I loooooove winning!

Friday, January 13, 2012

AL Summary

from the previews, my predictions (* indicates playoff team) (blog votes in parenthesis)

North
1. Montreal* (9)
2. Cincinnati* (2)
3. New Britain (1)
4. Salt Lake City

East
1. Philadelphia* (10)
2. Baltimore
3. Durham
4. Boston(1)

South
1. Oklahoma City* (2)
2. Jacksonville* (4)
3. New Orleans
4. San Antonio (1)

West
1. Fresno* (2)
2. Salem (2)
3. St. Louis
4. Vancouver (2)

MVP - Don Chen
Cy Young - Hick Manning
ROY - Joaquin Dominguez

AL Champ - Montreal

AL West Preview

final AL preview, NL will be on Monday and Tuesday

Season 22 Standings
St. Louis 90-72
Salem 88-74
Fresno 74-88
Vancouver 58-104

Season 22 Recap
St. Louis returned to the top for the first time in four seasons. Salem had its best record and highest finish since taking over in Season 16. Fresno dropped to third after back-to-back division championships. Vancouver took it on the chin with its worst record in franchise history

Team Previews

St. Louis
2000man looks to stay at the top and fend off big spendin' Fresno
Additions - Lou Jenkins, R.J. Escobar, Tuck Winn
Subtractions - Randall Scott, Darren Parkinson
Net effect - Neutral
Prediction - 2nd place. They upgraded their offense with the addition of Escobar, but I'm not sure that the pitching is in place to compete with Fresno.

Salem
A big FA SP signing should bolster their chance, but will it be enough?
Additions - Dallas Singleton
Subtractions - Ivan Pena
Net effect - positive
Prediction - A better record than last season, but a worse finish in 3rd place. A big payroll with players that give them an outside chance returning to the playoffs


Fresno
The highest payroll in 1530 is not going to settle for 2nd place
Additions - Jose Segui, Chan Ho Sugawara, Al Vazquez, Kelly Hinch
Subtractions - Douglas Cust, Juan Vincente, Willie Bennett
Net effect - pitching swapped for hitting, but positive
Prediction - Anything less than a first place finish would be a disappointment. joepatrick did not spend north of 100 million to miss the palyoffs, and he should be able to hold of St. Louis and Salem.

Vancouver
Not much going on in the pacific northwest. A team building for the future.
Additions - Jim Valentine
Subtractions - Javy Tejada, Pedro Espinosa
Net effect - trading spare parts for spare parts
Predicition - Anything better than 4th place would be shocking. frank has a plan, and it does not involve competing in Season 23.

MVP Watch - Trenidad Trajano, R.J. Escobar
Cy Young Watch - Ivy Latham, Hick Manning
ROY Watch - Rod Norton

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

Thursday, January 12, 2012

AL East Preview

The second in a series

Season 22 Standings
1. Durham 101-61
2. Philly 98-64
3. Boston 80-82
4. Baltimore 78-84

Season 22 Recap
Durham took the league title for the third time in four seasons. Philly finished second and made the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Boston hqs its worst season since Season 3, Baltimore finished 4th for the 4th straight season.

Team Previews

Durham
Run by yours truly, the Tar Heels are in complete re-building mode. A 2nd place finish will be an accomplishment

Additions - Matty Jennings,Jeromy West, T.J. Torres, Vic Martin, Brian Donahue
Subtractions - Philip Colin, Dallas Singleton, Kenny Evans, Junior Ozuna, Boots Munson, Tyson Lollar, Alex Encarnacion, Aaron Simon, Benji James
Net effect - Negative. The current team is made up by a bunch of FA leftovers
Prediction - A battle with rival Boston for 3rd place. Still has some good players and FA's are solid.

Philadelphia
kyle did some fine tuning in the off-season, nothing too drastic. This is clearly the best team in the division
Additions - Midre Robinson, Angel Siqueiros, Carlos Pena, Lonny Feliz
Subtractions - Willie Wheat, Lonny Feliz,Adam Tucker,Jeff Ruebel
Net effect - neutral
Prediction - Anything less than a first place finish would be surprising. They should win the division by at least 10 games.

Boston
The PARTIERS continue to re-build, abut they will take their lumps for one more season before they re-emerge better than ever.
Additions - Julian Guerrero
Subtractions - Billy Barry, Marc Fielder, Yusmeiro Durazo, Wendell Reed, R.J. Escobar
Net effect - Negative. You can't replace Reed and Durazo with FA fodder
Prediction - This is not a very good team, but it doesn't need to be. cincy has a plan, and is executing it like Walt Jocketty

Baltimore
With two heavyweights out of the way, only Philly stands in the way of a division title.
Additions - Kenny Evans, Jose Ramirez,J.C. Drew
Subtractions - Angel Marquez, Ralph Jennings, Rafael Soriano, Top Gear's Richard Hammond
Net effect - Negative. It's nice to get Soriano's contract off of the books, but more talent went out than came in.
Prediction - There is no reason why this team can't compete for the top half of the division. Pitching is suspect.

