Sunday, September 29, 2013


Jackson Black Bears (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW:  There was a dark cloud over my Darkhorse pick. Olemiss called up many of the killer prospects he had stashed in AAA and I thought they were going to make a run. Even though they only won 78 games I still think they will have a break out year soon..too much talent not to.The Black Bears kept stocking up on IFA's with the addition of Cesar Gutierrez , Richard Kyung and Ryota Sugawara to the farm system. Jackson will have many options to aquire M L ready players this year. Last year Oemiss's Black Bears had the worst hitting team in Wrigleyville (.240 BA-32nd) . but they did have great pitching (4.18 ERA-6th) and solid defense (91 errors, .985 FPct-12th).I still believe that Jackson is the cream of the crop in the N L South. Olemiss brought in some proven winners in the trades and he still has several very good prospects in AAA ready to get the call-up. I'm afraid we have awoken a sleeping giant BEAR. PREDICTION:92-70

OUT:  Melky Barrios , R.J. Lima , Asdrubal Morales , Jae Yamaguchi , Horacio Mesa , Mule Crawford , Darron Moses

IN:  Albert Cabeza , William Mateo , J.J. Lansing , Hick Boucher , Jumbo MacFarlane

OLEMISS'S PREVIEW:  The Black Bears return basically everyone from the Season 23 team. The only loss that really has any effect is Asdrubal Morales , but the Black Bears will slide Wesley Goodwin over from 2B to 3B to fill the void,to make room for youngster, Alex Suarez at 2B. The Black Bears traded C, Darron Moses for J.J. Lansing to get a little better there defensively, without losing much offense.In FA, the Black Bears added Hick Boucher and Albert Cabeza to compliment and already stellar bullpen. However, the prize pickup for the Black Bears was a trade made to acquire 3 time AS Jumbo MacFarlane .With a rotation going in of MacFarlane, defending CY winner Michael Suzuki , Carlos Castilla , Oswaldo Veras , and the tandem of Damaso Gonzalez and Robb Holder ,the Black Bears should be pretty good on the mound again. Offensively, the Bears return a team that was 9th overall in scoring and 7th in OPS. With 4 youngsters who have only gotten better,we would expect to finish in the Top 4 in scoring this year. The Black Bears also have young slugger Javier Lopez waiting on a callup, but the Black Bears simply don't have a place to play him right now.

PREVIEW:  Yep.....These Bears can the way, Bears are close cousins to dogs. I was a year early when I picked this team as a darkhorse. They have come out of a long hibernation and are hungry. The Bears clawed the National League and won 104 games with the #2 pitching team (3.18 ERA, 1.22 WHIP-2nd). That as good enough for #1 seed in the playoffs and nobody wanted to play them. The Utes got sent home in the DCS after a sweep then the 2 time defending champs got a crack at the Black Bears.  Ehulls guys were the only ones that had a chance to beat Jackson and they did in 6 games. Olemiss had a pretty good year but if the below average hitting (.261 BA-24th) and average defense ( 95 errors, .984 FPct-19th) can improve. Look Out fer them Bears! In the off-season Olemiss let Barrios, Lima, Morales, Yamaguchi and Mesa go to free agency. Then he traded away Crawford and Moses. With several spots open on the ML roster ,Olemiss signed free agents Cabeza and Mateo. And he traded for Lansing, Boucher and "Big" MacFarlane. This is the same good young team as last year with the addition of a veteran SP and a tweak of the catching corp and bullpen. The Black Bears will win this division and will wreak havoc in the playoffs. PREDICTION:100-62

Austin City Limits (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW:  Wylies Austin City Limits are headed in the right direction. He just needs to look out for the pitfalls. The City limits surpassed my prediction by winning 76 games last year. They did this with an average offensive club (.270 BA-20th) and average pitching (4.74 ERA-21). They are still held back by poor defense (117 errors, .981 FPct-24th) ,but it was an improvment over season 21. Wylie continues at add tasty prospects with the addition of Benji Machado to the farm system. Players like that will help out the pitching in the future.The addition of Stults will help out the offense but hurt the defense. But Herbert will be a solid defensive fielder and the bullpen will be helped by the addition of Lee and Aomar. All in all Austin is heading in the right direction but still has a way to go. Should finish in the middle of the pack. PREDICTION:81-81

OUT:  Ignacio Sosa , Rob Stults , Vern Coleman , Victor Volquez

IN:  Howard Ruffin , Jean Jefferson , Sid Miller

PREVIEW:  I thought Austin had a ways to go but suprise!! they are here. Wylie's team won 92 games with great pitching (3.97 ERA, 1.33 WHIP-5th). The average hitting (.264 BA-15th) and defense (95 errors, .985 FPct-16th) still needs a tweak here and there. In the off-season Wylie let Sosa go to free agency and released Stults, Coleman and Volquez. With only a couple holes to fill, Wylie signed free agent Ruffin and picked up Jefferson and Miller in the R-5. Replacing Stults in CF with Ruffin will upgrade the defense considerably. And while Ruffin won't hit as many homers he will hit over .300. (I actually had my eye on Ruffin as a possible addition). Wylie plugged in a couple R-5 players and we will see if they are DITR's or LOC's (Lumps Of Coal). He still has 12 million to play with in his player budget and could bring in a good player or 2. The City Limits are a good team but will need a miracle to beat the Black Bears for the division crown. They have a good shot at getting in the playoffs as a wild card .PREDICTION:90-72

