>Anaheim Beefpound (beefpac)
The Beefpound is without question on of the top teams in the American League and the team will once again have no problems remaining near the top this season. The Beefpound is probably the most balanced teams in the whole league with a good mix of hitters with great speed and a pitching staff that can hold it’s on even in the heavy hitting American League. Anything less then probably an American League Championship game for this team might be considered a major disappointment for the fans and the team this season. The team only lost Harold Morton (1B) (.285, 16, 84) and Charlie Hill (P) (10-6, 2.95ERA, 7SV) to free agency. The team didn’t sign anyone from the free agent market. The team also resigned Hank Epstein (P) (1-1, 1.53ERA, 45SV). The team made a minor trade with the Houston Hitmen as the two teams exchanged minor leaguers.
AllStar Francisco Manto (LF) (.308, 41, 123) is the big power bat in the lineup and once again will be looked upon to provide that role this season as well. Vin Cordero (RF) (.295, 32, 98) is the perfect balance of speed and power as he led the team in stolen bases with 71. The returning players Gold Glove-CF Bum Clarkson (CF) (.290, 3, 68), Pat Sugawara (2B) (.280, 13, 75), Karim Lee (2B) (.252, 27, 73), Junior Lui (SS) (.292, 16, 76), Keith Winston (LF) (.285, 10, 52), AllStar Zip Wirth (C) (.303, 30, 88), Juan Amaro (SS) (.248, 13, 69) and Bud Jackson (2B) (.256, 6, 36) really shouldn’t have any problems having the same type numbers that they had last season and probably the younger players should improve there numbers. Can the team that is built on speed and contact once again keep up with the other great hitting teams in the American League?
The Beefpound had the best pitching staff in the American League which really helped them to the third best record in the American League. The only problem I saw from the pitching staff last season was that the team went 19-23 in one-run games which told some struggle from the relievers expect for Epstein. Paulie Yarnall (16-6, 3.99ERA, 173.2IP) was a surprise on how well he pitched during the season but can he repeat those numbers once again. AllStar Delino Maduro (15-6, 4.13ERA, 3CG) pitched like the staff ace that he is from making the all-star team and almost pitching 200 innings. Daisuke Lui (10-9, 4.77ERA, 173.2IP), Herbert Brandt (14-8, 3.78ERA, 164.1IP) and Miguel Martinez (8-11, 4.88ERA, 162.1IP) should fill out the rest of the starters spots. AllStar/ AL Fireman of the Year Hank Epstein (1-1, 1.53ERA, 45SV) will once bring fear into batters facing him in the ninth inning this season as he is one of the best closers in the game. The starters are good and they have a great closer but the middle relief seems to be the problem for this team. Can the starters provide enough innings to get to Epstein or will they once again be at the mercy of the middle relief this season?
Projected Record – 98-64
Colorado Springs Armed Forces (parnold1)
The Armed Forces was the Cheyenne Featherwound last season but the new owner though that the team needed a nice chance of scenery moving the team Colorado Springs. No one really knows if this will be a good decision as the Armed Forces pitching staff last season gave up over a thousand runs and with moving them to the thin air of Colorado Springs really doesn’t seem like it will help them. The team lost Geraldo Molina (P) (14-5, 3.94ERA, 4SV), Roger Forsch (SS) (.270, 9, 74), AllStar Louie Gibson (P) (2-3, 4.84ERA, 38SV) and Nick Bickerton (P) (2-3, 11.31ERA, 42G). The team signed Vladimir Gonzalez (P) (8-4, 3.43ERA, 1SV) from the Fargo Woodchippers for 3yrs/11.4mil, Joaquin Diaz (P) (9-14, 4.25ERA, 201IP) from the San Juan Ballarz for 3yrs/10.5mil with an 800k bonus and Iago Shiell (P) (2-3, 4.56ERA, 8SV) from the Cincinnati Highlanders for 1yr/1.2mil with a 150k bonus. The team also resigned Felipe Camacho (P) (0-1, 4.21ERA, 4SV). The team also traded two minor leaguers to the Tacoma Pioneers for a Flip Sheldon (P) (1-3, 6.25ERA, 9G) and a minor leaguer.
