>Season 10 Championship Odds
Los Angeles Robins (5-2): Nothing new here. Nothing to see here. Move along. The Season 9 champs do it with great pitching. The pitching stars are getting into the mid 30’s (Jim Wells 37, Rafael Cruz 33, Stubby Knight 32), but they have plenty of tread left on the tires. On the offensive side, Ricardo Johnson may be the greatest player in NABCL history. He has won the Rookie of the Year, MVP (twice), is an All-Star (6-times), Silver Slugger (4-times), and even won the Home Run Derby last season. I think he is the favorite for the Cy Young this year. They are good, really good. Can they become the first team in the NABCL to win 3 World Championships? Don’t bet against them.
San Antonio Missions (Viva The Puffy Taco) (3-1): Back to back NL pennants but the ring remains elusive. But for good measure, they went out and signed Catcher Rolando Belliard, he of the .301 career average, Ken Small for pitching depth, and took a chance on minor leaguer John Nathan. Nathan has huge control problems but the rest of his attributes scream “ACE”!!!Making it out of the NL Gauntlet a third time will be tough, but the betting public likes a sure thing, and they are a sure a thing as any.
Sacramento Terrible Two’s (7-2): Same ol’, same ol’. 6 straight NL West titles, but only 1-World Series ring. This may be the deepest and most talented team in the Capital City yet, but time is running out. Vinny Granger and Danys Ortiz left as free agents in cost cutting moves, it is only a matter of time before the window closes. 2-time NL MVP Otis Pavlov leads an offense full of muscle with 50-hr man Dave Glaus, former MVP Albert Piper, young Dario Moran, and rookie 40/40 candidate Harry Paleaz. On the pitching side they have ace Albert Boone (1-win behind Lenny Singleton for the most all-time), Fausto Bennett, Alex Schmidt, and rookie Cyrus Curtis. For the fifth spot in the rotation it is time for Randy Delucci to prove he is worthy of a starting spot. They came close to pulling the trigger on a number of trades in the winter but so far have stood pat. The Two’s are riding the fine line of trading away some talent, while still remaining super-competitive, in order to restock the system. They do have 5 of the first 70 picks in the draft so they must cash in there. The question here becomes when to rebuild, not if.
Fargo Roughriders (9-2): Management spent a lot of money to improve on last years 84-78 campaign by signing All-Stars Vinny Granger and Danys Ortiz away from Sacramento, and controversial pitcher Felipe Matos away from, well…a lot of teams. The problem last year wasn’t the league leading 1011 runs scored, it was the 924 runs given up. Matos will help solidify the rotation, and Fargo should make a run in the AL North.
Chicago Beast (5-1): Livan Flores struggled after he was aquired from New Orleans late in season 9, but he will pay huge dividends in a full season in Chicago. B.C. Parent should finally be recognized for the MVP talent that he is, and new arrival (via trade) Tito Katou is a young fireballer who will add depth to the rotation. In the loaded National League it is hard to call anyone the favorite, but the Beast are going to be ridiculously good.
Jacksonville Jackals (7-1): Moment of silence for Ebby…he will be missed, but in his place comes Jose (Vegas), and the ship will remain on course. Bob Shaw will be back to close out games, young SS phenom Derrek Clinton should be an All-Star, and the pitching is always strong. If anyone can knock off the Robin’s, the Jackals are at the front of the line.
Trenton Thrashers (8-1): They signed former Cy Young winner Alan Phillips in the off season to add to an already strong rotation of Pep Fang, Ivan Cedeno, and Junior Sanchez. They quietly won the NL East last year by 18 games and should easily do so again. The question becomes, can they stay motivated down the stretch when the games are meaningless? And how long can they hold off the rebuilding team in Kansas City and the young phenoms in Wichita.
Anaheim Natural Disasters (8-1): Forgotten in the Robin’s run to the World Series was the fact that Anaheim finished only 4 games behind Los Angeles in the AL West. If oft-injured SS Tony Wanatabe could stay healthy (2 DL trips last year and a 48 health rating), his bat alone could be the difference in finishing 1st or 2nd. Kevin Martin and Howard Sellers, while long in the tooth, are also long in experience and will only help add depth. The Natural Disasters are a playoff team, but will it be as a division winner, or a wild card?
