My Take: The Owls have to be a huge favorite here to not only repeat the division championship, but also win it by 15+ games. They upgraded their team significantly offensively. They will definitely compete for the AL crown. The rest of the division resembles the AL South as it doesn't look like any of them will have the horses to compete for a wild card spot. New York has a new owner who took over from a long term owner who never committed to rebuilding once they were passed by the Owls. Charleston continues their rebuilding efforts by stockpiling draft picks and looking to sign some Intl Free Agents. Chicago has actually moved from the Southside to the Northside of Chicago and is hoping that jumpstarts the franchise.
1. Philadelphia Owls
2. New York Red Storm
3. Charleston Cougars
4. Chicago Blue Demons
Key Players Added : LF Dave Ramsay, DH Dante Thompson and RP Howie Grim.
Key Players Lost : C Gaylord Burke, RP Ismael Rios, RP Enrique Guzman and SP Pat Gibbons.
Key Transactions : Only one trade but a blockbuster one. LF Dave Ramsay and young SP Nolan Boone came from Portland for C Gaylord Burke, SP Pat Gibbons and another young SP Anthony Mecir.
Rookies expected to contribute: SP Nolan Boone .
Their future is near: LF/2B B.C. Polanco, SS Danny Smoltz, RP Phil Worrell and RP Julio Brito.
Another great season for the Owls but another bad finish.
During off-season we tried to found what is the problem with our team and we came to conclusion that we need a little help on the offence, a better leadoff hitter and a real good DH and in the bullpen too..
We think we found them in Ramsey, Thompson and Grim.
Here's what our top of the order should look like.
Ramsey in the left, Kotsay at second base followed by Thompson the DH and two times MVP Bryant at first.
On the mound, 3 times Cy young award winner Domingo Servet, Daisuke Suzuki and Otis Damon will lead the rotation.
The bullpen should be strong enough with the addition of Grim and Orber Pierre.
Our goal is still to represent the AL in the World Series.
Of course all that will be possible if everyone stays healthy.
New York Red Storm
Added: Ismael Rios
Lost: Matthew Lennon, Ronnie Hamill (trade)
Rookies: Milton Hermanson, Javier Sanchez
Outlook: Hoping to contend for a WC spot, but most likely going to be a seller come the trade deadline.
Charleston continues its rebuilding efforts this year. The team currently holds 5 of the top 60 picks in the draft after losing Jared Strickland and Freddie Upshaw to free agency. The team also figures to be active in pursuit of international free agents. The Cougars picked up Miguel Rodriguez and Gabe Randolph in the Rule 5 Draft, and promoted Al Morris and Omar Holmes to the Major League Roster. The pitching staff will be anchored by Gregg Padden who comes off of a 13-9 season and Eswalin Sierra who pitched a team high 271 innings last season. 3B Odaliz Velazquez enters his second season as the Cougar’s top offensive threat.
Chicago Blue Demons