Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Season 9 Team Previews

(Note: All team records shown are for last season)

AL North

Montreal Sin City, plague *

111-51 (up 9 wins)

Columbus Battling Bishops, rgun

93-69 (up 18 wins)

Hartford Whalers, Sved

86-76 (up 12 wins)

Boise Spuds (formerly Burlington Anthrax, suiciderick), The_Rock, Lake Stevens, WA

61-101 (down 14 wins)

AL East

Buffalo Blizzard (formerly New York Brokers, huskypride2), fumanchu

93-69 (down 4 wins)

The Buffalo Blizzard, formerly New York Brokers, are looking to stay competitive and hold reign to the division title. The team has some really high priced salaries for what some may call good players, but not great. The former owner sold out for 3 straight division titles and a WS title, but to what end. This team has to rebuild the minors as there is no depth for the future and with such high salaries, it makes it near impossible to try and trade for prospects. Being on the wrong end of the salary cap doesn't make things easier...somebody has to be moved in order to get this team headed back in the right direction for the long term.

Baltimore Black Stallions, wolfgangcrab

65-97 (down 7 wins)

Relocated the Boston Irish II franchise from original owner kcg67

wolfgangcrab – Born in Stuttgart, Germany; Current Residence - San Ramon, CA

2nd Season Record 65-97 3rd Place in AL East

Season 8: Review & Highlights:

Sid Scott LF/3B/2B- 155 hits; .311/.373/.430/.803 w/ 23D;12HR; 73RBI; 124 G

Chuck Douglas RF/SS/2B/CF- Led team w/ 176 hits; .281w/ 28D; 31HR; 99RBI;162 G

Miguel Sanchez LF/1B- 157 hits; .252/.324/.404/.728 w/ 27D; 8T; 17HR; 75RBI; 162 G

Wellington Rodriguez SS/2B- 11+ & 0- plays @ SS, w/ 25HR; 70RBI; 147 Games

Eugene Allen 3B/RF/2B/SS- Led team w/101 R; .281 BA; 29D; 6T; 16HR; 57RBI; 32SB

Joe Malloy SP- 33 Starts; 5 CG; 1 SHO; 13-12; 213 IP; 215H; 5.49ERA; 1.47WHIP;

*James Dong SP- 32 Starts; 2 CG; 11-16; 207 IP; 222 H; 3.94ERA;1.39 WHIP; 91 ER

Jeff Ensberg Clr- 37 G; 30 SV; 34 SVO; 33 IP; 28 H; 4.09 ERA; 1.36 WHIP; 15 ER

*Felipe Posada SP- 32 Starts; 8-11; 192 IP; 191 H; 3.79 ERA; 1.20 WHIP; 81 ER

Season 8 Amateur Draft: We were able to select with 8th overall pick Fausto Rivera who if he can reach his projected numbers will be a very good Major League pitcher with excellent control, major league splits, great velocity, 1 great pitch along (100) w/ 3 very good pitches (71,63,60)/ 86 GB/FB. We also picked up Deion Blake – an athletic great defensive SS; Garry Barker an excellent defensive CF with super speed; Socks Goldberg who has a chance to pitch at the big league level if he can maximize his potential.

Season 9: Key Additions: D’Angelo Maradona, 31 y.o. Cuban Defensive SS; 2Yr X1.8M

Edgard Franco, 31 y.o. Mexican Relief Pitcher; 6.6M X 3Yr w/ Team Opt

Key Losses: *FA SP James Dong signed a 5.2M X 3 Yr deal w/ Texas

* FA SP Felipe Posada signed a 4.6M X 2Yr deal w/ Tacoma;

Season 9: Outlook- We know that we are still re-tooling this organization. Plan – Build this team through Amateur Draft, Trades and FA. We feel that if we can get great defense which we are counting on, and improved pitching with SP1 Malloy and crew, we could surprise and contend for a Wild Card spot (*this is a reach). Our offense should see some improvement from 25 year old Miguel Sanchez who has 650 ML AB’s under his belt now. Hopefully we can get a lead to the 7th or 8th and Jeff Ensberg and Edgard Franco will close out 95% of those games. We see Douglas, Allen, Gibbons, Scott, Tamura, Maradona and Rodriguez all having better offensive years than in Season 8. We feel that we should get some top talent with 3 draft picks in the top 60, (#5; #34; #60).

Prediction: 3rd in AL East 75-87.

