PREVIEW: In the off-season Rugby let Khiry Allen go to free agency then re-signed him. He then released Hayes and Pujols and traded away Green and Carter. Rugby promoted Marshall and Ethier and the earlier trade brought in T. Allen. The pipeline to the prospect talent has been opened. and with the addition of T Allen, This team is ready to win this division. It won't be easy, the old farts in Cincinnati will give them a battle . PREDICTION:98-64(Division Winner)
AT THE BREAK: The Moose are on pace to win 91 games which is 7 below my prediction. They are however in the drivers seat to win the division after the Red Light Districts raised the white flag on the season. Rugby's Boys have the second best pitching staff in the National league, but will have to improve the batting average to get them deep in the playoffs. They do however hit a lot of home runs (142) and this is keeping them in games.
Cincinnati Red Light District
PREVIEW: In the off-season Jeff re-signed Omar Bonilla and let Fernandez, Person, Hill, Serra and Weston go to free agency. He traded away Wyatt and Ruth to Pitts and NY. Jeff had several roster spots open and he signed free agents Olsen, Mercado, Lush, Gutierrez, Estrada and Arredondo. He traded for Stern and Pena to complete this years RLD's. Cincy is getting long in the tooth and Jeff brought in some more old farts in free agency. They still have good pitching both in the rotation and bullpen. At the plate they have a power problem but can hit with contact. I think this years team takes a step back with the emergence of Syracuse.PREDICTION:87-75(Wild Card)
AT THE BREAK: A couple of days ago Jeff sent out this chat message : Friendly PSA, this team has gone as far as they can go. Everyone will be avail
That my friends is the end of 8 great years. Cincinnati has been one of the best teams since Jeff took over in season 18. The Future of this team is a little cloudy right now and it will be interesting to see if it will be a full blown re-build or a 2-3 year re-tool. But I can say for certain that my prediction of a wild card berth is gone. This team has some pretty nice players that can be had.....for a price I'm sure.
Wichita Wind Sizzlers
PREVIEW: In the off-season Chang thru Lansing left for free agency, that's 13 players if your counting along. Now with half the team gone, Z signed free agents Flores thru Rivera that's 13 new players if your counting along. Z had a shopping spree, spending 40.5 million on the 13 new free agents. That's 3.12 million per player, if your counting. With this many new players, I can't count on past performance to make my prediction. I have to go to the franchise rankings to make my prediction. Defensively and Offensively they aren't that good ,The Rotation is average and the Bullpen also. The Wind Sizzlers will finish about the same as last year and thats ok with Z. He has a cupboard full of tasty prospects. Too numerous to count!! If your counting?? PREDICTION: 71-91
AT THE BREAK: The Wind Sizzlers are on pace to win about 73 games. Pretty much about where I predicted they would fall. Like I said in the preview , Zee is still developing his prospects and will be picking up more this year. Like IFA prospect Norberto Navarre and this years top draft pick Darryl Moore . Nice pick-ups, and Wichita has some very good years ahead.
San Juan Santurce Crabbers
PREVIEW: In the off-season Ralph "the professor" let future HOF'er Juan Parra to free agency then signed him back for his 17th major league season. He let Shelly , Oliver and Gil go to free agency and released Dickinson, Santos and Bolivar. Ralph claimed Johns, Perez and Porter off the waiver wire and signed free agent Hyzdu. He promoted Paul to make the opening day roster count at 24. Ralph still has talent in the farm system cooking. It looks as if the Crabbers are a year or 2 away from another run at greatness. Right now this team looks like a .500 team. PREDICTION:83-79
AT THE BREAK: It sure looks like the Crabbers won't make my prediction of 83 wins. Right now they are projected to win 68 games . Like Wichita above , Ralph is still cooking his prospects and has picked up some more. Like this years top draft pick Harry Hiatt . This kid will knock the cover off the ball when cooked. Ralph still has a pile of prospect cash and will try and pick up a blue-chip IFA.