Mar 30, 2008

Park Effects

The 2008 park dimensions are available at the site, but they don't mean a whole lot without context, do they? So in that spirit, let's take a look at the parks most/least favorable to lefties to righties and the parks that have changed most radically from last year.

But first, an oddity unique to our league . . . and quite possibly our league, only. We have one manager, Adam Leickel, who's engineered his park for maximum offense (18's across the board), another two, the Campbell brothers, who are setting the stage for pitcher's havens (2's across the board), and a third, Steve Frediani, who's neutrality is unchallenged (8's across the board). Technically, 8.5 would fall exactly in the middle of the 2-18 scale, but this is as close as we're going to get, folks.

  • Going for that Coors Field, circa 2000, feel, the Bulldogs' The Dog House is the odds-on favorite to feature the league's most shootouts. But with 18's across the board, perhaps the better question is, how many shutouts will the park see? Fifty home runs are easily within reach for Pujols and Fielder.
  • With 2's across the board, Dean's Knights and Eric's Blackhawks are going for that dead ball feel of Dodger Stadium in 1968. As if Verlander, Penny, Smoltz, Zambrano, Hamels, et al., needed the help when pitching at Blackhawk or Kazoo park. In fact, the Knights are almost assured of the league's top ERA, seeing as 61 percent of their schedule will be played in one or the other of these extreme pitchers' parks.
  • What can you say about The Crows Nest? With 8's all around, it's nearly as fair and balanced as, ahem, Fox News. Be sure to visit the No-Spin Zone in the (far) right-field bleachers. [Editor's note: James Bailey correctly points out that 10 is in the middle of 2 and 18, that know-it-all, so what you just read does not apply to the Crows. It applies to the Razorbacks, who are going with 10's all around.]
Now how about those parks with real style? A look at the top-3 most and least favorable parks in the four categories.

Singles (Left)
Most favorable: Bulldogs, Miracle (tied at 18), Roadrunners (14)
Least favorable: Bats, Black Sox, Blackhawks, Bombers, Knights (all tied at 2)

Singles (Right)
Most favorable: Bulldogs, Miracle (tied at 18), Breakers, Razorbacks, Pilots, Dazzlers (tied at 10)
Least favorable: Bats, Black Sox, Blackhawks, Knights (all tied at 2)

Home Runs (Left)
Most favorable: Breakers, Bulldogs (tied at 18), Miracle (16)
Least favorable: Black Sox, Blackhawks, Knights, Bombers (all tied at 2)

Home Runs (Right)
Most favorable: Breakers, Bulldogs (both tied at 18), Miracle (14)
Least favorable: Blackhawks, Knights, Stars, Bats, Beaz (all tied at 2)

Seven teams, the Blackhawks, Dirtnappers, Dobermans, Jive, Pilots, Roadrunners and Stars, are going with park dimensions unchanged from 2007. But for the other 13 teams, things have changed -- in some cases dramatically.

  • The Bulldogs (+16 for both lefties and righties) and Breakers (+8 for both sides) increased the singles factor for their parks by the largest amount. Both played the 2007 season with singles factors of 2 for both sides.
  • On the flip side, the Bats reduced singles in their new digs by (-7) to lefties and (-5) to righties. The Black Sox and Huskies cut singles by (-6) to both sides, compared with last year's factors.
  • The Miracle (+11) sought to make their park more favorable to lefty home run hitters, but righties (+9) will benefit, too. The Breakers (+8 for both sides) and Bulldogs (+6 for both sides) also jacked up their home run factors.
  • Unhappy with the old right-field dimensions in Syracuse, the Black Sox modified their new park in Kiel by reducing home runs to lefties (-12). By the same token, the Knights (-7 to both sides) and Razorbacks (-6 to both sides) slashed the home run factors at their yards.
And if you're still with me, one final category: The best and worst parks overall for lefty and righty batters, considering both single and home-run factors.

Best Parks Overall For Lefthanded Batters
Bulldogs, Miracle, Breakers, Razorbacks, Beaz

Worst Parks Overall For Lefthanded Batters
Knights, Black Sox, Bombers, Bats, Fishermen

Best Parks Overall For Righthanded Batters
Bulldogs, Miracle, Breakers, Razorbacks, Dazzlers

Worst Parks Overall For Righthanded Batters
Knights, Bats, Beaz, Black Sox, Bombers


Mar 5, 2008

Atlantic Division Preview

All-Star Team

Kenji Johjima, Jive. 1B—Mark Teixeira, Jive. 2B—Chase Utley, Pilots.
SS—Jimmy Rollins, Jive. 3B—David Wright, Razorbacks. LF—Curtis Granderson, Jive. CF—Grady Sizemore, Pilots. RF—Vladimir Guerrero, Pilots. DH—Ryan Braun, Fishermen.

SP—Brandon Webb, Jive. SP—C.C. Sabathia, Jive.
SP—Aaron Harang, Fishermen. SP—Ted Lilly, Fishermen. RP—Matt Capps, Fishermen.

Selections are based on players' win shares totals for the 2007 season, as per The Hardball Times. Win shares account for batting, pitching and defensive prowess, while also rewarding durability.

