Welcome to the Season 17 of the USMLB.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Colorado Sky Sox (movet22)
After winning the National League West for the last three seasons the Sky Sox will have a new owner this season. The end of last season was a big disappointment for the team has they had tied for the best record in the league but the very quick exit made the fans in Colorado want more. The previous teams in the history of the Sky Sox where built on pitching and defense but last years team was one of the best offensive teams that this league has ever seen as the team averaged just under eight runs a game. The team lost Max Ransom (C) (.316, 2, 18), AllStar/ RF- Silver Slugger Earl Williams (RF) (.343, 50, 142), AllStar/ SS-Silver Slugger Gus Wilkins (SS) (.332, 32, 136), Denny Pavano (P) (2-7, 7.13ERA, 2SV) and Ricardo Ramirez (C) (.347, 7, 45) to free agency. The team signed Rafael Soriano (CF) (.300, 7, 70) from the Portland Landports for 5yrs/21mil, Miller Young (CF) (.233, 4, 18) from the Portland Landports for 4yrs/18.4mil, Marshall Jameson (P) (2-4, 5.68ERA, 78G) from the Monterrey Stars for 1yr/1.3mil and Jose Hernandez (P) (minor leaguer) from the Milwaukee Bucks for a minor league deal. The team also acquired Antonio Frye (2B) (.244, 24, 69) and Nolan Jordan (SS) (.257, 21, 67) and a minor leaguer from the Honolulu Five-O's in two separate trades while giving away AllStar/ CF-Silver Slugger Khoury Glass (CF) (.336, 16, 101), Rabbit Kennedy (P) (11-4, 5.63ERA, 139IP), Manny Vanguri (LF) (.322, 5, 26), Che Yamamoto (SS) (.268, 8, 26) and a minor leaguer with 2.0 mil going to Honolulu in both trades. The team also acquired Henry Meyers (P) (7-6, 3.53ERA, 8SV) and a minor leaguer from the Houston Hitmen as the team traded away Rabbit Alexander (P) (8-4, 8.22ERA, 4SV). Another trade for the team brought in Dario Wallace (P) (6-13, 6.75ERA, 152IP) from the Scranton Beet Farmer's when they traded away 3B-Silver Slugger Vicente Domingo (RF) (.353, 50, 179) and a minor leaguer and also sending 4.0mil to the Beet Farmer’s. The last trade was the team trading Allstar Tony Armas (LF) (.361, 24, 117) to the Jackson Blazers for a minor leaguer.
AllStar Odalis Montanez (SS) (.304, 35, 139) seems to be the last man standing from last season’s powerful offensive he possibly could be traded before the season is over the way the new owner is trading talent away. Frank Cooper (C) (.343, 20, 85) is young and is going to be looked at to produce another big season again as the younger players will look up to him. The only returning every day player will be Benito Pineda (1B) (.314, 12, 85) as he will need to provide some great offensive help as the team has lost a lot of there offensive from last year. Can the many new players and rookies provide anything close to the kind of offensive that this team showed last season?
With the move to Colorado the pitching staff had a tall order to pitch well in the thin air. The staff did struggle at times during the year but the team did pitch better then everyone expected. Gil Henson (17-8, 4.15ERA, 7CG) is without question the staff ace and was in the running for the CY Young award to the very end of the season. David Gao (13-5, 4.38ERA, 2CG) was having a great season until injury ended it and Gao is looking to improve from last season. Mac Sheffield (10-7, 5.20ERA, 3CG), Dario Wallace should have a spot in the rotation with Miller Beamon (1-1, 10.50ERA, 12IP), Rigo Lopez (4-2, 6.59ERA, 3SV), Henry Meyers and Roy Shirley (4-4, 6.26ERA, 3SV) will be battling for the final spot. Marshall Jameson will have a tall order for jumping into the closer role this season since he has never been a closer before. It looks as if the team will not be scoring as many runs from last season so can the pitching staff improve from last season or will the young players have the staff take a step back?
Projected Lineup
Manuel Montero (CF)
Antonio Frye (3B)
Odalis Montanez (2B)
Frank Cooper (C)
Nolan Jordan (SS)
Benito Pineda (1B)
Miller Young (CF)
Manuel Montero (LF)
Rafael Soriano (RF)
Gil Henson
David Gao
Mac Sheffield
Dario Wallace
Miller Beamon
Marshall Jameson

