Last Season: 99-63, 1st place
Studs: LF Jose Barrios, SP Kazuhiro Ong
Duds: P Bob Maduro (5.19 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in the pen was a liability)
Outlook: Few teams can match Omaha's lineup and rotation, which boast top quality players at all positions. MVP candidate Barrios leads a gifted group of position players also including Bill Norton, Sammy Maduro, Ken Daniels, Fasto Pena, Fred McConnell, and Terrence Warden. Aces Ong, Geoffrey Gates, Ivan Canseco, and B.C. Steenstra head a dominating rotation. Fireman of the Year Sean Hill leads the pen. A few of Omaha's players are starting to age, but this team should easily win the NL West.
Prediction: 103-59, 1st place
Last Season: 74-88, 2nd place
Studs: SP Buddy Fontenot, OF Ivan Bergeron
Duds: P Achilles Hanson (5.72 ERA and 1.72 WHIP could be achilles heel for Seattle bullpen)
Outlook: Seattle has been steadily improving over the last few seasons but are still a year or two away as thier best prospects are still in the minors. In the meantime the Seacows will remain competetive by playing good defensive baseball, led by the gloves of Tomas Castillo and Marty Ryan. P Bobby Clayton has a bright future ahead of him too, and should make strides this season. Expect the Seacows to put up a good fight, but not quite make the playoffs.
Prediction: 75-87, 2nd place
Tucson Hot Sauce
Last Season: 62-100, 4th place
Studs: C Murray Hayes, SP Tomas Tatis
Duds: SP Troy Finley (3-14, 6.35 ERA in 27 starts)
Outlook: Tucson is a team on the rise, as long as their pitching continues to develop and doesn't get flustered throwing in the hitters paradise of Tucson Electric Park. New acquisition Tatis leads the rotation, which also features up and comer Skeeter Robertson, veteran Harry Belliard, and flamethrower Phil Chang. SS Curtis Chase, CF Albert Conception, and Hayes lead the lineup, which should hopefully produce enough runs to support the pitching staff.
Prediction: 73-89, 3rd place
Last Season: 67-95, 3rd place
Studs: SP Bob Brooks, 1B Ruben Lopez
Duds: P Rob Rubel (6.5 million dollar man is enjoying life in AAA)
Outlook: The Vultures are hoping a move to Vancouver can spark the team to a few more wins. There are some good players on the ML team, but the best players in the organization are still in the minors. But there are some bright spots on the squad, including Lopez, Brooks, and 2b Emmanuel Kirby. There is also mascot Vincent Von Vulture, who will keep the fans entertained with his tricycle antics until the kids in the minors make the big show.
Prediction: 71-91, 4th place