b0t Stove – AL North Season 17(?) Preview

26 07 2010

OMFGIYA

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.

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