Welcome to the Season 17 of the USMLB.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Toledo Holy Men (walkoffnow2)
The Holy Men have enjoyed an interesting journey so far, first starting out in New York, and then moving to Charlotte and making there home in Toledo. Even with the constant moving and new owners (Walkoffnow2 is the third team owner) they have come in second place each year losing in a one game tie-breaker to Tampa Bay Storm (now the Richmond Pettifoggers) for the NL East crown. The team lost Pasqual James (LF) (.333, 0, 0), Craig Weber (1B) (.259, 6, 17), Candy Newsome (2B) (.000, 0, 0), Carmine Taft (P) (10-11, 3.13ERA), Mateo Romano (P) (12-10, 4.19ERA), Ivan Blanco (P) (73GP) and Curt Price (C) (.259, 6, 38) to free agency. The team didn’t signed or trade for anyone, as it looks like there will be a youth movement and some hard times for the Holy Men this year.
Sidney Gordon (SS) (.267, 34, 89) so his numbers fall from the previous year, but as one of the few veteran leaders on this team, he will need to pick it up again. Todd Borkowski (1B) (.277, 18, 59) missed most of last season with an injury and will also need to regain his form for this offensive to be able to produce. Returning players Terry Ward (LF) (.287, 8, 46), Joaquin Ozuna (1B) (.263, 23, 74), Tommie Romero (SS) (.286, 4, 63) and Pedro Cabrera (3B) will need to improve and mix well with the rookies for this offensive to be able to take off. Will Todd Borkowski return to his old ways, will Sidney Gordon be able to shake off a bad year last year or will they decline and hurt this offensive?
The pitching staff held it’s own last year, the starters keep the games close and the bullpen found away to win the close games that they were last year. Charles Gross (7-5, 5.71ERA) will try to make the jump from reliever to starter. Reagan Gardner (8-7, 4.27ERA) is looking to finally reach his potential after another full season in the rotation. Rigo Costilla (4-2, 4.82ERA), Howard King (10-10, 4.76ERA) and Benjamin Connelly (1-1, 3.07ERA) will fill out the rest of the rotation. AllStar/Fireman of the Year Christopher Newhan (49SVS, 1.95ERA) has to be the best young closer in the game, but I don’t think he will get as many saves this year though. Where will the victories come from in this rotation, as there isn’t one proven starter in the bunch, as with such a great closer that will see very few save chances this season.
Projected Lineup
Che Yamamoto
Terry Ward
Peter Holmes
Sidney Gordon
Joaquin Ozuna
Todd Borkowski
Tommie Romero
Pedro Cabrera
Charles Gross
Reagan Gardner
Rigo Costilla
Howard King
Benjamin Connelly
Christopher Newhan
Projected Record – 62-100

Richmond Pettifoggers (Cooneyrj4)
The Pettifoggers are coming off a division title as the Tampa Bay Storm, as this team also finds itself moving to a new location and getting a new owner for the third time. With the core of last years team in intact there really shouldn’t be a problem with the team repeating at winning the AL East again. The team lost Wesley Buckley (P) (37SVS), Charlie Miller (P) (49GP), Jesus Lunar (P) (12wins) and Dave Brett (2B) (.339, 1, 9) to free agency. The team signed Carlos Vazquez (P) (1GP) from the Louisville Colonels for a league minimum, Victor Romano (LF) (.241, 2, 10) from the Colorado Sky Sox for league minimum and Max Wood (CF) (.257, 14, 50) from the Ottawa Crawdaddies for 4yrs/29.3mil The team resigned Tito Barclay (CF) (.231, 0, 1). Wood really only seems to be the one that will make an impact on this team.
Silver Slugger C Cookie Pena (C) (.284, 29, 114) is the offensive leader that is still very young. Woody Ruffin (RF) (.273, 20, 77) is the veteran leader that is needed for this team at the top of the order. Returning players AllStar Juan Piedra (RF) (.286, 18, 93), Matt Corey (2B) (.271, 14, 52), Norm Long (3B) (.290, 25, 82), Patsy Lincoln (SS) (.278, 26, 96), Tomas Rosario (3B) (.273, 27, 75), and Scott Rapp (C) (.273, 21, 93) that will have to have a different hero every night for the offensive to be successful. Will the very young hitters for the team take a step back this season or will to continue to grow?
The pitching staff was pretty good last year as they keep there in the game all season long. Stu Doster (13-10, 4.03ERA) is the staff ace and the guy that the young pitchers look up. Tony Brea (14-10, 3.61ERA) will need to pitch like he did last year, but at 35 can he do it again or will he hurt the team this year? AllStar Wilson Fisher (14-11, 3.09ERA), Yogi Brock (12-9, 4.67ERA) and AllStar Carlton Wolf (10-9, 5.14ERA) are filling the remaining spots in the rotation. With Buckley leaving it left the team with no true closer, which the beginning of the season about to happen, there still isn’t any clear picture on who the closer will be. With Doster and Brea provide the leadership to Fisher and Brock, so that Fisher and Brock can take over as these teams aces?
Projected Lineup
Woody Ruffin
Matt Corey
Cookie Pena
Juan Piedra
Norm Long
Patsy Lincoln
Tomas Rosario
Max Wood
Stu Doster
Tony Brea
Wilson Fisher
Yogi Brock
Carlton Wolf
Projected Record – 84-78

St. Louis Cornerstone (kk73)
The Cornerstone have found themselves in the AL East cellar the last two years, but the city is a buzz about the prospects of the team not only getting out of last place but to challenging for the AL East title. With the division being down this year anything can happen for this team. The team only lost D'Angelo Castillo (P) (3wins). The team resigned Melvin Howard (SS) (.277, 8, 22). The team also signed Barney Padden (SS) (.335, 10, 43) from the Texas Talley Whackers for 1yr/900k.
This lineup is full of young players many of which are just beginning to come into there own. For this team to be able to score enough runs they need to produce this year. David Cota (SS) (Minors) is one of the young players that will be counted on to have a big season. Returning players Tony Lanier (1B) (.286, 16, 80), Albert Glavine (3B) (.251, 15, 63), Jason Frazier (LF) (.254, 16, 70), Roger Worrell (C) (.296, 4, 43) and Valerio Moreno (3B) (.260, 24, 74) will try to get on base on a consistent basis to allow the power hitters to bring them in this year. Can the young hitters finally show St. Louis that the building of a championship team is complete or will they have to wait another year?
The pitching staff with out question is the strength of this team. They allow gave up 4.27 runs a game which was third best in the National League. Silver Slugger P P.T. Ramirez (12-10, 3.28ERA) has established himself as the staff ace at the age of 25, he also is one of the best young arms in the majors. Mark Barkett (11-17, 3.64ERA) lost 17 games but pitched better then his record would indicate, if the offensive would have picked him up for a couple games the outcome would have been different. Clem Adam Beard (8-9, 3.44ERA), Sean Holtz (12-10, 3.93ERA) and Ronn Hoyt (14-7, 4.63ERA) should fill out the rest of the rotation. AllStar Ed Jefferson (49SVS) will be counted on the produce the same kind of numbers again this year. The pitching is going to have to carry the load for this team once again. If they want any chance to get to .500 and out of the cellar they going to have to pitch better then last year.
Projected Lineup
David Cota
Matty Sanchez
Juan Vazquez
Tony Lanier
Albert Glavine
Jason Frazier
Barney Padden
Buddy Strickland
P.T. Ramirez
Mark Barkett
Adam Beard
Sean Holtz
Ronn Hoyt
Ed Jefferson
Projected Record – 81-81

Louisville Colonels (brentblades)
After winning the division the first year, the team fell to third place when they moved to Philadelphia, now the team finds itself in there third location and third owner as well. There is some talent on this team, but with little veteran players to look up to, this season can really go anyway from a winning season to last place. The team only lost Bennie McEnroe (CF) (.192, 2, 13), Mike Baxter (SS) (.238, 8, 37) and Ricky Jefferies (P) (3.73ERA) to free agency. The team signed no one from free agency as it looks as the team is looking for there minor leaguers to step up and fill the holes that departed.
