The surprise of season 13 was the team from Toronto.Taking its 1st division title would have been a great accomplishment, so winning the WS was a miraculous thing.Lance Kaufman (41, 130, .329) led the offense and handled the pitching staff to perfection.A remarkable 900 runs were score while the pitching staff was able to allow 200 fewer opponents to cross the plate.Tyson Nelson (15-4, 3.08) was the staff ace as this team won without a true closer.Surprisingly the team only added the bat of Deivi Tapies while choosing not to add a dominant closer.
The Rocks were able to increase their win total by 5 games but could not keep up with Toronto as they landed in 2nd.While the team batting avg. was nothing spectacular this team does know how to score runs as the team ran wild finishing with 272 SB.Alan Brownson (16-5, 2.76) & Brad Adams (16-5, 3.18) are as strong a front end of the rotation as there is.25 blown saves though doomed Ottawa to lose hold of the division.It was a pretty quiet off season for the Rocks as a couple of minor additions were added to the pitching staff.
Back to back 75 win seasons have this team stuck in neutral.With top bats like Luis Limon (55, 146, .277), Bubbles Jerchower (25, 98, .350) & Tom Torres (33, 117, .319) make this team dangerous in every game.The pitching staff on the other hand isn’t nearly as potent and therein lays the problem that keeps this team from the upper echelon of the NL.The Showers allowed some of their older players to leave in a necessary move.Now their replacements must show that they are ready to contribute so this team can get into the playoff race.
Scranton Salt Dogs(68-94)
23 less wins last season from the year before have Scranton looking for wholesale changes.Angel Carrara (39, 121, .263) & Eddie Jodie (29, 96, .284) led a still powerful offense & Brian Fordyce (13-7, 3.00) was solid as the pitching staff struggled as did the defense.The loss of Vladimir Sierra hurts and was not addressed in the off season.Some vets were brought in to fill some of the holes this team has but they are merely stopgaps and long term solutions will need to be found.
Can the 42’s repeat their 106 win season of last year and hold off a very talented Syracuse team again? The answer to both those questions was yes, so how do they top back to back 106 win seasons?Last season 7 players hit more than 20 HR with Guillermo Estrada leading the way with 38.The 42’s also had a more than capable pitching staff that sported a 3.31 ERA.Lawrence Wright (18-9, 3.43) was the Ace however no one was more valuable than Wilfredo Lugo (8-5, 32 sv, 2.86).Adding Miguel Sosa to a deadly staff probably wasn’t necessary yet Burlington isn’t willing to let loose of the division title.
Syracuse Saltine Warriors(101-61)
It’s hard for a 100 win team to have a bad season but finishing 2nd in the division and not making it out of the 1st round of the playoffs rained on what should be thought of as a great season.Like their rivals from Burlington they had 7 players with more than 20 HR and 3 players with 100 RBI.Mariano Alvarez (39, 112, .331) & Omar Soriano (31, 110, .308) provide as lethal a one-two punch as there is.Alex Guzman (18-3, 3.18) & Luke Gordon (42 sv, 3.43) are the dynamic duo leading the hurlers.Great team with a good balance of offense & pitching that will be stuck in 2nd place again.
Philadelphia Flying Fish(72-90)
The big 4 of Timo Coleridge (32, 83, .255), Joaquin Bocachica (28, 95, .304), Doug Medina (28, 83, .295) & Bronson Hawkins (24, 90, .307) powered the fish as they climbed to a 3rd place finish.Unfortunately the pitching couldn’t keep pace as only closer Benito Ramirez (20 sv, 2.90) was able to finish with an ERA under 4.Minor acquisitions were made whether that will add will determine if the Fish can increase last years win total.
New York Highlanders(62-100)
Fans and management were shocked by last year’s poor performance.Sal Simmons (27, 81, .321), Vincenzo Sierra (33, 88, .274), Haywood Brown (19 sv, 2.64) & Ivan Torrero (13-11, 3.13) performed admirably as this team fell to the bottom of the division.The remainder of the roster put up decent numbers but with no one stepping up to help this team languished.Little was added in the off season so it will be necessary for everyone to improve for this team to rise from the ashes.
