PREVIEW: In the Off-season Hatton re-signed Garry Olsen and let Sosa, Huang, Griffin and Cerda go to free agency. He released Castillo and traded away Koloff and Little. With only a few spots to fill Hatton signed free agents Mayne and Livingstone and promoted Hernandez and Valdes.Then he traded for Lukasiewicz and Cogan to complete this years Sometimes. Free agency added some depth to the Bullpen and the promotion of Hernandez will help out the middle defense. The trades brought in a SP and a good hitting 3rd baseman. Charlotte is a good team with a few tweaks that made them better. They will be in the fight for the division but may need help in the playoffs...if they make it. PREDICTION:88-74
AT THE BREAK: The Sometimes are on pace to win 84 games which is a liitle less than predicted. Good thing they play in one of the weakest divisions. Hatton's team is the favorite to win this division right now but the Blues are still in contention. Charlotte has good pitching with a respectable ERA of 4.50 and are second in the AL in OBP (.318). The defense is good with only 55 errors commited. Hitting is their weakness, they are near the middle in most catagories. If Hatton can bring in a bat or two this team may take off. Right now they will get the #4 seed in the playoffs.
Santa Fe Blues
PREVIEW: In the off-season Tchagnon let Sheldon go to free agency and traded away Weathers. He also waived Piedra outright. TC had only 2 spots open on the M L roster and he signed free agent catcher Pence and traded for Chang. As I said earlier in this post, we had high hopes for the blues last year. And the defense really let them down. I looked at the numbers on the franchise rankings page. Of the 16 teams in the A L, the Blues are 13th in range and glove, 15th in arm strength and 11th in accuracy. Not good news for Santa Fe fans! Maybe the great hitting and the high dollar free agent pitchers will overcome poor defense. The odds are against it. PREDICTION:75-87
AT THE BREAK: The Blues are playing like a 73 win season. And that is close my my pre-season prediction of 75 wins. I predicted the Blues defense would be their downfall and would be in the basement. So I'm suprised that they are ranked 10th out of 16 teams with 61 errors and only 15 negative plays. The pitching is the reason they are below .500 right now. 2nd worst ERA (5.70), WHIP (1.55) and they have surrendered the most homers (154) and runs (5.69). Your not gonna win much with that kind of pitching. It's pretty obvious what TC needs to fix.
Charleston Tobacco Farmers
PREVIEW: In the off-season Nwsheehy let Krause, Martinez, Jang, Tabaka and Benitez go to free agency. Then released Boyer, Tabata, Marmol and Bailey. With several holes to fill Nwsheehy signed free agents Wood, Rodriguez, Gabriel, Mercado and promoted Suzuki. The Tabaky Farmers improved the pitching and can hurl a baseball with the best of them. But the hitting and defense may make you hurl big chunks. Charleston should finish in the middle of the pack in the AL . PREDICTION:79-83
AT THE BREAK: The Tabaky Farmers are projected to win around 70 games.Nwsheehy's team pitching is not as predicted, they are nearer the bottom than the top. The batting average (.254) is second to last in the AL as is the .318 OBP. If you can't get em on base they can't score. The play in the field isn't that good either, coughing up 61 errors and 34 negative plays. The Tabaky Farmers need to quit smoking that there special blend and get to cracking by jimminy!!
Little Rock Moonshiners
PREVIEW: In the off-season Dmann let Pena and Roundtree go to free agency and released Person. Then he traded away Goodwin to Cincy. With a few gaps to plug Dmann signed free agents Casillo and Rosario and promoted Darling. He picked up Ozuna, Barker, Romero and Lorenzo in the R-5. The Moonshiners have shed 23 million in salaries from last year and have 30 million in cap space. Not choosing to spend the money in free agency means the Moonshiners either will trade for some big salary players or spend some cash on IFA's. He re-vamped his catching corp and filled the rest with R-5 players . The Moonshiners right now are a 70 win team at best. Drink Up Moonshiner Fans...you're gonna need it.PREDICTION: 68-94
AT THE BREAK: I predicted 68 wins and with 38 wins at the 91st game mark. The Moonshiners are on pace to make that prediction. I touted that the Dmann re-vamped his catching corp, and they are 2nd in CS% but the 12 PB are a little high. The defense is pretty good with 53 plus plays and only 15 negative plays. The pitching can use a little work ,right now they have a ERA of 4.90 and a WHIP of 1.40. The offense is what needs to be turned around the most . The Moonshiners lead the league in strikeouts and are second from last in Homers. On the good side they lead all A L teams in stolen bases with 127. Dmanns guys need to quit chuggin on the jug to make the post season.