Cary Fishermen
Record: 74-88 as Grand Rapids Shlabotniks, finished 3rd in Western Division

Key Addition: 3B Ryan Braun
Key Departure: 2B Placido Polanco

C—Mike Napoli, Michael Barrett
1B—Sean Casey*, Scott Thorman*
2B—Ian Kinsler
SS—Bobby Crosby, Cristian Guzman#
3B—Ryan Braun
LF—Hideki Matsui*
CF—Shannon Stewart
RF—Reed Johnson, Eric Hinske*
DH—Pat Burrell
UTIL—Chad Tracy*

SP—Aaron Harang, Ted Lilly*, Tom Gorzelanny*, Aaron Cook, Robinson Tejeda, Todd Wellemeyer
RP—Matt Capps, Brad Hennessey, Casey Janssen, Mike Grabow*, Taylor Buchholz, Joel Zumaya

On The Farm: SS Asdrubal Cabrera#, LHP Aaron Laffey*, OF Ben Francisco, RF Nate Schierholtz*, LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith*

Cary has a long year ahead in the Atlantic Division as they rebuild a franchise that has only one winning season in the past nine years. Although the team's pitching will keep them competitive, the offense and general team defense make a winning season a far too lofty goal.

The Fishermen inherited a solid pitching staff fronted by Aaron Harang. The fifth starter spot is a big problem and will be shared by Robinson Tejeda, Taylor Buchholz and Todd Wellemeyer until rosters expand. Good seasons from Matt Capps and Casey Janssen give the bullpen useful depth and should allow the team to win some close games.

The Cary offense is not only below average offensively and defensively, but also quite old. Recent draft picks Mike Napoli and Ian Kinsler, and the third overall pick of the 2008 draft, Ryan Braun, are the only youthful bright spots in the 2008 lineup. The roster is filled with players known for their inability to play even average defense. Braun, Hideki Matsui and Shannon Stewart are full-timers with a rating worse than 3. Pat Burrell is mercifully moved to DH. Four positions require a platoon or committee of players to fill at-bats.

Dacula Dazzlers
Record: 83-79, 3rd in Midwest Division

Key Additions: C Gregg Zaun, 3B Akinori Iwamura, RHP Micah Owings, LHP Rafael Perez, RHP Matt Herges

C—Ramon Hernandez, Gregg Zaun#
1B—Conor Jackson, Lyle Overbay*
2B—Alfonso Soriano
3B—Akinori Iwamura*
SS—Michael Young
LF—Matt Diaz, Ryan Raburn
CF—B.J. Upton, Ryan Spilborghs
RF—Casey Blake
DH—Kevin Mench, Emil Brown

SP—John Maine, Micah Owings, Curt Schilling, Nate Robertson*, Jarrod Washburn*, Paul Byrd, Claudio Vargas
RP—Brad Lidge, Rafael Perez*, Matt Herges, Darren Oliver*

After narrowly missing the playoffs in 2007 with a mediocre record, the Dazzlers look for much of the same in 08. There is a lot of starting pitching depth, but no real ace to depend on. The everyday lineup won't really scare anyone, but should be able to produce enough to keep the Dazzlers in games. If the Dazzlers can get into the 7th inning and later with a lead, the bullpen should be able to close out most games. It looks like this will be a year to build on for the future.

Mohawk Valley Jive
Record: 96-66, won Midwest Division. Playoffs: Defeated St. Louis (4-2) in first round; lost to Bethlehem (4-2) in the second

Key Additions: 3B Brandon Inge, OF Travis Buck, LHP C.J. Wilson, C Rod Barajas, RHP Jensen Lewis
Key Departures: RHP Jose Contreras, OF Chris Denorfia, RHP Juan Rincon, C Toby Hall, 1B Shea Hillenbrand

C—Kenji Johjima, Rod Barajas
1B—Mark Teixeira#
2B—Kelly Johnson*, Freddy Sanchez
SS—Jimmy Rollins#
3B—Brandon Inge
LF—Adam Dunn*, Travis Buck*
CF—Curtis Granderson*, Chris Young
RF—Austin Kearns, Mark Teahen*
DH—Rickie Weeks
UTIL—Omar Infante

SP—Brandon Webb, C.C. Sabathia*, Dustin McGowan, Zack Greinke, Paul Maholm*, Chad Gaudin
RP—Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Corpas, Chad Qualls, Aaron Heilman, C.J. Wilson*, Jensen Lewis

On The Farm: SS Erick Aybar#, 3B Ian Stewart*, RHP Brandon Morrow, LHP Jonathan Sanchez*, RHP Billy Buckner

Mohawk Valley appears well-positioned to make a run at a third straight division crown—this time in the newly-formed Atlantic Division instead of the Midwest. Yes, fortunes have changed for the once sad-sack Jive, who from 2002 to 2005 went 215-433 (.332) and finished as many as 58 games out of first.

RHP Brandon Webb and LHP C.C. Sabathia return to lead a deep Jive pitching staff that finished third in the league in ERA last season. And this time they're bringing young-gun RHPs Dustin McGowan and Zack Greinke. Sure, the back end of the rotation is susceptible on days LHP Paul Maholm and RHP Chad Gaudin take the mound, but Mohawk Valley's tough bullpen, fronted by RHPs Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Corpas, can make life difficult for opponents if they don't pull up their socks and get after the starters.

Though the Jive's offensive attack is closer to average than elite (11th in runs last year), they do boast three players who rank among the best at their positions: SS Jimmy Rollins, the NL MVP; 1B Mark Teixeira and CF Curtis Granderson. While it's true Mohawk Valley gives away a lineup spot with 3B Brandon Inge, his strong hot-corner defense provides insurance for the pitching staff. And the club's up-the-middle defense is airtight, with 1's and 2's available all around, complemented by C Kenji Johjima's -2 arm.

