Houston Hitmen (szekrenyi)
A new owner as taken over the team and changed there name from the Kings of Kumbia which everyone in Houston hated the name. The new owner had a contest on the new name and one lucky guy got two tickets for live to the ballpark for getting his named picked. The Hitmen is in the beginning of a major rebuild mode this season as they are looking even with the owner admitting that the team might be the worst team in the league this season. “With some of the moves that we have made we believe that are pitching staff will become one of the best in the American League in a couple seasons but we will need find some bats to compete with the big hitters if we want to make the playoffs soon,” the owner added. The team lost Hector Acosta (1B) (.341, 18, 116), Victor Martin (P) (7-6, 5.46ERA, 2SV), AllStar Boots Gaetti (P) (2-1, 2.88ERA, 27SV), Tony Wood (C) (.285, 0, 11), Tommy Lloyd (2B) (.230, 0, 9), Wayne Root (P) (11-12, 5.03ERA, 202.1IP) and Julio Rodriguez (P) (9-19, 5.71ERA, 3CG) to free agency. The team only signed Dave Carlson (P) (9-6, 5.22ERA, 3SV) from Atlanta Brave Vawts for 5yrs/22mil with a 5.0mil signing bonus. The team was very active in the trade market trading away a minor leaguer and receiving a minor leaguer in return from the Jackson BlaZers. They also received another minor leaguer from the Hartford Demolition when they traded away Bud Iorg (SS) (.297, 13, 64) and a minor leaguer. The team also exchanged minor leaguers with the Anaheim Beefpound. The team received Rabbit Alexander (P) (8-4, 8.22ERA, 4SV) from the Colorado Sky Sox when they traded away Henry Meyers (P) (7-6, 3.53ERA, 8SV) and a minor leaguer. They once again exchanged minor leaguers with the Monterrey Stars and they also sent the Stars .3mil in cash as well.
The Hitmen are in a major rebuilding mode for there offensive as they have called up quite a bit players from there minors and hope that the on the job training will help them improve and get this team in the playoffs in a couple years. Anthony Bolling (2B) (.288, 4, 61) is one of the top leadoff hitters in the league and with 82 stolen bases he brings a lot of fear to the catchers trying to catch him. Pepe Franco (RF) (.278, 12, 74) is going to be asked to provide the offensive for this team as the team is in a major rebuilding mode. The returning players Wayne Hitchcock (C) (.265, 10, 74) and Gabby O'Keefe (SS) (.308, 7, 63) have a lot of pressure put upon them to help the young players to get ready for the major leagues. What kind of impact will the young players have on this team or will it be a very long year in Houston this season?
The pitching staff almost gave up 1000 runs last season and with all the young arms in this year’s team I would expect for that to be even higher this season. Cliff Sheets (14-13, 4.03ERA, 8CG) became a very good staff ace for this team and will once again be looked upon to provide almost 250 innings pitched once again this season. Butch Ellis (11-11, 6.87ERA, 4CG) had some good run support to get his 11 wins but the ERA almost at 7 has the team concerned without the big run support this season that he could have a lot of loses this season. Dummy Hartzell (7-16, 7.77ERA, 161IP) should have a spot in the rotation with Tike Harris (3-3, 8.14ERA, 1SV), Richard Itou (minor league) and Albert Jones (minor league) will fight over the remaining two spots. Dave Carlson will get his first chance to become the full time closer this season. The pitching staff is even younger then the lineup so it could mean a lot of high scoring games against this team this season. With one real starter in the rotation everyone in Houston who will fill out the rest of the rotation and will they be any good in the rotation at the same time.
Projected Record – 62-100
Texas Talley Whackers (awilley14)
The Texas Talley Whackers was tied for the best record in the League and made it to the World Series for the second straight season but once again had there hearts ripped out with another tough lose. With most of the team still in intact there really shouldn’t be a reason why the Talley Whackers shouldn’t once again be the favorite to win the American League Crown and probably the World Series. The team lost Louis Kolb (P) (8-5, 6.10ERA, 131.1IP), AllStar/ CF-Silver Slugger Richard Evans (CF) (.317, 25, 98) and Derrick Wells (P) (1-0, 5.15ERA, 3SV) to free agency. The team signed Mike Steinbach (P) (10-12, 4.43ERA, 201.1IP) from the Jackson Blazers for 3yr/9.0mil and Nicholas Daly (P) (6-3, 4.73ERA, 80IP) from the Jackson Blazers for 3yrs/20.0mil with a 500k signing bonus. The team also resigned Bernard Lawrence (C) (.331, 13, 61). The team has not made a trade during the off-season.
