My Take: This division has something to prove after a team under .500 won the division. Although Detroit ended up winning a series and taking NL Pennant Winner Syracuse to the brink before falling. Detroit looks like the clear cut favorite to take the division and it would probably be an upset if the second place team won a wild card spot. I think that Dover will take a step back this season as they re-tool with Columbus jumping a spot. Lots of pressur eon the Hawkeyes as they need to hit 70 wins or the franchise will be looking for new management.
4. Iowa City
S10 Record: 80-82 (1st in NL North); Lost in NLDS
Free-Agency: No major losses or pickups
Trades: Lost SS/3B Tomas Navarro
The Wolverines would still like to move a pitcher or two to add another powerful bat into the lineup but most teams wanted Arrojo included in the trades and we just didn’t see how trading a young power hitter along with pitching was going to help us.
Rookies: Johnny Fossum, Don Creek, and Rico Rivera were all called up late last season and look to remain on the ML roster this season to help lock down the best era pitching staff from last season. After turning down multiple trade offers, LF Eliezer Arrojo, will be called up after the 20 game mark to help produce some offense for the team. P Harry Medrano and 3B/RF Lynn Prior will probably be called up at some point as well although it will depend on how the team is performing.
Outlook: The Detroit Wolverines will once again look to battle for the NL North division (either 1st or 2nd last 6 seasons) and make their way into the playoffs for the 5th straight season. While not a lot of changes were made, owner tk21775 felt this team underachieved last season and not a lot of moves needed to be made. The Wolverines had the ML best era staff last season at 3.90 and only got stronger with some call-ups. Out of the 13 pitchers on the roster, 9 are 28 or younger and we still have some young arms to call up. We will rely heavily on Arrojo to produce some big offensive numbers as he’ll find himself in the lineup with 1B Eddie Sanford (37 HR, 85 rbi, .287 avg.), Buster Wiggins (17 HR, 67 rbi, .274 avg.) and Mitch Carter (27 HR 74 rbi and .232 avg.). The goal this season is to find a way past Syracuse and compete for the NL title as well as the WS.
Key Players Added: Acquired 3B Ben Brown and SS Harry Turner via trade, Promoted former ML players Util Ezdra Nunez and RP Louie Chang from AAA
Key Players Lost: SS Ben Jackson via trade, C Jamie Martin, RF Harvey Chambers, 3B Joaquin Alamanzar, RP Freddy Yang, RP Larry Graham, SP Pascual Calles, and RP Louie Lopez
Key Transactions: Accepted the Option on RP Frank Cota, Arbitrated with 1B Joshua Hall and RP Louie Chang, Avoided Arbitration by signing LF Max Peterson, CF Miguel Concepcion, RP Briam Messmer, Util Ringo Pennington, and C Benito Goya
Rookies: SP Luis Pineda, RP Cecil Riske
Outlook: A full season of SP Homer Konerko should be a major bright spot for this team. The addition of 3B Ben Brown and a big shakeup in the pitching staff could help this team finally turn the corner. If LF/1B Rudy Sutton follows up on his breakout season and CF Miguel Concepcion puts together another MVP type season this team should continue to do well at the plate. This team should hold on to 3rd in the division but there is always hope.
Key Players Added: FA SPs Don Bong and Pepe Lee were signed to replace Adrian Cora and Eddie Randall. Two Rule 5's were drafted and another claimed off waivers.
Key Players Lost: SPs Adrian Cora & Eddie Randall, 1b Juan Melendez, LF Roger Valentin, 2b/3b Ed Martin, RP Tim Stein
Key Transactions: Allowed Cora, Randall, Melendez, and Martin to become free agents in order to add more high draft picks. 1B Mark Starr was a little overmatched in his first full year, but he has been given the starting job with the departure of Juan Melendez.
Rookies: Brandon Matthews will be given every chance to become a trusted arm in the bullpen. C/DH Ray King, Hurricane's season 10 #4 top hitting prospect, will get a shot at the ML roster. Three Rule 5's will also get a try: SP Ben Loiza and RPs Chris George and Daniel Willingham.
Outlook: The Blue Hens narrowly lost the division to Detroit in the last two games of the year. This offseason has seen a departure of some veteran fixtures as Dover looks to rebuild from within. A small drop-off would not be unexpected while the young guys pay their dues. This team needs to add (or develop) a few bats in order to contend again.
FA Pick Ups- Short Relievers Lou York and Diego Nieto, CF Jung-Lee Koh, SS Melvin Brock
Brock and Koh were brought in to help shore up the Defense up the middle, York and Nieto will do wonders for the bullpen allowing more save chances for Haywood Young, or it could allow Young to go back to Long relief.
FA Losses- Pitchers Paul O'Connor, Lyle Nieman, and Orber Pierre
Nieman's 59IP's and 3.17 ERA will be missed, but hopefully Yourk and Nieto can pick up the slack.
FA Losses- SS Mark Matthews and CF Giomar Uribe
Both bats will be missed, but there below average D in important positions will not. Matthews had 20 HR's and 75RBI, but only hit .265. Uribe hit a paltry .256 last season so it was time for a change.
Rookies- Starting Pitchers Jay Berg, Hank Gordon, Lyle Hughes, and Kevin Ramsey will all be battling for a rotation spot on the ML club this season.
Season Outlook: Got to find a way to get to 70 wins this year, the lineup has some good sticks to it and we need to avoid too many "bad" hitting seasons, like we had last year (2B Quinn hitting .218, he has a 67 contact rating and a 90 Batting Eye). COnfidant in the pitching staff, no real dominant Ace but all are tough outs, we also have a lot of good young arms that could be used to bring in a solid bat for the middle of our line up (HINT HINT).