Rochester Pilots
Record: 88-74, won Northeast Division. Playoffs: Lost in first round to Miracle, 4-1

Key Additions: RHP David Bush, RHP Matt Lindstrom, RHP Kevin Gregg, SS Ben Zobrist
Key Departures: LHP Barry Zito, RHP Boof Bonser, RHP Scott Linebrink, RHP Jason Isringhausen, 3B Aubrey Huff, 2B Felipe Lopez

C—Miguel Olivo, Javier Valentin#
1B—Casey Kotchman*
2B—Chase Utley*, Jeff Kent, Howie Kendrick
3B—Adrian Beltre
SS—Miguel Tejada, Ben Zobrist#
LF—Jason Kubel*, Luis Gonzalez*, Matt Murton
CF—Grady Sizemore*
RF—Vladimir Guerrero, Cliff Floyd*

Jeremy Bonderman, Brian Bannister, Orlando Hernandez, David Bush, Kevin Millwood, Jon Lester*, John Danks*
RP—Kevin Gregg, Matt Lindstrom, Jon Rauch, Scot Shields, Michael Wuertz, Kerry Wood, Fernando Rodney

On the Farm: RHP Homer Bailey, CF Adam Jones, 3B Andy LaRoche, CF Felix Pie*, C Miguel Montero*, LF Delwyn Young#

The Pilots should contend for a wild card berth this year, especially if the team's pitching holds up. The starters will have to prove themselves in a league dominated by offense. A strong corps of relievers, led by new closer Kevin Gregg, should be capable in the late innings.

The strength of this team will be its offense, which goes a strong 1-8. Chase Utley and Vladimir Guerrero will pace the attack, with Grady Sizemore and Jeff Kent setting the table. Defensively, Sizemore, Adrian Beltre and Casey Kotchman bring 1's to the field, but the corner outfielders often lollygag, allowing extra base hits to fall in while they preen themselves.

Wilmington Razorbacks
Record: 74-88

Key Additions: For this year, nothing. For the future, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller.
Key Losses: Luckily, when you are bad there are no key losses.

C—Yadier Molina, Ramon Castro
1B—Travis Hafner*, Adam LaRoche*
2B—Jose Castillo, Alex Cora*, Chris Gomez (Ugh)
3B—David Wright
SS—Khalil Greene
LF—Frank Catalanotto*, Brad Wilkerson*, Greg Norton#
CF—Cory Sullivan*, Rocco Baldelli
RF—Matt Kemp, Jacque Jones*

SP—Felix Hernandez, Chris Young, Jeff Francis*, Matt Belisle, Sean Marshall*, Others
RP—Joe Borowski, Dave Weathers, Derrick Turnbow, Kameron Loe, Ubaldo Jimenez, Macay McBride*

I thought my team would be decent last year... and that didn't turn out so well. I'm pretty confident things are going to be worse this year. We have some impact players but the bench is not deep and the bullpen is very thin. Unfortunately, we'll probably be good enough to get another mid round draft pick.

Next year could be very good though. If my top 3 starters stay healthy and productive, Adam Loewen is coming back, Andrew Miller could be good, Maybin might do well in CF and hopefully Hafner and Jones will bounce back with good seasons.

So, as usual, the Razorback management continues to ask its fans to look to the future. The fans comment that emulating the Tampa Bay Rays team management style is not a sign of high intelligence and doesn't create confidence in the future. But, we'll show them! Someday....


Mar 2, 2008

Central Division Preview

All-Star Team

C—Jorge Posada, Beaz. 1B—Albert Pujols, Bulldogs. 2B—Brian Roberts, Dirtnappers. SS—Hanley Ramirez, Bulldogs. 3B—Chipper Jones, Miracle. LF—Raul Ibanez, Bombers. CF—Torii Hunter, Bombers. RF—Magglio Ordonez, Bombers. DH—David Ortiz, Beaz.

SP—Jake Peavy, Beaz. SP—Erik Bedard, Miracle. SP—Roy Halladay, Beaz. SP—Scott Kazmir, Bulldogs. RP—Takashi Saito, Bombers.

Selections are based on players' win shares totals for the 2007 season, as per The Hardball Times. Win shares account for batting, pitching and defensive prowess, while also rewarding durability.

Bethlehem Beaz
Record: 122-40, won North Atlantic Division. Playoffs: Defeated California (4-2) in first round; defeated to Mohawk Valley (4-2) in second round; defeated Cape Cod (4-0) in World Series.

Key Additions: CF Josh Hamilton, 1B Carlos Pena, CF Willy Taveras, 2B Placido Polanco, LHP Randy Johnson, RHP Joe Nathan, RHP Joakim Soria
Key Departures: CF Vernon Wells, LHP Scott Kazmir, 1B Jim Thome, 2B Alberto Callaspo, LF Adam Lind, C Josh Bard, RHP Francisco Rodriguez

C—Jorge Posada#
1B—Carlos Pena*, Doug Mientkiewicz*
2B—Placido Polanco
SS—Derek Jeter
3B—Troy Glaus, Eric Chavez*
LF—Manny Ramirez, Josh Hamilton*
CF—Willy Taveras, Ryan Freel
RF—Nick Markakis*, Cody Ross
DH—David Ortiz*
UTIL—Kevin Frandsen

SP—Jake Peavy, Roy Halladay, Derek Lowe, Randy Johnson*, Jason Hirsh, Rodrigo Lopez, Brandon McCarthy
RP—Joakim Soria, Joe Nathan, Akinori Otsuka, Luis Vizcaino, Alan Embree*, Trever Miller*, Octavio Dotel, Glen Perkins*

On The Farm: 2B Alexi Casilla#, C Chris Iannetta, SS Ronny Cedeno

Bethlehem appears positioned to make a run at immortality by playing in the World Series for the fourth consecutive year—this time in the newly-formed American League Central instead of the North Atlantic.

Injuries hit Bethlehem hard in 2007. Closer BJ Ryan, 1B Nick Johnson, LHP Gustavo Chacin are all lost for the season. Eric Chavez, Troy Glaus, Adam Kennedy, Willy Taveras, Manny Ramirez, Jason Hirsh, Brandon McCarthy, Rodrigo Lopez and Randy Johnson all missed substantial time due to injury.

