Sunday, September 15, 2013

Season 21 Preseason Power Rankings

Season 21 is about to get under way very shortly, so that means it's time for the preseason power rankings.  As humbly predicted by their owner, Dover has claimed the top spot once again after an impressive run last season, while the defending champion Colorado Springs comes in at #2.  Winning 100 games three seasons in a row, Pittsburgh rounds out the top 3.  Good luck to those ranked highly in fulfilling lofting expectations and to those ranked low in proving the rankings wrong!   Here are the complete preseason power rankings.

Season 20

Team  W L   Comments
1 Dover 109 53 Great roster, is this the season they get their WS title?
2 Colorado Springs 99 63 The defending champs are gearing up for a repeat
3 Pittsburgh  106 56 3 straight 100 win seasons and still looking solid
4 Tampa Bay  102 60 Haselman and a very nice offense, hard to doubt them
5 Little Rock 94 68 Great stats for a while, can they capitalize this year?
6 Los Angeles 95 67 Top FA Wallace a nice add, will the offense be enough?
7 St. Louis 91 71 Nice add in Mantalban, nice roster all around
8 Buffalo  95 67 Have been a strong contender for several seasons now
9 Atlanta  87 75 Great youthful roster, and has more talent coming up
10 Vancouver  91 71 Couldn't three-peat, but should be back in the thick of it
11 Texas 94 68 Surprise team last year looking to show they're legit
12 Minnesota  89 73 Strong roster, fell off towards the end of last season
13 Boston  96 66 Solid offense, if pitching can come through, look out
14 Detroit  82 80 Solid all around, were better than their record last season
15 Charlotte  79 83 On the verge of contending, looking to take next step
16 Burlington  72 90 Pretty solid stats last season, need to convert it to wins
17 Durham  71 91 Fell off  a bit after contending, looking to rebound
18 Kansas City  83 79 Great offense, but pitching needs to step it up.  
19 Houston 72 90 Not bad numbers wise, should improve this season.  
20 Boise 82 80 If the pitching is there, they could be in the thick of it
21 Rochester 80 82 If pitching improves, they should be over .500
22 Austin  71 91 Offense was lacking last season, but had nice pitching
23 Salt Lake City 76 86 Pitching was rough last season, we'll see if it improves
24 New York  73 89 Above average pitching, will the bats come alive?  
25 Florida  55 107 Nice young talent coming up should lead to improvement
26 Salem 66 96 Good offense, and returning owner has had success here
27 Philadelphia 71 91 Getting better as owner puts their own mark on the team
28 Honolulu  67 95 Pitching was bad, but recent trades could pay off
29 Syracuse  72 90 Lost a few free agents, seem to be in rebuilding mode
30 Colorado  61 101 Making progress, but pitching was awful last season
31 Seattle  59 103 Still rebuilding, need some more offense this season
32 Jacksonville 52 110 Major rebuild here, but nice to see the team in good hands

Monday, September 9, 2013

Season 21 Offseason Free Agency Recap

The Offseason free agency period is over, it was a pretty weak class overall, with one star and the rest were pretty much supporting cast members.  Let's see who added talent as we recap our top 10 free agent signings of the offseason!

1. Lyle Wallace, 32, SP
Signed with Los Angeles - 5 years, $110 million
Previous Team: Houston

Analysis: Wallace was far and away the best free agent in this class.  He's a #1 SP with great ratings across the board, and outstanding durability and stamina.  A little bit surprised he signed with Los Angeles, who had the best pitching staff by far last season, and now undoubtedly will be the favorite to do so again this season.  Seems like they had money to spend, and just went best available instead of need, as there really wasn't an offensive player worth a max contract.  Still, Wallace could be a Cy Young contender with his new team, so it should work out for them.

