PREVIEW: In the off-season Ard let Walker, Alston, Rodriguez, Green go to free agency and released Molina. He signed free agents Miller, James, Estrada, Surkamp and promoted Fujiwara. Then he traded for a young CF'er in Nunez. The Pirates improved the defense and swapped hitters with Arizona in free agency. Will Estrada be better than Walker??? Average ..yes...Homers ...No. Ard brought in some pitching including a very good closer. My guess he wasn't happy with the one run game record of 15-17. This division is his for the taking if the Pirates play like...the real Pittsburgh Pirates. I think this team will be in the mix for the division crown.PREDICTION:86-76
AT THE BREAK: The Pirates are projecting to win 91 games, 5 more than the preview predicted. Ardthomp is in a battle with Richmond for the division. And it may come down to the last week of the season before we crown the winner. The Pirates pitching staff is in the top 5 in ERA (4.50), WHIP (1.35), OAV (.264), OBP (.326) and SLG (.424). And the offense relies on the longball with a 3rd best 154 homers. The defense has a great +/- ratio of 53 plus to 18 negative. There achilles is, you can swipe bases on them (.259 CS%). All told ,the Pirates are a solid team and should make the playoffs.
PREVIEW: In the off-season Ihateunc let Zerbe, Rodriguez go to free agency and released Wieters, Jamison and Pena. He traded away Wainhouse, Resop, Giovanola and Rodriguez. IhateUNC promoted Franco and Segui and traded for Peterson, Harris, Baez, Tyson, Nieves, Romero and Mercedes. The story here is that Richmond went out and traded for most of the new guys on this team. Ihateunc has a idea of players that he prefers over the last owner. Right now the Revolutionaries still will be one of the worst defensive teams in the AL, but they will be very much improved at the dish. The rotation is average and the bullpen is a little better. If Richmonds hitting can overcome the defense the Revolutionaries will finish above .500. They will have to prove it to me before I go out on the limb and buck the satus quo. PREDICTION: 78-84
AT THE BREAK: It looks right now like Richmond will win about 89 games. I went out on a limb and predicted that Richmond would be a bad defensive team. And while there FPct of .983 and 57 errors are not bad . they do have the worst + plays (only 18) and have 13 passed balls and has given up 101 stolen bases. Not good. This may be the reason the good pitching staff looks average (.480 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) . As predicted the offense is the star with the 3rd best batting average (.284) and OPS (.819). Can they keep up with the Pirates? Odds are against it but they will at least battle for a wild-card berth.
PREVIEW: In the off-season Avantrael let Alvarez, Prieto and Jennings go to free agency. He released Crabtree and Bennett, then traded away O'Brien, Black, Desmond and Nieves. Avantrael signed free agent pitchers Wise and Palmer then picked up Mayne in the R-5. He traded for Montana, Gentry, Gagne and Guerrero. Augusta will try to fix the pitching problem with a couple free agents and a R-5 player. They improved the offense in the trades. Nothing was done for the 26th ranked defense. It will be a 70'ish season for the first year in Maine. PREDICTION:77-85
AT THE BREAK: With 37 wins so far the Northmen project to win 66 games. That is below my prediction of 77 wins. I also stated that the defense was lacking and I was dead wrong. They are one of the better defensive clubs in the AL with only 1 passed ball 50 plus plays to 11 negative plays. Throw in 48 errors and a FPct of .986 and you can see why I'm wipeing egg off my face. Or is that hooker glitter? Anyways point being, the Northmen have a very good defense and I must have been sniffing glue to say otherwise. The offense is the worst in the AL and it is the real reason why they are floundering. With only 357 runs scored 338 RBI's they are near the bottom. It may be to late to make the playoffs for Avantrael.
PREVIEW: In the off-season Jmuhtoff let Reed, Hayes, Brock, Okajima, Lim and Schulltz go to free agency . He then released Bonilla and Alexander. Jmuhtoff signed free agents Bates, Alson, Morales, Larocca, Guzman, Sullivan and Sheldon. Finally he traded for Black. Louisville plays in a weak division and it is a good thing they do. Jmuhtoff brought in some veteran M L players and they will not disappoint him.PREDICTION:88-74
AT THE BREAK: 57 games is all that the Redtails will win and that might be a high estimate. Jmuhtoff threw in the towel on season 24 and is selling off players for prospects. He was one of the first to bail sending this add out:....................I'm willing to listen on offers for just about everyone in the ML roster. TC or make an offer, thanks! Looking for prospects.................: I, along with several owners picked the Redtail carcass clean and Jmuhtoff picked up many prospects while shedding salaries. He is poised to hit free agency next year or go into re-build mode. It's nice to have options and he will battle Mark and Ralph for the #1 pick next year.