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Friday, January 13, 2012

AL South Preview

The third in a series

Season 22 Standings
1. Jacksonville 95-67
2. Oklahoma City 84-78
3. New Orleans 78-84
4. San Antonio 64-98

Season 22 Recap
Jacksonville took their thrid consecutive division title. OKC jumped from 48 wins to 84 wins in just two seasons. New Orleans did not finish in the Top2 for the first time in seven seasons. San Antonio had their worst finish in 17 seasons.

Team Previews

Jacksonville
Much like Philadelphia, rbjb just tinkered with what was already a very good squad. Will it be enough to hold off the upstart OKC?
Additions - Tim Wilson, Livan Pascual, Ramon Chen
Subtractions - Wilfredo Veras, Andy Jefferson, Felipe Encarnacion
Net effect = between neutral/negative
Prediction - Will fall just short of a fourth consecutive division title, although the playoffs seem likely

Oklahoma City
A team on the rise with an impressive list of lefty SP acquisitions, OKC is the main challenger to JAX for the division title.
Additions - Pedro Maduro,Kevin Yamaguchi,Bernard Jacquez, Paulie Fox, Boots Munson, Chad Clarke
Subtractions - Hi Girardi, Rafael Pujols, Mark Wanatabe
Net effect - Preposterously positive
Prediction - I am very impressed with what robyoung has done in the off-season. Another man with a plan, his time is now, and he is primed for a very good run. A division title appears to be in the cards, and it would not surprise me if this team made the World Series. Will struggle with teams that hit lefties well.

New Orleans
Signed the best free agent available, but will it be enough to catch two very good teams in OKC and Jacksonville?
Additions - Benji Neill, Orval Cohen
Subtractions - J.R. Beckett, Santo Calderone
Net effect - Positive
Prediction - Another very good team, the South is begining to look like the toughest division in the AL. A top-2 finish would be an accomplishment and, if they can do it, a playoff appearance is likely to follow.

San Antonio
A team in transition, anything other than a 4th place finish would be a success in the most difficult division in the AL.
Additions - Gerald Heffner, Eric Shields
Subtractions - Felipe Mantalban, Brian Donahue, Livan Pascual
Net effect - Neutral/Positive
Prediction - Fourth place in another re-building year.

MVP Watch - Benji Neill, Enrique Vincente, Alex Limon
Cy Young Watch - Phil Pride
ROY Watch - Kirk McInerney, R.J. Albaladejo

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