Sunday, March 31, 2013


Pittsburgh Pirates (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Ardthomp busted off the barnacles last year and got his Pirates sailing in the right direction. They broadsided the AL East and won the division by edging out the Wingdings with 85 wins. In the post-season Pittsburgh slipped by the Salmonbellies, then lost to the scurvey P-Dogs in the DCS. Last year the Pirates had very good pitching (3.92 team ERA-6th) and below average hitting (.256 team BA-25th) and defense (109 errors-23rd).The Pirates pitching got some help with the addition of Padilla, Christiansen and Rodriguez. If they pitch to their potential, the Pirates may celebrate another division champion-ship. And Pirates love ships!!PREDICTION: 88-74

OUT: Benny Norton , Hector Padilla , Edinson Trinidad , Wily Mo Miller , Clark Bierbrodt , Esmerling Suarez , Peter Griffin , Kevin Sheffield

IN: Max Polanco , Harry Lucano , Junior Tavarez , Geovany Aguilar , Dorian Smith , Anthony Rupe , Domingo Lira

ARDTHOMP's PREVIEW:  Have you heard the term, "Crap Sandwich"? Well, that's what this year's Pirates team closely resembles, with the emphasis on CRAP with the pitching staff. The owner bluffed at raising the budget this season after he grew fond of swimming in his vault of gold like Scrooge McDuck.The lineup is pretty much still intact from last season, but the pitching staff is being held together by a few hundred rolls of duct tape.I don't expect much out of this team after Louisville and Washington DC made some pretty bold moves. The city of Pittsburgh should be happy with two playoff appearances in a row, because there will probably be a few in a row without a winning record.

PREVIEW: The Pirates took a step back with only 83 wins, but it still was enough to win the division. The Love Ship sailed into the playoffs as the #4 seed, but was sunk in the first round by the Cobras. Last year Pittsburgh had a good defensive team (85 errors, .986 FPct-9th) but the average pitching (4.89 team ERA-22nd) and hitting (.271 team BA-16th) kept them from getting deeper in the playoffs. In the off-season, Ardthomp re-signed Karim Paniagua , Jake Alston , Luis Rodriguez , Oscar Li and Julian Stern .Then he let Norton, Padilla, Trinidad and Mo Miller go to free agency and released Bierbrodt, Suarez, Griffin and Sheffield. Ardthomp signed free agent Polanco then promoted Lucano, Tavarez, Aguilar. He then snatched Smith, Rupe and Lira in the R-5. This team improved with the promotions and some R-5 players. Young Tavarez will shore up the defense and Lucano and Aguilar have bright futures on the mound. The Pirates should win at least 90 games. Whether its enough to win the division is up to the other three teams.PREDICTION:91-71

Louisville Howlers (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Looks like it may take a little more cooking time for the new Howlers. Louisville won only 68 games last year with average hitting (.267 team ERA-15th).bad pitching (4.99 team ERA-28th) and below average defense (108 errors-24th). Last year I predicted the Howlers would be the most improved team....That didn't turnout to be true. Pitching and Defense were the downfall of last years team. Weston and Morales should help, But I will wait and see if this collection of talented players, play like they should. PREDICTION:80-82

OUT: Don Hyzdu , Stu Elder , Robin Cirillo , Lyle Ruffin , Felix Ramirez , Randy White , Renyel Maranon , Felix Gao

IN: Ezdra Canseco , Pat Stargell , Tony Pena , Philip Schultz , Jackson Reed , Peter Griffin , Pablo Lee

JMUHTOFF's PREVIEW: The Howlers were very bust on the trade market late last season.After several weeks of negotiations with Washington, future potential Cy Young contender Walt Henry was brought aboard. Then in a what the heck departing free agent swap with Trenton,Rheal Scott decided he'd like to wear the reds rather than hit the open market. With the shocking preseason signing of Gene Weston, the early season trade with Boston for Albert Sierra and the resigning of 10 year Howler Harry Ontiverosthis is the best rotation in franchise history. Pablo Lee gets the call up and will complete for the closer role and Peter Griffin and Tony Pena will spend some time tending the tomatoes in the bullpen.Season 21 lineup newbies Bob Neugebauer, Bob Weathers and Glen Swann combined for 91 HR and 255 RBI pushing the Howlers above 900 runs scored for the first time since the season 8 ALCS Champs.This season brings in starting 2B Pat Stargell a battle between Jackson Reed and Ezdra Canseco for the 3B spot and in a third times the charm Philip Schultz will split time backing up at 1B and LF.

