NL NORTH PREVIEW
Minnesota(former Philadelphia) is a team that is very interesting. Not only did they move from Philly to Minnesota, but they again made some major moves to get in contention. The last 2 season in Philly, the team flopped at the end to miss the playoffs. The NL North is a division that has been a coin flip the last 2 seasons. Madison was the Champ 2 seasons ago going 94-68. That season bough t the World Series crown home for them. Last season Madison dropped to 68-94. Milwaukee went from a wild card team at 84-78 to 70-92. Tacoma went from missing the wild card by 2 games (82-80) to winning the division last season at 83-79. Philly (now Minnesota) went on losing streaks each of the last 2 seasons at the end...missing the wild card by 2 games 2 seasons ago (83-79) and losing the division title by 2 games last season (81-81). They are the only team in the division no to taste playoff experience the last 2 seasons. I have a feeling it may change this season.
MINNESOTA FROZEN TWINKIES
After falling short the last 2 seasons the Minnesota Frozen Twinkies are ready to take it to the next level. They moved the franchise to the Northern part of the United States. When I tell you why, you will scratch your head and wonder. The last 2 seasons they had a losing streak at the end of the season. I believe the long travel from the Northern Midwest/Northern part of the United States to the East Coast was the issue. Too many miles traveled for the division games. Moving the team to Minnesota was the answer. Madison, Milwaukee and Tacoma is much closer to Minnesota than to Philadelphia. Yes I have too much time to think of things like this :)
Minnesota traded for Below (29 HR 103 RBI'S ) Canseco ( 29 HR 81 RBI'S) Moore ( 39 HR 105 RBI'S) James (48 HR 154 RBI'S and MVP Honors) Holland (14 HR 73 RBI'S in AAA) Almanza (26 HRS 64 RBI'S) Morgan (speedy and defensive wizard) Goodwin (Pitch calling specialist) Enright( who may be the steal of the year) Franco (11-16 last season) Alomar, Rogers (DL all of last season) and Roque were all signed to help the horrible bullpen from last year. They did trade away Power Hitter Wang and future stud closer Ausmus. Sometimes you have to do things like that to get the franchise going. The move to Minnesota will not hurt the power hitters too much. The addition of starting pitching, experienced bullpen help and much better hitters up and down the line up will put them over the top.
PREDICTION 87-75 FIRST PLACE!
Tacoma is entering the season as reigning division champs. They upgraded the rotation by adding Melendez to the staff. He was 10-8 last season with over 180 inning pitched. The newly signed Marmol will help bolster the bullpen. Delhanty was another pitcher signed to help the bullpen. Flaherty is getting more experience and poised to have a break out season as a solid starter. Greer, Pedro Lee and super stud Fausto Johnson anchor the line-up. I do think Tacoma is certainly on the rise.....The only reason they do not repeat as division champs is because I think Minnesota got a little more offense for them not to sneak past Tacoma this season. I do believe Tacoma will be in it to the end . The ball park will make it hard for slugger to hit Homers......425 to CENTER...OUCH!
PREDICTION 85-77 SECOND PLACE!
Milwaukee is coming off a 70-92 season. The season before they finished 84-78 and made the playoff as a Wild Card. They have added some good piece to this years team during the off season. They added Elcano(11-12) last season with 177 innings logged) Rodriguez (7-4 121 innings) is also new to the team. Cabrera needs to have a bounce back season (5-15 with an ERA of 5.67 last season). That was over 2 runs above his normal. The addition of Fuentes (31 for 34 in saves 2 seasons ago) and Duran (27 for 35 in saves) the bullpen is better as a whole. Okajima was signed as well. He had 33 HR'S and 97 RBI's last season. He will provide some great power. Alongside Fernandez, Heilman and Ramirez the line up will be very nice! Coming off a 70 win season they will improve this season. I think they will be in the race for most of the season. They did lose Roque (31 HRS and 91 RBI'S) and pitcher Wainhouse (9-9 154 innings)
PREDICTION 80-82 THIRD PLACE!
Madison went 68-94 last season. I think the franchise just had an "off" season. The season before they were World Series champs. The signed STUD Jamie Bradley this off season to bolster the lineup. Bradley hit 40 HR'S and Drove in 113 last season for Seattle. I am far from a genius, but playing 81 home games in Madison (rather than in Seattle) will do nothing but make Bradley a sure MVP candidate this season. Along with Magnante and Ensberg, the line up will score some major runs. They also added Sanches (8-7 154 innings last season) and Torres (10-6 last season) to the pitching staff. Masato is ready to have a breakout season as the young stud closer. Diaz is the anchor of the pitching staff. I do think the team will miss Goodwin( great pitch caller, gold glove winner) and Marquez (23 HR 73 RBI'S). I wish nothing but the best this season for the team and for owner (daddiothree) .
PREDICTION 80-82 TIED FOR 3RD PLACE!