Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Season 21 - Team Previews - Batch 3

Charlotte Tar HeelsPlayers Added: Andrea Nelson (OF) in trade with Huntington.

Players Lost: Two long time Tar Heels, Moe Hermanson and Ronnie Hammill departed, but we recently signed them to ML minmums and they had options available so we assigned them to our rookie team.  I'm looking at them as our "Crash Davis Duo" in rookie ball. Both were really important pieces over the last 10 seasons to the Tar Heels run of success.

Rookies: Ralph Booker (2B) is a former first round Tar Heel selection and could get the call this season as a utility player.  There are also some young pitchers trying to fill out the staff, but then won't (or shouldn't) make big impacts.

Outlook: Our goal is the same as the last few seasons....win the NL East and earn a first round bye in the playoffs.  We haven't had a lot of success in the playoffs considering what we've done in the regular season. The Tar Heels finally made the World Series last season after several seasons in a row of early bow outs and proceeded to blow a 3-1 series lead....which is also GM HopkinsHeel's speciality.  It appears as though the NL East will be really tough as all 4 teams have reasons to be excited.  Can't wait for the season to start!

Chicago Blue Demons

The Blue Demons added several players in an attempt to be more competitive this year. 2B Paul Richards was added to add some pop to the line up and P Andres Rosario was added via trade. Also signed was P Jeremy Livingstone to shore up the bullpen and promising P Charlie Stevens was picked up via the rule 5 draft. The Blue Demons only significant loss was young P Junior Zurbaran dealt in the Rosario trade in the hopes of reaching the 70 win threshold this year.

Iowa City Hawkeyes

Iowa didn't lose anyone of importance, the only thing I lost were pitchers and my pitching was terrible last season.

With that said here I go trying to get some better pitchers. Tried to make trades and sign free agents unfortunately the only pitcher I landed was Derrick Jerichower. Hopfully he and my sophmores from last season can develop into a strong pitching tandem.

My fielders have not changed so I should be fine with offense if everyone stays healthy.

Jackson Rebels

The Jackson Rebels will be looking to charge into the post season this year after falling short last season.

Leading the way will be RF Lyle Daly, who could reach the 50-50 mark. Supporting Daly with offense will be SS Fernando Segui and 2B Dee Thompson. Andres Martinez and Charles Dickerson are expected to give him some protection in the lineup.

After resigning FA pitcher Yonder Santos (more than I would have liked), the rotation has its number one back in the fold. Management is banking on Santos to have another year like last season's that more or less earned him his big contract. Management is also expecting Jordan Stephens to step up his game to be an exceptional #2 starter. Nash Messmer will once again be the Rebel closer anchoring the bullpen.

Syracuse Orange

Players Lost: Joaquin Bautista (Type A), Theo Franco

Players Added: Saul Manzanillo (Trade), Julio Brito (Trade late in Season 20), Santiago Matos (Promotion)

Players “Bubbling Under:” Buddy Ferguson, Chad Demel, Johnny Ryan (INJURED), Terry Overbeck, Sticky Markakis

Outlook: We expected this to be a year that we expected to make the playoffs. However a 250 day injury to Johnny Ryan during the AAA playoffs have put a dent to that optimism. We still think we’ll be competitive. For the third straight season we ‘think’ we’ve improved our bullpen with the addition of Brito and the promotion of Matos. We’ll see….

Columbus Buckeyes

FA Lost- SS Bob Jacobs, P Darond Mays, P OSwaldo Limon

FA Added- P- Joaquin Batista, P Alberto Rincon, C- Tito Banks, and SS Earl Cradle.

While the Bucks have finished in 2nd place in the division in 4 of 5 seasons under tdfactory's leadership, last year can officially be called a disappointment. 2nd place sounds ok, but the under .500 finish wipes off any potential good feelings. There were a few rays of sunshine in the overall disappointing season, and that is the progress of a few of the "Young Bucks" and continued consistency from team leader 3B Thomas Fogg. A couple of the "Young Bucks", 1B Ryan Meusel, 2B Les Rivera, and C Vin Lopez showed progress and continue to develop.

The team suffered minor losses in Free Agency and while the Bucks targeted a few major acquisitions in FA, the price climbed too high and they struck out. However, the additions in the bullpen and the field were improvements.

Last season saw the trade of Ace Homer Konerko. In return the BUcks got three players that are on the ML roster this season, SP- Sonny White who will be heavily counted on in the front half of the rotation, bullpen help in Al Ortiz, and platooning in CF and adding speed on the basepaths is Al Bristow.

