Florida GaToRs (gatorbum)
The Gators fell just short of making the playoffs last season only four games separated them from the last playoff spot. The owner has realized that the team is ready to make a playoff push and went hard in the free agent market to find the missing pieces that will get them into the playoffs. The team only lost Carson Minor (P) (3-6, 5.71ERA, 4SV) and Dennis Funaki (P) (5-3, 4.29ERA, 105IP) to free agency. The team signed Richard Evans (CF) (.317, 25, 98) from the Texas Talley Whackers for 3yrs/18.3mil, Jim Buckley (P) (14-11, 3.81ERA, 205.2IP) from the San Juan ballerz for 2yrs/13mil, Andres Veras (SS) (minor leaguer) from the Tuscon Xpress for minor league deal, Neifi Moya (RF) (.266, 22, 86) from the Tacoma Pioneers for 2yrs/6.6mil and Art Denham (P) (12-9, 5.52ERA, 200.2IP) from the Madison Lasers for 2yrs/5.6mil. The team didn’t make any trades during the off-season. The Gators went really hard after players in the free agent market spending 43.5mil between four players hopefully it was a smart decision.
The Gators offensive had no problem scoring any runs last season with 858 runs scored, so once again the offensive will be looked upon to get this team to the playoffs. AllStar/ LF Silver Slugger Frank Jacobsen (LF) (.355, 45, 133) is without question the team MVP from last season and one of the best players in the league with a great mix of power and speed. Darby Thomas (SS) (.293, 36, 126) took to protecting Jacobsen in this lineup to the best of his abilities and put up some good numbers because of that. The returning players Denny Kwon (1B) (.272, 28, 103), 3B Gold Glove Andy Diaz (3B) (.303, 21, 89), Tony Roberts (CF) (.222, 6, 40), Roberto Gonzalez (2B) (.258, 33, 79), Edwin Randall (C) (.290, 12, 65), Willie Izturis (3B) (.280, 16, 63) and Rico Rosado (RF) (.282, 14, 59) will have no problem producing the same numbers from last season. Will this team find enough playing time to make these good hitters happy or will they need to trade some unhappy players away for some pitching?
The pitching may not have been the strength of the team but they did show some signs of how good they could be when everything goes right for them. The staff gave up 817 runs, with the team hoping that this year the young players and the couple of free agent signings will make the staff a whole lot better. AllStar Wilt McGee (15-8, 4.25ERA, 4CG) was the lone AllStar from the pitching staff and pitched like the staff ace that this team thought he could be. Tony Hernandez (17-9, 3.61ERA, 174.1IP) was a nice surprise for the team as he led the team in victories with 17. Jim Buckley, Jason Burns (12-8, 4.98ERA, 3SV) and Albert Jose (13-9, 3.55ERA, 177.2IP) should fill out the remaining spots in the rotation. Jermaine Curtis (0-2, 4.14ERA, 30SV) will once again be the closer this season, unless he struggles with blown saves once again. The starters should once again be good, even great on some nights but can the bullpen hold the leads that they will probably see quite a bit this season?
Projected Record – 88-74
Durham Bulls (eric9930)
The Bulls got hot during there unbelievable playoff run last season to become the World Series Champions. The Bulls pretty much have the same team from last season that was built around great pitching and timely hitting and once again you should see that from this team again. The team lost P.T. Martinez (3B) (.328, 33, 115), Jeremy Morris (P) (2-1, 2.27ERA, 30SV), Chris Haney (P) (8-9, 4.14ERA, 1SV) and Rogers Dodd (P) (10-3, 4.21ERA, 2SV) to free agency. The team signed Damaso Nieves (3B) (.279, 13, 59) from the Monterrey Stars for 2yrs/5.8mil and Louie Gibson (P) (2-3, 4.84ERA, 38SV) from the Colorado Springs Armed Forces for 3yrs/12.6mil. The team has not made any trades during the off-season. The team looked to only add free agents at the positions that they had lost to free agency.