MVP Watch - Don Chen
Cy Young Watch - Timothy Crawford
ROY Watch - none

AL North Preview

The first in a series

Season 22 Standings
1. Cincinnati 109-53
2. Montreal 83-79
3. New Britain 73-89
4. Salt Lake City 48-114

Season 22 Recap - Cincy had the best team, by far, in the majors and was unlucky to not win it all. Montreal had its worst in 17 seasons under nhollan. New Britain showed its third consecutive season of improvement. SLC was the worst team in the league.

Team Previews

Cincinnati
With one of the highest payrolls in the league, Cincinnati appears to be re-building after winning over 100 games in 5 out of the last 7 seasons. Their definition of rebuilding, however, is not the same as most.

Additions - John Baek, Benny Crespo
Subtractions - Terry Buford, Benji Neill, Bernie Pena, Jonathan Gload, Angel Siqueiros
Net effect - Negative. You could win 90 games just with the guys that left the team plus some scrap heap free agents.
Prediction - There is still a bunch of talent here, but this team is clearly one in transition. 2nd Place with a shot at a wild card.

Montreal
Upset at missing his first playoff in 17 seasons. nhollan appears to be building to win, and do it now.
Additions - Cory Clark, Aaron Simon, Alex Encarnacion, Lou Jenkins, Bernie Pena, Tyson Lollar
Substractions - Chad Clarke, Bert Throneberry, Geronimo Lunar,Bill Reed, Lou Jenkins
Net effect - Positive. Some good players lost, but some better ones acquired.
Predicition - A return to the top, 1st place and 1st round bye.

New Britain
A chance at the Top 2 is there, are there more moves to come?
Additions - Wendell Reed, Aurelio Alvarez, Andy Jefferson
Subtractions - Jonathan Lankford, Rafael Telemaco
Net Effect - Positive
Prediction - 3rd place, but just. I would not be surprised to see them finish #2 or make the playoffs.

Salt Lake City
Will they win enough to meet the minimum win rule? Must go at least 62-100 to avoid.
Additions - Norman Carson, Joaquin Dominguez, Jason Weaver, and Vic Cabeza (expected promotions?)
Subtractions - none
Net effect - Positive, if promotions happen
Prediction - The only drama here is whether or not they will run afoul of the win rule. 4th place finish looks to be in the cards.

Most likely to win MVP - Henry Wise (MON)
Most likely to win Cy Young - Sammy Iglesias (MON)
Most likely to win ROY - Joaquin Dominguez (SLC)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Free Agency Day 3

Happy big money day!

1. Benji Neill , New Orleans, 5 years $86 million with a mutual option
Analysis - Neill is one of the best hitters in the game with a career average of .321 and OPS of .973. He also has a career OBP of .450, which is a staggering number and 2nd all-time in 1530. His contact, eye, vs. left, and make-up are elite, and he can still play an average 2B. A special player with an appropriate contract.

2. Dallas Singleton, Salem, 5 years $36 million with a player option
Analysis - Dallas is one of the more under-rated SPs in the game. His career OPS allowed is .686, and his ERA in homer-happy Durham was under 4.00 for his 3+ years there. He'll start for 2 years, then maybe close for another 2, with his last year most likely being unproductive. Still, a good deal for a "win now" team.

3. Philip Colin, Helena, 3 years $42 million
Analysis - A big contract for a future HOF'r. Colin has gas left in the tank, and will likely produce for the duration of his contract. He has a good chance of winning his 300th game in Helena blue, and maybe winning another WS ring in the process.

4. Bernie Pena, Montreal, 5 years $56 million with mutual option and a no trade clause
Analysis - The #1 SP on the board, Pena moves to division rival Montreal in what appears to be a changing of the guard in the North. While lacking elite stamina, Pena is young enough to hold off the decline that would cause a move to the bullpen by the time the contact reaches its option year. A dominant pitcher that will win plenty of games, as long as he is backed by a good bullpen. I like this deal.

5. Luis Morales, Kansas City, 2 years $7 million
Alanysis - A typical signing this late in FA. His Type A status kept him available for a team punting on the draft to swoop in and steal him. He can be kept or traded and, either way, will bring value much greater than his contract. A good deal.