Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NL East Season Preview

Norfolk Admirals
Owner: optistrat
Previous Season Record: 85-77
Best Player: Cedrick Charleston
Key signing/loss: Jackson Staley
Random Trivia: With the result they had last season, clearly Jesus himself is the captain of this ship....

Coming off of a World Series season that neither optistrat thought possible nor Nostradamus could've foretold, Norfolk looks to repeat their improbable run to immortality in Season 13.

With very few changes to a lineup that actually finished at or below league average in almost all major statistical categories, the Admirals obviously believe in what they've already got. With the resigning of veteran slobberknockin' catcher Jackson Staley, the Admirals return all but one player from the lineup from Season 12.

As much as the Admirals hold serve with their lineup, they do precisely the same thing with their rotation as well--the only change in their staff is a homegrown change, which is moving Al Martinez out of the bullpen and into the rotation. Again, finishing only slightly above league average a 4.32 team ERA, the Admirals are obviously hoping for another miraculous occurrence with their performance this season.

Predicted record: 83-79

C Jackson Staley
1B Javier Morales
2B Carlos Merced
3B Gregg Munson
SS Matt Sizemore
LF Benito Marquez
CF Cedrick Charleston
RF Rey Ray

Napoleon Aven
Dorian Wells
Al Martinez
Boots Thomas
Juan Galarraga

Brandon Barnes

Rochester Red Wings
Owner: shesaid
Previous Season Record: 79-83
Best Player: Wayne Alexander
Key signing/loss: None
Random Trivia: The Red Wings are named after a team they compare favorably in talent to---the Rochester Red Wings, AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins....

With a starting third baseman coming off the waiver wire and hitting 3rd, a Rule 5 selection at the #3 spot in the rotation, and nary a free agent signing in sight, the Red Wings subscribe to the "less is more" theory when it comes to roster additions.

With the one meager addition to a  lineup that finished well below league average last season, it will be interesting to see what happens with the Red Wings offense this season. Will Newston be able to boost them into the top half of the league?

While the original plan was to add Rule 5 selection Augie Romero to the starting staff, the Red Wings quickly reversed course and slotted him into the bullpen. With every starter in the rotation starting at least 12 games last season, this is unquestionably the most stable pitching staff in all of WIB, and in this case, that's not a bad thing. With a 4.22 team ERA last season, the Red Wings finished above the NL average, and they look to improve on that this season.

Predicted record: 78-84

LF Bob Harrison
1B Tomas Chavez
3B Preston Newston
CF Wayne Alexander
RF Greg Keats
2B R. A. Pose
C Jose Domingo
SS Morgan Randall

Derrek Kimbrel
Robin Roth
Luther Wagner
Philip Jones
Jeremy Lee

Al Sierra

Hartford Aristocrats
Owner: ck1909
Previous Season Record: 78-84
Best Player: Sven Cerda
Key signing/loss: Losing Raul Diaz to free agency
Random Trivia: Much like how The Hangover's Alan isn't allowed in Chuck-E-Cheese anymore, ck1909 isn't allowed to trade with newbies....

Getting away from their steroid-induced ways of the past, these Aristocrats are a shell of their former selves. After systematically breaking down and trading away as many pieces as they possibly could, the Aristocrats seemingly made few changes from last season to this, and despite playing in a park that would make Coors Field blush at the offensive production it allows, finished barely above league average in most major offensive categories last season. Combined with a below-average ERA (again, not surprising due to the tee-ball field they play in), the Aristocrats finished below .500 for the first time in the existence of the franchise.

Sadly, continuity seems to be king in Hartford, and another sub-.500 season looms large. With few changes in the entire franchise from top to bottom, the chances of a higher finish this season are slim and slimmer.

Predicted Record: 72-90

C Ramiro Torres
1B Alex Eusebio
2B Tanner Gragg
3B Scott Sowders
SS Donte Seneca
LF Armando Rosado
CF Fausto Seguinol
RF Ricardo Aguilera

Sven Cerda
Achilles Hamilton
Antonio May
Carlos Seanez
Lewis Torres

Duke Weaver

Burlington Benjamins
Owner: stymietime23
Previous Season Record: 73-89
Best Player: Richard Matsuzaka
Key signing/loss: Signing Aurelio Flores
Random Trivia: After his firing from ESPN, Harold Reynolds is now sexually harassing the outfield fans at Mustain Stadium.

In what appears to be an attempt at a return to relevance in the NL East, the Benjamins made a few moves to bolster a lineup that finished near last in team OPS last season. While not surprising considering that Burlington plays in the least offensive park known to man, a .685 team OPS makes even Mario Mendoza cry on the inside.

While the signing of Aurelio Flores adds a solid bat to a struggling lineup and defensive 3B Dweezil Johnson will attempt to improve an already above-average defense, Burlington actually stays very consistent in the pitching staff. Every starter had at least 23 starts last season, so clearly the Benjamins are praying that experience means something in this game.

Predicted record: 75-87

C Jay Bold
1B Jeff Stone
2B Aurelio Flores
3B Dweezil Johnson
SS Isaac Upshaw
LF Richard Matsuzaka
CF Harold Reynolds
RF Hector Cruz

Magglio Tatis
Jaime Cohen
Brent Stanley
Eli Soriano
Terry Mercedes

Cameron Hogan

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