Thursday, January 3, 2008

Team Previews - AL East

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

Boston Heat
Last Season: 90-72, 1st place
Studs: SS Rico Estrada, SP Rabbit Leyritz
Duds: Brian Ashby (Highly rated role player has never lived up to his potential)
Outlook: The Heat just barely made good on their promise to win the division a year ago, but have the talent to win it again in season 7. Former Cy Young Leyritz heads a solid rotation, and poor man's Dallas Kline Rico Estrada leads the Heat lineup. Lots of solid hitters and defense throughout, and a good pen is anchored by lights out closer Bobby Davidson. But in the AL East, it may not be enough to get through.
Prediction: 90-72, tie 2nd place

Kansas City KILL
Last Season: 80-82, 4th place
Studs: SS AJ Buck, SP Tomas Tatis
Duds: 1B Armando Soriano (Needs to improve on .260 AVG from last season)
Outlook: Age finally caught up to the KILL (formerly RiverRats) last season, and this season the rebuilding process has begun. There is still lots of talent in the rotation and the lineup though, so the KILL won't be an easy out. Look for Rabbit Lara and AJ Buck to continue to produce, and newcomer Brace Davey to contend for Rookie of the Year. The pitchers Tatis are still good, but won't be enough to hold the staff together by themselves. Look for a slight drop off from last season.
Prediction: 73-89, 4th place

Pittsburgh SSP
Last Season: 88-74, 3rd place
Studs: SS RJ Cubillan, DH Roosevelt Ingram
Duds: SP Eduardo Nunez (SP1 needs to do better than 3-9 in 25 starts)
Outlook: The SSP of Pittsburgh almost won the division last season before a late season hiccup cost them the title. But they made the playoffs as a wildcard and look to do better this year. With a young and improving lineup and pitching staff, a division title isn't out of the question, as there are no real weak spots in the lineup. Ingram, Cubillan, Howie Payton, and Gregg Young form a quality heart of the order.
Prediction: 90-72, tie 2nd place

Scranton Dragons
Last Season: 89-73, 2nd place
Studs: RF Ken Puffer, SP Dean Hernandez
Duds: SP Larry Gross (15-10, but is that worth 15.5 million?)
Outlook: The Dragons are loaded. The Rotation has three # 1 starters in Hernandez, Gross, and Josias Morales, last years Cy Young runner up. The lineup features killer hitter Ken Puffer, and a very strong supporting cast. There are no weaknesses in the linup or rotation to speak of, and this should be a year when they win the tough AL East
Prediction: 93-69, 1st place

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