Thursday, March 27, 2014

NL South


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: This is another team that is fun to keep an eye on. DHerz has a plan, and that is to eventually unseed Florida and St. Louis and take over as the team to beat. They will get there eventually. Prediction: 68-94
OUT: Virgil Trinidad
IN:  Royce King, Tony Wilfredo (back after being traded to Tampa), Dorssys Saenz
The preview last year was just a little optimistic. But the Astros played it smarter than most realized. They made several deadline deals in preparation for this year. “Last season was terrible, but the lineup / rotation the end of the season was very successful, so hopefully more of the same this season,” said owner dherz.
The starting rotation features Damaso Pujols, Fergie Munro, and Phillip Shouse. Expect to see Luigi Mercedes, and Juan Torres sometime very soon. That’s a very capable starting five. The bullpen is also MUCH improved with super reliever Vargas, Redondo, with future help coming in the form of Jake Wilson, Cesar Alomar, and Sammy Montero. Rookies are un predictable as Dherz knows. “This group could be good and it could be terrible. Probably something in between.”
This team is very hard to project due to the influx of talent that could make their debut. Things are going to improve in Houston very quickly. The other three teams in the division should be looking over their shoulder during the course of the year.
Expect the Astros offense to improve. Not a lot, but at least to 670 and at most 700. The pitching is MUCH better, and expect them to finish between 750-770.

St. Louis
St. Louis Cardinals (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Johnstone and Daniels give me a legit #1 and a solid #3 and both will be more reliable come playoff time than last season's offerings,” said cyben. Everything about this team is aimed at a deep playoff run. This will be a team to watch.. PREDICTION: 94-68

OUT: Juan Sivilla, Banana Conine, Johnny Kennedy
IN: John Patel

Calamity hit the Cardinals early last year when they lost Delanor Johnstone and had to put him on the 60 day dl. He did come back to get 31 starts, but he took a hit due to the elbow issue. And the worst part is that it has happened AGAIN this year. Keep in mind this isn’t some 40 health guy. He was in the 80’s and now is in the 70’s. Sometimes this game just isn’t fair.
Mo Daniels led the staff, but didn’t improve as expected. Still, striking out 181 and logging 225 innings while still progressing is pretty amazing. Imagine this team with Redondo and Reese still in the bullpen. The Cards were 22-23 in one run games, and I can’t help but wonder how different things could have been. But it’s not like they got screwed. While Toby Willis was a bust, Ricardo Ramirez was solid. Time will tell if the trade for former 1st round pick Mathew Munoz will pay off. He’s at least three years away.
On paper this is probably the best team in Kinsella. And I cannot stress enough how much pure talent this team has on the offensive side of the ball, and the defense those players bring to the table. Garcia led the team last year, but only managed 94 runs created. He is an MVP candidate and you can expect that number to jump 20 to 30 runs. For the rest of the group, I see a big jump as well.
Instead of turning my back on this team, I’m doubling down. I know they made my prediction look like a joke, but this team has too much talent. Expect them to score 770 to 800 runs, and give up 670 to 640.
PREDICTION: 91-71 (with a chance to finish 97-65)

LAST YEARS RECORD: 92-70, World Series Champions

LAST YEARS PREVIEW: This just in, ted is pretty good at this game. His team scored 815 runs, and allowed 541. They are still getting older, but this team is just good. No big changes so far, and that includes another playoff run. Prediction: 103-59

OUT: Glenn Gosling, Alex Cruz, Juan Palacios
IN: Rob Scott, Tomas Soto, Bryce Hafner
Ted got himself another ring, winning his third World Series title. This year’s collection of talent is a year older, and curiously Ted is only running with a 9 man pitching staff. That’s a head scratcher…
Gone is Tuck Eichorn, Elrod Riggs, and former starter Kent Crawford. I can’t help but think that the pitching staff this year will be worse than the 604 runs they allowed.
The offense scored 746 runs. Most of that came from Yamil Ramirez, Nick Helms, Rodrigo Marin, and Brady Sierra. Nick Helms is now gone leaving three solid bats, plus the iffy Eugene Castillo.
As much as I like the way Ted conducts business, this year seems to be a big step backwards for a premier franchise. I expect them to only score 700 to 720 runs, and allow 650-670 runs. After nine seasons of 89 wins or more, making the playoffs every year, and three world series titles…the train is pulling into the station.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Khoury Hayes went to Tampa for almost nothing, and took his 82 runs/2.8 war with him. But he was replaced with one of the better free agents in Tomas Dotel. But based on numbers alone, the production is a wash. David Lo was another good pick up and moves to LF to solidify a weaker defense. Overall, the young guys are going to play better this year. Even though they are rebuilding, they are not to be overlooked. Prediction: 80-82

OUT: Benji Gutierrez, Bryce Vina
IN: Orber Coronado, Albert Prieto, Ricardo Martinez, Sean Pierson
Last year Tomas Dotel and David Lo joined the Braves with high expectations. However…Dotel only provided 75 runs, and Lo was well below replacement level only contributing 50. The loss of Khoury Hayes was glaring.
The pitching staff allowed 686 runs, about average. This year they return everyone, even the poor performers like Montanez, and Tejada.
The offense was miserable, only scoring 651 runs. Are Dotel and Lo going to rebound? Once again, Bux let go of a solid offensive talent when Bryce Vina skipped town. His replacement? 32 year old Sean Pearson. Pearson had a career year, but has been inconsistent in his career. Which version will the Braves get?
For the offense, it’s up to Dotel, Lo, Parent, and Pearson. A lot can go right for this team. The Braves should score between 700 and 750 runs…a wide gap. The pitching staff is about the same and should post 670-700.

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