Saturday, April 7, 2012

AL East Pre-Season Report

I thought I would give my division, the AL EAST, the once over to see how things will shake out this season. Perhaps other owners would like to post an analysis of their own divisions.


While the Torrones posted their highest all-time win total of 104 in season 21, they still came up a game short of the division title, then got unceremoniously bounced in the first round of the playoffs. After tying for the league lead in BA last season, the Torrones may be hard pressed to duplicate that feat. The team remains virtually intact with just one exception, as CF Quinn Smith returns to NY for a second tour of duty, replacing Toby Douglas. The main problem for NY is age. Some of the boys are getting a bit long in the tooth. After leading the league with a .347 BA last season Tanner Magnante returns for his swan song at age 36. Tanner has been an NY stalwart for 13 seasons and is a good bet for the HOF, but he'll probably be relegated to part time duty this season. Much of his time will be taken by Dave Bonilla, hoping to rebound from a sub par season 21. Luckily for the Torrones, 2B Gerardo Oliva(.337, 28,85)exercised his side of a mutual option and stayed with the team. SS will be handled by a platoon of Mariano Tavarez vs RHP and Luis Gonzalez vs LHP. 3B Davey House returns at 34 after a .294,19,80 season. Former full time C Andres Cedeno(lifetime .290 BA) is 35, but can still be effective in a platoon role. C William Duffy(89 PWR) has good pop and will play as much as his 59 DUR will allow. Solid Woody Hoiles(.300,26,94) returns as the every day LF. RF will be handled by the capable Jordan Mahaffey(.280,22,75,40 SBs) who can play any position. DH will be manned mostly by Neifi Espinosa(.292,29,83). Jack of All Trades Carlos Valentin is a capable backup ant any position when the regulars need a rest. Main problem here is age, with 8 of 12 position players on the far side of 30. Keeping them healthy and on the field will be a key to how well the team does in season 22.
The pitching staff was one of the more solid units in the league, finishing season 21 in the top 4 in all important pitching categories. Staff is lead by ace Shane Coffman(16-9, 3.77) and former ROY Tony Espinoza(16-7, 3.89). #3 SP Peter Barker is hoping to duplicate a solid 16-8, 4.15 season. SPs Gorkys Santos(11-7, 3.62) and Milt Blake(12-12, 4.40) round out a solid rotation. LRs are Eswalin Alou(2.42 ERA) and aging Eduardo Palmeiro(310 lifetime Svs) with Reese Durbin available at AAA should Palmiero prove to be done. Setup is one of the better units in the league with Virgil Brown(.216 OBA, 3.00 ERA), Curt Peters(.189 OBA, 2.91ERA), Ricardo Tejada(.214 OBA, 1.60 ERA), and emerging 2nd year man Deivi Cela(.241, 3.74). Closer B.C. Garland is one of the best the league has ever seen and is a sure fire future HOFer with 360 lifetime Saves, .201 OBA and 2.37 ERA over 11 ML seasons. He has shown no dropoff in ratings at age 33, but if he ever decides to get old, Cela should be a capable replacement, but that time appears to be well in the future. All in all, the Torrones should be a solid contender this year with a playoff spot a good possibility as long as some of the older players continue to perform well. If not, it could be a long season.


a_ersberg's Black Sox are the defending champions from season 21. They are led by a pair of super stud players in ROY LF Alex Wilfredo(.316, 43, 122) and 1B Che Abe(.298, 37, 105). Abe is in his prime and the sky's the limit for Wilfredo. These 2 will be terrorizing the AL for years to come. Main catching duty will fall to Corey Gonzales, a solid .284 hitter last season who could improve his power numbers this year. Backup Rudy Mercer is solid defensively. Chicago may want an upgrade from 35 year old Braden Hughes in RF after only 7 Hrs, 53 RBIs in 542 ABs last year. SS Jorge Espinoza is a good glove but didn't hit much last year. He split time with Andres Barrios, another good field, no stick SS. 3B Alex Green is a decent fielder but a little light on production for a corner IF(.255, 21,66). Part time DH Chad Cook(.232,19,51) is also a little light in production for a guy who can't play the field. Jung-Lee Nomo is a slick fielding 2B with some pop(18 HRs), and speed(26 SBs). Rookie Cody Ransom(.285, 11, 51,19 SBs) patrolled CF much of last year. Jack of All Trades Ed Randa played 5 positions last year, but only hit .236,17, 54 in 407 ABs. 34 year old Trever Vina(.284) and rookie Rule 5 guyOlmedo Guzman(.306,17,108 at AA) round out the offense. Despite the heroics of Abe and Wilfredo, Chicago still ended up last season about the middle of the pack in most offensive categories.
Pitching is what got Chicago it's title last year. They were in the top 3 in most pitching categories and gave up the fewest runs in the league last year(576). The rotation is one of the best around. 23 year old Ken Patrick had a stellar rookie season(15-4, .235 OBA, 3.28 ERA) and looks like he'll be an anchor for years to come. 34 year old Wilfredo Encarnacion will get his 200th win this year and shows no signs of slowing down. If 25 year old John Winn duplicates his .236 OBA, 3.47 ERA numbers of last season, he's sure to improve on his 11-7 record. 34 year old Pete Gardner has been a solid SP for years and should be able to duplicate his season 21 11-9 or better. Rounding out the rotation is season 21 late season callup, 22 year old Willie Keller,who went 6-1, 2.52 ERA in 11 starts. He looks to be a good one who will only improve with experience. LR will be handled by Daniel Poppell, coming off a stellar 9-1, .235 OBA, 3.05 ERA campaign. Setup men are solid, with Don Kerr(.234 OBA, 2.63 ERA), Reagan Murray(.241 OBA, 2.59 ERA, 15 Svs), Quinn Ruebel(9 Wins, 9 Svs, .227 OBA, 2.71 ERA), Donte Andrews(.215 OBA), and Brendan Downs(.222 OBA). No real Closer, so it will probably be a "by committee' type situation.
All in all, Chicago is a very solid club with some great rising stars who could again top 100 wins and is a sold contender to defend their title. On the down side, there is some age in a few spots and keeping guys healthy is always a concern in order to have a good season. Time will tell, but I wouldn't bet against them.


