The Holy Men have enjoyed an interesting journey so far, first starting out in New York, and then moving to Charlotte and making there home in Toledo. Even with the constant moving and new owners (Walkoffnow2 is the third team owner) they have come in second place each year losing in a one game tie-breaker to Tampa Bay Storm (now the Richmond Pettifoggers) for the NL East crown. The team lost Pasqual James (LF) (.333, 0, 0), Craig Weber (1B) (.259, 6, 17), Candy Newsome (2B) (.000, 0, 0), Carmine Taft (P) (10-11, 3.13ERA), Mateo Romano (P) (12-10, 4.19ERA), Ivan Blanco (P) (73GP) and Curt Price (C) (.259, 6, 38) to free agency. The team didn’t signed or trade for anyone, as it looks like there will be a youth movement and some hard times for the Holy Men this year.
Sidney Gordon (SS) (.267, 34, 89) so his numbers fall from the previous year, but as one of the few veteran leaders on this team, he will need to pick it up again. Todd Borkowski (1B) (.277, 18, 59) missed most of last season with an injury and will also need to regain his form for this offensive to be able to produce. Returning players Terry Ward (LF) (.287, 8, 46), Joaquin Ozuna (1B) (.263, 23, 74), Tommie Romero (SS) (.286, 4, 63) and Pedro Cabrera (3B) will need to improve and mix well with the rookies for this offensive to be able to take off. Will Todd Borkowski return to his old ways, will Sidney Gordon be able to shake off a bad year last year or will they decline and hurt this offensive?
The pitching staff held it’s own last year, the starters keep the games close and the bullpen found away to win the close games that they were last year. Charles Gross (7-5, 5.71ERA) will try to make the jump from reliever to starter. Reagan Gardner (8-7, 4.27ERA) is looking to finally reach his potential after another full season in the rotation. Rigo Costilla (4-2, 4.82ERA), Howard King (10-10, 4.76ERA) and Benjamin Connelly (1-1, 3.07ERA) will fill out the rest of the rotation. AllStar/Fireman of the Year Christopher Newhan (49SVS, 1.95ERA) has to be the best young closer in the game, but I don’t think he will get as many saves this year though. Where will the victories come from in this rotation, as there isn’t one proven starter in the bunch, as with such a great closer that will see very few save chances this season.
Richmond Pettifoggers (Cooneyrj4)
The Pettifoggers are coming off a division title as the Tampa Bay Storm, as this team also finds itself moving to a new location and getting a new owner for the third time. With the core of last years team in intact there really shouldn’t be a problem with the team repeating at winning the AL East again. The team lost Wesley Buckley (P) (37SVS), Charlie Miller (P) (49GP), Jesus Lunar (P) (12wins) and Dave Brett (2B) (.339, 1, 9) to free agency. The team signed Carlos Vazquez (P) (1GP) from the Louisville Colonels for a league minimum, Victor Romano (LF) (.241, 2, 10) from the Colorado Sky Sox for league minimum and Max Wood (CF) (.257, 14, 50) from the Ottawa Crawdaddies for 4yrs/29.3mil The team resigned Tito Barclay (CF) (.231, 0, 1). Wood really only seems to be the one that will make an impact on this team.
Silver Slugger C Cookie Pena (C) (.284, 29, 114) is the offensive leader that is still very young. Woody Ruffin (RF) (.273, 20, 77) is the veteran leader that is needed for this team at the top of the order. Returning players AllStar Juan Piedra (RF) (.286, 18, 93), Matt Corey (2B) (.271, 14, 52), Norm Long (3B) (.290, 25, 82), Patsy Lincoln (SS) (.278, 26, 96), Tomas Rosario (3B) (.273, 27, 75), and Scott Rapp (C) (.273, 21, 93) that will have to have a different hero every night for the offensive to be successful. Will the very young hitters for the team take a step back this season or will to continue to grow?
