Season 19 NL Preview

9 02 2011

We did the AL Preview a few days ago. It’s time for the NL now.

I will be the first to admit, that as an American League team, I don’t honestly pay much attention to National League teams. So in order to have some help reviewing teams, I’ve asked robusk to contribute a small passage on each organization.

Detroit Minorities

Last Season: 94-68. Division Title. NL Champions. Lost in World Series.

 

Changes: robusk made 12 Free Agent signings. I’m not going to take the time breaking down each guy, but they’re all pretty much veteran stopgaps and relative bargains. He didn’t overpay and he didn’t receive top-tier talent. He did however fill out his ML roster with some pretty good players.

Robusk’s Opinion: This should be another down year for my team. Of course, last year was supposed to be a down year but I still somehow almost won the championship. The league must have been having a down year, because even with my immense HBD genius, that team had no business going as far as it did. Granted, I am smarter than all of you, and I eat healthier, but that shouldn’t have gotten last year’s team into the World Series. I figure I’ll just use last year’s formula to see if a team of cast-offs can will me through a weak division.

Projection: Should win the division. Robusk is a good enough talent evaluator that his bulk FA binge should get him enough talent to make it through his division with near 90 wins. From there, the playoffs are pretty random.

Cincinnati Riot

Last Season: 81-81

 

Changes: Nellie signed five pitchers, all with middle to back of the rotation ability. He promoted top prospect Wesley Blair all the way to the Major Leagues to help provide some pop in the lineup.

Robusk: Nellie has a few good players in his organization. I think he might have rushed Blair by a season and a quarter. That would have been a nice 20 games-in promotion to save an arbitration season. Stupid. The top prospects in his organization are overrated. They don’t have the splits or defense that I think will make them top notch. I’d probably offer my SP5 for one of them straight-up, but I don’t think they’re worth much more.

 

Projection: Once again, hovering around .500. However, Nellie has done a good job acquiring some great young talent. With players like Blair, Alvarez, Franco, and Guttierez developing in the minors, the organization is on the upswing. They’re just a season or two away.

Minnesota Short Grass

Last Season: 87-75. Wild Card.

Changes: Between Free Agency and the Rule V draft, Minnesota made decent strides at improving their back of the rotation and their bullpen. They lost 15 game winner Valerio Delgado, but appear to have done a solid job replacing him in the rotation.

Robusk: I spent a few weeks in Minnesota before, and that state is shit. There’s some decent nature and stuff for my hiking, but I could not find anywhere to buy pot for the life of me.

Projection: Looks to be a better team this season than they were last season, so there is a decent opportunity to return to the playoffs. It’s just an issue of the improvements made amongst other teams in the NL and whether under 90 wins will still be good enough for a Wild Card.

Fargo Eh

Last Season: 66-96

 

Changes: The most significant change is the devastating injury to star pitcher, Rusty Dresden. Other than that, Blackmink had his usual offseason where he signed several ML players who really should be able to contribute if he knew how to use them correctly or wasn’t the death knell for a player’s career.

Robusk: blackmink makes bret look like rlahann. He should be winning this division with that roster, but he’s a mong. Probably because he’s from Minnesota, isn’t he?

 

Projection: It depends if blackmink is an idiot or an idiot savant. He’s had good seasons before and has more than enough talent to challenge for the division or the Wild Card. But blatant mismanagement and stupidity has cost him in the past, and it seems he’s reserved in just getting high draft picks and building his team up that way.

Dover Johnny Dramas

Last Season: 89-73. Division Champions.

 

Changes: No real roster changes of note. Dover went out of its way to resign Lyle Purcell. There was a shift in budgeting where money previously allocated towards amateur scouting was now redirected towards advanced scouting, which usually indicates that tylermathias was planning on acquiring some prospects. So perhaps he was preparing for a potential firesale or something. Or he just likes that accurate projection for the hell of it.

Robusk: Why is this team still named after an Entourage character? Does anyone still watch that show? I think liking that show is more likely to get you made fun of nowadays than something gay like Cougartown. You can’t say you’re being ironic with Entourage. Also, TM has a pretty solid team here but it’s nothing to feel threatened by. He should probably win his division but nobody is afraid of tylermathias in the playoffs.