diabeticrock's 91-71 record in season 21 would have been good for a division title in many seasons. Unfortunately he was in a division with 2 teams that won 105 and 104 games and he finished 14 games back. He's been busy this spring training and hopes to contend for this years division title. DC was busy in the FA market, signing 4 players. they are all on the far side of 30, so drock seems to be taking a 'go for it now' approach. 35 year old Al Canseco was actually traded for last season and re-signed as a FA for season 22. He mainly played 2B for DC and is coming off a sub par .248, 13 58 season. With a drop in his ratings over the off season, it's hard to see him improving much on those numbers. Omar Cela is under .500 lifetime(94-101) and is coming off a 7-13, 5.53 ERA season in 25 starts and 43 appearances. 36 year old IF/OF Freddy Franco hit .247,18,63 last year. DC re-signed 33 year old SP Alexander Lawrence, who had a solid 15-11 season for them last year.
Acquired in trades were 1B/LF Al Castillo, coming off a solid .283,30,74 season for 2 teams last year, and OF Lynn Gabriel(.278,15,77,16 SBs).
DC led the league in SBs last year(238) but was below average in most other offensive categories. Aging C Joey Cannon handled DH duty last year with a few games thrown in at C. He's a possible future HOFer, and is coming off a very good .316,25,80 season. Most of the catching duties will be handled by up and comer Bill Motte, who sports 86 PWR that will only improve. Michael Schulte played all over last year and hit 15 HRs. 34 year old 3B Al Cairo is coming off a solid .281,20,85 season. Pedro Perez handled most of the SS play last year. He's a decent glove, but no stick, and you don't often see guys with BE 6 in the ML. Backing him up is Julius Powell, better hitting ratings but not much of a glove. This position is a definite weak spot. CF is patrolled by Jimmie Esposito, a very good glove but an average stick. He did have 28 SBs last year. Backup OF George Governale has some speed(26 SBs) but not much else. RH Terry Perry fell off in BA somewhat after a good rookie year, but still managed 25 HRs 75 RBI 27 SBs. Look for improvement from him.
In addition to Alexander and Cela, the rotation includes stud 2nd year SP Timothy O'Connor, who could have won ROY last season. He went 19-6, 3.44 ERA and will probably only get better. Jesus Johnson(14-10, 3.97), former #1 pick Efrain Williams, called up from AA, round out the rotation. LR Kenny Gonzales sported a 1.93 ERA last year. Rookie Julian Guerrero is a AA callup. Greg Shelley had 9 saves after being acquired in a trade early last season. Santiago Perez and Zoltan Weiland appear to be no better than journeyman setup guys. Closer duties were handled by Heath Donovan(26 Svs).
All in all, it doesn't look like DC will show enough improvement to seriously contend for the division title this season.


mburgy took over this franchise last season. It was left in disarray by it's former owner and burgy had his hands full. It wasn't pretty as KC ended up with only 51 wins, 54 games out of 1st place. But mburgy has been very busy this spring, signing a passel of FAs to try and improve his lot. SS Julio Beltre is a decent glove, but not much of a hitter. 39 year old DH/C Carlos Ibarra is years past his prime. his last decent season was 16. 37 year old Jumbo Neruda might still hit a bit, but is in serious decline. 3B Julio Guerrero is 35 and also in decline. P David Perez could be a decent LR, but 59 DUR won't get him thru the 5th inning as a SP. Matty Cedeno looks like he should hit 30+ HRs in full time duty, but can only play DH. SP Rico Espinoza is a nice signing who is over .500 lifetime, but 18 DUR means he won't be able to go every 5th day. I can't see journeyman 36 year old SP Earle Broome being able to take the mound very often with 13 DUR. At one time Malcolm Sandberg could be counted on for double digit wins, but at 39 those days are long in the past. Nothing more than LR now, but will be needed with other SPs having such low DUR. Unfortunately, his 16 DUR precludes him from taking the ball too often also. Harry Alicea is another guy on the downside, but
at least he's still got some gas in the tank and should post some decent numbers.
But enough gloom and doom. Let's look at some bright spots. C Joe Quinn is coming off a decent platoon rookie season(.280 BA). 1B James Broussard ratings look like they should produce better numbers than they have. Rookie 2B A.J. May has some pop(76 PWR) but low vR and BE may be a problem. Not sure much more can be expected of 3B John Itou than last years numbers. SS Wladimir Piedra is a slick fielder(20 + plays) and should hit a bit better. Young 1B/LF Troy Price played well after being traded to KC last season and should improve. Rookie CF Mitch Rollins is out of position there, but has a good eye, decent speed, and good BR that may translate into some SBs. LF Luis Francisco had 26 HRs, but will mis the first 2 months with an injury. This is a danger I try to avoid by not playing my starters too much in ST.
Rotation includes Cesar Mesa, who might reach double digit wins, Willie Moreno, who won't, and journeyman Tommy Schultz. Closer Trever Stratton(20 Svs) looks decent. Journeymen Luis Marquez, Aramis Martin, and Daniel Porzio round out the bullpen.
This looks to be another long season in KC. They are unfortunate to be in a division with 3 teams who won 90+ games last year, and whlile mburgy is trying to make improvements, signing a lot of 35+ year old FAs is not the way to rebuild a franchise.

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