Season 33 American League Preview

AL North
Ottawa Pirates Infield: Led by prize Free agent signing Jacob Schmidt at 2B and Trot Harmon at 1B this group should do enough to get the job done. Schmidt should be an upgrade over departed Gene Cain. Richie Eaton was a huge disappointment last season with a price tag of 7 mil per season a bounce back season would be a huge boost the offense.

Outfield: Jose Romo and Otto Buchanan at the corners is as good as it gets. With Ronnie Crosby backing them both up. Mike Busby brings his 3 gold Gloves over from Toledo to man CF

Bullpen: The loss of FA Dennis Hiro will hurt the team, he was the anchor of the bullpen for the last few seasons. Tim Alexander will move from the rotation into the pen to help minimize the loss of Hiro. Free agent signings Ken Bishop and former STL closer Cameron Abby will also help. Returning from last seasons bullpen are Brook Easley and Closer Roy Washington. This is a solid bullpen but not nearly as good as last seasons.

Rotation: The strength of the team. No team can match up with the big three of 4 time Cy Young winner Tony Tanaka, Mitch Morehead and future Hall of famer Trace Woods come playoff time. The rotation gives the Pride an advantage in every playoff series. Having a #1 SP available to start any game makes the Pride very dangerous come playoff time. Add in Victor Guerra ( who moves to the pen in the playoffs.) and FA signing Phillip Merrit there is no better group in the league.

Expectations. The signing of Schmidt, Merritt, Busby, Abbey and Bishop were all made to give the team the best chance to win right now. With only 3 players under 30 the window is closing. We all know pitching wins in the playoffs and the Pride are expected to be contenders this year again. We probably will be a wild card team again this season. But the Pride showed last season that winning the division is not the goal.

Scranton Skedaddlers Infielders-Pan, Molina, Miranda, Green, Prieto, and Pelaez/Lincoln will hold down the infield and DH spot. When will top prospects #p6395827Karl Pennington#p and #p6168895Damion Wilkins#p get their opportunity to prove they are ML ready?
C- Kaito Pan will never be known as a defensive catcher, however, he is coming off a season in which he hit .354/.407/.566C- Ignacio Santiago is one of the best defensive catchers in the game but at this point he is strictly a backup to Pan. With Pennington ready in AAA there could be a trade in the future.
1B- Wascar Molina was a very good hitter in his rookie season, time for him to turn it up a notch and become a stud power hitting 1B. Juan Park is his idol, can Molina produce similar numbers?
2B- Rafael Miranda was an All Star last year as a 22yr old and could be this yr as well. Not the greatest defender at 2B, but he can handle the stick and run a little bit. 30HR/20SB is in his capabilities.
3B- Season 30 MVP David Green does everything for the club. He plays Gold Glove caliber defense at 3B, hits mid 30HRs, and steals 20 bases. Will the new long term deal he signed this offseason cause Green to get lazy or will he continue to excel?
SS- Joaquin Prieto has been an All Star all 4 of his ML seasons and should continue that run this season. 53 plus plays compared to only 3 negative plays at SS since he entered the league. Prieto will never be an offensive juggernaut but he gets on base enough to use his speed, where he has stolen 177 bases in his career and only caught 32 times. Billy Hamilton should consider taking notes on Prieto’s thievery of bases.
DH- Ruben Pelaez and Darwin Lincoln will split the DH role, but if one gets hot then the other could be swinging the bat for another team.

Outfielders- Evveryone in the OF has been an All Star, can they all co-exist?
LF- Juan Owen & Gene Cain will provide the veteran leadership for the Skedddadlers. Each has 4 World Series rings and they both signed as free agents with Scranton to get one for the thumb.
CF- Frankie Houston has won the last 3 Silver Sluggers for CF but he can also glove it. He was not happy about finishing as the runner up for MVP last season in the AL. Could he join Green as the 2nd Skedaddler to win MVP?
RF- Javier Altuve is misplaced in RF but the Gold Glover has to play somewhere. Batting Average and OBP are not his game, he is in there to mash the ball. How does he generate so much power in his 5’11” 172lb frame?

Starters- Galahad Morris is the key to Scranton, if he is healthy then Scranton has a legit ace. However, injury is always a concern and he was unavailable last season in the playoffs. It cost Scranton against division rival and eventual WS Champion Ottawa. Unsuccessful in trying to upgrade the SPing staff Scranton will go in with Morris (17 wins), Vazquez (15 wins), Farr (16 wins), Field (14 wins), and Borchard (13 wins). The SPing staff is solid, but there is room to improve.

Bullpen- Bono Larkin was the big offseason trade to upgrade the bullpen. Larkin, Calles, and Marte should be very good but there are definite weak spots in the pen. Top RP prospect Kevin Pong could be called up early in the season if help is needed.

Expectations- Last season Scranton finished with the best record in the league and believes they were derailed from a championship because of an injury to Morris. Scranton is a well-rounded squad that is built for the long haul with one goal in mind, a World Series championship.