Silver Slugger – DH Adrian Duncan (DH) (.280, 53, 151) crushed the ball all over the park last season and he is seen with a big smile on his face ever since he heard the team was moving to Colorado Springs this season. Cliff Adkinsson (DH) (.244, 29, 92) had a very disappointing season last year as he never seemed to get into a rhythm and saw his production fall. Returning players Lewis Shouse (CF) (.271, 24, 96), Chris Juden (SS) (.266, 13, 69), Edgar Seguignol (3B) (.263, 15, 85), Irv Jensen (LF) (.281, 20 ,86), Eric Cross (LF) (.321, 13, 77) and Carmen Garcia (LF) (.334, 20, 73) are really happy moving to Colorado Springs and should see there number jump. How much of an effect will the thin air of Colorado Springs have on the offensive this season?
The pitching staff last season was one of the worst in the American League giving up 6.4 runs per game. The new owner went after pitchers hard in the free agent market and even trading for one. Joaquin Diaz was signed for one reason and one reason only to become the staff ace that this team is desperate for this season. Edgar Perez (11-9, 4.07ERA, 170.1) was the best starting pitcher from last season and will be looked upon to once again as one of the best on the team again this season. Ben Canseco (10-10, 6.06ERA, 166.1IP) and Rip Brown (7-13, 6.33ERA, 193.1IP) looks to have a good spot in the rotation as Toby Jodie (4-11, 6.37ERA, 152.2IP) and Flip Sheldon will battle it out for the remaining spot. Newly signed Iago Shiell or resigned Felipe Camacho will probably battle for the closer role during springs training or might rotate the position during the season as it’s anyone’s guess who the closer will be. With the lost of AllStar closer Louie Gibson can the bullpen come together and provide the much need support that the starting pitchers will need.
Projected Record – 70-92
San Jose SaberCats (texanboiler)
Last season the SaberCats saw there worse record come over the franchise as it seems like the team is still waiting for there many good prospects to get ready for the major leagues. Can this be the year that the young players bring this over the .500 mark for the first time in team history? The team lost Orlando Segui (P) (8-10, 5.55ERA, 3CG), Marquis McCall (P) (3-2, 5.53ERA, 1SV), Trevor Schmidt (P) (4-3, 5.57ERA, 1SV), Edgar Suarez (1B) (.250, 2, 24) and Joaquin Gonzales (2B) (.235, 1, 2) to free agency. The team didn’t sign any free agents on the market. The team resigned Tito Ramirez (P) (17-9, 3.42ERA, 237IP), Bill Snyder (P) (4-2, 3.46ERA, 64G) and Marquis McCall (P) (3-2, 5.53ERA, 1SV). The team made no trades during the off-season. It looks as the team will continue to looks towards the youth and the pitching staff as they kept staff mostly together.
The offensive had no problem hitting the ball over the fence but had troubles problems getting runners across the plate other ways as they scored the second fewest runs in the American League. Jose Espinoza (3B) (.318, 33, 103) was the only starter to have a .300 average and was without a question the big bat in the lineup. Glen Lewis (LF) (.250, 32, 81) had a great 30-30 season and should once again become a problem at the top of the order this season. Returning players Marvin Stark (CF) (.286, 28, 93), Michael Watkins (2B) (.279, 29, 105), Malcolm Lanier (2B) (.267, 34, 100), Wilfredo Aybar (1B) (.234, 24, 63), Jeremi Jones (SS) (.256, 10, 59) and Will Randolph (C) (.292, 4, 46) will need to get the runners across the plate better without hitting homeruns all the time. Scoring 4.82 runs in the American League is not something that will get you a lot of wins in the American League so can the offensive provide more support for the pitchers this season?
