My take: The NL East is very tough and arguably the toughest in NCAA. The division sported the top two records in the NL while a third was over .500 and the fourth barely missed .500. No other division last season came too close to that combined record. You have to give Syracuse the nod as the favorite until they finally are toppled. Evil doers has admitted that the Orange are “in their window” so they are going all out as evidenced by their big FA signing to replace Jodie. The Tar Heel’s looked to have gotten better with their acquisitions. Louisville and Buffalo also have high expectations. All 4 teams goals are the playoffs so some will be disappointed. Should once again be one of the toughest divisions.
Free Agents Added: Signed Lefty Starting Pitcher Jose Barrios to a multi-year long term deal.
Rookies Promoted: Raymond Nixon. The former first round pick will make the team and play against all left handed starters and some right handed starters.
Possible Rookie Promotion: Gustavo Sivilla. Another first round pick, ‘Gus’ would make a great platoon partner with Nixon. He will probably start season in minors to be promoted early in the season.
Possible Rookie Promotions: Long time minor league relief standouts Art Roberts and Augie Halter will battle for one possible bullpen opening.
Players Added Via Trade: None
Free Agents Lost: SP Jaime Jodie. (Signed Long term deal with Nashville Commodores)
R.J. Vargas (Signed two year contract with Minnesota Golden Gophers)
Players Lost Via Trade: None
The Orange expect to fight for an NL East Division crown and hope to advance deep into the playoffs. They should be a contender for the championship.
Expectations: We were really happy with how last season went. We had originally targeted Season 11 as our season to start contending again, but we got there a season early. Now with the additions to the team, we expect to challenge Syracuse for the division. At the very least we expect to make the playoffs and do some damage.
Free Agents Added: Added Jake Hardy to shore up the pitching staff and Otto Crosby as a nice bat off the bench.
Free Agents Lost: None
Players Added Via Trade: Rich Perry was the big haul and will hopefully solidify the middle of the lineup. Phil Nomura will be a solid bench guy for us and play multiple positions and hopefully steal some bases. Not sure where Javier Sanchez will start the season, either in the rotation or as a top bullpen guy. He is pretty much taking over Travis Hermansens role.
Players Lost Via Trade: Matty Johnson was a backup catcher and will get a shot starting for Huntington. Travis Hermansen will also get a shot at more PT with the Herd. Billy Rivers was also traded in the Perry deal as the Herd needed a young replacement for Perry. Chance Austin was the odd man out in the rotation and was moved for a prospect.
Rookies Promoted: Went in a different direction with our backup catcher and promoted Bill Forster who will bring a great defensive presence and pitch calling to the end of games.
Possible Rookie Promotion: Still trying to decide if Fausto Jiminez gets his promotion this season or next. He is an awesome talent who we expect big things out of.
I look forward to competing for the division this year. Most of the team is intact from last year.
Key Free Agents Lost: Hamish Reynolds SS/IF/OF
Key Free Agents Signed: None
Rule 5 Pick(s): Rip Kirby 2B
Possible Prospect Promotion(s): Orval Coscarart 2B, Hamlet Darwin RF
Key Players Added: Acquired SP Mike Lloyd and 3B Will Hendricksen (R)
Key Players Lost: SP Jose Barrios
Rookies: RP Albert Nippert. He will be THE CIA of the league.
Outlook: The lost of SP Jose Barrios will be hard to take for the team and will put a lot of pressure on the young SP Guillen. But, we are confident that our pitching staff will be able to give tough time to their opponents. Add to the recipe a bunch of solid hitter and a bit of chances. That will bring us to the playoffs for sure.