 

Projection: I’ll agree with robusk here. TM will probably win his division but then shit the bed in the playoffs. And the sun will rise in the East. And moy will campaign for Hootie Stewart. And vandydave and the brieses will argue over something.

Scranton Dundies

Last Season: 86-76

 

Changes: Their biggest move, perhaps, was trading stalwart CF Damaso Belliard for a package of players. Scranton has cut costs significantly this season, and appears to be on a transition towards acquiring younger talent. Free Agent signings were relatively cost-effective with a concern more towards depth than starting talent.

Robusk: Needs more switch-hitters. The pitching is pretty good, but their lineup is average. They make mine look like a bunch of Woodie Jacobses. God, I love me some Woodie Jacobs.

 

Projection: Contention for the division has more to do with tylermathias undermining his own talented roster or somehow squandering what looks to be a definitive advantage in the division. If TM stumbles, Scranton should be around that 85 win mark and could squeek into the playoffs.

Philadelphia Phingers

Last Season: 79-83

 

Changes: Made several solid improvements. Sierra and Kraemer will provide a solid bridge to Brad Leach. Phil Lee will add to the division’s best rotation. Espinosa and Manuel will add some quality bats to jwelsh’s lineup. Promotions of McInerny and Oliva give jwelsh one of the NL’s deepest bench’s, as well.

Robusk: Fuck this guy. He doesn’t seem to respect those of us who have figured this out. He’s too critical of savvy gamesmanship and manipulation of the system because it isn’t realistic enough for him. You know what’s realistic? My smelly hippie pubes on his nose.

 

Projection: The best threat to Dover for the division, Philadelphia does have a solid and improving lineup. However, it might best serve jwelsh to stray away from what I assume are sim-recommended line-ups. Oliva shouldn’t be playing behind Combs.

New York Tampa Bay Lispy Tranthferth

Last Season: 73-89

 

Changes: Promoted a couple of guys, claimed a few guys off waivers. The four of them should be mostly providing depth. Hopefully, for dherz’s sake.

Robusk: Biggest mistake in dherz’s life moving to Tampa Bay. I hated it there. Lots of old people and old hang-outs and nothing cool. Bands don’t come to Tampa for shows. Restaurants and bars close at like 9 or something. It’s fine for an old married couple like dherz has turned himself into, but not if he’s cool like me.

 

Projection: Yeah, that’s a $30 million dollar payroll. And there is more talent in Hi-A than the majors. Dherz isn’t fooling anyone. They’re not playing for this season. They’ll just tread water enough for people to not say they aren’t trying.

Mexico City Quetzlcoatl

Last Season: 84-78

 

Changes: Traded for Rafael Chavez to provide a stronger bat in a weak-hitting lineup. Signed Todd Throneberry, presumably for some depth.  

Robusk: cbriese and I don’t have the same philosophy, but I think he’s shown that what he’s doing works. He puts a premium on defense and it pays off. He is always leading the league in plus-plays and doesn’t allow many baserunners. I bet his COF are usually near the top in outfield assists, too. You don’t go first to third on him often. He keeps the scoring down and his pitching is solid, and he forces teams to manufacture runs. It’s like his own patented method. I think I’d climax if I had a publicly-lauded method. Nobody recognizes my genius.

 

Projection: Mexico City will do well. They’ll win enough to be in the division and wild card hunt, mostly for the reasons robusk stated.

St. Louis Kitten Mittons

Last Season: 93-65. Division Champs.

 

Changes: Signed a few guys, and then forgot to assign them to his ML roster so they quickly became Free Agents. Turned that team around, and promptly abandoned it.

Robusk: I wasn’t around Shtickless when he used to post much, but he seems like a stupid little tool. Am I right? He’s mismanaged one of the league’s best teams. He probably should have done better last season. He’s done nothing this off-season. Like if he had half a brain, I bet he’d have won 100 games last year and my shitty team wouldn’t have been in the World Series.