Projected Record – 90-72

Honolulu Five-O's (pnedwek)
The Five-O’s have found themselves with there fourth different owner and fourth different city that they have played in the last four years. With all these changes it has wrecked made the team very unstable and not allowing the team to make any serious run at the playoffs. The team once again improved only slightly from the previous year is a franchise best 73 victories. The new owner will be installing a great Honolulu tradition with a 7th Inning Hula dance and a coconut race. The new Manager asked what he expected from the team and his response was “I have no idea what to expect from these guys.” That may or may not be a good sign for this team. The team lost Jose Saenz (SS) (.291, 3, 15), Donald Kwon (LF) (.227, 2, 33), Casey Karnuth (P) (0-1, 8.55ERA, 20G) and Carl Obermueller (C) (.241, 8, 30). The team only signed Nomar Ramirez (1B) (.262, 18, 50) from the Jackson Blazers for 2yrs/3.8mil. The team also resigned Mark Cox (P) (minor leaguer). The team also traded Antonio Frye (2B) (.244, 24, 69) to the Colorado Sky Sox for a AllStar/ CF-Silver Slugger Khoury Glass (CF) (.336, 16, 101) and Rabbit Kennedy (P) (11-4, 5.63ERA, 139IP) and also 2.0mil. The team also traded Nolan Jordan (SS) (.257, 21, 67) and a minor leaguer to the Colorado Sky Sox for Manny Vanguri (LF) (.322, 5, 26), Che Yamamoto (SS) (.268, 8, 26) and a minor leaguer.
Odell Hudson (2B) (.292, 36, 105) was the best hitter on the team last season leading the league in many offensive categories and the team is looking for him to lead the team once again. Woody Garcia (3B) (.244, 46, 101) saw is production fall a little with his average dropping nearly 50 points from the season before as is this the beginning of a down turn for Garcia or was it just a hiccup and he will a turn around this season no one knows. Returning players CF-Gold Glove Haywood Matthews (CF) (.287, 13, 48), Jim Wilkinson (RF) (.263, 27, 66), Alex Knotts (CF) (.275, 1, 35) and Todd Griffin (C) (.303, 20, 75) will have another year together to improve the offensive once again. Can the newly added players mix well with the team and provide the offensive that this team is hoping for this season?
Once again there wasn’t very much change in the pitching staff for this team which could be bad or good as the team gave up 5.32 runs a game last season. Carmine Taft (11-13, 3.68ERA, 222.1IP) was the best pitcher last season for the team and is looking to improve even more this season in a new city. Midre Torres (11-10, 3.88ERA, 4CG) will need to show that he can come back from his injury last season and have just as a good year. P-Silver Slugger Keith Donovan (9-12, 4.29ERA, 197.1IP) looks to be the only other pitcher to have a guaranteed spot in the rotation as Freddie Davis (2-7, 4.96ERA, 85.1IP), Britt Hamelin (1-1, 5.40ERA, 11G), Earl Lloyd (10-8, 3.47ERA, 1SV), Travis Messmer (6-5, 5.54ERA, 1CG), Britt Nathan (0-0, 6.00ERA, 2G) and Marvin Sparks (3-6, 6.82ERA, 62IP) will be fighting for the last two spots. Alex Bagley (0-3, 6.75ERA, 33SV) was the closer last season but he seems to be on thin ice this season in the closer role. What is expected from the pitching staff no one really knows as they could either get better or be about the same but I don’t see the staff getting worse.
Projected Lineup
Haywood Matthews (LF)
Khoury Glass (CF)
Woody Garcia (3B)
Odell Hudson (2B)
Jim Wilkinson (RF)
Todd Griffin (C)
Nomar Ramirez (1B)
Che Yamamoto (SS)
Carmine Taft
Midre Torres
Keith Donovan
Travis Messmer
Freddie Davis
Alex Bagley