The 2008 pitching staff will look to continue the mark of excellence set by the 2007 staff (3.27 team era). Jake Peavy (21-3, 2.87, 238k), Roy Halladay (23-3, 2.73, Cy Young), and Derek Lowe (17-6, 3.67) will lead the charge. Bethlehem will miss departed youngster Scott Kazmir (13-5, 4.61, 164k) but has added the legendary Randy Johnson to the staff. We believe that “old age, deceit and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm” quipped Beaz manager Kevin Burns. The back end of the bullpen has turned over during the off-season. An injury to BJ Ryan (2-4, 2.88, 26 sv) and the trade of Francisco Rodriguez (6-4, 2.30, 6 sv) left a large hole to fill. Youngster Joakim Soria and veteran Joe Nathan will take over in 2008 and should likely cause opponents to experience misery in the late innings of games.

The 2007 offense was strong, leading the league in runs scored, average, doubles and homeruns. The 2008 offense is poised to continue where the 2007 team left off. Offseason additions, Carlos Pena and Placido Polanco should make an immediate impact on the team. Carlos Pena will be called upon to fill the offensive void left when Jim Thome (.296, 47 hr, 115 rbi) was traded to New Jersey. It is expected that Carlos will improve the infield defense as well. David Ortiz (.293, 55 hr, 141 rbi) will anchor the middle of the offense and should have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs.

Defensively, the team will try to match the fielding prowess exhibited by the 2007 team. Gone is gold glove CF Vernon Wells, 3b Eric Chavez is hobbled by injury, and SS Derek Jeter appears to have lost a step defensively. Newcomers Placido Polanco, Willy Taveras and Carlos Pena should step up and provide at least average defense. Defensively, the weak links of the 2008 squad look to be 3b Troy Glaus and LF Manny Ramirez. Hopefully, they will not prove to be too much of a liability.

Dodge City Dirtnappers
Record: 66-96

Additions: RHP Jason Isringhausen, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Todd Jones, C Matt Treanor, 1B Dmitri Young, 3B Marco Scutaro, CF Hunter Pence, OF Ryan Langerhans, RF Jose Guillen.

C—Jason Kendall, Matt Treanor
1B—Dmitri Young#
2B—Brian Roberts#
SS—Jack Wilson, David Eckstein
3B—Melvin Mora, Marco Scutaro
LF—Johnny Damon*, Jason Michaels
CF—Hunter Pence, Ryan Langerhans*
RF—Jose Bautista, Jay Payton
DH—Jose Guillen

SP—Matt Cain, Chien-Ming Wang, Adam Wainwright, Jamie Moyer*, Chris Sampson, Dontrelle Willis*
RP—Jason Isringhausen, Pat Neshek, Brandon Lyon, Will Ohman*, Mark Henderickson*, Todd Jones

To go hard at it right from the start. Get this team to .500, and deal with this new division, a new hill to climb. NO FIRE SALES! This year no matter what happens, everyone to his own dirtnapp.

Northern Lehigh Bulldogs
Record: 57-105. Playoffs: As Jim Mora Sr. once said. "Playoffs!"

Key Additions: LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Tim Lincecum, RHP Francisco Rodriguez, 3B Alex Gordon, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C Ivan Rodriguez, RF Brian Giles
Key Departures: LF Carlos Lee, RHP Bobby Jenks, CF Willy Taveras, RHP Joe Nathan, RHP Jered Weaver, RHP Brad Penny, 2B Kazuo Matsui

C—Ivan Rodriguez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia#
1B—Albert Pujols
2B—Tadahito Iguchi
SS—Hanley Ramirez
3B—Alex Gordon*
LF—Brian Giles*, Jonny Gomes
CF—Chris Duffy*, Nook Logan#
RF—Melky Cabrera#, Shane Victorino#
DH—Prince Fielder*
UTIL—Tony Graffanino, Craig Counsell*

SP—Scott Kazmir*, Tim Lincecum, Matt Garza, Jay Bergmann, Jamie Moyer*, Kyle Davies, Gavin Floyd, Brad Thompson
RP—Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Villanueva, Cassey Fossum*, Mike Macdougal, Yusmeiro Petit

On The Farm: LF Adam Lind*, LF Scott Hairston, RF Carlos Quentin, 2B Alberto Callaspo#, 2B Danny Richar*, LHP Dallas Braden*, LHP Zach Duke*

The Bulldogs outlook for this coming season isn't very bright. We look to finish the season around .500. Our lineup will be potent in the top half, but the bottom half will be very weak. Our pitching staff basically is S. Kazmir, a combination of T. Lincecum and M. Garza and then a bunch of BP pitchers. Management is very happy with the route of the 3 year plan that they started last season. We have a lot of youth with great potential mixed with some great veteran leadership. The future looks bright while the present looks very mediocre.

I would like to quote a Pop Fisher from one of the great baseball movies The Natural. "My ma urged me to get out of this game. When I was a kid, she pleaded with me. And I meant to, you know what I mean? But she died. Now look at me. I'm wet nurse to a last-place, dead-to-the-neck-up ball club, and I'm choking to death!" Hopefully the youth in this organization will turn things around just like Roy Hobbs did.

