Saturday, January 15, 2011

AL South Season Preview

Florida Fire Sailfish (95-67, 2nd)

The last 11 seasons have been very successful with no worse than a second place finish and a postseason appearance in 9 of them. However the postseason hasn’t gone as well as hoped with jmercer’s team yet to make it to the WS. Could this be the year that changes? David Olivo (41, 120, .296) is back for another season in the Florida sun so the offense has a dynamic leader. Luis Guillen & Lance Kelleher will be counted on to chip in but more help will be needed to regain the top spot in the division. David Acosta led the staff in wins with 16, and Greg Shelley converted 39 of his 43 save opportunities. Bounce back seasons by Al Inglesias & Bob Kelly will also be important for a team with title aspirations. The pitching staff still has a few young players developing however it’s the offense that could use some help this season if the Sailfish want to reach its goals.

Prediction: 92-70

Louisville Sluggers (96-66, 1st)

Three consecutive playoff appearances with two division titles in that time have everyone looking for big things from Louisville. While getting into the ALCS last season was their first, losing in six games left a bitter taste and a hunger for more success. Davidbutler has had all offseason to plan how to make that happen. On offense 4 players had 30 or more HR’s, 3 players drove in more than 100 runs, and 3 players hitting over .300. Clay Charles was probably the best of the bunch with 42, 107, .293 while catching 152 games. Harry Velasquez is the ace and won 23 games with 3.45 ERA. Junior Valdivia won 19 games with a 2.20 ERA in the friendly confines of Petco Park so how he adjusts to a new park will be important as will finding a new closer to replace Sun-Woo Abe. Looks like another dogfight for the division with Florida and the loser may just find themselves at home watching the playoffs.

Prediction: 91-71

Nashville Agents (50-112, 4th)

It’s been 13 seasons since this team has gotten to play in the postseason and the last two seasons have been particularly brutal with each ending in over 110 loses. A new season brings in a new owner and ARodsagent has taken on the task of changing Nashville’s fortunes. The outfield of Vin Escobar, Vincente Guerrero & Otis Boyle is very solid. Matty Cedeno had a great year in the DH slot and Parker Bennett was an inexpensive gamble that put up great numbers in Petco last year. The pitching staff last season was a total disaster with an ERA over 7. While some decent additions were made through the free agent market too many marginal talents remain on the staff to help this team escape the division’s basement. The change of home fields may drop the offenses production a little and help the pitching staff a little but until some significantly arms are added this team will continue to struggle.

Prediction: 55-107

New Orleans Freebeads (87-75, 3rd)

Are the Freebeads ready to make this a 3 team race? After a 1st place finish joshoakley’s team tumbled to last place and 63 wins but the following 2 seasons have produced a jump in victories each season and now this team seems poised for a run at the title. Rookie of the Year, Erubiel Pineda, burst onto the scene last year and promptly bashed 60 HR’s. What can he do for an encore? Hector Gonzalez is back from last season’s injury and if he can regain his previous form he will add another big bat to an already potent lineup. Ivan Alexander & Pokey Hudson were the top starters last season and Guillermo Sivilla may be ready to take over the closer role. New Orlean’s season will go as far as the pitching staff will take them, which is unfortunate because the offense looks capable of holding it’s own against any opponent.

Prediction: 91-71

No comments:

Post a Comment