Sunday, January 23, 2011

AL South Season Preview

Atlanta Gold Club
Owner: bjb2378
Previous Season Record: 95-67
Best Player: Gene Sirotka
Key signing/loss: None
Random Trivia: "Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women, and irish whiskey. The other ten percent I'll probably waste." -- Tug McGraw

After eight consecutive seasons of incompetence and frustration, all while stockpiling international free agents and draft picks, the Gold Club emerged into relevance in Season 11 with a 24-game improvement, taking a wild card spot. Improving on that previous season, the Gold Club won 95 games and took the AL South in Season 12, but the onslaught is nowhere near over. With two players out of their nine position players on the Season 13 roster from outside his organization's farm system, the Gold Club have perhaps the world's most home-grown roster from top to bottom.

While the Gold Club didn't have any major signings or losses this season, they do call up three farm system players to add their top-quartile lineup from last season. The addition of sluggers Davey Arrojo and Stan Horton, along with slick-fielding Davey Frias, makes this already dangerous lineup flat-out scary.

Making no changes to a rotation that was also in the top-quartile of the world last season, the Gold Club are clearly looking to establish dominance in the AL South.

Predicted Record: 104-58

CF Benito Hernandez
2B Rob Nicholson
DH Davey Arrojo
RF Stan Horton
1B Gene Sirotka
3B Wolf Kingman
LF Vinny Whiten
SS Davey Frias
C Gary Willoughby

Jim Wright
Pat Chang
Ron Long
Shane Hutch
Dan Montgomery

Cameron Perez

Austin Bears
Owner: rebelt
Previous Season Record: 90-72
Best Player: Vin Polonia
Key acquisition/loss: Trading for Phil Norton
Random Trivia: Wilt Kydd wears Vin Polonia underoos.

Picking up DH Phil Norton and right-handed hitting C Tomas Samuel, the Bears look to bolster a lineup that finished 2nd in the AL South last season and clinched the 2nd wildcard spot. Also calling up speedy 1B Alex Leon, the Bears hope to improve on the top-quartile offensive production they posted last season.

Also adding durable RP Shane Martin to a low-stamina staff including budding superstar Vin Polonia and overpaid veteran Joaquin Mendez, the Bears look to improve on their below-average 4.40 ERA from last season.

Predicted record: 94-68

C Tomas Samuel
1B Alex Leon
 DH Phil Norton
LF Douglas MacRae
CF Mendy Crosby
3B Luther Pearson
RF Esmailyn Lopez
SS Donzell Redman
2B Milton Heredia

Vin Polonia
Joaquin Mendez
Alexei Canseco
Bucky Varitek
Randy Buford

Bartolo Bournigal

Texas Primetimers
Owner: Primetime17
Previous Season Record: 86-76
Best Player: Jon Caufield
Key signing/loss: Vladimir Diaz
Random Trivia: The only thing higher than the number of times Texas has been to the playoffs is the number of times their owner has been banned from the WifS forums.

As a long-time owner who has more HBD teams than Hugh Hefner has STD's, timeprime's consistently competitive WIB squad looks to improve on last season's 86-win campaign, the first time the squad has missed the playoffs since way back in Season 6.

Other than signing Vladimir Diaz to shore up an aging 3B position and acquiring DH Andy Evans in a trade, the Primetimers run out virtually the same lineup as they did last season. Led by LF Jon Caufield, the powerful offense of the Primetimers is on the bottom third of the world in average, but in the top third in OPS and runs scored.

The signing of veteran lefty Pascaul Contreras allows 5.54 ERA Alex Ferrer to move to the bullpen in attempt to improve on the 27th-ranked pitching staff from last season.

Predicted record: 82-80

1B Garrett Locke
3B Vladimir Diaz
LF Jon Caufield
2B Merv Parris
RF Cal Collins
DH Andy Evans
SS Ted Lennon
C Oswaldo Sivilla
CF Eric Sanford

Carmen Gryboski
Valerio Benitez
Rickey Grace
Pascual Contreras

Jesus Tavarez

Michael Throneberry

Santa Fe Fireballs
Owner: opie5
Previous Season Record: 78-84
Best Player: Darrell Parrish
Key signing/loss: Signing Darrell Parrish
Random Trivia: Many owners in WIB would like to fire the balls of lesliechow...

After a tumultuous offseason including an ownership change, a move to a new city, then another ownership change once the season was underway, fans of the Fireballs are just looking for some stability in this cold, cruel world. The comedy of errors that occurred in the offseason, however, makes lesliechow look like reigny. Between a $20M coaches budget, a grossly offensively-geared stadium, and misuse of prospects, lesliechow is now officially "persona non grata" in WIB.

Moving on, in what was perhaps one of the biggest signings of the offseason, new owner opie5 immediately looked at add some talent to the Fireballs with the signing of stud left-hander Darrell Parrish. That being said, something clearly had to be done with a bottom-quartile staff that has been moved to the biggest bandbox in all of WIB in Sante Fe. Don't expect much out of these guys this season.

In attempt to add some pop to a lifeless lineup, the Fireballs also added DH Brent Houston and 1B Harry Acosta, but it appears as though it will be a long season for this group as well.

Predicted Record: 71-91

RF Nap Roberts
SS Kirt Taylor
1B Harry Acosta
3B Willie Cruz
LF Einar Lee
DH Brent Houston
C Miguel Chavez
CF Raymond Hairston
2B Alvin Murphy

Darrell Parrish
Grant Mench
Mule Reynolds
Miguel Oliveras
Tori Mayne

Craig Hall

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