PREVIEW: In the off-season I re-signed Diego Cervelli and let Walker, Prieto, McNamara, Castillo, Hansen, Gray and McIntosh go to free agency. I signed free agents Krause and Lawrence. Promoted Yoon and Martin and I picked up Oliveras in the R-5. I never thought I'd pay 20 million for a player .....but I did. I let several long time Ziod pitchers go to free agency and decided to replace them with 1 really good one and promote Rob Warner from the farm after 25 games. I also lost my catching corp and replaced them with a DITR and a R-5 pick-up. If the 20 million dollar man...Lawrence works out and Warner has a good rookie season....maybe the Zoids give the Utes and Bandits a run for their money. Big IF's .PREDICTION: 84-78
AT THE BREAK: It was obvious early in the season that my team needed to score more runs to compete. This was especialy disconcerning due to my team playing in a hitter friendly park. So I started to make some moves with several teams. I picked up Ollie Greenwood , Larry Walker and put them right to work on my team . I also picked up Takashi Lui and stashed him in AAA for seasoning and insurance. Walker and Greenwood have brought my hitting up to respectability . And with my very good pitching and defense the Zoids may be on their way to the playoffs. It's to early to tell if my team will win the division with a good SLC team on my heels. But my team is well on it's way to shattering my prediction of 84 wins. And with the soon to be added Jack Shave , the Bourbon will be a pouring and the party girls will be a jiggling come playoff time.
Salt Lake City Utes
PREVIEW: In the off-season the Utes re-signed Alex Black and let Ontiveros and Hyun go to free agency. He then traded away Mercedes and Sanches. Hoopcoach signed free agent Bonilla and picked up Clark and Barclay in the R-5. The Utes are a year older and very good. They should win this division and last years playoff experience may take em all the way.PREDICTION:96-66
AT THE BREAK: The Utes came out of the gate on fire and looked to easily win this division. But some injuries and inconsistant play put them in a free for all right before the All-Star break (11-15). Losing 15 out of 26 games might not sound like a free for all to some teams. It is for Hoopcoach and his youthfull Utes. Salt Lake has the 4th best pitching and the 6th best hitting in the national league. The loss of Tito Cannon and Felipe Baez will hurt their chances of winning this division. But the addition of Phillip Rhodes should help them right the ship. If the Utes stay healthy they have a good shot of still winning this division and it looks like a 2 dog fight.
Colorado Springs Bandits
PREVIEW: In the off-season Ressda re-signed Art Stewart and let Valdes, Powell, Oliver, Olshan, Surkamp and Clark go to free agency. He released Erving, Johnson and Shelly and traded away Stuart. Ressda signed free agents Jamison, Stults, Redmond and Guerrero. He promoted Coleman, Lugo and Smart, then traded for Maduro and Chapman. The big story here is the trade that sent Stuart to New Britain and brought in Maduro and Chapman. The Bandits have a offensive problem and this trade helps fix that. I think Colorado Springs will give Salt Lake City all they've got and then some. Ressda has done a great job with this team.PREDICTION:88-74
AT THE BREAK: Ressda did the unthinkable in Banditville. He printed and tacked up Wanted Posters for some timley hitting. His team leads the league in walks (320) and is near the top in .OBP (.339)but they are near the bottom in runs scored (423). They just can't seem to knock in the runs. And with the pitching giving up alot of runs (429) , well.... it's not a good thing. The Bandits could make my prediction of 88 wins. But they will need to start hitting with runners in scoring position to have any chance at the playoffs.
San Francisco Kickapoos
PREVIEW: In the off-season Mark re-signed Arthur Blackburn and let Palmer, Hurst, Guzman, Morales and Mateo go to free agency. He released Wang and traded away Sanchez, Montana, Lee, McNamara and Owens. Mark signed free agents Martin, Ethier, Sosa, Kojima, Grossman, Corpas and claimed Bennett off the wire. It's really wierd looking at the Kickapoos in re-build mode. They were a force in this division for so long. And it was cool that mark signed Sosa to a contract so that he can go out as a Kickapoo. Look for Mark to be a player in the IFA market. Better bring your checkbook...he has alot of money to spend! PREDICTION: 60-100
AT THE BREAK: I thought I would never see or say this.......The Kickapoos may not win 50 games this year. The N L west has been turned upside down with Marks team at the bottom and my team at the top. This years team is terrible and tho I predicted a 100 loss season, I never imagined a 115-120 loss season. San Francisco has picked up some nice prospects along the way and looks like they will get the first overall next year.