The offensive had become one of the best in the National League last season and with little changes to the lineup this season I believe that the numbers should once again be one of the best in the National League this season for this team. AllStar Vinny Hunter (SS) (.272, 16, 66) will once again looked to get on base and set up the big power bats in the middle of the order this season, with him probably easily scoring over a 100 runs this season. Joseph Kim (RF) (.262, 47, 113) led the team in homeruns and tied for the team led in RBI’s and once again should be at the top of that list this season. Returning players 1B Gold Glove Brian Kim (1B) (.332, 36, 113), Dario Chong (CF) (.259, 15, 80), Claude Marshall (2B) (.241, 8, 51), Jim Wilson (LF) (.270, 24 ,63) and Mike Sewell (C) (.264, 16, 58) should have no problem being as good as they were last season. How bad is the lost of P.T. Martinez to the offensive and where will the team find the offensive to replace him?
The pitching staff last season was good with a good mix of the young players and the veteran pitches to help this team not only make it to the playoffs but to win it all. AllStar William Woo (16-8, 4.62ERA, 247.1IP) came out of nowhere and became one of the best young pitchers in the league but his constantly will need to get better if you wants to become of the of the best pitchers in the league. Buzz Jones (13-6, 3.48ERA, 2CG) is one of the best power pitchers in the league which his 185 strikeouts in 188.2IP should tell how good of a power pitcher he is. Greg Turner (13-10, 4.42ERA, 5CG), Robin Casian (7-12, 5.70ERA, 200.2IP) and Mark Matsumoto (7-11, 2.99ERA, 171.1IP) should finish the rest of the rotation. Louie Gibson was picked from the free agent for one thing and one thing only and that was to become the team’s elite closer. Once again the starters will be good this season but the bullpen struggled last season and the team will need it to strengthen if they want to repeat.
Projected Record – 92-70
Monterrey Stars (goldie1973)
The Stars moved from San Antionio to Monterrey this season but that wasn’t the only changes that this team went through. The owner seeing that the rest of the division seems to be leaving the Stars behind went hard into the free agent market to find the right pieces to bring on the best division in the league even harder to win this season. The team lost Mike Baxter (2B) (.252, 8, 38), Horacio Ortiz (1B) (.237, 39, 96), Marshall Jameson (P) (2-4, 5.68ERA, 78G), Troy Glauber (CF) (.333, 1, 4), Brad Campbell (P) (5-6, 2.98ERA, 79G), Damaso Nieves (3B) (.279, 13, 59), Dewey Heredia (C) (.291, 12, 43) and Kyle Gonzales (LF) (.246, 5, 21). The team signed Barney Padden (SS) (.242, 7, 38) from the St. Louis Cornerstone for 1yr/4.0mil, Hayes Hampton (P) (minor leaguer) from the Iowa City Raiders for 1yr/3.2mil, Ricardo Ramirez (C) (.347, 7, 45) from the Colorado Sky Sox for 5yrs/23mil with a 8.0mil signing bonus, Jeremy Morris (P) (2-1, 2.27ERA, 30SV) from the Durham Bulls for 3yrs/14.4mil with a 5.5mil signing bonus, Nipsey Rivera (3B) (.201, 18, 48) from the Boston Braves for 2yrs/2.3mil and Billy Ray Lombardi (1B) (.339, 4, 11) from the Kansas City Dirt Bags for 2yrs/2.8mil. The team resigned Lyle Taft (P) (1-5, 3.98ERA, 38SV). The team traded minor leaguers with the Houston Hitmen and receiving 300k from the Hitmen, the team also traded with the Milwaukee Bucks sending Lyle Taft (P) (1-5, 3.98ERA, 38SV) for a minor leaguer.
The offensive really did let this team down last season only scoring 714 runs with most of the free agent signings going to offensive this season there hoping that it won’t become that once again. 2B Silver Slugger Chief Martin (2B) (.263, 35, 123) was the offensive leader for the team, as he was the only player on the team with over a 100 RBI’s and close to the 100 run mark. Scott Coffie (SS) (.242, 10, 45) has great speed but with almost 150 strikeouts last season stopped him from becoming a good lead-off hitter. Returning players Brian Turner (RF) (.278, 25, 85), Denny Ishida (LF) (.249, 15, 62) and Marc Penny (C) (.275, 20, 53) will need to provide the runs that this team will need to score this season. Can this team score enough runs to provide a scare to the rest of the teams in the division this season?