Down on the farm, Season 17's first rounder Hector Narveson is expected to contribute to the bullpen at some point this season, although that is the only expected help coming this season. Season 18's first rounder P- Stephen Harvey continues to develop at AAA, and the last two seasons first rounders SS Bip Oeltjen and CF Fred Urich continue to develop in the lower level minors and are probably season 23 arrivals to the bigs.

In order for the Bucks to be successful, the young talent needs to continue to improve, the team must avoid injuries, and see some positive contribution from the new faces gained through last seasons trade and the offseason. AN above .500 finish and at least a WIld Card entry into the playoffs are where expectations sit, anything less will be a major disappointment.

Anaheim Trojans

Lost: Brad Holt, Dickie Hatcher

Added: Vincente Carreras

Prospects who will be called up this year: Tony Kim,

Hipolito Cora, Livian Andino

Not much movement this offseason as the rebuilding continues in Anaheim. This should be another year of struggling to get to .500. Trading Holt away was a difficult decision as he is a premier player, but we feel like there was good value in Carreras. Also borderline HOF player Dickie Hatcher will not be back. Despite low expectations it should be a fun year as a few rookies will be promoted and the minor leagues are getting stronger every year.

Salem Beavers


• Torey Feliz, CF, 32 (Signed by Cincinnati) – starter in CF, his best asset, defense, is on the downhill slope.

• Tyson Seaver, 2B, 34 (Signed by Helena) – part time 2B, near the end of his career.

• Ben Jackson, 3B, 36 (Signed by Huntington, assigned to AAA) – can no longer play ML 3B

• Seth Hairston, RF, 31 (Unsigned FA) – vL RF platoon, not worth paying more than league min.

• Carlton Anderson, UT, 29 (Unsigned FA) – Could play well anywhere but SS, barely hits.

• Jacob Belle, 3B-UT, 35 (Unsigned FA) – vL 3B platoon, unlikely to ever play another ML game.

• Gregory Cloud, SP, 31 (Signed by Philadelphia) – A league average quality starting pitcher.

• Howie Hawkins, SP, 31 (Signed by Arizona State) – Similar to Cloud.

• Dom Douglas, LR, 33 (Signed by Arizona State) – Another league average guy.


• Yadier Torres, CF, 32 (2 yrs, $3.8M per) – Brought in for his GG quality defense to play every day.

• Chico Tavarez, RF, 34 (1 yr, $2.0M) – Will be vL RF and backup for 3B.

• Willie Berroa, 3B-2B, 32 (1 yr, $3.6M) – Will be starting 3B, unless I decide to bring up Guerrero from AAA and he will become backup/UT

• Juan Aguilera, 2B, 28 (2 yrs, $3.3M per) – Superb Def, lots of speed, going to start.

• Gus Griffin, 2B, 29 (2 yrs, $1.6M per) – Back-up 2B

• John Kramer, SP, 32 (5 yrs, $72M) – brought in to be a workhorse and join playoff rotation

• Ching-Lung Komatsu, SP, 37 (3 yrs, $42M, w/ 3rd yr option) – Expected to be a part of the playoff rotation for the next two seasons.

• Erubiel Ordaz, SP, 31 (5 yrs, $3.9M per) – Back of the rotation starter who looks like a guy who has underperformed

Trades Made: None

Rookies Coming Up:

• Undecided – Depending on my players perform at 2B and 3B, I may be bringing up Willie Guerrero at Game 21. At this point I am leaning towards having him play a season at AAA and making the call-up one year later.

Season Expectations:

For the position players, I feel like I have acquired equivalent offense relative to those departing from what was one of the top offenses last season. Meanwhile, defensively I have gained significant upgrades at 2B, CF, and platoon RF.

My big spending should pay big dividends on the mound as a large bulk of regular season and playoff innings just got major upgrades. Even Ordaz at his disappointing performance level is equal to what I lost for a #5 SP, so if he makes the gains I am hoping for it will also be a nice boost.

We were actually very fortunate to win 99 games last season, so this time around we may actually slip from that total, but the team will be much stronger for the playoffs with a rotation of Schneider, Kramer, and Komatsu. Additionally, being able to move low stamina/durability ace Clay Hausman to the role of first RP off the bench during the playoffs will be a major benefit. My goals for this season are to win another division title, earn a bye, and make a deep playoff run.

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