4. Iowa City
Key Additions- 3B Monte Hall and LF Steven Foster will add some much needed pop to the lineup
Key Losses- Starting Pitchers Anthony Jenkins and Midre Lopes, Aging LF Rico Alvarado
Transactions- Tom Hawkins, Rule 5 pickup
Rookies- Pitchers Tom Hawkins and Bernie Gonzalez
Outlook- After a disappointing 57-105 record last season the Hawkeyes are looking to bounce back in a major way. The team has gotten younger in the rotation and added some much needed bats on offense. Last Years team lost 32 games by one run and they are looking to take care of that by scoring more runs. Hall and Foster will go into a lineup that includes stud Catcher Juan Nunez, and solid young hitters in 2B Kimera Quinn and RF Nate Fitzgerald. The pitching rotation is solid despite not having an Ace, and the Bullpen will hold its own. Haywood Young will become a 2 inning closer in an effort to win more of the close ballgames.
Key Players Added: FA C Hawk Mathews was signed during the Rule 5 freeze to compete with Jeffrey Capra for the starting catching job. Mathews is an 88-rated pitch caller with an okay bat. Reacquired RP Jose Sosa from Fargo.
Key Players Lost: Defensive C Al Guerrero.
Key Transactions: Allowed RP Randy Gabriel to become a type B free agent in order to add another high draft pick. With the return of RP Jose Sosa, Dover will continue to boast one of the stronger bullpens in the majors.
Rookies: 1B Mark Starr still qualifies as a rookie, and if he steals enough at bats from Juan Melendez, could challenge for rookie of the year. Starr hit .347 in his 124 major league at bats last season. RP Deion Neal, acquired in the Rule 5, will probably make a positive contribution right away even though that is rare from a Rule 5 pick. 2b Rigo Gandarillas should be one of the first call-ups if he doesn’t make the team out of spring training.
Outlook: After winning the NL North in his first two full seasons as manager, byers61 is more confident this year than last. Returning all of the key components of last year’s division winner, the Blue Hens should be able to insert a couple of rookie bats who are now ready to make Dover even stronger in season 10. Dover will need to add one more good starter (more likely a trade than a rookie stepping up) to clinch the division and advance in playoff competition.
Key Players Added: Mark Shaw - SS, will help with defensive at that position.
Eddie Sanford - 1B, lost him to season ending injury last season but he's back and healthy this season.
Key Players Lost: Christopher Jones - LF
Rookies: May see Johnny Fossum - P and Harry Medrano - P both called up from AAA at some point this season.
Outlook: Win the divison and try to proceed farther than 2nd round of playoffs this season.
Key Players Added: RP Zip Stratton to bolster the bullpen
Key Players Lost: SP Torey Torres via Free Agency; 1B Henry Konerko via demotion (to assist in the development of his phenom little brother SP Homer Konerko)
Key Transactions: Resigned our own FAs P Philip Kennedy and the venerable clubhouse leader C Jamie Martin
Key Returns: LF Max Peterson who missed 94 games last season due to shoulder surgery.
Rookies: RP Zip Stratton
Outlook: The Buckeyes climbed up to 3rd in the division last season and look to hold on to that spot and hopefully hit that elusive .500 mark this season. Anchored by hurricane384 Top 3's CF Miguel Concepcion and SS Ben Jackson along with Gold Glove 2B Eduardo Arias, 1B Joshua Hall, and LF Max Peterson the offense should be solid. The pitching staff led by Mike Nevin and Adam DeJean finished around the middle of the pack in most categories last season and should do as well this season. In a case of addition by subtraction, the departure of gopher ball server Torey Torres should help. If ROY candidate Zip Stratton comes anywhere close to matching his AAA stats, the bullpen should be improved also. The Bottom Line is this team has potential but is not really not close to being a contender unless everyone has career years.