The pitching staff was pretty good last year as they keep there in the game all season long. Stu Doster (13-10, 4.03ERA) is the staff ace and the guy that the young pitchers look up. Tony Brea (14-10, 3.61ERA) will need to pitch like he did last year, but at 35 can he do it again or will he hurt the team this year? AllStar Wilson Fisher (14-11, 3.09ERA), Yogi Brock (12-9, 4.67ERA) and AllStar Carlton Wolf (10-9, 5.14ERA) are filling the remaining spots in the rotation. With Buckley leaving it left the team with no true closer, which the beginning of the season about to happen, there still isn’t any clear picture on who the closer will be. With Doster and Brea provide the leadership to Fisher and Brock, so that Fisher and Brock can take over as these teams aces?
St. Louis Cornerstone (kk73)
The Cornerstone have found themselves in the AL East cellar the last two years, but the city is a buzz about the prospects of the team not only getting out of last place but to challenging for the AL East title. With the division being down this year anything can happen for this team. The team only lost D’Angelo Castillo (P) (3wins). The team resigned Melvin Howard (SS) (.277, 8, 22). The team also signed Barney Padden (SS) (.335, 10, 43) from the Texas Talley Whackers for 1yr/900k.
This lineup is full of young players many of which are just beginning to come into there own. For this team to be able to score enough runs they need to produce this year. David Cota (SS) (Minors) is one of the young players that will be counted on to have a big season. Returning players Tony Lanier (1B) (.286, 16, 80), Albert Glavine (3B) (.251, 15, 63), Jason Frazier (LF) (.254, 16, 70), Roger Worrell (C) (.296, 4, 43) and Valerio Moreno (3B) (.260, 24, 74) will try to get on base on a consistent basis to allow the power hitters to bring them in this year. Can the young hitters finally show St. Louis that the building of a championship team is complete or will they have to wait another year?
The pitching staff with out question is the strength of this team. They allow gave up 4.27 runs a game which was third best in the National League. Silver Slugger P P.T. Ramirez (12-10, 3.28ERA) has established himself as the staff ace at the age of 25, he also is one of the best young arms in the majors. Mark Barkett (11-17, 3.64ERA) lost 17 games but pitched better then his record would indicate, if the offensive would have picked him up for a couple games the outcome would have been different. Clem Adam Beard (8-9, 3.44ERA), Sean Holtz (12-10, 3.93ERA) and Ronn Hoyt (14-7, 4.63ERA) should fill out the rest of the rotation. AllStar Ed Jefferson (49SVS) will be counted on the produce the same kind of numbers again this year. The pitching is going to have to carry the load for this team once again. If they want any chance to get to .500 and out of the cellar they going to have to pitch better then last year.
Louisville Colonels (brentblades)
After winning the division the first year, the team fell to third place when they moved to Philadelphia, now the team finds itself in there third location and third owner as well. There is some talent on this team, but with little veteran players to look up to, this season can really go anyway from a winning season to last place. The team only lost Bennie McEnroe (CF) (.192, 2, 13), Mike Baxter (SS) (.238, 8, 37) and Ricky Jefferies (P) (3.73ERA) 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.
AllStar Chad Jones (RF) (.279, 36, 97) is the big hitter in this lineup and a big key to the Colonels effort to move back to the promise land of the divionsal title. AllStar/Gold Glove C Phil Takada (C) (.311, 25, 106) should have a monster year for a 22 year old. Returning players Chad Jones (3B) (.265, 24, 95), Jason Harvey (CF) (.254, 5, 36), Pepe Franco (1B) (.281, 27, 67), Rollie McMillon (2B) (.293, 11, 42) and Spike O’Brien (SS) (.287, 13, 58) need produce just enough to give there team a chance to win. Can Takada take another step into becoming one of the most feared hitters in the league for a while?
Sidney Musial (8-16, 4.09) was suppose to be the staff ace last year, but he struggled to produce the victories that an ace is suppose to do, so the team is looking for him the rebound this year. Gold Glove P Jim Buckley (14-9, 3.68) the 32 starting pitcher is at a cross roads in his career as he getting a little older, so will he still have a couple more good years in him. Tommy Jenkins (11-14, 3.52ERA), Joaquin Diaz (10-10, 3.40ERA) and Frank Yoon (2-3, 6.66) fill out the rest of the rotation that is young but should improve. Magglio Salinas (37SVS) is going to be once again the anchor in the bullpen for this team. With the pitching staff still in there prime, can they put together a great season to bring this team back to the promise land?