Thursday, January 21, 2010

Season 15 Preview - National League

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

There is a new tide coming in this season in the National League, and it is the new NL West rising as Omaha finally recedes after a decade of dominance.  Still strong is the entire NL East, while there are some old faces coming back for another go in the North and South.  Lars takes a look at what could potentially be a massive power shift in the upcoming seasons, and gives his predictions on things to come in the senior circuit.

National League

Overview: For years in the National League two things were a certainty; one, Syracuse would win a ton of games in the regular season and collapse in the playoffs, and two, Omaha would probably win the World Series.  But Omaha has officially put that dynasty to bed for the time being to retool what was a rapidly aging franchise.  This has blown the door wide open for the rest of the National League, and Jackson was able to capitalize last season before losing a very tightly contested World Series to the Cleveland Steamers.

This year sees some old favorites once again rising to the top, as Jackson built upon their World Series success and had some major free agent moves to bolster their lineup.  But the biggest mover and shaker this season was the Sioux Falls Corn Cleats, who had the busiest offseason in franchise history in an attempt to retake the division and recover from their worst season in team history.  The NL South is now a wide open race as well, as Syracuse was forced to shed some very talented players in order to make their budget, but they are still the match of any of the other teams in the division, just not the guaranteed lock they once were.  The West is now wide open as well, and Iowa City and San Francisco look to be running neck and neck in the race to succeed Omaha as the divisional power to be reckoned with. 

Projected Cy Young: Furio Kydd - Iowa City
--Other Contenders: Clyde Ford (SXF), Davey Silva (WIC), Ivan Canseco (SF), Junior Lee (ATL)
Projected MVP: Chipper Harper - Columbus
--Other Contenders: Paul Jung (SYR), Nick Weaver (ATL), Omar Rosado (NY2)
Projected Fireman of the Year: Kirk White - Syracuse
--Other Contenders: Sarma Inge (CLB)
Projected Rookie of the Year: Francisco Espada - Iowa City
--Other Contenders: Tim Collins (MNT), Jose Vasquez (SXF)

Top Five Rotations in the National League
1. Sioux Falls Corn Cleats
2. Atlanta Pitbulls
3. Columbus HoundDogs
4. Syracuse Beagles
5. New York Pick Pockets

Top Five Lineups in the National League
1. Columbus HoundDogs
2. New York Pick Pockets
3. Syracuse Beagles
4. Wichita Wankers
5. Jackson Pollocks

Top Three Offseason Free Agent Signings
1. Tony Cho - Columbus HoundDogs
2. Dennis Ashby - Jackson Pollocks
3. Steven Booker - Trenton Lions

Top Three Trade Acquisitions
1. Clyde Ford - Sioux Falls Corn Cleats
2. Jamie Beimel - Atlanta Pitbulls
3. Ivan Canseco - San Francisco Earthquakes

Four Teams on the Rise:
1. Iowa City Corn Dogs
2. Sioux Falls Corn Cleats
3. San Francisco Earthquakes
4. Trenton Lions

Three Teams on the Decline
1. Omaha Sluggers
2. Syracuse Beagles
3. Charlotte Thunder

Five prospects who could make a difference if called up this season
1. Theodore Hafner - Atlanta Pitbulls
2. Juan Javier - Montgomery Burns
3. Morgan Kirby - Montgomery Burns
4. Jamie Hayashi - Montgomery Burns
5. Kazuhiro Martin - San Francisco Earthquakes

Projected finishes, by division:

NL North
Sioux Falls Corn Cleats -91-71
New York Pick Pockets - 89-73
Trenton Lions - 72-90
Hartford Whalers - 70-92

NL East
Columbus HoundDogs - 94-68
Wichita Wankers - 92-70
Syracuse Beagles - 91-71
Atlanta Pitbulls - 89-73

NL South
Jackson Pollocks - 96-66
Richmond Cohibas - 87-75
Montgomery Burns - 65-97
Charlotte Thunder - 64-98

NL West
Iowa City Corn Dogs - 92-70
San Francisco Earthquakes - 88-74
Omaha Sluggers - 75-87
Los Angeles Leopards - 61-101

No comments: