Here's the first in the blog's weekly rankings that come out every Monday. I take many factors into consideration - record, record for the week, expected win %, run differential, and fielding, pitching, and batting rankings. This week, I will look at last season's performance and off-season moves. Here we go, in reverse order....
Rank. Team Name (record last season, postseason result, season 17 final regular season ranking)
10. Santa Cruz Border Patrol (93-69, NL West Champ, NR) - Lost 3B Dwight Duncan, but signed slugger Tomas Lee. Anchored by Sp's Phil Pride and Timothy Crawford, teh Patrol should be in the hunt for a World Series. Prediction - AL West Champ
9. El Paso Vaqueros - (88-74, 3rd in NL South, NR) - The former Sun Kings look to be making a move in Season 18. They have added multiple free agents, including veteran SP's Chad Clarke and Jonathan Eiland. This looks like it might be the year for the Vaqueros. Prediction - NL Wild Card
8. Philadelphia Bacharach Giants - (95-67, NL East Champ, #7) - The Giants nee Cangrejeros lost ace J.R. Beckett to free agency, plugging his former roster spot with Joaquin Santos. Regardless, they still remain one the top candidates to keep Cincinnati from repeating. Prediction - AL Wild Card
7. Hartford Whalers - (95-67, NL East Champ, #5) - Lost Cy Douglas, but added William Patrick and slugger Tim Wilson. Might be better than last season, but a slip is quite possible. Prediction - NL Wild Card
6. Houston Hangovers - (111-51, NL South Champ and WS Runner-up, #1) - No one has lost as much in the off-season as the Hangovers. Wesley Graves, Esteban Owen, and Jacob Hunter all chose to, as LeBron says, take their talents elsewhere. The did promote stud SP's Geraldo Mendez and Willis Floyd, so to take them lightly might be a mistake. Prediction - NL South Champ
5. Los Angeles Hollywoods - (94-68, NL East Champ, #8) - The Hollywoods return their core, with the exception of Omar Flores. They will more than make up for it with the expected promotions of Carson Hardy and Magglio Armas. Prediction - NL West Champ
4. Boston Tea Partiers - (95-67, lost in LCS to Cincy,#4) - Perrenial power Bur, I mean Wash, no I mean Boston returns another strong squad. They lose a little in Juan Johnson, but should still compete for a playoff spot. Prediction - AL East Champ, lose in LCS.
3. Buffalo Bisons - (91-71, NL East Runner-up lost to LA in Division Play-In, #9) - The new top dog in the NL made some positive moves in the off-season, re-signing Francis Herzog and trading for Del Owen. They also extended ace Cory Clark. Should Have an excellent season. Prediction - NL East Champ, WS runner-up
2. Montreal Garde Imperiale - (106-56, lost in the DCS to Cincy, #3) - The Garde fell victim to eventual champ Cincy in a hard fought DCS. They traded for slugger Henry Wise in the offseason and setup specialist Jiggs Hodges that more than makeup for the losses of Tomas Gabriel and Sam Garland. Prediction - Al North Runner-up, hard-luck DCS loss to Cincinnati
1. Cincinnati Redlegs - (107-55 in Season 17, World Series Champs, #2) - The Redlegs return their entire roster virtually intact. Stud CF Jonathan Gload and veteran ace Richard Aoki will aim to lead the Redlegs to a repeat, with rival Montreal breathing down their neck. Prediction - AL North Champ, World Series Champ