El Paso Ultraviolence (8-1): Young pitching is where it’s at, and El Paso has it. 20-game winner Diego Lee is only 24, Luis Moya is 23 and scheduled for a breakout season, and Larry Browne (25) won 11 games in only 138 innings pitched. Mix in 23 year old ROY winner Bump Boucher and his historic .308/.366 53 homer run 169 rbi season, and the Ultraviolence are going to be Ultragood. The AL South is the new NL West, with Iowa City even making noise in free agency.
Portland Jacks (10-1): Got off to a great start last year and led the Two’s by 9 games early in the season, they ended up making the playoffs as usual and knocked off Chicago in the 1st round. Hall of Fame closer Lew Oliver is 38 and cant close forever but he should be his normal dominant self in season 10. They are tough to beat and always compete, but in a loaded NL West, even the slightest misstep can leave you out of the playoffs.
Honolulu Anteaters (10-1): They won 88 games but finished last in the NL West and 19 games out of 1st and baseballers has followed that up and guaranteed a playoff spot for the Anteaters, and he has the horses to back up the prediction. We all know about Lenny Singleton, but he had a lot of offensive help last year with Derrick Stanley and Warren Collins. This is the darkhorse in the NL this season, and not a team you want to see in the postseason if they do make it.
Richmond Poor Men (12-1): Alex Mieses is a horse coming off a 16-win season, Hamlet Mercedes is 35 but was 13-3 last year, and Vin Lockwood won 12 games in his own right. The offense is led by John Barkley who already has 173 home runs in his 4-year career. If Jacksonville and Anaheim are camping out in line to knock off the Robin’s, then Richmond has to be right behind them.
Philadelphia Dead Milkmen (13-1): Barely hung on to beat New Britain by 1-game to win the AL North in season 9. Young Jacob Dunn broke the .300 barrier in only his 2nd season, after a sub-par season 8, Shooter Farrell rebounded to hit .270 and hit 42 bombs, and Walter Wilkins seems to have the RF Silver Slugger locked up with his high .340’s average. The offense is there, and it helps the pitching staff win games they shouldnt. They have been the class of the AL North, but with Fargo trying to win now, and the Block Heads breathing down their necks, a postseason sitting at home could be in the cards.
Colorado Springs Coyotes (15-1): They may have been passed by in the NL West by Honolulu. The Coyotes made a few moves in free agency bringing in Homer Roberts to solidify the back of the bullpen and Tripp Hayes to solifify the front. Overall, the team remains the mostly the same, which is not bad considering they won 90 games last year and made the playoffs. It’s just that other teams did more in the offseason.
Seattle Salty Dogs (15-1): A difficult year in season 9 for the Salty Dogs. It was supposed to be a breakout year in Seattle where the young talent came together and made a “playoffs or bust” run to the postseason. Instead, injuries and a lack of timely hitting doomed the ‘dogs to another year of waiting. They did finish in 2nd place and posted 83 wins, so they are on the rise, but it is time for young Bum Stocker to take the team on his shoulders and prove he is worthy of all the accolades the organization has bestowed upon him.
Norfolk Loyalists (18-1): They were busy in the offseason bringing in Glen Dunn, William Shields, Bo Forbes, and Del Rijo and hung around the medicore AL East most of the year before giving way to Washington D.C. late in the year. On offense, Ismael Franco has a 50-hr bat and Devon Russell must prove he is the face of the franchise and can carry them to the playoffs (see Bum Stocker above). The money they spent shows they want to win now, and the division should be theirs for the taking.
New Britian Block Heads (18-1): They have veteran talent on offense in Craig Hooper and young talent in Rickey Sutton to lead them. Add in Mikey Knotts’ 61 long balls and they can mash with anyone. The problem is those guys cant pitch. It was a heartbreaking season as they missed the postseason by 1 game, but has the window closed, or is it cracked just enough for them to push it open and bust through?
Toronto Flare (20-1): Not a whole lot of impact moves in the offseason, Oswaldo Estrada (signed as a free agent) will eat innings, and Diego Guerrero (via trade) should reach 200-innings and 15-wins at best. Young Javier Garza could win a Cy Young if Lenny Singleton would get traded to the AL or retire. On offense, Joshua Whitaker is ready to follow his .300+, 30+ hr season and establish himself in the middle of the Flare lineup, but he needs help.
