>NATIONAL LEAUGE WEST PREVIEW

>Tacoma Pioneers (First Place)

The Tacoma Pioneers had the second best record in the National League by winning a franchise record 105 games and there second straight National League West Division champions but once again made a quick exit in the playoffs by getting swept by the New Britain Fisher Cats. The Pioneers will send out almost the same team as last season expect for losing Jeff O’Keefe to free agency and Edwin Saipe who was traded during the off-season. With little done during the off-season the Pioneers still did a lot of things internally and for the first time opening there wallets by signing Brook Diaz (5 years – 34 million), Lonnie Rizzo (5 years – 27 million) and Peter Webster (5 years – 36.6 million plus 1 million signing bonus) to contract extension before the arbitration hearing. The expectations are high in Tacoma as there waiting for this team to finally win a playoff series as they have the pitching to win games but the offensive as always let them down when they need them to step up. We don’t see any problem with the Pioneers repeating as the National League West champions again as most of the National League is in rebuilding mode and are a couple seasons away from making the West more competitive. The Pioneers will probably win 102 games this season and have a first round bye into the playoffs once again.

Coaches Corner:

The Pioneers goal every season is to win the National League West then the World Series because you can’t make it to the World Series unless you win your division. We do have secondary goals as we want to be the best pitching staff in the league and get the team Earned Run Average under 3. This season we wanted to try to compete with the Monterrey Stars and with us signing are core players to long term deals I think where one step closer to the Stars this season. I think the National League might have to watch out for D.T. Telford as he might make the fifth starting spot coming out of Spring Training and be a big force at the back end of the rotation. Where really not know for playing rookies in a starting position for most of the season but Telford could see action as the starter all season and could be a Rookie of the Year candidate. The team philosophy of the Pioneers is simple out pitch everyone, make you nervous when one of our speedsters gets on base and hope that the offensive can provide just enough to win.

Rankings to start the season:
29th ranked offensive
3rd ranked pitching staff

Players Added:
Norberto Vincente CF (Minor League Deal)
Adam Thomas CF (Minor League Deal)
Rusty Freel CF (Minor League Deal)
Alex Lee SS (Minor League Deal)
Phil Bang P (Minor League Deal)
Peter Leon P (Minor League Deal)
Quilvio Belliard CF (Acquired via Trade from Houston Hitmen)
Sal Yeats P (Acquired via Trade from Houston Hitmen)
Ron Powell P (Minor League Deal)
Tomas Seanez P (Minor League Deal)
Andre Nolan P (Minor League Deal)
Norberto Manuel 2B (Minor League Deal)
Von Salazar P (Minor League Deal)
Chick Wheeler P (Minor League Deal)
Troy King P (Acquired via Trade from Portland Landports)
Kiki Espinoza C (Claimed off Waivers)

Players Lost: Jordan Rowe C (Released)
Edwin Saipe P (Traded to Houston Hitmen)
Sal Brinkley P (Traded to Houston Hitmen)
Harvey Perez 3B (Claimed off Waivers by Tucson Chupacabras)
Derek Ferrell P (Claimed off Waivers by Columbus Pride)
John Stinnett P (Claimed off Waivers by Philadelphia HeadHunters)
Wayne Fingers P (Traded to Portland Landports)
Rob Cooper 1B (Left via Free-Agency)
Steven Pedersen 1B (Left via Free-Agency)
Jeff O’Keefe LF (Left via Free-Agency)

Tucson Chupacabras (Second Place)
The Tucson Chupacabras will be seeing a sixth different owner in as many years which is why the Chupacabras are 357-453 during the franchises first five seasons. With all the turmoil for the franchise it has been able to get a lot of young talent sitting in there minor leagues. With most of there talent in the minors, good hitting talent it was a good choice by the new owner to move to Tucson where the hitters park will help the hitters put up some big numbers this season. Tucson made very little changes going into this season which I think was a smart move to build from within as the fans in Tucson will be happy to have team there once again it really won’t matter what there record is. This team will find a lot of success on the offensive side but probably won’t turn into many victories because the pitching staff is going to struggle all season long. I the see the Chupacabras being around 60-65 win range this season.

Coaches Corner:
The Chupacabras this season will be looking towards the future and try to build up the team pitching for our minor leagues as that cupboard is completely empty. Damion Wilson is a player I think everyone should be on the look out this season as he will be a big weapon at the top of our lineup this season. I just hope we have enough offensive to over come the horrible pitching staff this season and with the hitters park in Tucson we might just be able to out score some teams this season.

