AL East Preview

29 07 2010

This division sucks. I’m expecting the division winner tohave the 8th best record in the AL. Might not even hit .500.

As with the last division, I’m doing this in projected order of finish. I’m looking mostly at ML transactions and current depth charts.

1. New York (hugenuge)

Nobody has lower expectations for this team going into this season than nuge does, himself. Despite publicly stating he’ll be picking in the 14-18 round in next season’s draft, I still think that’s good enough to win the division.

Yeah, they’re old. Nuge might be starting more players over 30+ than anyone in the league. But there hasn’t been a real drop-off yet for the talent of his players, and there’s a good shot that just by being there, he might get into the playoffs.

The biggest activity in the offseason dealt with moving longtime ace Jeremy Roosevelt, and adding a ton of dudes onto the trade block. So there’s always the chance that New York will continue selling off its aging pieces, but in the meantime they might just be good enough to win this division again.

2. Buffalo (tracyr)

On talent alone, they should be the favorites. There is a lot of stockpiled talent on the ML roster is impressive, and probably the best current ML lineup in that division.

The pitching is adequate. It suffered from too-early promotionos, and missed out potential. Like a lot of the Fat Crazy WHores.

This leads us to my biggest concern for this team: Its owner. Tracyr knows sports, but he isn’t always the most competent manager of teams. Last year’s team actually had Wolf Miller and probably more overall talent, and still was in the league’s basement. I can’t bet that this team, despite having the best lineup in its division, could make it to the playoffs.

3. Norfolk (stu)

Last year’s division champs, and probably the champs for the forseeable future. Why not this year? Because it doesn’t look like stu has them playing for this year.

Perhaps the trade of SS Neil Watkins wasn’t a move for the future in lieu of the present, but the fact that four of the top players in all of Norfolk’s organization (Mulder, Zapata, Prieto, and Villafuerte) are all sitting in AAA either means stu is waiting another season for these guys to develop simultaneously, or he’s just waiting until the point where they won’t earn a year towards their arbitration clock.

If he promotes two of those four, he’ll win this division. But if he keeps seasoning them so they come as close to their projections as possible, he might win a pennant in due time.

Between dealing a useful and cheap ML piece and harboring three Rule V picks, I’m just going to assume stu isn’t looking for just a division title.

4. Pittsburgh (mbriese)

It was an eventful offseason in Pittsburgh. Perhaps nobody lost the amount of players that mbriese did, from Cannon to Guzman to Lee to even Glauber. Pittsburgh lost quite a lot from its ML roster.

Cannon and Guzman each secured themselves hefty deals, and many bit players departed as well. In response, mbriese became much more active, himself, in the free agent market. His top pickup is pitcher Javier Vazquez, for what might be a little too high of a contract.

Other than that, mbriese signed 7 ML roleplayers, each of them to contracts under $3,000,000. He filled out his roster with n iche players, and there’s a chance they could somehow exceed the expected winning percentage and potentially win the division, however, the talent really just is not there. It looks like all those supplemental draft picks will be needed for the rebuilding project in Pittsburgh.


b0t Stove – AL North Season 17(?) Preview

26 07 2010


Welcome to another season, assholes. I figured I’d do a comprehensive analysis to start the new season, though it’ll probably wind up being half-assed by the time I get to the NL.

Please note that I’m doing this based on projected order of finish within each division. A poor prediction at that.

AL North

1. Montreal (gin)
Since last season’s disappointment, the team that always used to win made a concerted effort to maybe start trying again. Gin pured money into free agency liberally, and came away with arguably its top talent: Wiki Armas.

Armas signed for the maximum allowable contract, which is justifiable given his age (30), skills, make-up, and gin’s dedication to a full training budget.

Signing Armas created a surplus of corner outfield types for gin, and he proceeded to deal Chris Offerman for pitching help in Bud Lee and Victor Cora. These are the sort of pitchers gin has made great use out of, and with any semblance of effort he should be able to utilize this season.

Another coup came with the signing of Aramis Soriano, who will provide a solid bat at the top of the line-up. Gin signed a few more roleplayers through free agency.

All that spending should push Montreal back into the playoffs.

2. Sioux Falls (tpete)

Sioux Falls was a surprise team last year, and they’re hoping that they can hold onto the division crown without many transactions.

Sioux Falls saw a lot of young players hit the free agent market, but only made one move to replenish the ML roster: Signing medocre pitcher Wilton Koh.

Koh is a low-durability set-up man, who has had good numbers in the past but doesn’t offer much long-term potential outside of 50-75 innings of high-leverage pitching. But moy might pay ten times what tpete did for that same situation, so I guess it was a nice move.

I suspect the improvement of the young bats in Sioux Falls won’t be enough to overcome the drop-off in pitching.

3. Cleveland (dmurphy)

Cleveland is still being haunted by Victor Pascual‘s contract from a few seasons ago. He has not been aging gracefully, and is making 2.5 times what Elvis Clayton, makes. And ten times what Robin Kirkland, Cleveland’s best pitcher, makes.

The pitching staff is primarily comprised of these two, though a shrewd move for free agent reliever Alex Villano should pay dividends on the back-end.

The bats in Cleveland are pretty good. Roosevelt Adcock got rushed to the majors, but at 23 he’s already the best this organization has to offer. dmurphy made several free agent pick-ups to fill out the roster around Adcock to help improve the order enough to just potentially outscore teams.

But the sum of Kris Bailey, Trevor Matthews, and Ned Wilson might not be enough to push Cleveland past Montreal’s improved lineup.

4. Vancouver (calvinhydro)

Vancouver is more likely to be the winners of the International Free Agent market than their division anytime soon. Team payroll at the ML level is below $19m. No veteran free agents were added, a few arbitration players were cut, and minor leaguers were promoted to replace them.

It’s clear that Vancouver is building itself slowly for the long haul, in a strategy we’ve seen others utilize. However, you feel bad for Santiago Romano and  Andres Crespo, two solid pitchers who probably won’t have much talent supporting their cause for a few seasons.

I’ll try to get the next division up this afternoon.