My Take: This division boasts two of the top teams in the NL with Syracuse coming out on top the last couple seasons as they've now won the NL East for five straight seasons. As you can see below, the Tar Heels made some significant moves to bolster the top of their lineup to try to get more scoring opportunities for the middle of their order. The Orange made some slight tweaks, but nothing earth shattering. Why fix what isn't broken? Louisville looks to finish third in the division, but they weren't too far away from earning the second wild card spot and if things break right, they could do so. Buffalo continues with their rebuilding project.
1. Syracuse Orange
2. Charlotte Tar Heels
3. Louisville Cardinals
4. Buffalo Bulls
Charlotte Tar Heels
Expectations: Our main goals this season are to finally take the NL East divisional crown away from Syracuse and earn a bye in the playoffs. We were in it until the last game in Season 11 and we are hoping with the acquisitions this season that it will put us over the top. This season will be a disappointment if we do not make the playoffs.
Free Agents Added: Bubbles Haynes as a nice hitter off the bench
Free Agents Lost: Mel Reed back to the Thundering Herd after we traded for him for him at the deadline last season. At least we’ll get a couple draft picks for our trouble.
Players Added Via Trade: Our biggest acquisition is Ronnie Hamill who has absolutely torn it up in his career with New York in the AL. We were in desperate need for a top flight lineup guy which allows us to move some of our bigger bats back in the order. He is also great with the glove and will be able to take over 2B as Rich Perry moves to 3B and Moe Hermansen to RF which will make one of the top defenses in NCAA even better. Travis Hermansen and Eric Jacquez were both brought back in from Huntington to shore up the pitching staff. We also brought back Alex Lopez who will strengthen our end of the game options.
Players Lost Via Trade: Buddy Daniels has been a Heel his whole career, but with the our pitching staff getting younger, we decided to market Daniels and were able to secure a nice, young SP prospect from Iowa City in Hank Waltman. We wish the best of luck to Daniels. Scot Hunt has been a solid defensive replacement the last few seasons, but we have a couple younger guys we wanted to give that spot to so we moved him to Huntington. Also lost Javier Sanchez in the Hamill deal and our starting CFer, Felipe Rincon the past two seasons to Huntingon as we needed to shore up our pitching staff.
Rookies Promoted: Bobby Reese will take over Scot Hunt’s defensive replacement duties. Fausto Mercardo, who was claimed off the waiver wire at the end of last season, was promoted to be a defensive replacement, pinch runner, who also has a decent contact bat. He also went to Charlotte GM’s alma mater, Johns Hopkins.
Possible Rookie Promotion: As of now, there are no plans to promote anyone, but injuries or other circumstances could change that.
‘Losses’ (No Key loses) only loses are pitchers Joe Creek and Rafael Osuna
‘Additions’ (No Key Additions) only addition is reliever Bernard Rucker.
The Syracuse Orange are playing this season with nearly the same class that they had in season 11. They’re expecting to contend again for the tough NL East crown.
As mentioned above, there are no key additions to the team. Mitchell Spencer appears fully healed from his game World Series Game five injury. Lead off platoon youngsters Raymond Nixon and Gustavo Sivilla look ready to take another step forward.
In the last four seasons we’ve
4 ago) Won the Wild Card Series
3 ago) Won the Divisonal Series
2 ago) Won 1 World Series Game
Last) Won 2 World Series Games.
Hopefully the trend will continue!
Key Players Added: Alex Franco via Trade to shore up the bullpen
Key Players Lost: Raymond Snow 3B and Will Cook 1B via Free Agency
Key Callups: Pedro Aviles, Stewart George and Santos Siqueiros
Outlook: Truthfully, our division looks like it will be a two horse race between the Heels and the Orange. We hope to finish above .500 again and take a wildcard spot.
Whatever happens, we are positioned now to improve year after year.
Key Players Added
Shawn Walker (L) LF
Vladimir Polonia (L) SP
Key Players Lost
Possible Rookie Call ups
We will hope a big surprise at spring training camp.
No big expectation for this season. By the fact that the other teams are very strong. Don't finishing last in our division will be a good achievement.