Rankings to start the season:
14th ranked offensive
31st ranked pitching staff

Players Added:
Gordon Wehner 2B (Minor League Deal)
Juan Rodriguez P (Claimed off Waivers)
Kelvim Henry 2B (Claimed off Waivers)
Harvey Perez 3B (Claimed off Waivers)
Bruce Lewis LF (Claimed off Waivers)
Brandon Young P (Claimed off Waivers)

Players Lost:
Haywood Matthews CF (Left via Free-Agency)
Midre Torres P (Option Declined)
Alex Knotts CF (released)
Corey Skinner CF (released)
Alan Mack C (released)
Darryl Krueger P (released)

Salem Gangstas (Fourth Place)

The Salem Gangstas franchise once again will see a different owner but maybe to move from San Diego will help this team avoid its third straight year of losing 100 or more games. The Gangstas do have some talent sprinkled through out there minor league system and a couple good players at the major league level but it just never seem to come together for this team. The team really didn’t do much during the off-season with adding talent just some players that will fill in the gap until the players in the minor leagues are ready for the majors. I think the fans will be very exciting in Salem this season seeing this team fight and crawl there way through every game but I don’t see a lot more victories then the previous years out of this team this season. I think the Gangstas will win somewhere between 57-62 games.

Coaches Corner:
My goal for the Gangstas this season is really easy to figure out as a team we just need to plan for the future while fielding a respectable team while we do that. With me being so new to this team it might take a while before we figure out which direction we want to go with this team for the future ahead of us. It’s not good to start the season with needing a whole new outfield, an upgrade at first-base, an upgrade at starting pitching and a couple relievers to upgrade the bullpen but who doesn’t need pitching around this time of year. I think that anyone could surprise people from this team with a lot of players coming up from the minor leagues this season. You will see this team have a lot of speed and defense, well maybe not this season but we will be working towards that. We also will start getting pitchers in here that will keep the oppossing teams on base percentage down as well. I think that if everything comes to gather maybe we can get around the .500 record mark but we might fall short of that.

Rankings to start the season:
18th ranked offensive
30th ranked pitching staff

Players Added:
Preston Wright P (2-6, 6.33ERA, 32SO (2yrs, 6mil)
Nick Collins RF (.283, 20, 67) (1yr, 1mil)
Sandy McPherson P (Minor League Deal)
Ryan Oliver P (Minor League Deal)
Felipe Tejera P (Minor League Deal)
Ricardo De La Vega P (2-0, 3.90ERA, 1SV) (3yrs, 10.2mil)
Kevin Howard LF (Rule 5 Selection)
Jeffrey Schneider P (Rule 5 Selection)
Jim Holden P (Minor League Deal)
Tony Ordonez P (Minor League Deal)
Willie Phillips C (Minor League Deal)
Andre Quinn C (Minor League Deal)

Players Lost:
Rafael Pineda C (Option Declined)
Tim Archer P (Option Declined)
Andre Hyzdu 3B (Option Declined)
Jason Brewer P (released)
Scott Presley P (released)
Jay Moss LF (released)
Richard Tabaka LF (released)
Julian Lampkin RF (released)

Boise Hurricanes (Third Place)

The Boise Hurricanes saw there first over 100 games for the first time in franchise history, in which they really struggled during the second half. The full blown rebuilding project for this team is under way this season as I think everyone that was in the major leagues last season will be in a new home sometime this season. The team didn’t add anyone during the off-season really staying quite and off the radar as it looks like the moves will be made internally this season. I really don’t see this team really improving there record this season as they shift focus and the Boise fans will once again see a long season for there baseball team this season. I think the Hurricanes will finish the season with 60-65 wins this season.

Coaches Corner:
This year this team is a major rebuilding mode and we hope to move majors’ leaguers for prospects so that in a complete of season we can start building back towards the top of the league. This is the year where Wes Withem will start to break out and become a huge force in the National League, you all wait and see. This season will also begin the shift of the team philosophy from big sticks at the plate to OPS and from inning eaters on the mound to finesse guys with good pitches. I know that where not going to be very good this season but I would hope that we can keep are record around the .500 mark this season.

Rankings to start the season:
27th ranked offensive
13th ranked pitching staff

Players Added:
None

Players Lost:
David Gao P (Left via Free-Agency)
Sidney Gordon SS (Left via Free-Agency)
Rogers Dodd P (Left via Free-Agency)
Gene Guerrero P (Left via Free-Agency)

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About Knucklebones Radio

Alternative News, History, Music, & Interviews on podcast. Every now and then I blog too. Conspiracy and Theories. Interviews about the topics with those that have material concerning it. Independent Artists and Politics.
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