Trenton Twins
Infield Bartolo Ramirez had a disappointing rookie season but hopes to cash in on his promise this year
Outfield Jayson Caruso leads the way for this team and if he ever puts his speed and power together he’ll be an MVP candidate.
Rotation Sean Downs is the veteran leader of the whole team and could be a trade target if Trenton’s season goes downhill
Bullpen Al Medrano continues to be a workhorse, but he needs to be more effective in those innings to help Trenton improve.

Vancouver Vipers
Infield Twitchell and Byrnes became one of the better one – two punches in the league last season
Outfield Carlos Viriato didn’t get the accolades, but he may have been the best hitter on the team last season.
Rotation Rafael Sanchez needs to step forward
Bullpen Nearing the end of his career, Frank Thompson moves to the bullpen to try and take Vancouver back to the playoffs.

AL East
Baltimore Fire
Infield: Ryuu Hasagawa emerged last season and could become a top power hitter in the AL this year.
Outfield: Enrique Mendoza is learning on the job in the majors but could be a superstar really soon.
Rotation: Raul Martin jumped right into the frying pan last season but flashed his potential to anchor a rotation.
Bullpen: Dillan Morgan moves into the closer role, but his control is a major concern moving into the season.

Boston Bombers
Overall: This season is the beginning of a rebuilding project for the Bombers. We hope to still compete for the AL East title this season, but it will definitely be a challenge.
Position Players: There are no offensive stars on the Bomber’s roster. However, we should play great defense. In the twilights of their careers, Donatello Carey will primarily play LF and Kwon will primarily play 1B. We have PLUS defenders at every position. The defense will have to be spectacular, because we will struggle to score runs and our pitching is suspect at best.
Pitchers: We have no frontline, 120+ pitch count starters, so we will employ the Tandem rotation. We need Wingo, Hitchcock and the age-defying Coleridge to give us 5 solid innings every 4th game.
Prediction: 81-81

Huntington Catholics
The Huntington Catholics have decided instead of being just a playoff team every season, they are going in a new direction. The Catholics have traded away some of their top old timers and is still looking to trade away some so they can rebuild their team all around with young guys. General Manager Ginobili04 said, ” We had a lot of veterans on the team and not that many youngsters in the minors. We are looking to go young and look to draft some college players with our 20 million in scouting.” With that said he made it know that almost every veteran on the team is available.

Pittsburgh Ghosts

Infield: Rube Ratliff leaped forward to hit .300 last season and hopes to continue that momentum towards an all star season
Outfield: Domingo Gutierrez had a down season last year and is looking to rebound.
Rotation: Augie Nation only managed 2 wins in his first season in Pittsburgh, but he pitched too well to repeat that this season.
Bullpen: Deacon Webster was a key offseason signing and is the piece Pittsburgh fans are hoping can give them bullpen stability.

AL South
Atlanta Huckleberries
Not sure what to really expect with this team.

I am happy with resigning D.T. Sherman for his defense, and the addition of Alex Barajas should definitely help as well. Overall I would say my team has an above average defense.

The starting rotation is pretty solid with Burton and Pickering leading the way. The bottom half of the rotation can be good at times so they will play a role in how far this team can go as well.

The bullpen can use some help. Tried getting some quality relievers but fell short in that department. This will be the true test of how this team fares.

Offensively this is an average team. Not that much power but some decent on base percentages, with a good amount of speed for base stealing. Looking to call up Albert Donahue which will add a big bat to the lineup which should help with the offense.

Overall I think this team is a .500 club with a very slim shot at a wild card if the bullpen holds up…not likely.

El Paso Border Patrol

Infield: Caleb Cummings lead the team’s offense, hitting .314, and will need to repeat his performance.
Outfield: How many steals could Placido Mercado rack up if he got on base?
Rotation: Javier Arroyo was dominant after a mid season trade and is a key component to El Paso getting back to the playoffs
Bullpen: Rodrigo Estrada remains in the closer role and is looking for more innings to make a bigger impact.

Kansas City Monarchs
Rotation Crane;Garza; Malone; Barrios; Jimenez or Wang Bullpen: Lehr; Burnett; Gload; Hernandez; Ramirez; Bevil (CL)
Line-up: Javier 2B; Perez/Chen RF; Thames LF; Piper 1B; Graves DH; Strauss/Whitesell 3B; Guerrero CF; Reboulet C; Jimenez SS
Not a division winner. But, if the rotation can be solid and keep us in the game, I think our line-up will score some runs. Plus 2 first rounders is nice. Hopefully not the highlight of the season. I also think we can make a push at a WC if we can pitch well.

Nashville Redbirds
Infield: Delwyn Wise had his best season yet, hitting .304, .382 OBP, and 41 stolen bases.
Outfield: Rudy Rizzuto set a single season record last year with 711 at bats.
Rotation: Giovanni Schultz struggled at times last season and Nashville needs him to bounce back to keep up with the rest of the AL>
Bullpen: Yamil Franco is being asked to fill a huge void left by Matos. The pen may become Nashville’s downfall in the postseason.