Helena Misfits (30-1): They finished 79-83 which placed them in the cellar of the AL North in season 9. Only 6 teams allowed fewer runs than the Misfits, the problem was their offense, they just didnt score enough (run differental of +9). What did they do in the offseason to fix the problem? They signed career minor leaguer (27 years old) Brian Sullivan to a 4 year $30 million contract. He may help, but not enough to move them past the much improved teams (Fargo) and better teams (Philly and New Britain) ahead of them.
Washington D.C. Federals (30-1): They started last year as 50-1 favorites, and at the 100 game mark had fallen to 75-1. The AL East was terrible for most of the season with all 4 teams sitting below .500 and nobody wanting to win the division. Then the Federals got hot and finished at 83-79 to beat Norfolk by 4 games. Then, for good measure, they beat Richmond in the first round of the playoffs, upset Anaheim in the 2nd round, and pushed the eventual champs (LA Robin’s) to 7 games in the ALCS. They are getting a lot of money in the preseason and for good reason. They went out and signed Mo McFeeley and Estaban Rocque to help in the bullpen. Then signed Ronnie Priest (107 career wins) to solidify the rotation. And to help with the offense, they signed 26-year old John Chang to a 5-year deal and veteran (season 7 CF Silver Slugger) Dale Hinske to a 2-year deal. They have been active, spent money, are in a down division, and have postseason experience. This could be a bet that pays off big.
Wichita ‘weed (35-1): They had the longest odds last year (2500-1) and at the 100 game mark werent much better (1000-1), but it is only a matter of time. No one has a better or deeper minor league system than the ‘weed. Oldave has brought them along slowly but watch out once they reach the bigs. Until they do, they made some shrewd signings in the offseason and they are my team to watch. Former Kansas City SS Willie Guerrero brings 3 All-Star appearances and a Gold Glove with him, Vitas Hogan own a .305 career average, and Catcher Paul Yoshi brings 5 All-Star nods, an MVP, and 4 Silver Sluggers to the team. Yes they are up in years, but rich in experience. Mix that with Bono Garcia and Joe Rhodes who are already in Wichita and this team is dangerous. If he pulls the trigger and brings up Tony Trinidad, Sean Daal, and company, they may very well unseat the Thrashers sooner rather than later. Trenton is tough in the NL East but a wild card run wouldnt shock me.
Memphis Maniax (50-1): The Maniax won the tough NL South 5 out of 6 years before finishing 3rd last year. Was th is a blip on the screen? Phil Rubel and Donaldo Vidal lead the charge on offense, but what about the rotation? Lance Campbell was an All-Star in season 7, but he is 34. After winning 15 games in season 5, Orlando Baez has yet to top 13 since and finished 12-16 last year. Same with Justin Reitsma, he is 34 and has yet to win more than 11 games in a season. If they could get a few good years out of their arms they could contend for a wild card, but it will be tough to knock off the back to back NL Pennant winning Missions.
Charoltte Queen’s Men (60-1): They are in a tough division but do have some pieces to build around. Glen Kirkland has a nice glove (and a big price tag), Mel Malone has huge power and is only 25, Tomas Gomez has a big bat, and Ken Upshaw is going to be an All-Star 3rd baseman. The problem is pitching, they are pinning their hopes on young 23-year old Placido Carrara. He cant do it by himself, this could be a good team but Carrara needs arms around him and quickly.
New Orleans Crawdads (75-1): All-Star Felipe Tarasco is the final remaining name on the Crawdads and they are in rebuilding mode. They came so close, finishing 2nd numerous times in the first 9 seasons of the NABCL. The question now becomes, how long do they wait to unload Mr. Tarasco for prospects to hasten the rebuiling process?
Iowa City Shuckers (75-1): The wonders of free agency, it can set you back many seasons or make your season. The Shuckers are hoping the money they spent will make them a contender in season 10. While a lot of teams where spending big money on offense, Iowa City quietly snapped up the pitching, signing Sid Prince (112 career wins), Rex Mays, and John Blake to long term deals. They resigning veteran speedster Skeeter Reese to man the top of the order. They also came to terms with young Freddy Garcia to presumably close games, and they still have Harry Simpson who can now sit back as a #2 behind Prince and hopefully have his break out year. The AL South is tough, but a .500 record would be movement in the right direction, a wild card run would be a dream season.
