PREVIEW: In the off-season Hatton let Livingstone, Brock and Benitez go to free agency and released Delahanty. He traded away Ramirez to Louisville. Then he signed free agent Baez and promoted Cantu and Iglesias. The signing of Baez will bring in more homers and runs,but they lost some pitching. Hatton and his Sometimes have the fortune to play in one of the weaker divisions and are the favorites to win it. But the Blues are improved and may take the pennant from them. Charlotte has to win the division because there will be no wildcard from the A L South. PREDICTION:86-76 (Division Winner)
AT THE BREAK: The Sometimes are in the lead at the break. And it's way to close to call whether my division win prediction holds true. Right now Hatton's guys are on pace to win 89 games ,pretty close to my preview prediction. The offense is 2nd in the A L in walks (333) and the pitching is 4th in ERA (4.18). The defense is the proverbial fly in the ointment. They have committed the 2nd most errors (66) with 16 negative plays.Charlotte is still my pick to win the division, but they will need some luck to go far in the post season.
Charleston Tobacco Farmers
PREVIEW: In the off-season Nwsheehy let Coleman, Parker, Elcano, Hayes, Matos and Oliver go to free agency. Then he signed free agents Rupe, Bragg and Amaral to replace them. The Tabaky Farmers promoted Taylor Allen , Nelson Webb and Douglas Bolton last year. They alone with their improved numbers will make this a better team . Charleston is just a couple of good players from making the playoffs. Right now they are a 75 win team but could add some players during the season and make a run for the division.PREDICTION:75-87
AT THE BREAK: It looks like the Tabaky Farmers are still a couple players short from the playoffs. Like the front running Sometimes, this team is a bad,bad,bad defensive team. They have committed the most errors (74) with 27 negative plays.Nwsheehy's guys are thieves, they have swiped 96 bags good for 4th in the A L. The pitching has only allowed 879 hits (6th) but have allowed 133 homers (3rd most). If Charleston can cut down on the homers and errors.....they may make the post-season.
Little Rock Moonshiners
PREVIEW: In the off-season Dmann let Coles go to free agency and released Walker. He traded away Outman and lost Gonzales on the waiver wire. Dmann promoted Satou and picked-up Foster and Jaquez in the R-5 draft. Finally he brought in Galvez thru a earlier trade. Dmann improved his team a little and he still has about 10 million in AAA contracts thanks to the previous owner. This is one of the youngest teams and they will get better.Maybe it's this year??? Odds are it's still a year or two away. PREDICTION:78-84
AT THE BREAK: Right now the Moonshiners are on pace to win 80 games. Just about my preview prediction. This team hit 136 doubles good for 5th in the A L , but are last in homers (72). The pitching has allowed the 4th most homers (131) and walked the 4th most (314).......not good. Dmann's guys are solid in the field with 50 plus plays to only 9 negative plays. If Little Rock can keep the rock in the field, they may have something here. But like I said in my preview, they are still a year or two away.
Santa Fe Blues
PREVIEW: In the off-season TC let Danks go to free agency. And signed free agent Hodges and has yet to assign him to the ML roster. Santa Fe has one of the younger teams in Wrigleyville. And many players have improved with another year in the bag.I think the Blues finish above .500 and It's just a matter of time before they make the post-season. They have a good shot at winning this weak division.Could this be their year?? PREDICTION:85-77
AT THE BREAK: Ughh!! what happened TC?? I thought this team was ready to take the next step by finishing above the .500 mark. The 120 errors committed are a problem ,but it's the pitching that's bluer than blue. Santa Fe gives up the most homers (249) and allows the most runs (955) while striking out only 972 (T-13th). On the good side the hitting is pretty good with the 3rd best BA (.284) ,2nd most hits (1670) and a OBP of .343 (4th). It's obvious , If TC can get some pitching.......and improve the defense....The Blues will be singing in the post-season.