AllStar Chad Jones (RF) (.279, 36, 97) is the big hitter in this lineup and a big key to the Colonels effort to move back to the promise land of the divionsal title. AllStar/Gold Glove C Phil Takada (C) (.311, 25, 106) should have a monster year for a 22 year old. Returning players Chad Jones (3B) (.265, 24, 95), Jason Harvey (CF) (.254, 5, 36), Pepe Franco (1B) (.281, 27, 67), Rollie McMillon (2B) (.293, 11, 42) and Spike O'Brien (SS) (.287, 13, 58) need produce just enough to give there team a chance to win. Can Takada take another step into becoming one of the most feared hitters in the league for a while?
Sidney Musial (8-16, 4.09) was suppose to be the staff ace last year, but he struggled to produce the victories that an ace is suppose to do, so the team is looking for him the rebound this year. Gold Glove P Jim Buckley (14-9, 3.68) the 32 starting pitcher is at a cross roads in his career as he getting a little older, so will he still have a couple more good years in him. Tommy Jenkins (11-14, 3.52ERA), Joaquin Diaz (10-10, 3.40ERA) and Frank Yoon (2-3, 6.66) fill out the rest of the rotation that is young but should improve. Magglio Salinas (37SVS) is going to be once again the anchor in the bullpen for this team. With the pitching staff still in there prime, can they put together a great season to bring this team back to the promise land?
Projected Lineup
Jason Harvey
Rollie McMillon
Chad Jones
Phil Takada
Pepe Franco
Chad Jones
Spike O'Brien
Sammy Mailman
Sidney Musial
Jim Buckley
Tommy Jenkins
Joaquin Diaz
Frank Yoon
Magglio Salinas
Projected Record – 80-82


Atlanta Brave Vawts (vawt)
The Brave Vawts one over 100 games last year, 5 games ahead of the New York Highlanders in probably the toughest division in the league. The team had one of the best pitching staff from last year, but like the Braves in real life, they just couldn’t get it done in the playoffs. What do you do with a team that wins over 100 games; you make very little changes to the roster that’s what you do. The team lost Donn Bergman (RF) (.257, 16, 61) and Clarence Morris (P) (3.47ERA) to free agency. The team signed Charlie Broome (P) (3.74ERA, 1.28WHIP) from the Chicago Legionaires for 1yr/650k.
AllStar Nick Collins (RF) (.336, 42, 116) is the veteran leader of the offensive, even at 33 years old will still put up big numbers for this team. His young partner in crime Aubrey Hutchinson (1B) (.276, 38, 105) make a great one touch punch in the lineup. Returning players Alex Sojo (SS) (.249, 22, 89), Frank Surtain (3B) (.272, 27, 100), Mac Johnson (C) (.274, 29, 107), Mandy Adams (CF) (.285, 4, 45), Ricardo Martinez (C) (.268, 14, 60), Tiny Sheets (2B) (.287, 6, 44) and Morgan Robertson (2B) (.300, 19, 105) should once again approach the 1000 run plateau. With so many great hitters on this team, will Vawt give enough playing to his hitters?
The pitching staff is once again going to be great, as the majority of the players are just know hitting there prime. Cy Young/AllStar Larry Rath (19-5, 3.17ERA) is the staff ace and leader of the rotation; he always seems to want to the ball in his hands when the team needs him the most. Andruw Dunston (13-11, 4.58ERA) is one of the great young pitchers on this team that shall only improve with another season under his belt. Samuel West (16-13, 4.68ERA), Ray Jackson (14-8, 4.17ERA) and Julian Gabriel (10-7, 3.55ERA) will fill out the rest of the rotation. Phil Nitkowski (27SVS, 2.54ERA) didn’t have as many saves as he could have had on another team, but a full year as the closer will improve does numbers. With this pitching they shouldn’t have a problem leading the team back to the playoffs but can they win in the playoffs this year?