PREVIEW: I predicted this team would finish about .500 and thats exactly where they finished. Jmuhtoffs Howlers just about won the division with a good hitting (.278 team BA-9th) and average defense (88 errors, .985 FPct). The pitching let the Howlers down with a team ERA of 5.20 ,that ranks 29th overall. In the off-season Jmuhtoff re-signed Harry Ontiveros and let Hydzu, Elder, Cirillo, Ruffin, Ramirez, White, Maranon and Gao go to free agency. Jmuhtoff claimed Canseco off the wire and signed free agents Stargell, Pena, Schultz, Reed and Griffin. Finally he promoted Lee and still has one roster spot open. The Howlers added some nice old free agents and the promotion of Lee should help out in the pen.Jmuhtoff may give the Pirates a run for the division crown. PREDICTION:88-76

Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. Wingdings (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The Wingdings did not win the division as I predicted, sorry for the Jinx Goldenbaer. They did however win 83 games and finished the year strong by winning 8 out of the final 10 games. Last year Washington was the #2 offense in Wrigleyville hitting .281 as a team. The pitching (5.00 team ERA-29th) was bad and the defense (105 errors-21st) was below average.Looks like Goldenbaer diagnosed last years weakness and brought in some arms. The three pitchers should get the Wing Dings out of the basement in overall pitching ERA. Thats why they will battle for the division title and have a good shot at the post-season.PREDICTION:90-72

OUT: Julio Johnson , Enrique Alfonseca , Kenny Byrne , Odalis Suarez , Alfredo Baker , Dewey Sabel

IN: Don Dixon , Dustin Wood , Stubby King , Joaquin Pena , Jesus James , Magglio Rodriguez , Scott Cookson , Hector Ruth

GOLDENBAER's PREVIEW: Last year was an overall disappointment for the Wingdings,with a revamped rotation and bullpen, the Wingdings expected a playoff run with a potential WS title to end the season. However, the Wingdings failed to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year due to a lackluster offense,requiring a mini firesale at the end of this season. This year goldenbaer88 looks to right the ship by upgrading some key offensive pieces in the outfield and 3B.Last season's acquisition of Sam Price has solidified the hot corner for years to come. The Wingdings added some power in the outfield by trading for Hector Ruth and a high average outfielder in Scott Cookson .The Wingdings also improved their rotation by trading for Magglio Rodriguez and Jesus James . The back end of the bullpen was solidified by picking up Stubby King as a late reliever.Prediction: 85 wins and a wild card spot. Key Contributors: Jesus James , Hector Ruth , and Aurelio Amaral Does that work?

PREVIEW: I wrongly thought the Wingdings were go for the division last year.  Goldenbaer thought so too when he made several trades before the All-Star break. heres the Link ( THE WEEK IN WRIGLEYVILLE S-21 #4 ). But it didn't help, towards the end he shipped off some players for prospects. Last season Washington D C had good hitting (.275 team BA-12th), average pitching (4.38 team ERA-15th) . But the Ding in the Wings was the defense. They were dead last with 147 errors and a FPct of .976. In the off-season Goldenbaer traded away Johnson, Alfonseca and Byrne.Then he waived Suarez, Baker and Sabel and they were claimed by other teams. To fill the gaps ,Goldenbaer signed free agent Dixon and promoted Wood. All the earlier trades brought in King, Pena, James, Rodriguez, Cookson and Ruth. After a busy off-season trade binge, Goldenbaer has made the Wing Dings a better club. Can they win the division the way they sit right now. It's possible. But you and I know that Goldenbaer will be a trading players all season. If he comes up with the right bunch at the end, he may do damage in the post season.It's a three team race in th A L East.PREDICTION:87-75


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The Knights won 70 games last year, 5 games below my prediction. Boston had the worst pitching team last year with a team ERA of 5.47 . The hitting (.264 team BA-18th) and defense (97 errors-16th) was about average.I took a longer look at this team because...well...I didn't see much change in the offseason. I noticed the pitchers weren't really as bad as their 5.47 ERA. They also are getting no help with Mule Bennett and Petey Lieber at Centerfield. I found some other things I might change, but a really Rangy CF would help the pitchers out immensely. The Knights will not be riding into the post-season with this roster.PREDICTION:72-90

OUT: Shawn Terry , Cesar Morales , Tim Towers , Fritz Gruber

IN: Dean Hayes , Vicente Prieto

PREVIEW: The Knights had another rough year with only 62 wins. And even though I predicted 72 wins, I wasn't suprised that my prediction was overly optimistic. Last year Avantrael's Knights had terrible defense (128 errors, .979 FPct-31st) and the the worst pitching staff (6.15 team ERA-32nd). The hitting was average (.271 team BA-17th) so all is not lost. In the off-season Avantrael re-signed Royce Jennings and let Terry, Morales, Towers and Gruber go to free agency. with just a few empty roster spots, Avantrael signed free agents Hayes and Prieto. There still is one more slot open on the M L roster and Avantrael has options at AAA.  The Knights still have a poor defensive team (CF) and can't over come it with a average offense. Looks like another average year in Boston.PREDICTION:67-95

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