Projected Record – 75-87

San Diego Friar Power (sidekicker)
The Friar Power are finally seeing an owner stick with the team for a second season for the first time in teams history. The team may have had its worst record in team history but the little steps that this team made last season to get this team competitive will go a long way towards the future. The team was very happy not to have the worse offensive in the league but the offensive still wasn’t very good once again . The team lost Ronn Richardson (P) (6-6, 5.61ERA, 1CG), Henry Frye (P) (1-2, 4.27ERA, 35G), Danny Green (P) (2-0, 2.76ERA, 18G), Harry Julio (1B) (.286, 7, 49) and Clarence Carson (P) (2-2, 5.85ERA, 31G) to free agency. The team signed Rogers Riggan (P) (minor leaguer) from the Kansas City Dirt Bags for 1yr/327k and Scooter Clayton (P) (14-8, 4.30ERA, 4CG) from the New Britain Fisher Cats for 3yrs/18.3 plus 3.6mil bonus. The team resigned Dave McGowan (DH) (minor leaguer) and Harold Smith (P) (7-9, 2.80ERA, 1SV). The team made no trades during the off-season. It looks as if the team once again looked towards the pitching staff this off-season, neglecting the offensive once again which will once again be the problem for the team this season again.
A.J. West (3B) (.284, 26, 81) came to San Diego midseason and is looking to provide the offensive power that the team needs. Joel McMasters (CF) (.256, 31, 82) saw his average go up but his production fell a little but he’s still young and should improve his power numbers once again. Returning players Esteban Romero (2B) (.231, 11, 65), Sean Bird (SS) (.243, 14, 49), Daryl Lawrence (SS) (.278, 5, 39), Jay Moss (LF) (.240, 18, 58), Enrique Rincon (2B) (.270, 18, 52), Art Roskos (RF) (.310, 20, 69), Andre Hyzdu (3B) (.232, 24, 64), Denny Nakamura (C) (.219, 7, 29) and Nap McNamara (3B) (.248, 22, 57) will try to find spots to play with a lot of young players in the lineup. Can the offensive once again improve or will they be near the bottom once again?
The pitching staff was once again the strength of this team but the bullpen was once again what held the staff together. With another year of major league experience under the young starters should really help the team improve this season. Scooter Clayton (14-8, 4.30ERA, 4CG) was signed to become the ace that this team has been looking for the last couple seasons. Preston Wright (10-10, 3.52ERA, 1CG) is still young but the team will look to him to bring the team back to .500 once again. Raymond Garcia (6-1, 4.22ERA, 32IP) and Scott Presley (6-15, 5.17ERA, 216IP) should have a spot in the rotation as Jason Brewer (6-6, 4.56ERA, 108.2IP), Juan Matos (5-9, 5.31ERA, 154.1IP), Rogers Riggan (minor leaguer) and Del Tavarez (10-8, 3.89ERA, 178.1) are fighting for the final spot in the rotation. Jesus Rodriguez (0-4, 4.33ERA, 44SV) once again proved himself to be one of the best closers in the game even though his ERA was a little high for a closer last season. The starting rotation is still young, with the bullpen mostly having veterans but bullpens don’t win you games, starting pitching does and does the team have enough starting pitching to get back to the playoffs?
Projected Lineup
Esteban Romero
Sean Bird
A.J. West
Joel McMasters
Art Roskos
Jay Moss
Daryl Lawrence
Denny Nakamura
Scooter Clayton
Preston Wright
Scott Presley
Raymond Garcia
Del Tavarez
Jesus Rodriguez

Projected Record – 77-85

Tacoma Pioneers (tomjames)
The Pioneers surprised a lot of teams last year about how well they played or for that matter how well they pitched. The league thought it was such a great job done in Tacoma that the Manager of the Year came from the team. The team is looking to take another step up and knock off the Colorado Sky Sox from the top of the National League West this season. “The goal is to make it to the playoffs but I still think the team is at least another year or two away from making that promise to the city of Tacoma,” GM tomjames was quoted. The team only lost Neifi Moya (RF) (.266, 22, 86) and Patrick Maurer (2B) (.235, 16, 50) to free agency. The team didn’t sign any free agents this season. The team traded Flip Sheldon (P) (1-3, 6.25ERA, 36IP) and a minor leaguer to the Colorado Springs Armed Forces for two minor leaguers. The team was looking to find some offensive power in free agency but the team didn’t find anyone that they liked and are happy with the team they have now.
Peter Herndon (CF) (.247, 7, 46) stole a team record of 85 stolen bases and provided a nice weapon at the top of the order but the team is looking for better average and on-base percentage this season. Brook Diaz (3B) (.272, 32, 93) was a nice surprise last season for the team as Diaz became really the only power hitter in the lineup. Returning players Gail Reid (1B) (.225, 23, 73), Tony Maduro (C) (.197, 7, 29) and Jeff O'Keefe (LF) (.267, 9, 48) are looking to mix well with the young players that will be seeing the first full season this year. Can the young players improve one of the worse offensives from last season or will the home ballpark once again prove too much for any hitter.
The pitching staff was very strong through out the season to become the best pitching staff last season. The team only gave up 4.30 runs per game last season and an ERA 3.86 the only team under 4 in the league. Peter Baek (16-8, 3.79ERA, 4CG) signed a huge contract last season as his numbers really don’t like he was worth the money but for the young pitchers he was a godsend. Tommie Relaford (16-8, 3.22ERA, 1CG) is still young but took the teaching from Baek to heart and improved his numbers and out pitched his mentor. Peter Webster (8-14, 4.03ERA, 3CG), Mac Nakamura (10-7, 2.96ERA, 1SV) and Pablo Jimenez (2-4, 5.28ERA, 58IP) should fill out the rest of the rotation. Nicholas Fox (2-6, 3.20ERA, 48SV) proved to the whole league that he could become an elite closer but he should start to watch his back as Lonnie Rizzo (3-2, 3.56ERA, 6SV) is on his back. The whole pitching staff is young with a few veterans mixed in here and there but the success of the team should once again ride on the arms of the pitching staff this season.
Projected Lineup
Peter Herndon
Ray Hines
Brook Diaz
Gail Reid
Jeff O'Keefe
Victor Cruz
Archie Hitchcock
Tony Maduro
Peter Baek
Tommie Relaford
Peter Webster
Mac Nakamura
Pablo Jimenez
Nicholas Fox

Projected Record – 81-81