Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Season 6 Preview

These were compiled utilizing hitting and pitching formulas that I have been developing over the course of my HBD career and that I use each season to expedite my amateur draft ranking. They are completely based off of the current ML rosters as I have no idea who is going to be brought up 20+ days into the season. I am not going to reveal any of the actual formulas or the numbers obtained but merely the rankings relative to league. With the hitting results, I definitely see room for some improvement as there is no accounting for order in the lineup as the top of the order is going to see more plate appearances, so a top heavy lineup, like Atlanta, is going to score more poorly with my current system than they will probably perform. For deriving the pitching rankings, I used a projected rotation and the top three relief pitchers. I only used three relief pitchers as I believed that the vast majority of games in which the bullpen can help the team win will be determined by those 3 best where as the rest are merely innings eaters.

Playoff Teams in Bold

NL North
Chicago Cubs: NL #2, Hit #5, Pitch #2
Montreal Expos: NL #3, Hit #2, Pitch #4
Cincinnati Reds: NL #10, Hit #9, Pitch #12
Milwaukee Brewers: NL #11, Hit #7, Pitch #15

The Cubbies look very improved at the plate and with their terrific pitching staff are the favorites to dethrone the Expos. The Expos are a well-balanced team and will be fighting with the Cubs down to the wire for the division and a first round bye. The Reds slide at the end of last season looks to continue into this season as the team got weaker this offseason. The Brewers have a shot to get out of the cellar this season provided their weak pitching can hold some of the leads that their decent offense is going to give them.

NL East
Philadelphia Phillies: NL #1, Hit #1, Pitch #3
Washington DC Nationals: NL #4, Hit #4, Pitch #6
New York Mets: NL #8, Hit #11, Pitch #5
Pittsburgh Pirates: NL #15, Hit #12, Pitch #14

The 2-time defending NL Champs are once again this season’s NL favorite with the league’s most potent offense and one of the best pitching staffs. The Nationals have the talent to again take the division title if the Phillies falter with their nicely balanced team. The Mets seem to be right on the verge of breaking through into the NL playoffs as their pitching staff is definitely ready for prime time. The Pirates appear to be headed for a long season with little to look forward to as the team has a few stars surrounded by mediocre ML players.

NL South
St. Louis Cardinals: NL #7, Hit #3, Pitch #8
Atlanta Braves: NL #12, Hit #14, Pitch #10
Florida Marlins: NL #14, Hit #16, Pitch #11
Houston Astros: NL #16, Hit #15, Pitch #16

The St. Louis Cardinals appear to have the talent needed to breakthrough with their first ever playoff appearance in by far the weakest division in all of Kinsella. The Big Three Sluggers in Atlanta have their work cut out for them as the rest of the lineup offers very little support and the Braves pitching staff is middle of the pack. The Marlins offense is abysmal and the Marlin pitching is not good enough to win many games without good run support. The Astros remodeling project is still in progress as previous management left a lot of holes in this organization that require filling.

NL West
Arizona Diamondbacks: NL #5, Hit #10, Pitch #1
San Francisco Giants: NL #6, Hit #6, Pitch #7
San Diego Padres: NL #9, Hit #8, Pitch #9
Los Angeles Dodgers: NL #13, Hit #13, Pitch #13

The Diamondbacks are the favorites to regain their hold on the division with the strongest pitching staff in the NL. The Giants will be hanging right with them all season long with their more balanced team. The Padres will not be far behind as the NL West looks to remain one of the most competitive in the league. The Dodgers, once again under new management, have yet to retain an ownership group long enough to develop and implement any kind of long term plan. Hopefully, the current ownership will finally be able to bring stability to the franchise.

AL North
Minnesota Twins: AL #5, Hit #5, Pitch #7
Toronto Blue Jays: AL #10, Hit #9, Pitch #9
Detroit Tigers: AL #11, Hit #10, Pitch #11
Chicago White Sox: AL #15, Hit #14, Pitch #16

The Twins are big favorites to retain their hold on the AL North with good hitting and pitching that should allow them to win by a much larger margin than last season. The Blue Jays have some good young pieces, but have not quite worked themselves into a winning team just yet. The Tigers look like they will be taking a step back after last season’s near miss as both their hitting and pitching are in the lower half of the league. The White Sox should win a few more games this time, but it seems impossible for them to be any worse.

AL East
New York Yankees: AL #1, Hit #1, Pitch #1
Cleveland Indians: AL #8, Hit #8, Pitch #10
Boston Red Sox: AL #9, Hit #13, Pitch #4
Baltimore Orioles: AL #13, Hit #11, Pitch #14

The defending World Series Champs return everyone who contributed to last season’s title run and their active offseason makes them heavy favorites to repeat as AL East champs. The Tribe has been slowly developing a good young franchise and with a few veteran acquisitions look like they will be competing for a wild card. The Red Sox have a much-improved pitching staff that should be one of the better groups in the league and will also help them to be active in the wild card chase. The Orioles, with their very active trading over the past few seasons, seem to have gotten themselves back where they started, at the bottom of the AL East.

AL South
Texas Rangers: AL #2, Hit #2, Pitch #2
Charlotte Knights: AL #3, Hit #4, Pitch #6
Kansas City Royals: AL #14, Hit #15, Pitch #5
Tampa Bay Rays: AL #16, Hit #16, Pitch #15

The Rangers have assembled one of the strongest teams in the AL and are a good bet to take their first AL South title and a first round bye. The Knights will be right on their heels all season as they look to make what would surprisingly be (considering how good they have been every season) only their 2nd playoff appearance. The Royals have entered rebuilding mode and have very little scoring ability, which will not please their pitchers who are actually still one of the better staffs, despite the loss of Rivera. The Rays complete overhaul is still a work in progress as the only team they will compete with is Chicago for AL worst.

AL West
Anaheim Angels: AL #4, Hit #6, Pitch #3
Portland Beavers: AL #6, Hit #3, Pitch #13
Oakland Athletics: AL #7, Hit #7, Pitch #8
Seattle Mariners: AL #12, Hit #12, Pitch #12

The Angels' offense has weakened a bit since last season but the impressive pitching staff make a return to the AL West penthouse seem likely after the two season hiatus. The Beaver pitching staff have always statistically been huge beneficiaries of PGE park, but it is definitely the offense that is going to drive this team to another playoff berth. The Oakland Athletics were one of last season’s more improved teams who appear very close to earning a playoff spot and look to be serious challengers for the 2nd wild card. Unfortunately, the Mariners appear to be mired in mediocrity this season as neither the offense nor pitching appear to be anything more than below average units.

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