Fair Play Committee Members

Bulls7210, Jweatherman, Rds_lsu, Ttnorm and Quebec.

Commissioner: Harkov

Friday, May 30, 2008

NL North Preview

Season 8 – NL North Preview

Ottawa Rocks (Last season’s record: 91-71, World Series Champions)

Key Additions: David Perez (FA), Jim Donovan (FA) and Chris Riley (FA)

Key Losses: Roy Bere

Outlook: Ottawa returns the majority of its players from last year’s championship team. Look for solid starting pitching especially if Brad Adams can return to his form from two seasons ago when he was named NL Rookie of the Year. There is some concern over how #3 starter Edgardo Blanco will pitch after his season ending injury last September. The bullpen will again count heavily on Stephen Herndon to get to one of the top closers in the league Andy Curtis. The team added some depth with their free agent additions of first baseman David Perez, left fielder Jim Donovan, and utility man Chris Riley. Questions still remain on the production generated from the left field position as Donovan is only a part-time player in the late stages of his career. No doubt the offense starts with Larry Brown who set a ML record last season with 113 stolen bases. Expect him to lead the league again and be a potential MVP candidate. Overall this looks to be a team that should challenge for the division title and have a chance to defend its title.

Scranton Salt Dogs (Last season’s record: 93-69, NL North division title)

Key Additions: Tomas Borbon (Rookie), Louis Dixon (R), Oswaldo Jacquez (FA) and Ralph Lowe (FA)

Key Losses: Gene Haynes

Outlook: Scranton continued its trend of adding talent to its team. Starting pitching should be very strong with Cy Young runner up Darwin Rhodes anchoring the staff. They look for Horacio Martinez to rebound after a tough year and show he is a top tier pitcher. The bullpen contains a group of both young and old with some of their roles still to be defined once the season gets underway. It appears that the closer job will go to Vladimir Sierra who finished last season converting 10 out of his 11 chances. Offensively the team has added two new starters in Dixon and Jacquez while Borbon will platoon with Walt McGee behind the plate. Emerging star Harold Cox should anchor the offense while the oft-injured veteran Sarma Borland should provide the power if he can stay on the field. This team should contend with Ottawa for the division title and should still be playing ball come October.

Portland Showers (Last season’s record: 90-72, Wild card)

Key Additions: Rickey Baez (Trade), Craig Karl (R) and Curt Obermueller (FA)

Key Losses: Rob Sweeney, Luther Marte and Ben Lambert

Outlook: Portland looks like a very solid team again this season. The starting pitching appears a little suspect once you get by the top two of Nick Wood and Michael Dillon. Wood, in his last year of his contract, should be exceptional again as he showcases his skills for potential suitors in free agency. The bullpen remains mostly intact from last season with the loss of set-up/closer Ben Lambert making this group a little thin. John Coomer moves into the full time closer role this year and will need to convert a higher percentage for this team to remain in competitive. Offensively this team lost two major bats during the off season with the biggest being Luther Marte who couldn’t agree with the club on an extension and signed a one year deal with Boston in the American league. There still remains a very solid core of hitters including Bubbles Jerchower, mashers Tom Torres and Luis Limon. Tyrone Kennedy may be the wild card for this team, if he’s able to take the next step and prove to be a dangerous hitter this team would bump right up with Ottawa and Scranton. Expect this team to finish behind the before mentioned clubs but be right on their heals all year.

Cincinnati Cinners (Last season’s record: 66-96, 4th place in division)

Key Additions: Eric Nye (FA), Matthew Banks (FA) and Trevor Delahanty (R)

Key Losses: Curt Obermueller and Ewell Poole

Outlook: This team hit rock bottom last year after six straight second place finishes in the division. Dante Edmonds appears to be the only bright spot amongst this aging starting staff. Much is the same for the bullpen which has a collection of pitchers nearing the end of their careers. Vin Campos will need to log major innings and Craig Ojala will need to close the door on every opportunity to insure wins for this team. Obviously, the offense revolves around one of the greatest hitters in both leagues, Jeff Jennings. We know he’ll post his 70 HR 150 RBI numbers again this year but as in other years can they score more then they give up. Trevor Delahanty should be a nice addition to the middle of the line up but this will be his first year in the majors. Also, Matthew Banks will bat at the top of the order and hope to get on for Jenkins to drive home. Overall this is an aging team that just doesn’t have the talent of the other team’s in the division.

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