Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Season 4 AL South Preview

By louiecards

Kansas City Royals (felix817)
Season 1: 93-69, 2nd Place, Lost in DPS
Season 2: 92-70, 2nd Place, Lost in DPS
Season 3: 94-68, 1st Place, Lost in DPS
Can they get over the hump? After three very solid seasons the Royals are looking to do away with their playoff struggles and lift some hardware.

Led by 2-time All-Star and former Home Run Derby champ Danny Alexander the Royals will put up a good amount of runs this season. With the addition of Gold Glover Curtis Leiter to the team, Alexander will most likely make the move to 3B. Let us not forget Hector Joseph and Sandy Valentin both All-Stars at their respective positions. The Royals led the AL in Runs scored last year and there is no reason to believe they will not be among the leaders again this year.

With a 20 game winner at the front of the rotation the Royals pitching staff remains very good bringing back all 5 starters. The management is looking for Eli Batista to make a comeback from an off year in which he posted a 7.08 era. Finishing games won’t be a problem for this team. Vic Castillo converted 37 of 40 chances last year while posting a .97 whip and 1.87 era. The staff had the 6th fewest runs allowed last year and will likely do the same this season if they can stay healthy.

This team is a legit contender in the AL. The Royals should win the AL South as long as the pitchers pitch and the hitters hit.

97-65,1st Place

Charlotte Knights (bux_express)
Season 1: 88-74, 4th Place, did not make playoffs
Season 2: 88-74, 3rd Place, did not make playoffs
Season 3: 90-72, 2nd Place, did not make playoffs
The pattern this team has started would say they will win the South. The roster tells us they will contend but fall short again.

If Chicks dig the long ball then they might want to move to Charlotte. The Knights have Adam Martin, Jose Mondesi, and B.C. Javier all who hit over 40 HRs and Earl Jorgensen who hit 35 HRs last season. The key players in the lineup are all back to give it their best shot. One notable addition is Johnny Davis. The rookie CF should hold his own in the field and at the plate. Overall this will be a big offensive year for the Knights.

With not a single pitcher getting 15 wins last season it is clear what the weakness is for this squad. One bright spot in the rotation is Warren Justice the young right hander is looking to break out in his 3rd season at the big league level. Unless they have some tricks up their sleeve pitching will be the Achilles heal for Charlotte.

Even with the pitching woes Charlotte should post a good record and possibly make it to the postseason with the Wild Card.

89-73,2nd Place

Texas Rangers (akgsports)
Season 1: 88-74, 3rd Place, Lost in DPS
Season 2: 66-96, 4th Place, did not make playoffs
Season 3: 52-110, 4th Place, did not make playoffs
Is this the surprise team of season 4? The Rangers are looking to get out of the basement and make a run.

The offense will be led by first baseman Geronimo Santos who is expecting to hit 35HRs and have over 100 RBI. Santos has a little support behind him in veteran Benji Palmer who is looking to turn it around after seeing his average dip to .225 while hitting 32 dingers and driving in 78. Texas is still a short a couple really solid hitters and is filled with high strikeout players. This will be a streaky hitting team that when hot could light up the scoreboard.

Offseason moves have been made and they are brought in 2 top notch pitchers. Homer Flanagan will be the opening day starter for the Rangers this year after signing a 3 year 39 million dollar deal with his old club. While his W/L record is not overly impressive his career .233 OAV and 3.39 era do jump out at you. The other key addition is Jorge Guapo who will fill the closer role nicely. The staff is not a complete staff by any stretch but is heading in the right direction if the aging vets can hold on for another year or two.

The Rangers should be improved over last season. How much improved will depend largely on how well the team does scoring runs. Most likely this team is still another year or two away.

77-85,3rd Place

Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays (bpdelia)
Season 1: 94-68, 1st Place, lost in DPS
Season 2: 95-67, 1st Place, lost in WS
Season 3: 82-80, 3rd Place, did not make playoffs
The fans in Tampa are left wondering what happened this offseason. The GM has traded a few really solid players with no stud prospects to show for it.

Jose Pichardo and Orber Julio are the real deal and ready to carry the load for a team that will undoubtedly struggle this season. Jerry Kaline wil give it a go in the bigs after being promoted immediately from High A after his trade from Atlanta. Kaline might struggle early on in his ML career due to lack of experience. Overall the (Devil) Rays will not score enough runs to win this season.

The lone bright spot is Rob Kennedy who converted 41 of 46 chances with a .238 OAV and 3.14 era last season. The problem is he might not get the chance to save very many games this season. The rotation will be filled with young unproven players that will mostly likely struggle b/c none possess lights out stuff.

This will be a long season for the Rays. They will be fighting for the 1st pick in next year’s amateur draft without a doubt.

55-107, 4th Place

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