Antonio Stars (goldie1973)
Normally when you come in third place in your division that you wouldn’t have any shot at the playoffs, not the NL South, as the Stars where technically in second place but with the division record being worse then the Bulls they where put into third place. It still didn’t matter as the team did make the playoffs has a wild card team and like every other team in the division have stayed over .500 both years. The team lost Butch Graham (P) (8-4, 4.67ERA), Jimmy Kramer (3B) (.271, 2, 22), Felipe Gil (P) (3SVS), Stump Maurer (1B) (.217, 6, 15), AllStar Tony Hernandez (P) (12-6, 3.46), Shane Tatum (P) (23GP) and Nicholas Fox (P) (6SVS) to free agency. The team signed Marshall Jameson (P) (75GP) from the Texas Talley Whackers for 1yr/695k and Damaso Nieves (3B) (.267, 5, 28) from the Tuscan Xpress for 1yr/2.2mil.
Brian Turner (RF) (.243, 34, 114) will need to get is average up if he is going to have a monster year that the team expects from him. Silver Slugger 2B Chief Martin (2B) (.270, 45, 107) is probably the most powerful homerun hitting 2B in the National League and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Martin hit 50 homeruns this year. Returning players Scott Coffie (SS) (.237, 3, 33), Walt Lohse (CF) (.281, 8, 48), Dewey Heredia (C) (.291, 14, 58), Denny Ishida (LF) (.289, 28, 79), Horacio Ortiz (1B) (.229, 31, 68), and David Bolivar (SS) (.271, 11, 44) can hit homeruns with any other team in the National League but can they find enough people to get on base to score enough runs for another run towards the playoffs?
The Stars pitching staff was a big strength for this team. The team only gave up 4.51 runs per game, which was great because they won 28 1-run games last good for second best in the National League. Rick Farr (4-4, 3.80ERA) is the number one starter even though he’s only had 18 big league starts in two years but Goldie1973 has had two straight winning season and knows the team better then anyone else, so who knows. Trent Diggins (7-12, 4.61ERA) is a young pitcher that should rebound well after a disappointing second season. Brandon Ellis (15-9, 3.76ERA), Abdullah Hernandez (4-5, 4.45ERA) and Greg Hatcher (Rule 5 Pick up) are filling the remaining spots in the rotation. Lyle Taft (32SVS) should have no problems producing the same numbers this year as he did last year as the closer. The pitching staff that was good last year might have some problems this year from teams scoring on them, so will this team be relying on there bullpen far too much this season to get there wins.
Projected Lineup
Scott Coffie
Walt Lohse
Brian Turner
Chief Martin
Dewey Heredia
Damaso Nieves
Denny Ishida
Horacio Ortiz
Rick Farr
Trent Diggins
Brandon Ellis
Abdullah Hernandez
Greg Hatcher
Lyle Taft
Projected Record – 78-84

