Omaha Sluggers (109-53) 1st place
Question: If Jose Barrios engaged Pedro Cerrano in a home run derby, who would win?
Answer: 4 out of the last 5 World Series titles says dynasty in Lars' book.
Player to watch: At 36 years old, closer Bobby Flores hasn't showed any signs of his age.
Outlook: 110-52 - 1st place. The Sluggers are the best team in the league until someone can prove otherwise on the field, which hasn't happened in recent memory. But all good things must come to an end, and Lars can see the sheen starting to dull in Omaha as their core group of stars age past 30-32 years old. With many stars still 28-29 years of age the Sluggers aren't done by a long shot, and Lars still thinks they will win the World Series yet again, but not even Jose Barrios or King Ong can stop Father Time, and time will start catching up with them soon.
Honolulu Islanders (65-97) 2nd place
Question: Will Honolulu top .500 in their quest for 2nd place?
Answer: Clay Henry not only has a classic Subway TV jingle, but he can rock it at the plate as well.
Player to watch: Lou Brow is the anchor in an erratic starting rotation for the Islanders, and has complete game potential every start.
Outlook: 74-88 2nd place - The rest of the NL West chose a good time to have off decades as Omaha has really owned the league. In the meanwhile Honolulu has accrued some very nice prospects in the draft, and as a result their AAA team is stacked, and could start impacting the ML squad pretty soon. The future is pretty bright on the island, and although Lars doesn't see them coming anywhere close to Omaha this season, next season might be a different story. But as a consolation Lars does think that they should have a lock on 2nd place.
Iowa City Corn Dogs (52-110) 4th place
Question: Is it possible to hyperannuate Francisco Espada?
Answer: Mike Boudreau is wild and crazy at times, but he has the best stuff in the rotation.
Player to watch: Carl Alexander on the AAA team had his #1 uberprospect status usurped by the Corn Dogs #1 draft pick Francisco Espada, and you can bet he will try to get it back by making some noise in the minor leagues.
Outlook: 64-98 - 3rd place. The Corn Dogs are making some progress in getting back on track, with new blood Espada, Alexander, Tomas Sanchez and John McGowan all looking to make a big impact in the future. However, Lars doesn't see quite as many grade A prospects in Iowa as he does in Honolulu, which is why he is picking the Corn Dogs to finish 3rd.
Salem Bitches (63-99) 3rd place
Question: Will the Bitches muster up enough hitting to support what might be a competitive rotation?
Answer: Spud Upshaw has cemented his status as the anchor in the lineup, and woe be to Salem if they trade him.
Player to watch: Brook Lennon has electric stuff, but his control issues sometimes gets the better of him.
Outlook: 63-99 - 4th place. The Bitches know they are in a predicament, trying to hang with the Sluggers is nigh impossible. But they are making some good progess in the draft and by trades for young talent. Lennon and Upshaw are keepers, as is Rico Cruz, and woe betide the franchise if they trade can't miss pitching prospect Pablo Vicente. But that being said there just isn't enough on the ML roster to compete this season, unless their role players step up and produce more than Lars thinks they will.