Montreal Miracle
Record: 103-59, 2nd in North Atlantic Division. Playoffs: Defeated Rochester 4-2 in 1st round; lost in second round

Key Additions: LF Moises Alou, 3B Chipper Jones, DH Gary Sheffield, LHP Hideki Okajima
Key Departures: CF Jim Edmonds, DH Jason Giambi, RHP Francisco Cordero, 3B Morgan Ensberg

C—Mike Redmond, Ryan Doumit#
1B—Matt Stairs*
2B—Luis Castillo#
SS—Carlos Guillen#
3B—Chipper Jones#
LF—Moises Alou
CF—Kenny Lofton*
RF—Gary Sheffield
DH—Barry Bonds*

SP—Erik Bedard*, Lenny DiNardo*, Matt Morris, Byung-Hyun Kim, Sergio Mitre, Cliff Lee*
RP—Bob Wickman, Hideki Okajima*, Ryan Madson, Joaquin Benoit, David Riske, Chad Bradford, Jared Burton

On the Farm: LHP Andy Sisco*, C Dioner Navarro#, RHP Fernando Cabrera, RHP Leo Nunez

Coming off consecutive 100-win seasons, the perennial oldest team in the league decided to address their age concerns by... adding more age.

New blood Chipper Jones (35) supersedes Morgan Ensberg (31) at the hot corner. Canadian professional hitter Matty Stairs (39) replaces dope fiend Jason Giambi (36) at 1b. On the outfield corners, Gary Sheffield (38) replaces Bobby Abreu's bat, if not his Gold Glove fielding prowess and amiable personality, while Moises Alou (40), who pees on his hands, replaces the departed Trot Nixon.

When opening day comes around, and the likely starting Miracle lineup and pitcher step onto the field with their 37.2 average years of age, we'll find out if the Old School still has one more lesson left in it.

St. Louis Bombers
Record: 96-66, 2nd place (statistical tie for 1st) Midwest Division. Playoffs: Lost to Mohawk Valley (2-4) in first round.
Key Additions: 2B Dan Uggla, LF Carlos Lee, RHP Ian Snell, RHP Carlos Silva, RHP Peter Moylan, RHP Justin Speier, LHP J.C. Romero, SS Omar Vizquel, SS Ryan Theroit
Key Departures: RHP Brad Penny, C Ivan Rodriguez, SS Rafael Furcal, SS Tony Pena Jr., RHP Jason Schmidt

C—Ronny Paulino, Jeff Mathis
1B—Todd Helton*
2B—Dan Uggla, Brendan Harris
SS—Omar Vizquel#, RyanTheroit
3B—Aramis Rameriz,
LF—Raul Ibanez*, Marcus Thames
CF—Torii Hunter, Jerry Owens*
RF—Magglio Ordonez
DH—Carlos Lee
UTIL—Abraham Nunez#

SP—Ian Snell, Greg Maddox, Carlos Silva, Jason Marquis, Braden Looper, Jake Westbrook
RP—Takashi Saito, Billy Wagner*, Peter Moylan, J.C. Romero*, Justin Speier, Matt Guerrier, Saul Rivera

On the Farm: C Brayan Pena#, 1B Ryan Shealy, LHP Patrick Misch*, RHP Enrique Gonzalez.

St. Louis is projected to produce as many total bases and OBA% as they did in 2007 when the team scored 872 runs. The biggest change from 2007 (96-66) will be the pitching. St. Louis tied for 3rd place with an ERA of 3.94. The ‘08 team will be lead by Ian Snell followed by a solid but average rotation. The bull pen will be much improved with a combined 2.37 ERA in its seven man committee. The Bombers strategy will be using their bull pen very aggressive with its talented relief corps backed up by a solid defensive infield (1bHelton/SSVizquel/3bRameriz). The ’08 goal is to score runs and hold the lead.

The Bombers, in 2008, will be in a new division with some very good rivals in Bethlehem and Montreal. The team will make a run at the playoffs.


Pacific Division Preview

All-Star Team

Joe Mauer, Stars. 1B—Lance Berkman, Bats. 2B—Aaron Hill, Roadrunners. SS—Yuniesky Betancourt, Stars. 3B—Mike Lowell, Stars. LF—Josh Willingham, Stars. CF—Ichiro Suzuki, Stars. RF—Bobby Abreu, Roadrunners. DH—Aaron Rowand, Crows.

SP—Fausto Carmona, Roadrunners. SP—John Lackey, Roadrunners. SP—Mark Buehrle, Crows. SP—Gil Meche, Stars. RP—J.J. Putz, Roadrunners.

Selections are based on players' win shares totals for the 2007 season, as per The Hardball Times. Win shares account for batting, pitching and defensive prowess, while also rewarding durability.

California Roadrunners
Record: 86-76, 2nd in Pacific Division (wild card). Playoffs: Lost to Bethlehem (4-2) in first round.

Key Additions: RHP Fausto Carmona, C Carlos Ruiz, RHP Carlos Marmol, OF Nate McLouth, RF Bobby Abreu
Key Departures: LF Matt Holliday, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, 1B Rich Aurillia, LF Marcus Thames, LHP Tom Glavine, RHP Clay Hensley

C—Carlos Ruiz, John Buck, Johnny Estrada#
1B—Ty Wigginton, Mike Jacobs*
2B—Aaron Hill
3B—Garret Atkins, Mike Lamb*
SS—Jason Barlett, Juan Uribe
LF—Geoff Jenkins*, Nate McLouth*
CF—Gary Matthews#, Bill Hall
RF—Bobby Abreu*, Jermaine Dye
DH—Frank Thomas

SP—John Lackey, Fausto Carmona, Jon Garland, Rich Hill*, Jesse Litsch, Kason Gabbard*
RP—J.J. Putz, Rafael Betancourt, Carlos Marmol, George Sherrill*

On The Farm: LHP J.P. Howell*, RHP Wes Littleton, LHP Francisco Liriano*

California Roadrunners go into the 2008 season riding some momentum from there 2007 season which saw them make the playoffs for the first time in their seven-year existence in the MMDA. In the 2007 season, the Roadrunners had there best home-run outburst, hitting 249 dingers compared to there previous high of 192 in 2001. The new edition won't have the same power, but they are hoping to run more as they stole a measley 40 bases in '07 and were caught 18 times. Being in the highly competitive National League Pacific Division, it will not be an easy road back to the playoffs for the Roadrunners, but if the team can generate runs and there pitching come around, it will be a very interesting and entertaining season at the Roadrunner Roost.