Durham Bulls, milton7, West Chester Township (Cincinnati), Ohio

65-97 (down 5 wins)

The Durham Bulls are looking at a big makeover in the area of position players. The GM has two other HBD teams running on pitching and defense and has had a very hard time wrapping his mind around an offensive team in a hitter’s ballpark. As a result the Bulls have looked more like rabbits, leading the league in SB but close to last in HRs. Stud Francisco Guillen was lost to free agency, further hampering the organization’s progress towards respectability. In a radical move, the GM has brought in five rule 5 players with great power potential in an effort to take advantage of the short fences here in Durham. FA Kelvin Thomas was picked up to replace F. Guillen. He won’t come close to Guillen’s .355 batting average of last season, but he should improve on the 28 HRs. Six players on the ML roster now have power ratings of 85+ compared to the ONE player it had last season. Hopefully these bats will be able to keep us in ballgames through the first 5-6 innings when the mediocre starting rotation is throwing and let the bullpen get the majority of our wins this season. An excellent SP and some very good bullpen help is getting a little more seasoning in AAA at season’s beginning. Hopefully the ML club will need them for a playoff drive mid to late season.

Syracuse Highlanders, stmachi

55-107 (down 17 wins)

AL South

Charlotte Shoddies, giles21, Athens, GA

90-72 (up 7 wins)

The Shoddies return slightly stronger and younger in the field and at the plate, and slightly stronger at pitching. Nothing too drastic, and the fans in Charlotte are fine with that. It's a team that should make the postseason again, and rely on Willie's arm and anyone else who wants to step up to take down a title for Charlotte.

Richmond Rug Rats, thebug715, Union, NJ

82-80 (down 11 wins)

Kansas City Aristocrats, mattjmiller

81-81 (down 2 wins)

Tampa Bay Tocobaga, Ripken0713, Kansas City, MO

73-89 (up 7 wins)

It's been a hectic off-season for the Tampa Bay! The Tocobaga finished the year in last place, but it wasn't without it's bright spots. Vincete Franco and Orlando Cervantes were both nominated for Rookie of the Year, (with Franco eventually winning) and newly acquired closer Moe Corey, lead the league in Saves (39). Tampa also brought in a proven ace in Jay Bynum (going 13-9 with a 2.85 ERA) to help contribute to a team that was second in the league and 6th in the majors in pitching (4.01 team ERA).

However, hitting continued to plague the Tocobaga. They were second to last in batting with a .246 team BA and only a .312 OBP! Their owner appears to have addressed the concerns and through FA, acquired several legimate bats. Using lineup calculators, TB's lineup would have generated 4.60 runs per game last year. It's newly generated lineup shows at 5.90 runs per game! Francisco Guillen (.355/.435), Footsie Butler (.274/.342) and Scott Murphey (.333/.384) should only help a team that also will have full years from the afformentioned Vincente Franco, Mitch Smith (.285/.380) and Davey Jose (.274/.350)

Tampa also worked to enhancing it's strength by signing a vetern starter to form a nice 1-2 punch with Jay Bynum. Omar Soriano (15-11 3.57 ERA) was brought in and could be slated for his first All-Star game appearance. Also, veteran Rex "Kwon-Do" Harris (2.89 CAREER ERA) was signed to provide stability in the bullpen.

There is definately room for improvement. However, with numerous acquisitions over the last 1/2 a year and continued progression from their several young stars, Tampa fans should expect nothing short of their first playoff appearance this year. The owner has made it clear: he's hoping it's the first of many.

AL West

Colorado Stickballers, mr_stickball, Sonoma, CA

97-65 (down 15 wins)

Summary: The Stickballers have won their division in all but one of the eight seasons in Stickball World, but only won the WS Trophy once, in Season 6. They are known for having an explosive offense, and feature a lineup of very patient power hitters, but their defense has been strong in recent times and has been a major factor in their success. This offseason saw the Stickballers part ways with nobody of major importance, so this Season should bring very few surprises.

Pitchers (opening the season with a 5-man rotation this time):

SP1 – Rocky Martin 6-4 (OAV .260/ WHIP 1.35/ ERA 4.02) Former Rookie-Of-The Year, Rocky collected 83 strikeouts last season and is the Ace of the staff despite suffering an injury that set him back a bit last season.

SP2 – Bill Brown 11-7 (OAV .276/ WHIP 1.40/ ERA 4.74) Colorado’s Season 1 Supplemental Pick only won 11 games last season. At Age 29, the Stickballers are hoping he’ll continue to mature and win games for many seasons to come.

SP3 – Sean McKay 18-7 (OAV .284/ WHIP 1.49/ ERA 5.10) 25-year-old McKay struck out 142 while only walking 62 in his first full season at the ML level. A 20-win season is well within his grasp.

SP4, Tracy Grimsley 10-6 (OAV .287/ WHIP 1.45/ ERA 4.83), is an aging groundball pitcher who wins by not making a ton of mistakes.

SP5 – Pinky Merloni 6-4 (OAV .288/ WHIP 1.56/ ERA 5.67) Merloni was a new addition last offseason, and he did not perform up to the level Colorado had hoped for. This is a make-or-break season for Merloni.

