Thursday, January 3, 2008

Team Previews: AL North

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

Chicago Sabercats
Last Season: 73-89, 3rd place
Studs: 1B/DH Kip Zeille, SP Ugueth Posada
Duds: Lefty Groom (Blown save machine, can only be worse after injury.)
Outlook: The Sabercats best years are ahead of them as they blend a mix of solid veteran leadership with many young players. The lineup is held together by megaslugger Kip Zeille, with the other players being mostly solid to average contact hitters. The rotation features some solid young pitching, headed by Posada and Santos Diaz, who should be a star in a year or two. Depth is an issue, and Chicago is only an injury away to Zeille from having its offense fall apart. This team is probably a year away.
Prediction: 78-84, 3rd place

New York Brokers
Last Season: 59-103, 4th place
Studs: SP Pedro Ontiveros, SP J.R. Murphy
Duds: Tomas Diaz (He had to do something wrong to end up in AAA at 7.5 mil per year!)
Outlook: The future is in the minors for the Brokers, as their solid young pitching is just now entering the bigs or is still in development. The lineup featuresa solid core of role players, but no all star position players to speak of. They won't get embarrassed on the field, but where the power and production will come from is unknown. Look for pitchers Ontiveros and Murphy to be the bright spots until young talent in the minors is ready.
Prediction: 63-99, 4th place

Pawtucket G-Maniacs
Last Season: 99-63, 1st place
Studs: SP Albert Franco, SS Tom Pettitte
Duds: Bo Stein (.219 avg and .251OBP need to improve for teams slugger)
Outlook: The G-Maniacs bring a loaded lineup and rotation to the field in season 7. They have solid gloves and hitters at every position, and the rotation has perennial Cy Young candidate Albert Franco. The only possible weaknesses on the G-Maniacs this season would be the lack of a quality power hitter, and the lack of a second dominant starter in the rotation, although Daniel Hammond and Doug Ripken and Julio Mercado are all good. Still, the hitting and the defense should be more than enough to win another division crown.
Prediction: 100-62, 1st place

Philadelphia Floppin' Phils
Last Season: 78-84, 2nd place
Studs: DH Bob Sears, 2B Jamie Beimel
Duds: 2B Luis Escuela (For 17 million you need to hit better than .268!)
Outlook: The Floppin' Phils are a franchise in transition, with many veterans leaving over the offseason in trades for prospects. Still, there is a fair amount of talent on the ML squad, headed by future star Jamie Beimel and cagey veteran Bob Sears. Talented vets Flip Heathcott, Marty Leary, and Derrin Rogers anchor a solid rotation. The bullpen is a bit weak, and the defense is hurt by the lack of a true shortstop. If things go right they could contend for a wildcard spot.
Prediction: 85-77, 2nd place

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