 

Projection: It depends on when tlak decides to show up and take care of his team. I’m looking to potentially replace him, as he only has 17 guys on his ML roster. It looks like he just got upset that he missed out on a few free agents and didn’t sign on for Spring Training.

Texas Disease

Last Season: 74-88

 

Changes: Clearly took last year’s record to heart, and invested quite a bit of money into a good Free Agent class of Matos, Javier, and Valentin.

Robusk: Vandydave is like the one guy you know who doesn’t own a cell phone out of principle. He’s refusing to move forward with his management style and acknowledging the importance of defense, batting eye, and all sorts of other shit, and instead quoting archaic crap that doesn’t really have anything to do with the game. Clearly he cares, but he doesn’t care enough to do it my way. For that he’s wrong. And dumb.

 

Projection: The solidified lineup and a somewhat weak division mean Vandydave can move himself back into the playoff picture very quickly. With his lineup built around contact and power, he should be able to reach the postseason.

Memphis Blues

Last Season: 58-104

 

Changes: Spent heavily to acquire Raul Guerrero and play him out of position at shortstop. Received the gem of the Rule V draft in Mark Walcutt. Other than that, no real significant improvements to a pretty bad team from a season ago.

Robusk: He brings his guys along too slowly. I understand not wanting to promote them too soon, but he’ll do one level each year with every player regardless of his ML readiness. Some of his minor leaguers could start for him now. If he played his best players, he probably would win 30 more games this season.

 

Projection: There is some talent in Memphis. I think they work their way out of the cellar this season, but it just seems like patrickm has no consideration at all for a player’s defensive ability. Rick Speaker isn’t a good enough bat for first base when he has a catcher’s range and glove. Guerrero really should be playing third base. Stuff that isn’t hard to rectify, but belies the fact that he is one of the game’s programmers and should know better.

San Francisco Surf Dogs

Last Season: 98-64. Won NL West. Lost in NLDS.

 

Changes: Signed a couple of solid pitchers. Promoted a powerful bat in Galahad Fowler, that should complement the speed in the organization nicely.

Robusk: He’s another guy that has his own style. Speed and stolen bases. I know they cut down on the insane stolen base percentage some guys were having, so I can’t imagine how well his team would do before they actualized that. I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves because he had the NL’s best record last year and I don’t know if there is anyone on his roster that people would know by name. But they’re a good team.

 

Projection: Should be a favorite to win the division, but they will be in a good place to reach the playoffs regardless.

San Diego Chicken Fukkars

Last Season: 87-75. Made playoffs as a Wild Card.

Changes: Signed a few pitchers. Traded for a high contact catcher, T.J. Peters, that should play well in Petco.

Robusk: Tisi is another of the few I respect because he always seems to get the most out of his players. He milks a good pitcher for every possible inning pitched. Micromanages a team well.

 

Projection: It depends on how many of the players he has in AAA move up at the 20 game mark. San Diego has a lot of talent that is very close to the Majors. It’s really an issue of when they come up. As they are now, San Diego is probably about a .500 ballclub. But there’s potential for more in the minors.

Boise Mays

Last Season: 68-94

 

Changes: Signed Nicholas White, one of the top catchers on the open market. Acquired Albert Rosales in the Rule V draft. Promoted highly ranked prospect, Julio Sanchez.

Robusk: I jerked off to my girlfriend’s childhood cat. I’m running out of people related to her family to think of.

 

Projection: Kelly Payne has enough surrounding talent to make a push for the playoffs, but it would be in spite of lackluster pitching. The problems with the rotation will probably keep Boise below .500.

Honolulu Birthers

Last Season: 84-78

 

Changes: Signed mostly cheap veteran stop-gaps for the ML roster. Traded away Wilfredo Gonzalez for prospects, and he might not be the last veteran to move.

Robusk: I miss Hawaii. It was expensive as shit, but I loved it there. (Ed. Note: He continues about Hawaii for 450 more words. I stopped it here.)

Projection: Openly and unapologetically in rebuilding mode. Well enough ran that they won’t just openly tank, but they’re not meant to be competitive this season.

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