Saturday, January 15, 2011

AL North Season Preview

Dover Diabolicals (74-88, 4th)

No team wants to go from a 100 win season and a division crown to a last place team yet that is exactly what happened last year. Bdcelli takes over a struggling franchise that is in desperate need of a stable ownership situation. It appears spending money on players won’t be a concern as the team payroll has exceeded the $100M mark. Ramon Wang & free agent Mac Morris were acquired this offseason in an attempt to bolster the pitching staff. The offensive shortcomings of last season were also addressed as free agents: Trevor Vina, Jiggs Craddock, Donald Huang & Miguel Palacios, as was Derek Lloyd who came over in a trade. It’s yet to be seen how these mores will work out but you must give the new owner credit for at least attempting to do everything possible to get into the playoff race.

Prediction: 85-77

Iowa City Barnstormers (78-84, 2nd)

Only twice in team history has this team finished above .500 and the only playoff appearance occurred 3 seasons ago. The question then becomes has sccrplyr16 made the right moves to allow this team to compete and do it on a regular basis? Ronnie Patrick is still developing yet appears ready to show he can lead the staff. In the pen, Phil Bannister did a solid job as the closer. Dom Costcarart, Koyie Williams & Vincente Rios can mash with the best. However the defense seems a little shaky at several positions so it looks like another year hovering around .500 for the Barnstormers.

Prediction: 75-87

Minnesota Twinkies (75-87, 3rd)

As if being named after a snack cake wasn’t bad enough, this team has languished at the bottom of the division for the last 4 seasons. Fans are hoping that last year was a precursor to a bigger jump this season. The Twinkies are hoping that youngsters Hideki Zhang & Lorenzo Guillen will provide some quality innings for the pitching staff. Sluggers Gerry Allen (48, 134, .362) & Billy Corey (33, 115, .332) are back for another season and they come with several young players looking for a chance to show what they can do. Hitting should not be a problem; however brentnet will most likely find his team’s success will be held back by a pitching staff not quite strong enough to help get them to the playoffs.

Prediction: 82-80

Toronto Toros (85-77, 1st)

Finishing only 8 games over .500 allowed the Toros to return to the playoffs after a 5 yr absence and in a surprising finish defeated Durham to win the franchises 3rd WS trophy. Steve Wells (33, 99, .317) was the leading hitter last season but 22 yr old phenom Rich White (30, 81, .285) seems poised to pass him as the offensive leader. On the hill 4 pitchers reached double digits in victories yet it was a collective effort and no one really stood out for this unit. Youngsters like Connie Gosling, Martin Saito, Pedro Lugo and recently acquired Lloyd Keefe will be called on to step up for goldenboy69’s team. Can this team repeat? Yes, they were a longshot to even get in the WS so why would this season offer them any bigger challenge. Even with the changes in roles and players on the pitching staff it looks like their effectiveness or lack thereof will determine Toronto’s fate.

Prediction: 84-78

No comments:

Post a Comment