For many seasons the Atlanta Braves ruled the South. Never making it to the World Series, they were none-the-less the best of the bunch. All that came crashing down as a new power emerged. The Florida/Miami Marlins mired in mediocrity. Last place after last place. High turnover in the GM role. Until a brave new voice stepped out of the shadows. Ted took his team from third, to second, and finally to a division title. Atlanta only missed the playoffs, and division title, by one game. Can they prevent Miami from becoming the next super-power in the NL? Can St. Louis make the leap? Or will Houston's rebuilding start to pay off?
Key Players Returning: David Newson , Nick Helms , Bingo Miller , Luis Valdes , Willie Smith , Donatello Bollea , Lonny Castro , Robinzon Alicea , Chris Butler ,
Key Players Leaving: Alex Romero (TB), Bernie Rivera (TB), Brad Jackson (TB), Miguel Gonzalez (FA), Earl Schneider (FA), Hank Sellers (TB), Ted Lombard (TB)
New Additions: Javier Valdes (TB), Santos Lorenzo (TB), Fred Lewis (TB), Tommy Norman (cubs), Bobby Raggio (oak)
Prediction: The Marlins might have traded for a championship. But it was addition by subtraction in their deals with Tampa Bay. Valdes, Lorenzo, and Lewis were the key parts to multiple division titles for AL Tampa. But they lost youngsters Romero and Lombard, power bat Jackson, and defensive wiz Rivera. The ends justify the means...and now this team means business. With their payroll rising $38 million since season 16 it shows this new GM is going ALL IN.
Key Players Returning: Justin Lidge , Benji Gutierrez , Eddie Douglas , Jackie Gragg , Bryce Vina , Alejandro Sosa , Cole Acker , Joe Canseco
Key Players Leaving: Doug Klaus (FA),
New Additions: Alex Manto , Warren Parker (mon), Lorenzo Rios (chisox), Lorenzo Rios
Prediction: Last season the Braves were more lucky than good. They didn't hit well (4.09 rpg), but they did pitch very well. The teams formula is simple...pitch well and when you get on base RUN. It almost worked. This year they are following the same formula. While they watched Florida load up on talent, the Braves made some moves of their own. Will the Braves formula be enough to overtake the Marlins? Probably not. But will they compete for the wild card. You betcha.
Key Players Returning: Nate Garcia , Juan Marrero , Doug Stewart , Shaggy Dubler , Alton Jordan , Gil Mullins , Carson Graves , Charles Martin
Key Players Leaving: Einar Gonzalez (OAK), Harry Guzman (OAK), Denny Rath (cubs)
New Additions: Rico Megias , Juan Palacios , Felix Turner
Prediction: Their offense was abysmal, while their pitching was on par with Florida and Atlanta. Therefore to catch up, they need hitters. They added Turner (worth about 5 WAR). And Palacios is a good enough pitcher that he should fit in well with this team and give them another 2 WAR.
Key Players Returning: Bo Randolph , Slim Williams , Quinton Hobbes , Phillip Shouse , Kelvim Ming , Sawyer Velarde
Key Players Leaving: Edgar Castillo (mets), Omar Zumaya (tex),
New Additions: Derek Lewis , Cristian Rhodes (BOS), Lawrence Van Hekken (rule5-oak), Charlie Booker (rule5-det), Bump Walls (sea), Tommy Gibson (tb)
Prediction: The Astros made some positive improvements. But nothing that will help them clib out of the cellar. Curious to see how Derek Lewis pans out, and how Van Hekken contributes.