Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NL South Divisional Preview


1. Texas
2. Huntington
3. Austin
4. Memphis


Key Players Added: Aaron Downing 1B/OF , Dernell Cameron1B/OF , Jimmie Daniels SP/RP , Randy Gabriel RP

Key Players Lost: Jonathan Maduro C, Wascar Bennett 3B/OF

Key Transactions: N/A

Rookies: Chipper Brown C, Thomas O'Neil IF/OF

Outlook: After finishing 4th in the NL South for the second straight season, the Tigers decided to hit the FA market during the off-season and spend a little. The Tigers subsequently shelled out some big bucks to sign 3-time silver slugger Downing and 5-time allstar Cameron, in hopes of upgrading an otherwise mediocre offense. As for pitching, which finished last in the NL during season 9, the Tigers were unable to obtain a big gun they were in search of. They did however sign Daniels and Gabriel, both veterans with soild career numbers, to provide leadership and otherwise solidify an average pitching staff. Rookies Chipper Brown and Thomas O’Neil look to see plenty of playing time with the big league club in season 10, with Brown primarily backing up and relieving Wille Baez, while seeing plenty of opportunities to start. The Tigers, looking to take advantage of O’Neil’s speed, look to him to be the opening day CF despite a subpar arm.
The Season 10 outlook in Memphis is modest. The Tigers failed to add all the pieces they were hoping to in the off-season, but no one is sure how things will unfold. Will the offense rally around two of the games better hitters? And can the pitching staff keep it close enough so the offense has a chance? The Tigers probably didn’t do enough to be serious playoff contenders, but stranger things have happened. Memphis just hopes to bring a better brand of baseball to its fans than it has the last two seasons. They are looking for a winning record and more importantly, to finish out of the cellar ahead of ……..


Key Players Added: C Chico Duran, 3B Terrence Washington, SP Bob Elster, SP Douglas Flynn. None of these signings will knock your socks off, but we hope the totality of them will help the team.

Key Players Lost: 3B Delino Marquez, RF Chuck Andrews. Not huge losses, but do represent some changes in the lineup.

Key Transactions: Moves in free agency. We were looking to improve through the free agent market this season. Additionally, LF Graham Wilson was signed to a long-term contract that will keep him in Austin through Season 14.

Rookies expected to contribute: No huge contributions are expected from rookies, although we hope Dom Douglas will give us some good innings in long relief and the occasional spot start.

Outlook: Last season was the first in the past four that the 'Horns did not win the NL South. Austin finished 10th in both runs scored and runs allowed in the National League. Our goal in the off season was to bring in some players to have changed that, and we think we've done that. Our season goal is to return to the top of the NL South, and the playoffs. We think we have the pieces to do it. On a side note, we're VERY happy to have locked up Graham Wilson long term.


Key Additions:
Signings: C Virgil Infante, CF James Lee, SP Gus Field, SP Bernie Tresh, SP Chad Simmons

Traded for: RP Vic Redmond, RP Ray Hansen, RP Timo Brinkley, 2B Hank Acosta, 1B/PH Vinny Li, SP Cristobal Cruz, RP Alfonso Escobar (AAA), SP Clayton Carson (AA), RP Jeremy Livingstone (hiA)

Key Losses:
Free Agency: RP Vinny Shigetoshi, C Stephen Wynn, RP Peter Ryan, SP Jimmie Daniels

Traded: OF/1B Gene Stowers, SS Mark Shaw, RP Hulk Vaughn, 1B/OF Kid Torre, SP Daniel Mullens, SP Howie Hawkins, CF Kent Matheny, C Ewell Henderson

Key Transactions:
Re-Signed OF Rex Allen
Promoted IF Josh Hunter
Promoted P Roger Karnuth

IF Josh Hunter, SP Cristobal Cruz, RP Timo Brinkley

Despite missing out on their top 2 targets, the Thundering Herd look to build off of a season which saw them finish 7 games out, despite finishing the season with a 5 game winning streak. With the switch to a 4-man rotation the pitching staff boasts 2/3 new members. The bullpen looks to improve upon a dreadful season and starting staff will see at least 3 new members, and maybe a 4th. Closer Alex Lopez (27/33, 4-13, 5.35 ERA) looks to return to his season 8 form. MVP Dante Thompson (69 HR, 148 RBI, .321/.437/.728) looks to continue his dominance of NL pitching while this starting lineup could potentially see 6 players hit 30+ home runs. With James Lee, Marty Wayne, and Josh Hunter or Hank Acosta patrolling the middle of the field, the defense should be a good defense yet again. Getting to the playoffs is the only barometer of success for Huntington this season.


Key Players Added: Went out and got setup help in the offseason with the additions of Kenneth Banks and Graham Post.

Key Players Lost: None, although a couple of long relief guys were not brought back in order to clear room for the setup guys.

Key Transactions: Ned French got paid. $9MM over the next 3 years to be exact. This is for a 25HR 104RBI cleanup guy that protects the young phenom Seneca in the lineup and makes the offense go.

The Mustangs' goal for this season (90+ wins season and a playoff berth) is to match last season's division title while setting up the roster for long term success. Several vetrans will need to be dealt during the season to make room for 3-4 position players currently in AAA like Chico Tavares, Bernard Springer, and Felix Bernero. So teams needing to replace an injured player or load up for a divisional race will have Texas as a place to look for talent.

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