2. Paul Hewson, 30, 3B
Signed with Boston - 5 years, $65.9 million
Previous Team: Syracuse

Analysis: Hewson is a nice power bat who is also an excellent fielder, which is probably his biggest asset.  His splits and batting eye are average and his contact rate is mediocre to subpar.  Still, he should launch some homers in Boston and play decent in the field.  He's a couple of years younger than Mantalban, which gives him the slight edge in the rankings, but Mantalban may be better for this year.  Coincidentally, Hewson will replace Mantalban in the Boston lineup, whom left to St. Louis in Free Agency.

3. Max Mantalban, 32, 3B
Signed with St. Louis - 4 years, $42 million
Previous Team: Boston

Analysis:  Mantalban is an excellent 3B in the field, and has a nice bat with good power. Definitely above average hitter for 3B.  An excellent acquisition by St. Louis in a relatively weak free agent class, and he should help improve what was already a pretty solid offense.

4. Terry James, 32, SS
Signed with Honolulu - 2 years, $12.5 million
Previous Team: Philadelphia

Analysis:  James is a legitimate shortstop, maybe not a gold glove winning SS, but he can still hold his own. He actually has a decent bat too, probably in the upper tier of shortstops hitting wise. A 2 year deal is perfect for James, as he may not be able to play SS past 2 more seasons, and that is his primary appeal.  At any other position, his bat is only decent compared to other players, maybe even slightly subpar. 

5. Chris Kile, 31, 1B/LF
Signed with Kansas City - 5 years, $27.6 million
Previous Team: Rochester

Analysis:  Kile tore his hamstring towards the end of last season, which reduced some of his range and speed, but he will be able to play by the end of spring training.  He still is a very good baserunner, and can play 1B and LF reasonably will, and might even be able to play RF in a pinch.  His main asset is he is an excellent power bat with a good batting eye, who excels vs. right handed pitching.  He improves a Kansas City offense that was already very good last season. 

6. Felix Wheat, 34, RP
Signed with Colorado - 4 years, $48 million
Previous Team: Pittsburgh

Analysis: Wheat is an elite reliever, capable of putting forth 110+ quality innings per season, if not more.  Of course there's a slight concern with the ballpark, and slight rise in ERA may occur, but he actually had a brief stint in Colorado in Season 18, and he did just fine.  A nice add that should help the league's worst pitching staff last season. 

7. Tomas Batista, 34, RP
Signed with Durham - 3 years, $16.8 million
Previous Team: Colorado

Analysis: Batista goes from one hitters pick to another, as he was picked up by Durham this offseason.  He keeps the ball down and pitched well for Colorado the past few season, so he should be fine in Durham.  It will be interesting to see how Durham uses him, it appears he's capable of pitching a few more innings than he has in recent seasons, given his stamina.  A nice signing for Durham indeed. 

8. Dave Munson, 31, P
Signed with Austin - 3 years, $21.1 million
Previous Team: Syracuse

Analysis:  Munson has excellent control and velocity and keeps the ball down.  He also has two very good pitches to boot.  His splits are mediocre, but not an overwhelming weakness.  He's been used as a relief pitcher the past several seasons in Syracuse, but we think he could be a serviceable #4 starter somewhere still.  What his role with his new team is, he should be a fairly solid acquisition. 

9. Johnny Saunders, 32, LF
Signed with Philadelphia - 3 years, $10.5 million
Previous Team: Buffalo

Analysis: Saunders main asset is his power, that goes along with decent enough contact and a pretty good batting eye.  His splits are a bit mediocre, but not a huge issue.  He has an excellent glove for a 1B or LF, but doesn't really have other tools that would allow him to play another position.  His ratings have been declining a tad over the past few seasons, but he should still be a solid player, and considering there really isn't all that much offense talent in this class, is a nice add. 

10. Julian Navarro, 32, RF
Signed with Dover - 2 years, $11 million
Previous Team: Colorado Springs

Analysis:  Navarro is a nice power bat, with decent contact and splits, and mediocre batting eye.  He can play 1B and LF for sure, and would be somewhat serviceable in RF.   How exactly he'll fit into what was one of the most potent offenses in Cobbfather already isn't quite known, but it's still a nice add nonetheless, and he should contribute, no matter what his role turns out to be.