Projected Lineup
Mandy Adams
Morgan Robertson
Nick Collins
Aubrey Hutchinson
Mac Johnson
Frank Surtain
Ricardo Martinez
Tiny Sheets
Alex Sojo
Larry Rath
Andruw Dunston
Samuel West
Ray Jackson
Julian Gabriel
Phil Nitkowski
Projected Record – 100-62

Kansas City Dirt Bags (rklongball)
The Dirt Bags are seeing there third name change and third owner in as many years. The team last year had no problem keeping up with the rest of the AL East in the offensive category but failed by time with there pitching staff giving up 6.22 runs per game. With the new owner trying to improve this team, he made a lot of off-season moves to improve the team, especially the pitching staff. The team lost Scott Paulson (2B) (.182, 0, 0), Gail Reid (1B) (.234, 27, 75), Moises Montero (P) (5SVS) and George Hernandez (3B) (.247, 24, 55) to free agency. The team signed Adam Torres (P) (1.42WHIP) from the Fargo Woodchippers for a 3yrs/9.6mil, Wesley Buckley (P) (37SVS) from the Richmond Pettifoggers for 1yr/1.5mil, Craig Rivers (P) (42GP) from the Anaheim Beefpound for 1yr/2.0mil, Curt Price (C) (.259, 6, 68) from the Toledo Holy Men for 2yrs/3.6mil plus 500k bonus, Matthew Small (3B) (.271, 19, 72) from the Anaheim Beefpound for 2yrs/4.2mil, Victor Santiago (SS) (.312, 11, 85) from the New York Highlanders for 2yrs/18.0mil plus 2.0mil bonus, Rick Ochoa (CF) (.270, 7, 42) from the Texas Talley Whackers for 1yr/1.1mil and Albert Valdivia (SS) (.230, 4, 48) from the Ottawa Crawdaddies for 1yr/840k. They also pick up Rondell Borbon (P) (12-10, 5.82ERA) and cash from the Tacoma Pioneers for a minor leaguer.
Alex Lee (RF) (.306, 51, 156) will be one of the greatest homerun hitters when his career is all said and done if he can stay healthy, at 24 years old he can only go up from last years performance. Wilfredo Fernandez (1B) (.288, 52, 128) provided the protection in the lineup that was needed to allow Lee to have the season that he had and he will once again do it this year as well. Returning players Doc Becker (2B) (.267, 2, 41), Gold Glove 2B Jim McEnroe (CF) (.309, 11, 64), Juan Quixote (2B) (.282, 18, 76), Ozzie Caufield (1B) (.250, 28, 85), Peter Bang (LF) (.266, 15, 56), and Scott Rapp (C) (.273, 21, 93) job is to get on base so Fernandez and Lee can bring them in, and provide a little power when Fernandez and Lee have a off day. What is the potential with Lee this season, if he doesn’t get the same kind of numbers again would it be considered a let down?
The pitching staff is the strength of this team with five starting pitchers ERA under 4 last year. Walt Davenport (15-7, 5.31ERA) tie for the team lead in victories but his ERA was high, but at only 26 years old there’s still room for improvement. William Adcock (15-9, 4.09ERA) will need to be the staff ace this year for this team to have any chance of moving up in there division. Borbon, Jayson Christensen (Minors), and William Creek (Minors) are filling the remaining spots in the rotation. Closer William Hanson (26SVS) will anchor the bullpen this year once again for Kansas City. With the pitching staff struggling so much last year, can the new parts do any better?
Projected Lineup
Jim McEnroe
Victor Santiago
Alex Lee
Wilfredo Fernandez
Scott Rapp
Juan Quixote
Ozzie Caufield
Matthew Small
Rick Ochoa
William Adcock
Walt Davenport
Rondell Borbon
Jayson Christensen
William Creek
William Hanson
Projected Record – 77-85

Cleveland Barons (misty)
The Barons have the nomads of the AL East, first starting in Philadelphia, then to San Juan and now in Cleveland. Misty is also the team’s third different owner during the same timeline. All the moving around didn’t effect there offensive at all, averaging 5.62 runs per game last year. The team lost Terry Lincoln (P) (39GP), David Molina (P) (23GP), Orlando Gandarillas (2B) (.274, 6, 69) and Cristian Kwon (2B) (.280, 3, 43). The team resigned Russell Van Pelt (DH) (.281, 31, 114) and Chad Nathan (1B) (.330, 28, 103). The team also acquired Tommy Crede (RF) (.266, 23, 80) from the Detroit Demolition for a couple minor leaguers. 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.
Nipsey Rivera (3B) (.249, 45, 99) is a good young hitter for the team, but will need to improve his average to become the hitter that the team knows he can. AllStar/Silver Slugger CF Lonny Hughes (CF) (.339, 30, 83) should once again have another 30/30 season for this, even though he’s getting up there in age. Returning players Hiram Thomas (RF) (.240, 29, 82), AllStar Rich Hale (SS) (.315, 26, 92), Rob Cooper (LF) (.299, 21, 88), Sterling Lowry (C) (.256, 0, 22) will try to get on base on a consistent basis to allow the power hitters to bring them in this year. Can this offensive once again put up good numbers in there new ballpark, will the age of the lineup begin to catch up with them?
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. Lance Morton (16-13, 4.76ERA) is considered the staff ace and at the age of 27 should proof it this year. Eddie Drew (12-11, 4.75ERA) is one of the many young arms in the rotation and should have no problem repeating last years numbers. Clem Monahan (6-3, 5.52ERA), Sean Pierce (13-9, 5.24ERA) and Paul Lee (Rule 5 Pick-up) should fill out the rest of the rotation. AllStar Stephen Mayer (34SVS) should have no problems being the closer once again for this team. There’s a lot of uncertainty with the pitching staff this year for Cleveland, can the young arms improve and the veterans provide one more year of work, or will it all unravel?
Projected Lineup
Orlando Gandarillas
Lonny Hughes
Russell Van Pelt
Chad Nathan
Rob Cooper
Nipsey Rivera
Hiram Thomas
Tommy Crede
Sterling Lowry
Lance Morton
Eddie Drew
Clem Monahan
Sean Pierce
Paul Lee
Stephen Mayer
Projected Record – 78-84

New York Highlanders (yanksrule11)
The Highlanders have made the playoffs both years of play and also improving both years as well. They will once again be in a tough race for the AL East crown with Atlanta. The team lost only Cliff Adkinsson (C) (.241, 26, 59), Yamil Guzman (P) (15-9, 4.56ERA), Jimmy Hartman (LF) (.343, 1, 7) and Willy Banks (P) (16SVS) to free agency. The team signed no one from free agency as it looks as the team is looking for there minor leaguers to step up and fill the holes that departed.
There wasn’t a question who was the MVP in the American League last year Luis Nunez (1B) (.353, 73, 162) as he has already hit 144 homeruns in just two years and you can expect the same kind of numbers this year as well. Mark Phillips (3B) (.291, 63, 168) and Bobby Henry (3B) (.291, 54, 132) protecting Nunez, it makes any pitcher facing this lineup come up with a strange illness so they don’t have to face him. Returning players Daniel Diaz (3B) (.231, 36, 84), Jody Fox (LF) (.285, 19, 77), and Rob Carlson (CF) (.254, 28, 76) job in simple, GET ON BASE! With the three-headed monster of Nunez, Phillips and Henry there is no worry that this team will once again have the offensive fire power to compete with Atlanta.
Socks Leach (14-13, 4.14) was suppose to be the staff ace last year, after winning 20 games the year before, but just never happen, and you have to wonder if his age is finally catching up to him. Gil Lefebvre (20-7, 3.95) is getting up there in age as well but is very important to this teaching the younger guys how to pitch and just not throw. Theo Martin (7-6, 5.90ERA), Albert York (15-10, 4.89ERA) and Tracy Bowie (7-1, 5.48) fill out the rest of the rotation that is young but should improve. At this time I really don’t know who the closer will be at this time and I guess it going to be a mystery to us all before the season starts. Can a pitching staff that has some veterans and some young arms provide the quality that is needed if the time is going to compete for the AL East crown once again?
Projected Lineup
James Martin
Jody Fox
Mark Phillips
Luis Nunez
Bobby Henry
Daniel Diaz
Rob Carlson
Rod Champion
Vic Olivares
Gil Lefebvre
Socks Leach
Theo Martin
Albert York
Tracy Bowie
Projected Record – 90-72