The offensive will once again be a great force in the American League as they scored over a 1000 runs and was second in runs scored in the American League last season. With the great speed and the bats to get them in this should be one of the best offensives in the league once again. 1B-Gold Glover Alvin Silva (1B) (.299, 42, 130) is the big power bat and the guy who will drive in the men from the top of the order once again this season and I see his number probably improving this season as well. Tim Rooney (2B) (.311, 17, 122) is probably the best number 2 hitter in the league with great contact, some pop in his bat and great speed plus it’s great for the team that he’s able to drive in some many runs with runners in scoring position. Returning players Grant Barker (LF) (.322, 0, 57), Henry Anderson (SS) (.295, 26, 96), RF-Gold Glover Glenn Matheson (LF) (.342, 28, 119), Cliff Mota (2B) (.270, 11 ,63), Don Clark (C) (.243, 6, 70), Brad Betancourt (RF) (.289, 39, 115), 3B-Gold Glover Oscar Smith (3B) (.313, 5, 57) and Bernard Lawrence (C) (.331, 13, 61) should have no problem providing the runs at the same pace that they did last season. The only question for the offensive is who is going to step up and replace Richard Evans or will it take a couple of players to equal his numbers from a year ago.
The pitching staff last season was one of the worst in the American League giving up 6.4 runs per game. The new owner went after pitchers hard in the free agent market and even trading for one. Yamil Guzman (19-8, 4.16ERA, 210IP) is one of the best pitchers in the American League and with the Talley Whackers offensive should once again push the 20 win mark this season. Mike Steinbach was signed to add another good arm behind Guzman and eat a good amount of innings to save the bullpen. Shane Lomasney (13-13, 6.36ERA, 8CG), Harry Santayana (5-2, 3.46ERA, 67.2IP) and Ignacio Mateo (13-9, 6.33ERA, 193.1IP) should finish the rest of the rotation. Philip Price (0-3, 4.73ERA, 26SV) will be given the closer job once again but with 5 blown saves from last season how long will a championship team deal with does mistakes. Like with the offensive the pitching staff didn’t have much changes to it but with Steinbach being added to the rotation the pitching staff might even be better then this season.
Projected Record – 103-59
Iowa City Raiders (deerhunter63)
The team saw themselves have the worst record in the majors last season and out of there 49 victories they only had 18 victories at home which didn’t make the fans very happy. With all the free agent signings that this team did this year there’s a little buzz around Iowa City that this team might just improve and maybe not be the worst team in the league once again. The team lost Toby Parker (SS) (.244, 7, 32), Otto Hanson (DH) (.283, 13, 38), Yamid Gonzales (LF) (.260, 8, 34) and Butch Graham (P) (1-0, 5.93ERA, 1SV). The team signed Max Ransom (C) (.316, 2, 18) from the Colorado Sky Sox for 3yrs/2.49mil, Matthew Glass (P) (minor leaguer) from the Scranton Beet Farmer's for 3yrs/8.9mil, Vic McGee (1B) (minor leaguer) from the Hartford Demolition for 3yrs/7.8mil with a 3.0mil signing bonus, Ariel Diaz (P) (minor leaguer) from the Houston Hitmen for 4yrs/20mil and Ted Linton (P) (minor leaguer) from the Kansas City Dirt Bags for 4yrs/16mil. The team seemed to go after a lot of minor league players that where stuck in the minors on other teams, let’s hope this stragiedy works for the team this year.
