The NL East has become the Syracuse/San Juan show recently. San Juan went from 57 wins to an astounding 98 last season. They did lose to Syracuse in the LCS 3 games to 2. This season will be no different between the 2 teams. Both teams have great young talent mixed with veteran players under 32 years old. Both teams are built for the long haul. This will continue to be a 2 way battle for the near future.
Syracuse are the defending champions. I do not believe this season will be much different. They lost Borbon to free agency (17-8 last season). They traded away Takahashi( 26 HRS 86 RBI'S) and Yamamoto (34 HRS 119 RBI'S ) . With Ethier (17-9 180 innings) Bailey (43 for 52 in saves) the addition of Slocumb (13-14 220 innings) Gonzalez and Silva has 12 wins last season. Olmeda had 14 wins for the defending champs. Offense will not be a problem this year for Syracuse again. Allen had 27 HR'S 103 RBI'S , Shannon had 49 HRS 119 RBI'S Alcantra 64 RBI'S. They received Thomas in a trade 32 HRS 116 RBI'S in AAA last season. With Allen (27 HRS 103 RBI'S) Manzanillo (27 HRS 99 RBI'S in AAA) last season and Portugal (35 HRS 77 RBI'S in AAA) the offense will not be a problem. It will be a dog fight again this season against San Juan.
PREDICTION 101-61 FIRST PLACE!
SAN JUAN SANTURCE CRABBERS
San Juan had an incredible 41 win improvement last season from the previous one. The y had some great young talent mixed with some veterans. San Juan will be nip and tuck with Syracuse again this season. Keough (202 hits 16 HRS 84 RBI'S) Chavez (29HRS 79 RBI'S) Itou ( 12 HRS 66 RBI'S in 112 games) Gonzalez (14 HRS 67 RBI'S) and Hammonds ( 21 HRS 70 RBI'S ) anchor the line up. The pitching staff is lead by Carlos "Rubber Arm" Urena. Urena went 21-13 and pitched an amazing 278 innings last season. Sosa was 26 for 29 in saves last season. Beltran (12-5) and Shipley will help Urena chew up the innings. San Juan is going to be around contending for the near future.
PREDICTION 99-63 SECOND PLACE!
CINCINNATI RED LIGHT DISTRICT
Cincinnati is coming off a 67-95 season. They lost Melendez (10-9 183 innings) Campos 9-10 193 innings) Vizcaino 9 HRS 52 RBI'S and defensive ace) They managed to sign some free agent to help the pitching staff this season. Suzuki (-1 5 for 6 in saves 85 innings last season) LeCroy (5-7 133 innings last season) Wise (7-20 184 innings last season) and Strickland (9-9 212 innings last season). Torcato (21 HRS 52 RBI'S last season) Cepeda (38 HRS 81 RBI'S last season) and Halter (18 HRS 71 RBI'S last season) will anchor their line up. Cepeda has been on the trade block more times than Winnie The Pooh looked for honey. Syracuse and San Juan are way too tough to over come this season. Cincy will win some games, but again end up in third place.
PREDICTION 69-93 THIRD PLACE!
WICHITA WIND SIZZLERS
Wichita finished 49-113 last season. They made some moves to improve this season. They traded for super slugger Wang (62 HRS 156 RBI'S last season in Philly) signed Ashley (24 HRS 76 RBI'S) They lost Almanza and Holland in a trade to Minnesota. They lost Yamamota and Mc Michael in other trades as well. Sandoval will anchor the rotation this year (13-14 172 innings last season) Wichita will be beaten like a pinata' again this season. They have some great prospects in the system. I think this season will be the last they are in this position. They are on the way up, but not this season. Aguilera 13 HRS 53 RBI'S and Adams 18 HRS 42 RBI'S will help bridge the gap until the prospects arrive.
PREDICTION 57-105 FOURTH PLACE!