Florida GaToRs (gatorbum)
It’s got to be hard for the GaToRs the last two years, both posting over a .500 record and still not making it to the playoffs once. They won 82 games last year and where still 18 games out of first place and 6 games behind the wildcard teams of the Stars and Bulls. This team is also the most experience, oldest and have spent more money then any other National League team. Many fans are hoping that this is the year that this team finally makes it to the playoffs. The GaToRs didn’t lose any major league talent in free agency. The team signed Denny Yang (P) (14-8, 3.16ERA) from the San Jose Sabercats for 4yrs/15.2mil, Willie Izturis (3B) (.297, 39, 103) from the Houston Kings of Kumbia for 2yrs/4.6mil and Omar Diaz (LF) (.318, 14, 53) from the Ottawa Crawdaddies for 1yr/327k.
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. Darby Thomas (SS) (.280, 38, 117) may have lost a step in the field but still has a powerful, quick bat and should once again produce 30 homeruns and 100 RBI’s for the team. AllStar Denny Kwon (1B) (.290, 27, 103) didn’t have as good of a year last year, as his first year but still a good year and the team is hoping he will get back on track this year. Returning players Gold Glove 3B Andy Diaz (3B) (.254, 21, 53), Willie Izturis (3B) (.297, 39, 103), Tony Roberts (CF) (.252, 1, 29), MVP/AllStar/Silver Slugger LF Frank Jacobsen (LF) (.369, 22, 91) and Roberto Gonzalez (2B) (.270, 24, 83) will try and use there experience to help this team get to the playoffs for the first time. Will most of the players in the lineup in there prime can they finally push the team into the playoffs?
The pitching staff is young compared to the offensive, but they still could be the strength of team. The staff gave up 4.85 runs per game and I believe that they should improve on that number with some pitchers entering there prime this year. Wilt McGee (13-10, 3.87ERA) will become the ace this year and should improve as he entering his prime. AllStar Jason Burns (14-8, 3.15ERA) is a little young then McGee but should over take him as the staff ace in a couple years. Dennis Funaki (2-3, 4.20ERA), Edgardo Sanchez (7-9, 5.18ERA) and Tony Hernandez (12-6, 3.46ERA) should fill out the rest of the rotation. Jermaine Curtis (34SVS) will be counted on to be the closer for the team once again. Can the young pitchers fulfill there potential and put up some good numbers or will they fall from that potential?
Projected Lineup
Andy Diaz
Tony Roberts
Frank Jacobsen
Denny Kwon
Roberto Gonzalez
Edwin Randall
Rico Rosado

Wilt McGee
Jason Burns
Dennis Funaki
Edgardo Sanchez
Tony Hernandez
Jermaine Curtis
Projected Record – 85-77

Jackson BlaZers (bodean)
The BlaZers where the only team in the National League to win 100 games, but once again they fell short in the playoffs when there pitching let them down. With there pitching still intact from a year ago, I wouldn’t expect the BlaZers from missing out on the playoffs, let alone not winning there division. The team only lost Al Wells (SS) (.256, 6, 30), Harry Ramirez (P) (22GP) and Edgardo Martin (P) (42GP) to free agency. The team resigned Wayne Hitchcock (C) (.252, 5, 46). The team didn’t sign anyone from free agency but they did add Nomar Ramirez (1B) (.251, 38, 110) and a minor leaguer, when they traded away Pat Sugawara (3B) (.236, 11, 49) to the Anaheim Beefpound.
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. Chico Posada (LF) (.267, 41, 125) is the power hitter in the lineup after hitting 41 homeruns a year ago, expect closer to 50 this year. John Sugawara (1B) (.272, 29, 99) had a very successful rookie season and should get over 100 RBI’s this season for the team. Returning players Rich Blue (RF) (.308, 0, 40), AllStar Jim Howard (SS) (.296, 18, 83), Steve Barclay (CF) (.252, 10, 55) and AllStar Donatello Carpenter (2B) (.309, 11, 70) will need to find a way to produce enough runs to allow there pitching staff a rest know and then. With some young talent getting infused into the offensive will they be able to produce for the team?
Without question the BlaZers had the best pitching staff last year and with the staff returning this year, they might be the best again. The team only gave up 3.93 runs per game which any team would kill to have. Dan Meacham (14-7, 4.12) should improve from last years numbers as he’s entering his prime of his career. Tomas Gomez (9-12, 4.68) should improve a little with this team as he was probably the worse pitcher on the staff last year. Cy Young/AllStar Bey Dillon (20-9, 1.91ERA), Mike Steinbach (16-4, 3.45ERA) and Nicholas Daly (16-7, 3.45ERA) fill out the rest of the rotation that is young but should improve. AllStar Kane Hines (48SVS out of 49 chances) only blew one save all last year and should once again approach the 50 save mark again. Can the pitching staff duplicate there performance from last year or will teams begin to figure them out.
Projected Lineup
Rich Blue
Jim Howard
Chico Posada
Virgil Julio
Sven Griffin
Donatello Carpenter
John Sugawara
Keith Dessens
Dan Meacham
Tomas Gomez
Bey Dillon
Mike Steinbach
Nicholas Daly
Kane Hines
Projected Record – 95-67