Jacksonville Juggernauts (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW:  Wish got the hell out of Durham just ahead of the angry mob. It's partly my fault when I predicted the Bullshippers would have a great turn around year. Thus now this team is The Jacksonville Juggernauts. Will they be more Jugger than Naught remains to be seen. But Wish will have to fix last years Hitting (.264 BA-26th) and Defense (121 errors, .980 FPct-26th). The pitching (4.74 ERA-20th) was slightly improved, so not all was Naught. Benito Torres was added to the farm and he should be a real Jugger.Jacksonville pitching will be better with the trades and the promotion of Bartee. Lee will help shore up the middle D and Myers will knock some homers. All in all the Juggernauts will be a better ballclub but may need more work to make the post-season.PREDICTION: 83-79

OUT:  Omar Perez , Nicholas Black , Aaron Wells

IN:  Jackson Harris , David Furcal , Javier Veras , Kevin Owens

PREVIEW:  The Juggernauts were a little better but just a little. Wish's team won 72 games with above average pitching (4.31 ERA, 1.35 WHIP-14th) and defense (90 errors, .985 FPct-12th). The hitting (.255 BA-29th) wasn't very good and could be a target in free agency. In the off-season Wish let Perez go to free agency and released Black. Wells was signed to a long term contract then traded to the Misfits . To plug the holes, Wish signed free agents Harris, Furcal and Veras. Then he traded for Owens. Wish decided to add some pitching in the off-season and they should be a better club on the mound. The hitting may come around if last years mid-season callups  Denny Satou and Clarence Aubrey can put it together. But the position players are young. And it's and it's a crap shoot wheather or not this team will start mashing. Wish also has only 35 million in salaries and has about 37 million in cap space. He may bring in some veterans or transfer money to's nice to have options.The Juggernauts could be anywhere from .500 to a wild card contender . My guess is mid-80's but could be 90's with some mid-season pickups. PREDICTION:84-78

Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Stars (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW:  Big fish in a small pond here. Neligs Stars won the division with a sub .500 record. They took their 80 win season into the playoffs as the #4 seed. And fell to the upstart Salt Lake City Utes in the first round. Tampa Bay had decent hitting (.272 BA-15th) but again the pitching (4.96 ERA-25th) and defense (121 errors, .980 FPct-27th) came up very short.The best player picked up in the off-season was the R-5 guy and that isn't good. The Stars will be lucky to reach the .500 mark especially with the improved Black Bears. PREDICTION:72-90

OUT:  Matty Guerrero , Edgar Marquez , Harry Suarez , Anibal Franco , David Green , Ruben Rosario , Steve Teahen , Max Ruiz , Ricardo Lima , Bruce Peterson , Glen Harris , Wiki Serra , Andres Ferrer

IN:  William Tabaka , Joe Cunnane , Wayne Zerbe , Jackie Guthrie , Matty Cruz , Santo Prieto , Brendan Ewing , Derrek O'Brien , James Wainhouse , Adam Hamilton , George Cordova , Art Desmond , Esmerling Sanchez , Javier Manzanillo , Jose Pena , Alexi Rios , Harry Padilla , Ryan Monroe , Zeus Butler

PREVIEW:  The Tampa Bay Stars finished close to last years prediction. Nelig blamed last years debacle on the umpiring. And was so upset he decided to join them instead of fight them. Word has it that Nelig has enrolled in C.B. Bucknor's Blind Umpires Academy. Nelig...Nelig....say it aint so!! Former Tampa Bay Stars owner, Jmas410, decided to come out of retirement. And bring this team back to the Glory days when he ran the show. He will have some work to do because last years Stars had terrible hitting (.260 BA-27th) and average pitching (4.78 ERA, 1.49 WHIP-21st) and defense (95 errors, .984 FPct-18th). In the off-season ,Jmas let Guerrero, Marquez and Suarez go to free agency. Then he released Franco, Green, Rosario, Teahen, Ruiz and Lima. Finally he traded away Peterson and Harris and waived Sierra and Ferrer. Now with a bunch of roster spots to fill , Jmas signed free agents Tabaka, Cunnane, Zerbe, Guthrie, Cruz and Preito. Then he promoted Ewing and traded for O'Brien, Wainhouse, Hamilton, Cordova, Desmond, Sanchez, Manzanillo, Pena, Rios, Padilla Monroe and Butler. Whew!!! Someone was burning up the trade chat channels. With so many new faces it would be hard to predict how this team will do. So I will have to go to the Franchise Ranking page and base my prediction on that. In the N L the Stars are # 2 in Eye and Contact and #1 in RH hitting and LH hitting and #5 in power. So this team can hit with the best of them. The pitchers control is #4 ,LH is #8, RH is #2 and 1st pitch is 15th. So the pitching is about average overall. My guess this years stars will hit well enough to overcome average pitching and play for a wildcard berth.PREDICTION:87-75 

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