Interesting California Tidbits

• J.J. Putz was the 117th pick by the Roadrunners in the 2006 draft
• Juan Uribe is the only remaining Roadrunner from the 2002 edition, though he was traded in between and traded back to California.
• Fausto Carmona was the 124th pick by the Qillars in the 2007 draft
• George Sherrill was the 134th pick by the Roadrunners in the 2007 draft.

Kiel 08 Black Sox
Record: 77-85 playing as the Syracuse Stingers in 2007

Key Additions: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP Jose Contreras, CF Juan Pierre, RHP Jeremy Guthrie, C Yorvit Torrealba, C Josh Bard, 1B Aaron Boone, LHP Doug Davis, 2B Tadahito Iguchi, 3B Josh Fields, CF Michael Bourn, 3B Pedro Feliz, 1B Richie Sexson
Key Departures: CF Ichiro Suzuki, CF Melky Cabrera, LHP Andy Pettite, LF Moises Alou, LHP Randy Johnson, 3B Brandon Inge, LHP Pedro Feliciano, RHP Ricky Nolasco, CF Jacque Jones, CF Darin Erstad, C Rod Barajas, RHP Brandon Medders, 3B Willy Aybar

C—Yorvit Torrealba, Josh Bard#
1B—Shawn Green*, Aaron Boone, Richie Sexson
2B—Tadahito Iguchi, Ronnie Belliard
SS—Omar Vizquel#
3B—Pedro Feliz, Josh Fields
LF—Juan Pierre*, Rod Mackowiak*
CF—Andruw Jones, Michael Bourn*
RF—Marlon Byrd, Juan Encarnacion

SP—Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jeremy Guthrie, Doug Davis*, Livan Hernandez, Jose Contreras, Roger Clemens
RP—Chad Cordero, Mike Timlin, Geary Geoff, Steve Kline*, Ramon Ortiz, Julian Tavarez

On The Farm: CF Jacoby Ellsbury*, CF Elijah Dukes, 2B Tony Abreu#

the outlook for Kiel 08 Black Sox looks much better than it did when ownership took over the team in December 2007, and having an excellent draft will help the team in the future—plus one or two key trades. but the Black Sox are in the very tough Pacific division and will find 55 games a very tough job.

all of the gms in our division know how handle the difficult business of running a team in the offices, and how to manage the team on the field ... we hired Gene Mauch because is the type of manager who can get the most out of the least ... give him a lemon and he will turn it into an orange ... we brought Red Barber to broadcast the games along with Herb Score because they know how to teach the game and the history of the game to the fans ... who are just learning the game.

every trade we made this winter has been important to our team and the future of this org. but perhaps the two most important trades were the following: our 1st trade to the Stars that sent Ichiro Suzuki plus others to the Stars (no one in this org wanted to make that trade ... Ichiro is the org. but this team when we bought it needed everything ... as an example we had two catchers between them ... we figured they could give us 180 ab! ... we have known Ray Ross gm of the Northwest Stars ... and we knew he loved Ichiro ... as if there is anyone who hates this guy ... anyway ... after some talks ... we took the Stars 1st round pick, Jered Weaver and Yorvit Torrealba ... and to this day ... my father will not forgive me. but we had to do it ... this team needed too much.

and than there was this last trade ... where we sent Jered Weaver, Black Sox 1st round pick (which could be the 8th pick in next year´s draft) for Dice-K. The Kiel press ... not Strawbone of course ... but most of the other sports papers were outraged that we should give up so much for a pitcher with a whip of 1.32 or something ... but Dice-K is king in his country ... and yes ... we did have to pay his japanese club before we could sign him ... the price was high ... enough said, yes.

Northwest Stars
Record: 95-67, 1st in Western Division.

Key Additions: CF Ichiro Suzuki, RF Randy Winn, RHP Bronson Arroyo, C Kurt Suzuki, LHP Chris Capuano, RHP Kyle Lohse, LHP Tom Glavine, RHP Scott Linebrink, RHP Francisco Cordero, 1B Scott Hatteberg and LHP Pedro Feliciano
Key Departures: LF Eric Byrnes, RHP Saul Rivera, RHP Trevor Hoffman, C Yorvit Torrealba, 1B Justin Morneau, RHP Jason Marquis

C—Joe Mauer*, Kurt Suzuki
1B—Jose Vidro#, Darin Erstad*
2B—Mark Grudzielanek, Maicer Izturis#
SS—Yuniesky Betancourt
3B—Mike Lowell
LF—Josh Willingham, Randy Winn#
CF—Ichiro Suzuki*, Endy Chavez*
RF—Ken Griffey*, Mike Cameron
DH—Scott Hatteberg*

SP—A.J. Burnett, Bronson Arroyo, Gil Meche, Oliver Perez*, Tom Glavine
RP—Francisco Cordero, Jeremy Accardo, Rafael Soriano, Scott Downs*, Pedro Feliciano*, Scott Linebrink

On The Farm: 3B Dallas McPherson*, CF Brian Anderson, RHP Brandon League

The Stars will be competitive and have an opportunity to win their division. The bullpen and everyday lineup are strong. The teams season will be determined by how well the starting staff does.

The team's defense is solid led by Ichiro and Mike Lowell. There will be several platoons including left field (Winn and Willingham), right field (Griffey and Cameron), DH, Hatteberg and several others) and 1b (Vidro and Erstad).