San Diego Storm (80-1): Another team who spent shrewd dollars in the offseason but are in the wrong division. Teddy Fischbach never had that breakout season they wanted in Sacramento, then was traded, and was allowed to go to free agency. If he can live up to potential, he will be a great top of the order guy. Catcher Gregg Wright (32) was a huge sign, he is a former Gold Glover with a .314 career average and .407 career obp. After having some huge years in Jacksonville, AJ McIntyre has yet to get his groove back. But is there anything better than Petco Park for a pitcher to find himself? He should add close to 18 wins onto his 122 career total. They have the pitching, the ballpark, and young CF Vincente DeRojas is ready to be an All-Star. Will it be enough? I think the bettors are wrong on this one and San Diego will battle for a Wild Card right to the end of the season.
Boston Colonials (100-1): It was a tough year in Boston as a franchise rich in tradition (3 AL East titles) finished under .500 for the first time. But help is on the way and in a few seasons they will be back. Billy Cannon is a .295 career hitter, everyone’s favorite Sherman Carter could hit 50 hr’s one year, if they can get his average up to even .250 he could put up MVP type numbers. In limited at-bats last year, Catcher Norman Harris hit .346 and should get the starting nod, Chuck Canseco (SS) was signed for his glove and one of the gold variety could be in his future (you cant ignore the impact he will have on the pitching staff), Roger Bottenfield was signed and can play any of the corners, and they are taking a chance when they signed Brian Shuey in hopes his control wont hurt him too bad. He has all the other attributes. 24-year old William Parrott could be a future stud stopper and 25-year old Spike Rivera will give the Colonials 250 innings and 10-15 wins. Get ’em while they’re down, but in the AL East, you never know.
Vancouver Loonies (100-1): Adrian Christenson will be one of the best overall players in the game and they will build the future around him. Wesley Ingram has the power, but the rest of the offense is in rebuild mode. The pitching staff is about the same. Oscar Duvall could win 18+ games with some offensive help, and young Javier Lugo could easily be up for Rookie of the Year honors when it is all said and done. Ultimately, it will be a few years before the Loonies are back in business.
Las Vegas Muckers (250-1): Sin City is a ways away from competing in the AL West. They are using stud Geronimo Nieto as a closer, but how many games will he have to close? If they move him into the rotation he can stabilize it, or he can be moved for prospects. They made a few moves during the winter signing SP Brian Rollins and 3B Bill Ledee, but they are only stop-gaps. Young Henry Figga will try to carry the load but with no one hitting around him it will be tough.
Kansas City Here I Come (250-1): They were quiet as a church mouse in the offseason as they are rebuilding and going with the guys that are here. Long-time ace Jimmy Ellis is coming to the end, but he has a season or two left in his arm. Bump Dickens will add innings and 23-year old future stud Pepe Escobar will be dominant on the mound once his splits reach near projections. On the other side is 26-year old phenom Ricky Valdes. He has somehow hit .327/.400 with 100+ hr’s in his first 5 seasons before he was 26. He is amazing and if he reaches projections he will be the future star in KC.
Louisville Legionnaires (500-1): They kept the losses below 100 (99) last year and that was a step. Restocking the majors is step two and the plan is in motion. 31-year old Mikey Cannon was signed to help with the rotation. He hasnt ever really gotten the chance to start games over an entire season and could surprise. 12 wins arent out of the question. Allen Mathews has lost range but can still hit a bit and Don Leary has hit .280 before and can get on base. All were signed to very modest contracts which wont set the team back regardless of their performance. Very smart moves. They also signed Jason Coomer for $3 million this year and he is a former 17-game winner. The future of the rotation is on Ed Harris. He is 28-years old and has 3 straight double digit loss seasons, granted some of this is due to lack of offense, but if he can get it together, they may have their future ace.
Pawtucket Patriots (1000-1): In the weak AL East they managed only 44 wins. So they are obviously rebuilding. They have plenty of talent to get them started. Michael Chiba’s splits project to 100/100 and he is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors. On the pitching side they have two potential aces in Henry Sorrento (9-17 in his rookie campaign) and Wiki Beltran (17 adn 19 losses last 2 years). Both are young and unproven but have the potential to be very good. There one free agent signing was a big one as they signed Jared DeShields away from Jacksonville for a 3yr $15 million contract to close out games. How many opportunities he has is the real question.
There you go guys. Again, I put a lot of time into this so I hope I hit everyone’s main points and I obviously wasn’t trying to offend anyone. I love this league and am just trying to increase the experience. Good luck to all (even you bullet)…