Long Relievers – Anchored by young Juan Carrara 10-4 (OAV .290/ WHIP 1.50/ ERA 4.74), a young groundball pitcher who was called up toward the end of the previous season. He is blessed with wicked "stuff", but is a soft-tosser and needs to keep the ball down or he gets victimized by the long ball.

Short Relievers – Anchored by Setup Man Johnny Mays 3-3, 1 SV (OAV .277/ WHIP 1.59/ ERA 3.94), this group sees a lot of action in Colorado and is a key factor towards their success or failure.

Closer – Rafael Martinez (OAV .255/ WHIP 1.30/ ERA 3.24) was thrust into the closer role early last season and performed well enough to keep his job as this season begins. He saved 27 out of 30 games and won 4 games while only losing 1. He is a good strikeout/groudball pitcher with a decent fastball and a pretty nasty sinking curveball.


1. RF Len Russell (.273/.373/.407 AA) Base-stealing phenom, 23-year-old Left-Handed Rule-5’er will platoon in RF and see the majority of the action there this season when a righty is on the mound.

2. LF Albert Cruz (.349/.431/.387) Picked up in the offseason before last season began, journeyman Albert Cruz came back to Colorado in a big way earning an All-Star appearance. In Season 3, while with Colorado, Cruz, then only 23-years-old, hit for a .332 AVE, and, last season’s improvement on those numbers spells real trouble for opposing managers.

3. CF Scot Sexton (.374/.431/.640) Mr. Everything, in his first full season in Colorado, was really spectacular. He not only earned another All-Star appearance, but he won the All-Star MVP award. Out of necessity, he’ll play a little CF (vs. Righties) this season again … a position he’s comfortable with.

4. 1B Jose Johnson (.349/.433/.709) actually started out last season pretty slow but lit it up toward the end of the season … again … he was the leagues MVP for the third season in a row. This is becoming a standard thing, slow start, superhuman finish. As it turned out, he finished with 63 HRs and 180 RBIs. He is the League's All-Time HR leader.

5. C Jamie Cornelius (.302/.410/.473) While not the Stickballers best defensive catcher, young Cornelius’ bat gets him a lot of playing time. C Lee Benson (.286/.329/.493) is their defensive catcher (he throws 1 out of every 3 base-stealers out and calls a pretty good game), and he sees a fair amount of playing time. Cornelius will get more at-bats this season and is getting slotted ahead of DeRojas at the start of this season because ownership thinks Cornelius might be in for a huge year.

6. DH J.P. DeRojas (.339/.422/.696) Drafted in Season 1 in the second round, DeRojas was traded away at the very beginning of Season 6 only to be brought back later in the season. The team just wasn’t the same without him. He hit 57 HR’s last season and knocked in 160 RBI’s in 519 at-bats and earned an All-Star appearance. We’ll see how he does protecting Jamie Cornelius instead of Jose Johnson.

7. SS Dante Wynn (.310/.355/.473) Wynn hit 31 doubles and drove in 98 runs last season earning himself a second straight All-Star appearance. He tanked, however, in the playoffs and looks to redeem himself this season.

8. 3B Pablo Duran (.312/.425/.517) Three-time All-Star has a great eye, hits with some pop, and won a gold glove playing in RF last season. He will see some playing time there again this season, but will mostly be back at his natural position, which is 3B.

9. 2B Winston Miles (.308/.353/.494). Last season’s Rule 5 Draftee Miles, performed well enough to earn the starting nod at 2nd base (converted from CF last season) ahead of Heinie Barrett (.313, .400, .413), who struggles a bit against rightiies but kills lefties.

Bench: Colorado features primarily defensive guys on the bench, but sometimes they’ll start a defensive stalwart and keep either DeRojas or Cornelius on the bench just in case an important pinch-hit opportunity arises. Dan Baumann is exactly this kind of player, Colorado ranks him as an occasional starter vs. lefties and an excellent defensive replacement/pinch-runner any time during a game.

Oakland Asterisk's, aa12on

96-66 (up 6 wins)

Tucson Suns, billhowell75

85-77 (up 11 wins)

Honolulu Islanders, kobylesky, Cincinnati, OH

89-93 (up 11 wins)

With the addition of veterans at key positions, the development of the youngsters and the promotion of 2 promising rookies the Honolulu Islanders are looking to rebound from recent struggles, including last season’s 69-93 record, and make a playoff run.