Spokane Hooded Crows
Record: 70-92, 4th place in Western Division

Key Additions: SS Rafael Furcal, RHP Tony Pena, 1B Ryan Howard
Key Departures: None. Good riddance to those bums

C—David Ross, Gerald Laird
1B—James Loney*, Dan Johnson*
2B—Mark Ellis
SS—Rafael Furcal#, Cesar Izturis#, Ryan Theriot
3B—Joe Crede, Mark DeRosa
LF—Andre Ethier*, Dave Roberts*
CF—Aaron Rowand
RF—Michael Cuddyer
DH—Ryan Howard*, Mike Piazza

SP—Mark Buehrle*, Chad Billingsley, Miguel Batista, Jeff Weaver, Joel Pineiro, Jason Schmidt
RP—Tony Pena, Chris Ray, Santiago Casilla, Eric Gagne, Cla Merideth, Joel Peralta, Scott Proctor, Oscar Villlarreal

On The Farm: C Jesus Flores, 1B/OF Steve Pearce, RHP Tom Mastny, RHP Chris Schroder, LHP Hong-Chi Kuo*

The Crows are happy with the young everday team we've assembled, but we are still trying to fill out the pitching staff. We are anticipating around a .500 season with hopes of being back in the playoff picture by 2009.

Tampa Bay Bats
Record: 59-95, last in Midwest Division

Key Additions: OF Rick Ankiel, LHP Joe Saunders, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, CF Mark Kotsay, F Jim Edmonds, RF Delmon Young, LHP Andy Pettitte, RF Jeremy Hermida, 1B Lance Berkman, RHP Edwin Jackson, LF Jason Bay
Key Departures: 2B Chris Burke, RF Jose Guillen, 1B Scott Hatteberg, RF Randy Winn, 1B Justin Morneau, RF Bobby Abreu

C—A.J. Pierzynski*, Damian Miller
1B—Lance Berkman#
2B—Josh Barfield, Jose Lopez
SS—Alex Gonzalez
3B—Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Cirillo
LF—Jason Bay, Rick Ankiel*
CF—Jim Edmonds*, Mark Kotsay*
RF—Delmon Young, Jeremy Hermida*
DH—Jason Giambi*
UTIL—Nick Punto#

SP—Andy Pettitte*, Boof Bonser, Chuck James*, Steve Trachsel, Josh Fogg, Edwin Jackson
RP—Kyle Farnsworth, Matt Wise, Salomon Torres, Matt Thornton*

On The Farm: RHP Mike Pelfrey, RHP Jair Jurrjens, RHP Rick Vanden Hurk, LHP Joe Saunders*, RF Nelson Cruz

The Yankee Clippers took a lot of heat from their fans and peers in the 2007 they dealt away youth and draft picks. After the season, the Clippers were sold to the Bon Jovi Management Team. A spokesman said there would be no more trading of young players and draft picks unless it was to trade up in the draft. The first thing the new management team did was to relocate the former Clippers to Tampa Bay. The plan is to lease Tropicana Field while the new stadium is waiting for the new stadium is built in St. Petersburg....Hooters Restaurant Management has outbid naming rights for both Tropicana and the new stadium. The new team will be called the Tampa Bay Bats...and should have a huge following down near thre party zone off the tip of Tampa Point.

After the new realignment...the Bats will try to keep their heads above water in a very tough Pacific Division which includes the Stars, Roadrunners, Black Sox and Crows. Though winning the division may be premature, the team is looking to the 2009 or 2010 season.. Response from the fans and the management is sky high because of the core of young players and the foundation they are laying for the future...There is a lot to be excited about the new Tampa Bay Bats.


Northeast Division Preview

All-Star Team

C—Victor Martinez, Dobermans. 1B—Adrian Gonzalez, Breakers. 2B—Robinson Cano, Huskies. SS—Orlando Cabrera, Blackhawks. 3B—Alex Rodriguez, Breakers. LF—Matt Holliday, Knights. CF—Carlos Beltran, Breakers. RF—Eric Byrnes, Knights. DH—Miguel Cabrera, Knights.

SP—Brad Penny, Blackhawks. SP—Roy Oswalt, Dobermans. SP—Javier Vazquez, Huskies. SP—Dan Haren, Dobermans. RP—Bobby Jenks, Knights.

Selections are based on players' win shares totals for the 2007 season, as per The Hardball Times. Win shares account for batting, pitching and defensive prowess, while also rewarding durability.

Cape Cod Breakers
Record: 101-61, 3rd place. Playoffs: Got swept 4-0 in finals

C—Jason Varitek#, Brian McCann*
1B—Adrian Gonzalez*, Billy Butler
2B—Brandon Phillips, Dustin Pedroia
3B—Alex Rodriguez
SS—Troy Tulowitzki, Stephen Drew*
LF—Nick Swisher#
CF—Carlos Beltran#, Joey Gathright*
RF—J.D. Drew*, Franklin Gutierrez
DH—Jack Cust*
UTIL—Esteban German

SP—Johan Santana*, Tim Hudson, Kelvim Escobar, Scott Baker, Jeff Suppan, Shawn Hill
RP—Mariano Rivera, Troy Percival, Russ Springer, Brett Tomko

On The Farm: LHP Franklin Morales*, 1B Joey Votto*, RHP Craig Hansen

Breakers will make the playoffs again but will not make it to the finals.