New Orleans Pelicans(94-68)
After a sub .500 finish things were put back in place on the way to a 90 win season and a 3rd consecutive division title.Don Lee (43, 135, .293) & Ober Amaro (37, 87, .300) power the offense while the speedy Pedro Rijo (111 R, 48 SB, .295) & Melvin Ono (106 R, 37 SB, .277) give them RBI opportunities.The starting pitching struggled a little even with 2 sub 4 ERA’s yet the bullpen excelled and no one more so than closer extraordinaire Vasco Urbina (44 sv, 2.45).Rolando Canseco will be counted on to help improve the starting pitching so this again looks like the team to beat in the NL South.
Injuries to the pitching staff set this team back and combined with an offense that had several players struggling a last place finish was predictable.Speedster Vincente Sierra has been brought up to set the table for returning sluggers Vasco Hernandez (39, 101, .285), Alex Abreu (28, 82, .281) & Heath Jones (31, 92, .277).Last season the pitching staff was constantly changing as players were shuttled in and out.Guy Glover will be expected to continue in the closer role and with the departure of Dan Ulrich others will need to step forward in the rotation.Many changes were made during last season so management has decided to see what a full season with these players will bring.
The Music showed a slight improvement last season.No one really stood out offensively; it was more of a group effort with everyone doing the little things that helped produce runs.Upgrades to the rotation will be needed if this team wants to contend but with stalwarts like Richard Scoroposki (10-9, 3.22), John Sullivan (14-9, 3.82) & PT Cedeno (34 sv) the foundation to build on is in place.The hope is that this team will continue to improve without wholesale changes being made.
Oklahoma City Rams(75-87)
As expected the offense struggled with the exception of Louie Farr (40, 91, .277).The pitching was much better than anticipated and the arms of vet Juan Ortiz (18 sv) & Pat Bass (13 sv) closing games provided an added boost.Some more pitching help would be welcome however additional firepower for the offense is critical.The veteran arms of Vladimir Sierra & Walt Russell but no additions to the offense may not bring more wins.
Salt Lake City Polygamists(83-79)
Finishing 20 games better than the previous year sent the Polygamists into the off season with a renewed optimism.The offense was consistent and put up a very respectable team avg of .272.With Jack Lawrence (100 Runs, 47 SB) setting the table and Paul Brush (58, 144, .284) driving him in this team should score runs again.Improved pitching will be needed for this team to make this team a serious WS threat.Last year no pitcher put up more than 12 wins and the team ERA of 4.74 must be lower for SLC to reach elite status.Rafael Morales was picked up from Salem and it is hoped he will be able to regain his form after a down year.A division title seems within reach more than that might be only possible with more changes.
The 3 time division champ has finished with back to back 85-77 records as well as disappointing 1st round exits from the playoffs after its lone WS victory.The loss of C Harry Rosado is sure to be felt however the offense still carries the potent bats of Bryan Brown (36, 92, .304) & Phil Murphy (27, 92, .303).To replace Rosado the Bombers are hoping for big things from the recently acquired Mateo Medrano (C) & Diego Alfonso (3B).The pitching was a major reason for last year’s success and will be again with the likes of Ernie Alexander (17-7, 2.84) & Mule Black (16-8, 3.03).However another division crown and deeper playoff run may hinge on the teams ability to decrease the 23 blown saves of a year ago.
St. Louis Cardinals(65-97)
The Cards continued their slide in the wrong direction finishing with fewer wins than the previous season and in the cellar.The pitching kept the team in games as the offense lacked the teeth to turn those games into victories.Hub Smart (12-15, 3.59) & Moose Curtis (11-13, 3.63) held their own while crafty graybeard Sean White converted 28 of his 31 save opportunities. Pieces still need to be added to get St. Louis pointed back in the right direction.
Another season of frustration in the desert ends with the team recording fewer victories than the previous year for the 4th year in a row. Byung-Hyun Wan (30, 121, .293) & Bill Rollins powered the offense while DaRond Neal (18, 74, .279) wasn’t able to justify his big contract.Pitching was a problem last season as the team ERA of 5.62 would indicate and will most likely be again this season.Only 1 starter had a sub 5 ERA and Michael Dillon’s 4.79 was not something to be especially proud of.Additions to both the offense and defense need to be made for Arizona to become a threat for a division title.