Tuesday, March 25, 2014

AL South Preview

LAST YEARS RECORD: 100-62; Division Champion

LAST YEARS PREVIEW: 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. 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

OUT: Benito Rojas, Luis Dotel, Leon Wilkerson, Olmedo Hernandez, Humberto Sierra, Albert Rodriguez

IN:  Miguel Sanchez, Glenallen Gagnon, Carlos Gimenez, Pat Yamada, Andres Nieves, Tony Kingston, Chris Brown, Willie Manzanillo

As usual, I underestimated the Rangers. They always seem to bust my predictions. Maybe I should just add 10 wins by default? AKG is the most consistent owner in Kinsella. This year he kept his core offensive producers together (PT Castilla, Julian Matos, Andres Nieves, Miguel Guerrero, and Ed Pickering) and dipped into free agency and rule V to fill the holes on the bench. As usual, a very smart and cost effective approach. Especially when he sits back, and waits until the prices drop for free agents.
This pitching staff was superb. Espinoza, Mendoza, Myers, and Coleman are probably the best four starters in the league. They add Gagnon and that makes five solid starters that can win every time out. The relievers that didn’t perform well were let go, and replaced by guys that I’m sure AKG hopes will fare better. But the load falls on Gonzalez and Alicea (who both had over 150 IP in relief, and FIP under 4.00).
Overall, this team is about as solid as I’ve ever seen. It’s a team built for a championship run. There is simply no weakness. I predict runs scored to remain about the same 840-870, and runs allowed should improve and hover between 580-610. Wow.


Kansas City
Kansas City Royals (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: 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. 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

OUT: Tanyon Wilson, Brad Brooks, Rabbit Munson.

IN: Timo Tabaka, Vance Barker, Luis Valdes, Elvis Raymond

It is very hard to get a read on a team that doesn’t submit a preview, or even communicate with you. When that happens, I just take the numbers I see. KC made some strange moves last year (you can read up http://worldkinsella.blogspot.com/2013/12/al-south.html). In the end they killed my prediction 25 games.
The offense that scored 740 runs sticks together this year. They were led by Kiko Robbins, Jose Camacho, Germany Adcock, and Julio Martin. There seemed to be a lot of platoons being utilized effectively.
The pitching staff was turned over, since hinz let two of his starters (Brad Brooks, and Rabbit Munson) walk. They were also not very effective so it wasn’t much of a loss. Tabaka and Barker take their place and the Barker pickup is HUGE as he becomes the ace of the staff in my opinion. Elvis Raymond and Wilfredo DeJesus, are probably two of the best signings for the Royals. They will anchor a bullpen that now goes incredibly deep when combined with Sardinha.
I won’t mistake overlooking this team again, especially since they are in my division. I see this team scoring 760 to 790 runs, and with the improvements to pitching only allowing 720-740 runs. Major improvement and now a Wild Card birth is in sight.



LAST YEARS PREVIEW: 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.
Prediction: 71-91

OUT: Warren Parker, Tony Wilfredo, Humberto Johnson, Josias Mercedes, Alex Izturis

IN: Cory Fogg, Daryle Smith, Norm Fowler, Daric Averill, Khoury Hayes, Leon Wilkerson

One of the benefits of doing the blog is getting to see who got dropped, and whether or not they would be an upgrade for your own team. I found quite a few steals as I went through team stats and out/in. I’m hoping it helps.
The offense has been completely reworked. Guys are changing positions, losing jobs, and being DFA’d left and right. Khoury Hayes was traded mid season (despite being an excellent contributor), and since his new team let him go he decided to return the bay. Cory Fogg joins the team to play 2b, moving Theo Baily to left field. Hayes will share time with rookie sensation Willie Lary. Dennis Drese is weak at catcher, but can’t DH just yet thanks to Boone Rivera.
The defense is MUCH improved and hopefully helps a pitching staff that got SHELLED. Brett Dixon was the only positive contributor as I struggled to find someone, anyone(!!!) to make good starts and earn a spot in the bullpen. That problem hasn’t been fixed, but they should allow 877 runs again. If they do, I may shoot myself.
Dixon anchors a staff that now has Norm Fowler, Clarence Kirby, Jerry Blake, and Cesar Zorilla. In other words…I’m screwed. The bullpen isn’t bad. Page is the closer with Averill and Smith doing their best to get him the chance to close.
Overall, I’m not optimistic that this team can make the playoffs. It really depends on the pitching (which sucks) and the defense (which could help quite a bit). The offense could finally reach over 800 runs…and I peg them anywhere from 780-810. The pitching/defense is the wildcard. I see them still sucking…840-810 while I scramble to limit the damage.

Charlotte Knights (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: 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.
Prediction: 70-92

OUT: Cory Fogg, Pedro Santiago, JP Cabrera, David Martin, Albert Mendoza, Tex Hamilton, Mendy Mathews, Vic Andrews, Harry Calvo, Earl LeMahieu

IN: Mark Chang, Harpo Watson, Denny Watson, Justin Spencer, Cesar Trajano, Luis Valdavia, Gregory Diamond, Bryce Vina, Glenn Gosling. Miguel Perez

In the previews so far, I have not seen a team that made so many positive changes. BigNR obviously didn’t like giving up 971 runs (!!!!!), and it showed in the moves he made.
The pitching staff was overhauled. Tex Hamilton and Mendy Mathews were actually pretty good for the Knights. But they couldn’t go deep into games at all. Which put an incredible amount of pressure on a mediocre bullpen. The defense is REALLY what hurt the pitching. They finished dead last. Francisco Ortega was responsible for 60 errors. He has good range, but a poor glove and it showed. This will be an issue until he is replaced.
My overall assessment of this team is that they took steps in A direction. But was it the RIGHT direction? Pitching was blamed, but really it was the defense. And while some spots were fixed (like Gosling at 3b) issues remain (Ortega). The Knights should score anywhere from 770-800 runs, and allow 870-840. An improvement for sure.

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