Easton Dobermans
Record: 64-98

Additions: RHP Yovani Gallardo, RHP Phil Hughes, C Geovany Soto, RHP Andy Sonnanstine, 3B Mark Reynolds, 1B Daric Barton, RHP Kyle Kendrick, OF Norris Hopper, OF Skip Schumaker, OF Juan Rivera
Key Departures: RHP Jered Weaver, RHP Ian Snell, LHP Chuck James

C—Victor Martinez#, Chris Snyder, Geovany Soto
1B—Paul Konerko
2B—Orlando Hudson#, Marcus Giles
SS—Edgar Renteria
3B—Hank Blalock*, Mark Reynolds
LF—Carl Crawford*
CF—Coco Crisp*
RF—Norris Hopper, Skip Schumaker*, Fred Lewis*
UTIL—Alfredo Amezaga#

SP—Roy Oswalt, Dan Haren, Ben Sheets, Barry Zito*, Yovani Gallardo, Phil Hughes, Randy Wolf*, Noah Lowry*
RP—Brian Fuentes*, Damaso Marte*, Luis Ayala, Brian Tallet*

On The Farm: 1B Daric Barton*, RHP Anthony Reyes, LHP Jeremy Sowers*, RHP Andy Sonnanstine

The Dobermans outlook this season should be of a rebuilding effort, as we make our climb toward being a .500 team. But that may prove to be difficult. Management is focusing on the strong starting pitching that we have and building the team through pitching and defense. The infield looks strong, and just looking to get a little stronger in the OF department. We made the trade of Snell to acquire more decent players in the draft and already have a 10-man rotation, so he shouldn't be missed too much. (At least their pitching arms should be well rested LOL!). A few more missing pieces and I think we can become a playoff team once again in the near future.

Jersey Blackhawks
Record: 70-92

Key additions: 1B Ryan Garko, 1B Jim Thome, SS Orlando Cabrera, 3B Chone Figgins, RF Xavier Nady, CF Reggie Willits, RHP Brad Penny, RHP Huston Street
Key Losses: RHP Joe Nathan

C—Paul Lo Duca, Kelly Shoppach
1B—Ryan Garko, Kendry Morales#, Kevin Millar
2B—Mark Loretta, Felipe Lopez#, Aaron Miles#
SS—Orlando Cabrera
3B—Chone Figgins#
LF—Ryan Church*, Chris Duncan*
CF—Reggie Willits#, Corey Patterson*
RF—Xavier Nady
DH—Jim Thome*

SP—Justin Verlander, Brad Penny, Joe Blanton, Woody Williams, Scott Olsen*, Justin Germano
RP—Huston Street, Kevin Correia, Ryan Franklin, Jonathan Broxton, Dan Wheeler, Joe Beimel*, Zach Miner

On The Farm: CF Josh Anderson*

On paper the Blackhawks look much better going into 2008 than they did in 2007. With a decent blend of speed and power, runs should be a little easier to come by. The top of the rotation (1-3) should be acceptable, but the deep bullpen will have to help out the back-end starters. The bullpen looks ok but will definitely miss Nathan who closed for Jersey for quite a while.

In spite of all this, the Jersey Boys will be fortunate to finish .500 because of the very tough competition within Northeast division. It should be an interesting season with some exciting games at Blackhawk Park, but unless Jersey upgrades their C platoon vs. RHP and a back-end starter, this could turn into a disappointing season again for the Hawks.

Kalamazoo Knights
Record: Chicago went 83-79, 5 games back

Key Additions: 1B Justin Morneau, LF Matt Holliday, RHP Bobby Howry, LF Eric Byrnes, RHP Bobby Jenks, SS J.J. Hardy, 2B Kazuo Matsui, RHP Juan Cruz, RHP Heath Bell, CF Vernon Wells, C Bengie Molina, RHP John Smoltz
Key Departures: 1B Lance Berkman, RHP Fausto Carmona, LF Jason Bay, RF Xavier Nady, LHP Scott Olsen, CF Corey Patterson, C Gregg Zaun, RF Delmon Young, SS Orlando Cabrera, RF Jeremy Hermida, RHP Ervin Santana, 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff

C—Bengie Molina, Jose Molina
1B—Justin Morneau*
2B—Kazuo Matsui#
SS—J.J. Hardy, John McDonald
3B—Miguel Cabrera
LF—Eric Byrnes
CF—Vernon Wells, Rajai Davis
RF—Alex Rios
DH—Matt Holliday, Jayson Werth

John Smoltz, Carlos Zamprano, Cole Hamels*, Jered Weaver, Wandy Rodriquez*, Edgar Gonzalez
RP—Bobby Jenks, Heath Bell, Bobby Howry, Ryan Dempster, Trevor Hoffman, Jamie Walker*, Juan Cruz

On the Farm: RHP Kevin Slowey, C J.R. Towles, LHP Garrett Olson*, RHP Anibal Sanchez

Dean Campbell took over the Chicago team. And he didn’t waste any time making his mark with a number of big trades.

The Knights look to make a run at 1st place in there division in their 1st yr. We have a very powerful lineup and will score runs. Our SP after Zambrano and Hamels is a little weak, but we have a strong bullpen to help them out.

Northeast Huskies
Record: 54-108

Key additions: RHP Joba Chamberlain, SS Yunel Escobar, RHP Shaun Marcum, OF Ryan Ludwick, 2B Jeff Keppinger, LHP Bobby Seay

C—Russell Martin, Josh Phelps
1B—Derrek Lee, Kevin Youkilis
2B—Robinson Cano*, Yunel Escobar
SS—Jose Reyes#, Jhonny Peralta
3B—Ryan Zimmerman
LF—Brad Hawpe*, Corey Hart
CF—David DeJesus*, Ryan Ludwick
RF—Jeff Francouer, Milton Bradley#

SP—Josh Beckett, Javier Vazquez, Jamie Shields, Tim Wakefield, Shaun Marcum
RP—Jose Valverde, Manny Delcarmen, Joba Chamberlain, Brett Myers, Bobby Seay*, Ervin Santana

On The Farm: RF Justin Upton, CF Carlos Gomez, CF Lastings Milledge, 3B Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Andy Marte, RF Ryan Sweeney*, RHP Edinson Volquez

The Huskies hope to be in the playoffs.