New Britain Bruins
PREVIEW: In the off-season Dodger let Richard, Hines, Cabeza and Guerrero go to free agency. He released Corbin, Martin and Wood and traded away Chapman, Maduro and Hamilton. With a few roster spots open Dodger signed free agents Morales, Long, Rodriguez, Xaio and Alvarez. He traded for Stuart and still has one spot left to fill. Dodger has 14 million in cap space so he has flexability in rounding out this years roster. He traded away a couple of really good players to land Stuart and he may be worth it. New Britain also strengthened the back end of the Bullpen and that should fix last years 17-21 record in one run games. I had my eye on free agent pitcher Tomas Alvarez as did Dodger. I think he will help out this years rotation. Dodger is the favorite to win the division but Fargo and the improved Misfits will be nipping at their Heels. PREDICTION:92-70
AT THE BREAK: The Bruins are in a Dog fight with the Misfits....sorry, P-dogs are not included. They are projected to win 98 games and are leading the AL North at the break. The New Britain pitching staff are #1 in ERA (4.19), SLG (.414) and OAV (.253). The offense is clicking with the 4th best batting average (.282) and OPS (.819). The defense has commited 64 errors , but like Proffesor Ralph correctly pointed out in reference to a earlier post. The Bruins 44 plus plays to only 6 negative plays will overcome the errors. And don't try to swipe a bag , they lead the league in CS% with an astounding .493 percentage. Looks like Dodger is on his way to the playoffs . the only question is: will it be as a division winner or a wild-card? Too close to call.
PREVIEW: In the off-season Pbsilver re-signed Chris Everett and let Wise, Livingstone and Ordaz go to free agency. He released Clayton and traded away Tyson and Stevenson. With many holes to plug Pbsilver signed free agent pitcher James to a big contract and traded for Peterman, Wells, Resop, Franco and Rogers. While writing this preview the Misfits had their first major injury Rafael Uribe. That seems to be the Misfits luck! PB went out and spent alot of cash on James and traded for some very good players. It's apparent that he is going for it, in true Chevy Chase fashion. I like the additions to this years Minnesota team and think they have a good shot at winning the division.PREDICTION:89-73
AT THE BREAK: The Misfits are right on the heels of the Bruins and project to win 93 games. I predicted this years Misfits had a "good shot at winning the division. And PBsilver backed up my boast. He has these guys playing good baseball with the 2nd best batting average at .288. And they are in the top 5 in OPS (.810), OBP (.350) and SLG (.459). The pitching staff is in the middle of the pack and they won't embarass with a solid 4.76 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. The defense is also in the middle with 61 errors , 38 plus plays to 23 negative plays. PB and his Misfits will give Dodger and his Bruins all they can handle . I think this team will make the playoffs....If...they stay healthy. And we know that is what has held them back before.
Chicago Black Sox
PREVIEW: In the off-season Hacker let Wilson, Bottalico and Sweeney go to free agency. And Montgomery, Wallace and Davis were released. With just a couple gaps in the line-up Hacker signed free agents Garcia, Martin and Olshan . The biggest story in Chicago was the signing of Olshan. He got a 10 million dollar signing bonus with a 3 year 30 million dollar contract. Lots of money for a below average defensive Catcher. But the guy can hit and would make a wonderful DH. Overall Hacker improved the hitting and pitching, but the defense will lead them into darkness. It will be Dark, Dark days for the Blacksox. PREDICTION:78-84
AT THE BREAK: The Black Sox are projected to win 82 games. Reading my preview , I admit I was a little over zealous in saying a 78 win season was Dark, Dark Days for the Black Sox. It is more like a shade of gray or Dusk. Anyways , Hacker's team is average right now with a average offense . They have a .274 batting average with 500 runs scored. The pitching staff has overcome the worst defense in the AL. How they manage to over come 74 errors , 34 negative plays to 27 plus plays and 17 passed balls is amazing. This team could take off if they didn't beat themselves.
Fargo Prairie Dogs
PREVIEW: In the off-season Aaron let Miller, Tewksbury, Medrano, Pineda and Castro go to free agency and released Meyers. Then he traded away Monroe and Butler to Tampa. With a bunch of holes to fill Aaron signed free agents Suarez, Wieters, Ramirez, Henriquez, Castillo, Ontiveros and Teahen. I won't spend much time on the guys that left, most were mid-season fill-ins. But I will point out the trading of a young super-closer and future FOY pitcher Butler, will be missed in the bullpen. Maybe the promotion of Efrain Willits last year made him expendable. Aaron spent about 30 million on free agents and most are solid veterans. Most of the signings were in his biggest need....Pitching. I like the direction the P-Dogs are heading and Fargo has 18 million in cap space for flexability. I think Aarons P-dogs rebound from last years average season and vie for the AL North title. PREDICTION:91-71
AT THE BREAK: The P-Dogs are chasing their tail and they are projected to win 77 games. And it looks as if Aaron is throwing in the towel on this season. He sent out the chat message :....... I'm willing to listen on offers for just about everyone in the ML roster. TC or make an offer, thanks! Looking for prospects................ : Can't blame him , His P-dogs are rolling over and playing dead right now. They need to get up, lick their balls and start playing like a bigdog.