After dealing vets for youngsters last season the Lu returns veteran 3b Tito Suzuki and added vet Aaron Pearson to play RF. Pearson signed away from division rival Oakland is anticipating another 25 HR and 80 RBI campaign. Cecil Springer, acquired last season in a mid season trade, hopes to improve on a .270 avg and 46 SBs. SB buddy Enrique Otanez looks to hit .300 and swipe another 35+ bases out of the leadoff spot. CF Del Rosa (.303-20-86) will man the 3-hole. Season 7 #1 pick (10th overall) Joe Coppoleccchia will make the jump from AA to don the tools of ignorance. A Rookie of the Year chase is possible.

The rotation will be anchored by veterans Virgil Ortiz and Victor Karros. Homer Karnuth , season 6 #1 for the Lu, will be eased this season as the #4 starter. The bullpen is anchored by closer Enrique Jacquez, who had a strong campaign in his first as closer.

The outlook for the Lu is at least .500 with the playoffs on the mind. A return to prominence at the top of the division is this teams focus heading into season 9.


NL North

Tacoma Raniers, tkd2k1, Los Angeles, CA

80-82 (up 5 wins)

“Small Ball” won it all last year for this under .500 team. The Rainiers barely won the division on a tiebreaker, and squeaked into the playoffs as the division winner in the NL North with an 80-82 record. Once they reached the playoffs, something incredible happened as they went on to loose only 4 games on their way to the World Championship.

Most of that Championship team is still around, lead by Cy Young winner Tony Almonte, SP-Benji Tucker, and SP-Eugene Adams. Tony leads a veteran filled rotation of good but not great pitchers. There are some concerns about injuries severely hampering this aging team, so the manager has to be careful about working his staff too hard.

On the other side of the ball, some veterans were let go as cap casualties, but they were replaced by lower priced, improved versions of themselves. SS-Chico Alfonzo, 2B-Erubial Fernandez, and newly promoted SS-Jeremy Christopher should strengthen the middle of this defense, and Free Agent outfielders LF-Todd Pickford, and CF-Albert Espinosa were late additions that add some speed and veteran leadership to an already mature team.

“If it’s not broke don’t fix it” they say, and tyd2k1 seems to be sticking to that philosophy when it comes to his team. Will it be enough to hold off the hounds of the NL North? Only time will tell.

Chicago Black Sox, tombrady12

80-82 (down 1 win)

Cincinnati RedSpeedos, r7gordon, Indianapolis, IN

79-83 (up 2 wins)

The Cincinnati RedSpeedos are hoping to FINALLY turn the corner and make the playoffs this year. Just a matter of 1 game which kept them out last year. Pitching staff lead by Thomas Jimenez and Emil Flores and an Offense which needs to find a new leader after not re-signing All time Home Run hitter Denny Miller. The NL North, probably from top to bottom the best Conference..lead by defending Series Champs Tacoma looks to be just as tough this year.

Detroit Dominators, armymp, Sierra Vista, AZ

79-83 (identical record)

Detroit struggled last season with consistency and lack of overall effort but this year is looking better as they start their second season at their new Ballpark. Some rule 5 draftees are excited to contribute to this year’s campaign and are a welcome addition to the club. Ironically the team finished with an identical record from the previous season, an indication that at least we’re not getting any worse. Detroit continues to rebuild by dropping some salaried players that just weren’t producing as expected which should allow for some acquisitions to be made to try and help. Detroit is a solid ball club with a solid corps of players but for some reason hasn’t played up to their potential. Hopefully that can be corrected this season and Detroit is looking forward to a much improved season.

NL East

Pawtucket Powderfingers, vdaino

105-57 (identical record)

Augusta A-Team, nesman; formerly the Atlanta Dropouts, b2goofy

90-73 (up 21 wins)

Florida Alienists, strang, Battle Creek, MI

80-82 (down 20 wins)

Philadelphia Phunky Phillies, beamer88 *

52-110 (down 4 wins)

Philadelphia's Phunky Phillies, long the NL door mat, have been infused with several young players in this our 9th season. Baldwin, Hollins, and Karl add speed and defense to our line up as well as decent sticks.

Our starting pitching has been revamped and we look to reach the .500 mark this season. Owner beamer88 was overheard stating "this team is way better than the Mets." Looking forward we see a bright prospect for this franchise!

NL South

Charleston Sumter Men, bwb53

90-72 (down 5 wins)

Texas Tornados, bingles

77-85 (up 7 wins)

Witchita Wendigo, ormank, Omaha, NE

74-88 (down 5 wins)

St. Louis Sourpusses, dryb, Springfield, IL

66-96 (up 12 wins)

NL West

Los Angeles Galaxy, mike1184, Lloydminster, SK, Canada

101-61 (up 10 wins)

Albuquerque Isotopes, picc818, Old Bridge, NJ

82-80 (down 16 wins)

Fresno Fugitives, jd2764

80-82 (down 4 wins)

Salem Acid (formerly the Arizona 420, the_potsuns), elixerr, Lowell, MA

75-87 (down 8 wins)

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