LAST YEARS RECORD: 90-72, World Series Champions
LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The entire team contributes at a high level, and they all play good defense. It’s an impressive team to review if you have the time. This is a team in motion, and to be feared.OUT: Rich VandenHurk, Chili Neal, Brian Russell
IN: Ed Pickering, Tony Kingston, Steve Christopher
If you didn’t take my advice last season, please do so now. If you are losing, look at how akg has built his teams and emulate that as much as possible. The Champs stormed through the playoffs and took home the hardware for the third time in Kinsella history.
The pitching staff stays the same, for now. Only the youngster, Olmedo Hernandez, is a question mark. They allowed 731 runs and that should drop a little depending on defensive consistency.
Starting 2b Brian Russell has departed, but Julian Matos slides over to fill that hole. Taking over at 3b is weak hitting Benito Rojas who had a very down year.
Overall, this team is still the class of the AL South. It should be no surprise to see them in them in the playoffs.
PREDICTION: 88-74, 1st Place
LAST YEARS RECORD: 81-81
LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Overall, I have to be honest about this team. It’s moving to a completely pitching/defense style of play with speed being the key component. The Trop is probably the worst stadium in the league, but it is built for strong right handed pitching, and fast outfielders. Something the Rays have but at a mediocre level. PREDICTION: 69-93
OUT: Michael Nix, Jorge Jimenez, Wiki Rincon, Jerome Kennedy, Alejandro Ortiz, Rodrigo Lima, Jeff Evert, Tanyon Boyd, Watty Long, Vernon Lane
IN: Benjamin Valdes, Hooks Westbrook, BJ Denham, Don Ray, Rich Vandenhurk, Boone Rivera, Fergie Munro, Theo Bailey, Khoury Hayes, Josias Mercedes
Sometimes we can be our own worst critics. I predicted my team would lose 93 games, and instead they finished at .500. But it really was luck that this team succeeded at all. They only scored 709 runs, while giving up 741…this should have put them negative. They did win an astounding 28 1-Run games, and were 14-7 in extra innings. That had everything to do with it.
There was a HUGE amount of turnover. Some of the bigger non-productive contracts came off the books (Wiki, Nix, Ortiz, Lane), and replaced with guys that will make a good wage but be more productive (Bailey, Munro, Hayes).
This team isn’t better than last season. They are about the same. And they won’t finish at or above .500.
LAST YEARS RECORD: 70-92
LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The young guys are coming up to contribute but it’s hard to know where the pieces fit. Overall, I just don’t see how this is going to work out. Looking strictly at numbers, it doesn’t look good.
OUT: Donaldo Granados, Tomas Dotel
IN: Germany Adcock, Ramiro Sojo, Mike Person
Numbers didn’t tell the whole story as they Royals didn’t lose as much as I thought. The offense was one of the weaker in the AL, but the pitching was decent. If they had won more 1-Run games, and extra-inning games they would have easily jumped Tampa for 2nd place in the division.
Since KC couldn’t be bothered to submit a preview I still don’t have much to go on. Starting Ronnie Wilkins at catcher was a good start since he will be more productive offensively. Kiko Robbins was brought up late last year and starts this year in RF, where he is a liability. Granados is replaced by the aging Germany Adcock who can still field and hit a little. King Bittle FINALLY gets to start.
Mysteriously, KC allowed reliever Ramon Chang to walk, and the only true starter Corey McDonald to leave for Milwaukee. They let Tomas Dotel 83 runs/3.8 war walk away to Atlanta.
I was wrong last time looking strictly at numbers. But when a team is starting someone like Ramiro Sojo (30’s for splits), but also gets a solid aging veteran like Mike Person I just can’t figure out what the game plan is. Gotta go with my instinct…
PREDICTION: 54-108, last
LAST YEARS RECORD: 70-92
LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The Knights lost Omar Bonilla and Ivan Villa (and with them, 150 runs). I don’t see anyone filling those holes, especially Bonilla and Villa. The pitching should help ease the blow (Carpenter was a great pick up, as was Saenz). It should be interesting to see if they move forward. I predict they fall back just a touch based on the runs lost vs runs gained.
OUT: Manuel Johnson
Going into the season it was obvious that Charlotte would be weaker. But to go from 881 runs scored down to 746 runs scored is a major difference. Their pitching allowed 822 runs, second worst in the AL.
Charlotte also did not want to divulge their secrets to an in division opponent, so I have to be a mind reader again.
It looks like Charlotte stuck with the team they had, but promoted pitchers Steve Miller, and Al Santiago. They also snagged Alex Atchison in Rule V. None will help.
Same team, same result.