Leon Jackson - Cobbfather Post Gazette
Shenaynay - Special Correspondent from the Psychic Friends Network
Up next, the AL East, a division full of high powered offenses. Last year the Burlington Huskies took the division by one game. Let's see if they'll repeat!
4. Durham Radicals
Last Season: 63-99
Shenaynay’s crystal ball shows: the journey up the mountain continues
Impact Player – Rafael Benitez – the 21 year old youngster will be asked to lead the offense this season.
Gazette says: Durham has been in rebuilding mode the past few seasons, and has done a good job collecting blue chip prospects to build their system. Offensively, Durham looks very good and will field a lineup that could go off at any time, especially at home, where the park is generous to hitters. Unfortunately for Durham, there’s an equal probability that their pitching staff could get lit up, as they still have some strides to make in that area. There should be some pretty eventful, high scoring games in Durham this season, that’s for sure. We see some improvement this season for Durham, but their still a few arms away from being contenders.
Psychic Friends Network prediction: 70-92
Vegas Odds to win it all: 75-1
3. Boston Massacre
Last Season: 77-85
Shenaynay’s crystal ball shows: the troops have retreated and are getting ready for the next battle
Impact Player – Dom Lazzeri – the free agent hurler was brought in to help a weak pitching staff, and he must perform if Boston is going to contend.
Gazette says: Boston was one of the best offenses in the league last season, leading the league in Home Runs and OPS. Their lineup featured 6 hitters who hit 35+ HR and 100+ RBI, and all of them are back this season. Unfortunately, Boston was also one of the worst pitching staffs in the league. In addition to Lazzeri, the Massacre also dealt for veteran Charles Gardner to help the rotation. If those two succeed, expect Boston to be better this season. We think they’ll at least be as good as last year, as it is hard to imagine the pitching staff could be any worse.
Psychic Friends Network prediction: 81-81
Vegas Odds to win it all: 55-1
2. Burlington Huskies
Last Season: 90-72
Shenaynay’s crystal ball shows: the Huskies are hungry and ready to bite.
Impact Player – Hector Ball – he’s the heart of the order, and will need a great year to help fuel the Burlington offense
Gazette says: Burlington is coming off their first division title, which they achieved through very good pitching to support a decent offense. The pitching looks to be very good again and will keep Burlington in contention. The key to defending the division crown will be if their small ball players can get on base for their sluggers to drive in. The other 3 teams in the division have great offense, so they will still need to put some runs on the board this season, even though they do have a great pitching staff.
Psychic Friends Network prediction: 91-71
Vegas Odds to win it all: 15-1
1. Atlanta Expos
Last Season: 89-73
Shenaynay’s crystal ball shows: more fans at the stadium than the Montreal Expos
Impact Player – Chris Pendleton – the hurler acquired in the offseason greatly bolsters the pitching staff, he should rebound from an off year last season.
Gazette says: Last season was the first season the Atlanta franchise didn’t win 100 games, yet they still came one game away from their fourth straight World Series appearance. The franchise, now under its fourth owner in five seasons, has moved to Atlanta. This franchise has always been known for great hitting, and returns quite the solid offense this season. The pitching wasn’t great last season, but adding Pendleton will certainly help, forming one of the most potent 1-2 pitching combos with Carl Sosa. The move from Chicago to Atlanta, a more friendly park for pitchers, should help as well. All in all, we think they reloaded enough to take back the top spot in the division, a position they had for the first three seasons in Cobbfather.
Psychic Friends Network prediction: 98-64
Vegas Odds to win it all: 8-1
UP NEXT: NL EAST