A New Hero of the League
The Highlanders did something that they have only been able to once before in the last eight years and that was to dethrone the Brave Vawts as the American League East division champions. The pressue will be one him this year to repeat that preformance as Vawt will probably be out for revenge this year. A quick exit in the playoffs really showed the battle the Highlanders went through last season but it should be expected for the team to make the playoffs once again even if they don't win the division. Without further ado, let’s introduce you to your Season 9 Cincinnati Highlanders:
1- SS Hong-Jin Wanatabe (21 years old)- Rookie Wanatabe could see a big rookie year as he's got the hitting and the speed to be a great lead-off hitter in the league. If the team could get over the defense problems he could have, he could start alot of games at shortstop.
2- CF Rob Carlson (32 years old) - Carlson has really shined the last couple of years but I don't think anyone expected 131 runs scored season from last year. Carlson will get around 20 homeruns again this season but for him to get 100 RBI's again he will need a good lead off hitter infront of him. Carlson numbers from last season where .283/.351/.483.
3- DH Shawn Long (22 years old) - This just shows you how much hitting talent Long has that the team would give him the number three spot in the lineup at the tender age of 22. You could probably see Long hitting close to 50 homeruns this year. Last year he went .310/.405/.604.
4- 1B Max Gomes (27 years old)- Gomez has saw his numbers improve every year and he didn't disappoint with almost hitting 50 homeruns and his first season with more then 100 RBI's. Gomez hit .303/.352/.652 but the 37 walks from last could be a concern for the team.
5- RF Jorge Rojas (24 years old) - Rojas is just another young powerful hitter that really makes this lineup scary for any pitcher that has the face them. 47 homeruns and 116 RBI's in your sophmore season really has the Highlanders giddy with excitement over what you could produce has he gets older. Last year Rojas hit .268/.354/.565.
6- LF Matt Reagan(28 years old) - It doesn't matter where Reagan finds himself in the lineup, goes goiong to find a way to produce. With five straigh 40 homerun, 100 RBI's season he really shouldn't expect anything less from him this year. Reagan hit .261/.327/.598.
7- 3B Carlos Martin (25 years old) - If there is one thing that Martin can do, it's hit homeruns. If there wasn't already a great DH on the team Martin would fill that role and excel at it. The low average and walk totals could be a concern for the team but the RBI's will offset those low totals.
8- 2B Quilvio Hernandez (22 years old)- Hernandez could be the next big rookie to come out of the Highlander system and if he can live up to his minor league numbers expect some big power numbers to come from him.
9. C Gus Abe (28 years old) - Abe is just another big power bat that but he could have trouble hitting for any kind of average. Abe also will be a big help to the pitching staff as he's one of the best game callers in the league.
SP1- Harry Morales (24 years old) - Morales is very young to be an ace already but he's the best pitcher on the staff and the workhorse. Expect another winning season from Morales but you should see his ERA be lower then 4.93 he had last season.
SP2- Fausto Gonzales (23 years old) - After pitching a couple games last season in the majors, Gonzales was able find his way into the starting rotation this year. Expect some up and down numbers from Gonzales but with the offensive protecting he should have a winning season.
SP3- Lewis Robertson (29 years old) - Robertson has really struggled as a starter through out his young career but after getting sent down to the minors for most of the year it looks as if Robertson will be given another chance at the rotation again.
SP4- Ralph Middlebrook (27 years old) - THe former Rookie of the Year as never came close to matching his rookie numbers and for many fans in Cincinnati this could be a make it or break it year for Middlebrook. I believe he will have a bouce back year and earn his 6 million dollar salary.
SP5- Tracy Bowie (31 years old) - Bowie as never been the same since have surgery on his elbow a coulpe seasons ago but he does provide a reliable arm that should be able to keep the Highlanders in some games.
Closer- Donne McClellan (29 years old) - If you want any shot of beating the Highlanders this is not the guy you want to see in the late innings because it will mostly mean the end of the game. McClellan set a career high is saves last season with 41 and was able to keep is ERA under 3 for the third straight year.