With the offensive finding trouble scoring runs from last season there was a lot of pressure put upon the pitching staff and the staff proved that they where ready for the challenged. The team is looking for the staff to improve in there new ballpark and bring this team close the playoffs this season. AllStar Brandon Ellis (13-8, 3.74ERA, 194.2IP) not only became an AllStar but was the staff ace for the Stars last season and from what I’ve heard he’s ready to become even a better pitcher this season. Omar Diaz (8-5, 3.11ERA, 104.1IP) is young and ready to prove that he can pitch a whole season the same way he pitched in limited duty last season. Trent Diggins (5-4, 5.40ERA, 71.2IP), Seth Dillon (3-4, 4.71ERA, 65IP) and Abdullah Hernandez (9-15, 4.45ERA, 192.1IP) should fill out the rest of the starting rotation this season. Jeremy Morris will be given the closer job this season and are hoping that it will become a great signing this season. The pitching staff is strong and with the young pitchers scattered throughout the staff it will only improve as the year goes on.
Billy Ray Lombardi
Projected Record – 81-81
Jackson BlaZers (bodean)
The Blazers last season was expected to win the division from the fans and management and that’s actually what the team did last season. The fans weren’t very happy that the team didn’t make the World Series but they believe that the team is on the right track and will once again be at the top of National League South this season. The team lost Kenneth Bryant (DH) (.100, 0, 0), Mike Steinbach (P) (10-12, 4.43ERA, 201.1IP), Justin Collins (LF) (.256, 1, 15), Steve Barclay (CF) (.263, 7, 62) and Nicholas Daly (P) (6-3, 4.73ERA, 80IP). The team didn’t sign anyone from the free agent market. The team exchanged minor leaguers with the Houston Hitmen, the team also traded with the Portland Landports receiving Tim Perry (1B) (.282, 35, 111) when they traded Rich Blue (RF) (.315, 0, 43) to the Landports. Another trade involved the Blazers trading a minor leaguer to the Colorado Sky Sox for Tony Armas (RF) (.361, 24, 117). The team may not have gotten anyone in the free agent market but they did get some good players in some good trades that they made in the off-season.
The offensive for the Blazers are there for one reason and that is to provide just enough runs for there pitching staff or keep them in games when the pitching staff struggles a little and that’s exactly what the offensive did last year. With some big trades in the off-season the offensive is expected to become a force like there pitching staff this season. AllStar/ 2B Gold Glove Donatello Carpenter (RF) (.276, 18, 87) was a good lead-off hitter and a big helper to his pitching staff with his great defensive play from last season. Virgil Julio (C) (.278, 34, 91) may not be as good hitters as the American League catchers but in the National League he is one of the best. Returning players Sven Griffin (3B) (.261, 18, 90), Jim Howard (SS) (.269, 23, 83) and Chico Posada (LF) (.240, 26, 68) will need to improve just a bit this season if this team would like to repeat as division champs. With the team trading AllStar Rich Blue everyone is wondering if someone can make up the lost of his numbers this season.
The pitching staff last season was expected to bring the team to the playoffs and that’s what they did as they took the team on there back and won there division. AllStar Bey Dillon (19-9, 2.96ERA, 8CG) once again was one of the best pitchers from last season and the go to guy in the staff for this team. Dan Meacham (13-8, 4.27ERA, 6CG) pitched well but left 11 games in the decision of the bullpen which he will want to improve this season. Tomas Gomez (13-11, 4.31ERA, 219.1IP), Wilt Frank (5-8, 5.20ERA, 159.1IP and Greg Flanagan (0-1, 2.70ERA, 20IP) should fill out the rest of the staff. AllStar Kane Hines (1-2, 2.47ERA, 46SV) became one of the best closer in the game last season and with only 4 blown saves his efficient was also one of the best. The team is looking to see if some young players in the rotation and the staff can step-up for this staff this season.
Projected Record – 92-70
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Florida GaToRs (gatorbum)