AL West
Colorado Dusters
IF: ROY Tony Castro and Joaquin Amaral return with callups Carlos Feliz and W0070
OF: no new additions in the OF while waiting for AAA players including Bartolo Martin to be ready
Pitching: 14 Game Winner Woody Guerrero returns and improved bullpen hopes for better success.

Predictions: team is hoping to improve on 74 wins with newcomers. The team is still not ready to compete for a playoff spot until players in minors are ready in the next few seasons

Fresno Reds
Infield: Vladimir Aquino had a great season for Fresno with limited ABs and the question is can he increase it with more opportunities.
Outfield: Orval Farley’s debut is the talk of Fresno and a huge part of the future of the franchise.
Rotation: Mark Little was dynamite in AAA last season and hopes to make a splash in the bigs this year.
Bullpen: Cookie Beltre starts the season in the pen and it will be interesting to see if he finds an effective role there or moves back into the rotation.

Las Vegas Spittin’ Vermin
Possible additions from AAA would be 24 year old OF Otis Bristow who hit .353 and stole 80 bases at AAA last season
and 24 year old 1B Jose Rodriquez who hit .308 with 23 Homers and added 121 RBI.

Two promising hitters moving up to AAA this season are 21 year Pedro Lira and 22 year old Jung-Lee Wang. Both could see ML action this season.

21 year old Armando Cruz hit 44 Homers with a .310 BA at Hi A last season. He is a season away from the big club.

AA pitchers Mickey McAnaney, Tito Murphy, D’Angelo Nunez, John Li, and Estaban Estrada are a season away but one or more could make the jump to the major leagues this season.

The Vegas pitching staff is probably the most durable staff in BSA. Craig Heffner started 39 games (250 IP), Garrett Kinney 41 starts (243 IP), and Mickey Breslow 40 starts (207 IP). Rounding out the staff is 34 year old FA addition Bernie Callaspo and 23 year old Freddy Telford who is making the jump from AA last season. Al Chavez is the iron horse of RPs. He has recorded 100+ IP in 9 of the last 11 seasons and is in the hunt for most games pitched in BSA history.

Vegas has been 69-93 each of the last 2 seasons. My prediction Vegas known as a running small ball team scored the 3rd fewest runs last season. Vegas still led the league in SBs despite stealing 75 fewer bases. However their success rate was 86%. Vegas fell off considerably in both pitching and defense from the previous season. Look for improvement
in both areas. The movement will be to youth. The Vermin’ will still be a running team but may not approach the same numbers as in the past.

Mikey McGuire needs 9 SBs to reach 1000. Once that milestone is reached his playing time should be drastically cut. McGuire is truly one of the most beloved players in Vegas history and he will be given his place of honor in Vegas.

CF Juan Matinez & RF Alex James both swiped 44 bases last season. Defensive specialist SS Placido Mendez stole 24.

Vegas has been last in Homers for a number of seasons. DH Clark (31 HR) and catcher Durazo (22 HR) led the small ball team. Look for Vegas to add a little more power.

for Vegas this season 69-93.

St. Louis Brown Stockings

Infield: Rafael Trajano getting on base is the key to this offense moving this team to the top.
Outfield: Brian Kim is suddenly the old man on the team, but this team would be much better off he he starting hitting like he were a young man again. A resurgence from Kim would make St. Louis very dangerous.
Rotation: David Lee anchors a young rotation, maybe too young to win in the playoffs but they have as much sheer talent as anyone.
Bullpen: Macbeth Kell won 12 games out of the pen last year and will be one of the most important players on this team as the pen is the weakpoint for this squad.

AL North: Scranton Skedaddlers
AL East: Baltimore Fire
AL South: Nashville Redbirds
AL West: St. Louis Brown Stockings
Wildcard: Ottawa Pirates
Wildcard: El Paso Border Patrol

AL Champion: Scranton Skedaddlers

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All Time Leaders

1. Luther Aldred 3031
2. Alfonzo Cruz 3004
3. Ugueth Moya 2830
4. Orlando Lee 2736
5. Alan Vickers 2643

Home Runs
1. Alfonzo Cruz 811
2. Dan Thompson 749
3. Ugueth Moya 686
4. Jerome Duran 633
5. Ivan Mantalban 602

1. Rusty Laker 1.021
2. Dan Thompson 1.020
3. Ugueth Moya .989
4. Matty Bennet .984
5. Emil Wilkinson .975

1. Fernando Neruda 352
2. Geronimo Flores 310
3. Esteban Cubillan 275
4. Frank Dehart 263
5. Shawn Radlosky 257

1. Fernando Neruda 5038
2. Geronimo Flores 3866
3. Frank Dehart 3356
4. Esteban Cubillan 2955
5. Shawn Radlosky 2871

1. Jesus Torrealba 694
2. Hal Wagner 636
3. Charles Hall 575
4. Cole Alexander 488
5. Augie Martin 478