The pitching staff was the strength of this team and was the good reason that the team did as well as they did last season. Tito Ramirez was without a question the staff ace and was a great resign for the team. Marino Mendez (10-15, 4.77ERA, 160.1IP) will like to improve his numbers from last season and become the pitcher that the team will like him to become. Ricky Bennett (7-14, 5.12ERA, 135.1IP), Carmen McPherson (10-16, 4.81ERA, 176IP) and Chet Kingland (2-0, 2.84ERA, 19IP) should fill out the rest of the rotation. Shane Haad (1-3, 2.51ERA, 34SV) will be looked upon the closer once again this season and should have no problem in the getting those same type numbers again this year. With Ramirez in as the ace and Haad as the closer this pitching really can’t do all that wrong the only question is can the players between them provide the support and numbers that this will need to win 81 games this year or not.
Projected Record – 75-87
Tucson Xpress (powercats22)
The Xpress saw a horrible first half turn into a decent second half giving this team a lot of hope that the owner finally has the team moving in the right direction and that a playoff berth doesn’t seem so far away. The team only lost Javier Diaz (P) (1-3, 5.03ERA, 18G) to free agency. The team signed Otis Rhodes (P) (minor leaguer) from the Milwaukee Bucks for 1yr/1.0mil, Jolbert Chavez (P) (0-3, 7.23ERA, 4G) from the Toledo Tornados for 3yrs/11.7mil, Kenneth Bryant (DH) (.100, 0, 0) from the Jackson Blazers for 3yrs/12.6mil, Esteban Juarez (LF) (.308, 12, 35) from the Fargo Woodchippers 5yrs/25mil and Tony Wood (C) (.285, 0, 11) from the Houston Hitmen for 2yrs/4mil. The team didn’t trade for anyone as it looked like they got everyone they needed through free agency. The team looked to plug in some missing holes through there free agent signings and lets hope that it works out for the team this season.
The offensive didn’t have any problem scoring the runs that they needed to as they kept the team in many games and with the players having a great second half will provide the confidence that they will need this season. Michael Long (2B) (.280, 3, 44) is without the question the stolen base king stealing a league record 143 stolen bases and it probably will never be broken. Butch Halter (2B) (.315, 30, 108) helped provide the offensive with some pop and many RBI’s and should once again have no problems keeping those numbers up with Long hitting in front of him. Returning players Donn Bergman (RF) (.304, 22, 114), Erubiel Sanchez (1B) (.286, 36, 106), Willie Garces (SS) (.291, 4, 78), Dave Roberts (3B) (.278, 28, 97) and Myron Nichols (LF) (.307, 12, 66) should provide even better numbers this season as they are looking to become one of the best offensives in the American League this season. Can the new players mix well with the younger players in lineup to become one of the best offensives in the American League?
The pitching staff struggled quite a bit last season even when the team was performing well in the second half. I don’t see the staff getting better in the American League but with the offensive as powerful as it is they won’t be looking for the staff to become great overnight. Jeff Schourek (10-7, 4.32ERA, 150IP) was in the bullpen for a while during last season before making the move to the starting rotation and will be looked upon as an ace even though he may not be that ace. Esteban Fernandez (11-13, 4.48ERA, 3CG) is also looking to be the staff ace this season after leading the team in victories the year before. Louis Lloyd (11-12, 5.82ERA, 2CG), Victor Sojo (7-12, 5.07ERA, 1SV) and Eddie Henderson (2-5, 7.11ERA, 49IP) should fill out the rest of the rotation. Christopher Newhan (3-2, 6.43ERA, 31SV) is looking to finally become the closer that everyone thinks he will become this season or will another year struggle slow down his progress. The bullpen did not pitch all that well last season and they will need to find a good mix in the bullpen if this team has any shot at making the playoffs this season.
Projected Record – 81-81