The offensive only scored 4.14 runs per game which was the worst in the league which helped the team have the worst record in the league as well. The team only added a couple of additions to the offensive during the off-season but it’s about the same team from last season that will have to find a way to score more runs this season. Bosco Campbell (3B) (.211, 45, 107) had no problem hitting the ball over the fence but with his average barely above the Mendoza line it was amazing he led the team in runs and RBI’s for the team. Joshua Sedlacek (RF) (.288, 18, 67) is going to be looked upon to provide the some much need protection for Campbell and hopefully he can provide some numbers that the team is expecting from him. Returning players Zeus Glover (2B) (.253, 15, 56), Carl Shave (1B) (.255, 16, 75), Adrian Hutch (C) (.260, 13, 51) and Tom Saberhagen (RF) (.247, 6, 36) will need to provide the runs that this team will need this season. Can the new additions make the worst offensive in the league any better?
With the offensive as bad as it was it didn’t help that the pitching staff had problems keeping the team in the games. The team gave up over a 1000 runs with many of the starters getting around 20 loses as the team went heavy after pitching to help relieve the burden that will be placed upon them this year again. AllStar Elston Long (12-10, 3.96ERA, 193.1IP) is the staff ace and could be one of the best pitchers in the American League if he didn’t play for the Raiders but hopefully in a couple years he can push this team on a playoff run. Dennis Strittmatter (10-18, 6.14ERA, 190.2IP) will be the only other starter that will survive last years starting staff as he didn’t pitch as bad as his numbers say he was. George Robinson (0-3, 4.42ERA, 2SV) will be given the closer job this season and the team is waiting to see if it will be a good decision. Beyond Long there really isn’t much hope for the pitching staff and the only hope for the team to avoid the worst record once again will be if one of the newly signed pitchers can step up and provide a good number pitcher.
Projected Record – 63-99
Santa Fe Sidewinders (jwinner5)
The owner of the Sidewinders protected last season that his team would have the best offensive in the majors but also the worst pitching staff. He was right about the pitching staff but was slightly off with the offensive as it was the second best last season. The Sidewinders might just find themselves in the same situation as last season as they will probably have the best offensive and the worst pitching staff which will probably keep the team once again around the .500 record. The team didn’t lose any major league players to free agency this season. The team didn’t trade for anyone as they are keeping the same team this season from last season. The team’s lack of moves didn’t really come as a surprise as the pitching staff was young last season and should become a little better this season but the strength should once again be one of the best in the league.
It’s hard to think that for this team to get .500 once again that the offensive might just have to do any better then last season but that’s what the offensive might just have to do this season if they have any chance of making a .500 record and a chance to make the playoffs. American League MVP/ AllStar Eric Sisk (RF) (.330, 72, 171) is without question one of the best power hitters and probably the best in the league as he followed up his Rookie of the Year Award with the MVP Award for the American League last season and should be in the running once again. AllStar/ C-Silver Slugger Guy Williams (C) (.353, 50, 137) loves hitting in Santa Fe as you can see by his numbers and should be one of the best hitting catchers this season again. Returning players Benny James (3B) (.339, 26, 117), Adam Buck (2B) (.255, 14, 78), William Kraemer (2B) (.311, 33, 108), Tony Alvarez (1B) (.289, 46, 121), AllStar Vicente Melendez (C) (.347, 39, 103), Blake Brinkley (SS) (.264, 17, 66) and R.A. Little (CF) (.276, 9, 59) should once again provide the great numbers for this team once again. Can the team provide the same kind of offensive from last season or will they need to improve there numbers even more from last season.
The pitching staff struggled and struggled all season long with stopping the opponent’s offensive. With the hitter friendly park in Santa Fe many wonder if this team will ever have a pitching staff that can stop any team from hitting them. Frank Stokes (8-16, 7.51ERA, 205IP) will be looked upon to eat the innings that the team will need him to do this season once again no matter how high is ERA is. Rodrigo Arroyo (rule-5 pick) is finally getting a chance to become a starter and the team is hoping that he can hold his own. Benjamin Connelly (10-10, 7.58ERA, 137.2IP) and Sam Little (10-8, 7.77ERA, 161IP) with Kelly Houston (rule-5 pick), Blade Stone (rule-5 pick) and Paul Wang (rule-5 pick) fighting over the last pitching spot. Lon Riggs (2-8, 7.78ERA, 27SV) is another closer that will be on thin ice this season with his ERA close to 8 and 6 blown saves from last season. The team went into the rule-5 draft to find some much needed pitching so hopefully that will be a good move for this team.
Projected Record – 81-81
Friday, July 11, 2008
Houston Hitmen (szekrenyi)