Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Hartford Crushers (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW:81-81  The Crushers and ARomano are no way this bad so they should rebound in the offseason. If ARomano goes on vacation this team will finish at the bottom. but if he sticks around they will finish about .500.

OUT: Rico Mateo , Chet Brohawn , Ed Norman , Royce Jennings , Tino Gong

IN:  Luis Flores , Bennie Davis , Felix Ramirez

PREVIEW:  Last year was an anomaly and the Crushers rebounded nicely. ARomanos guys lived up to their names.The Crushers were the best hitting club in Wrigleyville with a batting average of .299 , .364 OBP and 288 Taters. You could hear the announcer say all season in Hartford "That one was Crushed".In the post season ARomanos Crushers fell in the first round to the vaunted Salmonbellies.In the offseason ARomano re-signed Kris Glauber and let Mateo,Brohawn and Jennings go to free agency. Then he released the Gong show.With a few vacancies to fill, he signed free agents Flores,Davis and Ramirez. One of the reason the offensive numbers are so gaudy, is the fact that Welch Park is a extreme hitting park. And this team is built to win there. What suprised me was the fact that the Crushers had a better road record than home record.But if you can keep the game close you have a chance to beat this team. And Good Luck with that!Next year will be the same. The Crushers will make the playoffs and run into a good pitching team and try to outscore them. PREDICTION:89-73

Louisville Howlers (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW:90-72  It's very unusual to fill your holes with waiver wire pickups. But these 3 wire players are decent players and Jmuhtoff didn't have to give up anything but salary to sign them. So cudos to him! One thing for sure the Howlers have plenty of Power bats now. And with some bullpen help they will try and outscore everyone. They should battle for the division.

OUT: Placido Cruz , Stuart Mench , Hughie Leon , Freddie Mohr , Hal Middlebrook , Buster O'Connor , Luke Wilhelm

IN: Art Stewart , Royce Jennings , Virgil Owen , Harpo Cepeda , Steve Henderson

PREVIEW: I was wrong when I though the Howlers would battle for the division.The Howlers almost made it to .500 with the waiver wire pickups. Perhaps that is why they were on the Wire. But hey, the wire guys for the most part were nice pickups. Freddie Mohr and Kevin Holmes had pretty good years .Only Stuart Mench was considered a bust.In the offseason Jmuhtoff resigned Kevin Holmes and Victor Lima and let Cruz,Mench,Leon,Mohr,Middlebrook and O'Conner.Then he released Wilhelm to finish trimming the fat. Jmuhtoff signed free agents Stewart and Jennings and promoted Owen.to finish filling the squad, he grabbed Cepeda and Henderson in the R-5 draft. Last year was a nice try with the waiver pickups and it looks like Holmes got a new contract out of it. This year The Howlers went a different way. They filled the holes with Free agents and R-5 pickups. The Howlers increased the payroll to bring in the talent and they look like a solid team. Can they get by the Crushers? Perhaps,anything is possible. But it will be long odds.PREDICTION:84-78


LAST YEARS PREVIEW:90-72   Boston always hits for a high average, steals bases and plays good D. But their starting rotation can be eratic at times. So with the addition of a trio of pitchers it looks like Avantrael is trying to fix that. This team should fight for the division and may get a wild card if they fall short.

OUT: Craig Serrano , Doug Tewksbury , Lyle Ruffin , Tony Jang , Jorge Blanco , Cesar Blanco

IN: Ron Hall , Christopher Beimel , Toby Gorzelanny , Sidney Tresh , Luther White

PREVIEW: Avantreal's boys fell on their swords last season. And my prediction was way, way off in a land far, far away.The Knights Defense was atrocious (126 errors) which made them the third worst pitching team (5.45 ERA) in Wrigleyville. Bostons Great Offense (.282 BA) could not overcome the failures of the Pitching and Defense.This failure was apparent on the road where the Knights were only 31-50.Looks like Avantreal has some work to do in the offseason so he first re-signed Alberto Ramirez , Victor Lilly and Rafael Valdez. Then he let Serrano,Tewksbury,Ruffin,Jang and Blanco go to free agency and released Blanco.The Knights started filling the gaps with waiver claim pickups like Hall,Beimel and Gorzelanny.Then he signed free agent Tresh and grabbed White in the R-5 draft.The signing of Tresh will help the defense but the 3 waiver pick ups are low level big leaguers, at best.Perhaps with 2 roster spots open ,Avantreal will promote Albert Sierra and Len Hawkins or make a trade for some pitching.With only 4 million in cap space that will not be easy. Right now with the pitching, this team is not goinig anywhere.PREDICTION:70-92

Pittsburgh Pirates (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW:81-81 O/U 12  The Pirates completely revamped this team from the farm system and sprinkled in a couple of players here and there. Youth is great but they are unpredictable in the Bigs. Right now its hard to tell how this team will do.

OUT: Michael Curtis , Lloyd Marshall , Hugh Wells , Taylor Workman , Ed Frazier, Frank Hukata , Steve O'Connor , Don Hyzdu , Herm Harris

IN: Terry Lewis , Kevin Martin , Dan Evers , Trent Green , Will Schoendienst , Benny Tavarez , Tim Powell , Kevin Sheffield , Bono Kroeger , R.J. Lima

PREVIEW: Well now we know! These Swashbucklers didn't scare anybody and only won 68 games. The Pirates were marooned on a the Deserted Island of Death.And when Ardthomp was rescued in the offseason. All he could say was "Wilson.....Oh Wilson ...No Wilson.....NO!! Poor Ard he is adjusting to light switches and ice cubes as we speak. Ard slipped on his eye patch, grabbed a piece of eight at the local brothel and went to work rebuilding his Bucaneers. He first let Curtis,Marshall and Wells walk the plank. And threw Workman,Frazier,Hukata and O'Connor in a dingy and cast them adrift.He then traded away Hyzdu to Durham and threw Harris overboard where he was claimed off the waiver wire.After the carnage, Ard shanghaied Lewis,Martin and Evers in free agency and promoted minor league captives Green,Schoendiest,Tavarez,Powell,Shefield and Kroeger.Finally he traded for Lima to handle some catching duties.Ard did improve his Pirates with many additions to his crew. They are mostly a young bunch with a veteran here and there.And with a new hitting coach it will be interesting to see how the new guys sail.Right now they look like a middle of the pack team.PREDICTION:81-81

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