Buffalo Wings (94-68, 1st )
After a 2 yr stay in the cellar, drutes has rebuilt his team and it is the 2 time reigning division champ. The offense starts with Gerardo Espinoza (1B), who hit 46 HR and drove in 109 runs. But this isn’t a one man show as Carlos Arias & Albert Perkins can also swing the bat. Buffalo dipped into the free agent market to pick up Archie Aldridge, it’s yet to be determined where he’ll play but a $12M player won’t be sitting on the bench. Pedro Alarcon anchors the rotation and sets the tone for a solid pitching staff that had a team ERA of 4.09 last season. The Wings division foes will be hard pressed to stop this team from adding to their string of division crowns.
Burlington Coat Factories (62-100, 4th)
Last season’s record was not surprising for a team that allowed almost 200 more runs than they scored. Rebuilding this team will not happen over night even for a veteran owner like kingbraden. Steve Hoffman is a talented young pitcher to build a team around however the anemic offensive attack that will support him will most likely waste some good outings. Braden Hughes & Homer Plesac are the highest paid players on the team and will need to dramatically increase their production to justify their salaries. It looks like another long season in Burlington and avoiding another 100 loss season would be a major accomplishment.
Cleveland Penquins (69-93, 2nd)
Back to back 1st place finishes have been followed by two 2nd place finishes and fewer wins each season. The question is has rigbystarr done enough to once again get this franchise headed back in the right direction and challenge Buffalo for the division title. The pitching was solid for the most part and with a little more offensive support would have kept this team from dropping below .500. The loss of Jolbert Cordero leaves this team looking for an ace. Part time starters Red Maxwell (12 wins) & Daniel Poppell (11 wins) were the only pitchers to hit double digits in wins. Joey Taylor will be missed behind the plate as will his 26 HR. Ty Leon and Guillermo Andujar are the deep threats but will need to up their production if this team is to take a step forward instead of another step back. The current major league roster suggests this will be a long season by the lake.
Detroit Grass Lakes (68-94, 3rd)
When your team scores 150 less runs than their opponents it is hard to expect anything other than a sub .500 record and that’s exactly what cjperritt’s club did. The pitching and defense are ok and with a little improvement could make a big jump. The offense on the other hand needs some major help. Everett Bochtler, Harry Torcato & Raymond Steele are solid starters that can eat innings. J.R. Gray & F.P. Koskie are the offensive stars with Koskie now 30 the question is, will he still be around when this team is ready to compete. Detroit may be able to move up to 2nd in this division but that will still be a long way from the division leaders.