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?
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?
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?
Russell Van Pelt
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?