NL SOUTH PREVIEW
The NL South is a very tough division. Jackson has been the top dog in the division for awhile now. They have won 6 straight division crowns. They won back to back titles in seasons 24 and 25. When you are a great team it is hard to say anything "negative" about them. I think the franchise is a little upset for only having 2 titles in the last 6 seasons. They continue to win over 100 games a season. I think the other teams get up to play them in the playoffs. Texas and Austin will do no different this season either. In the end, I think the law of averages will be on Jackson's side again.
JACKSON BLACK BEARS
Jackson is the 6 time reigning division champion. They have a solid team to say the least. There are only 2 players over 31 on the current squad. This means it will be a long time before they are not in the mix in this division. Texas and Austin will be nipping at their heels. They made very few changes to the team this off season. They traded away Brantley (68 HRS 174 RBI'S and League MVP last season).They lost Price (18 HRS 79 RBI'S ) to free agency. Campos was promoted to the ML team...He hit 48 HRS and drove in 144 in AAA last season. The also got Green (26 HRS 79 RBI'S last season)and Pryce (20 HRS 61 RBI'S) in a trade this off season . Castilla (19-5) Suzuki (19-5) and Butler (7-2 23 for 30 in saves) will anchor the pitching staff again this season. The offense will be great again this season. Myette ( 33 HRS 100 RBI'S) and Proctor ( 41 HRS 126 RBI'S) will be mixed with Green and Campos. The opposing pitchers will not have a field day against them.
PREDICTION 104-58 FIRST PLACE!
TEXAS LONE STARS
Texas was 97-65 last season. They did not make many changes to the squad. Texas has only 4 players over 32 on the ML team. They are a balanced team that will contend again this season for the division. Texas may have lost the division crown last season but they got revenge in the playoffs. The knocked out Jackson 3 games to 0 in the divisional series. Torres (44 HRS 125 RBI'S) Morgan (38 HRS 84 RBI'S) Madson (27 HRS 93 RBI'S) King ( 25 HRS 76 RBI'S) and Bowie (28 HRS 83 RBI'S) anchor the offense again this season. The pitching staff will be lead by Graves (19-5) Simmons (14-10) Duran (14-11) Butler 911-11) and Bowen 21 for 25 in saves. The team will be solid and in it to the end again. A playoff berth of some kind should be a certain!
PREDICTION 98-64 SECOND PLACE
AUSTIN CITY LIMITS
Austin seems to get lost in the division at times. They are coming off a season where they won 24 more games than the previous one. They only have 3 players over 33 on the ML roster. They are going to be a thorn in the side of Texas and Jackson again this season. They as well as the other 2 top teams in the division, did little to change their team. They lost Mota (2-2 72 innings) from the ML pitching staff. They added Hermansen (4-5 95 innings last season) They signed Hernandez (50 HRS 118 RBI'S last season) to bolster the offense. Hernandez will be along side of Brooks (25 HRS 71 RBI'S) Castro (46 HRS 121 RBI'S) Gardel (50 HRS 105 RBI'S) Jones (18 HRS 71 RBI'S) Villano (37 HRS 111 RBI'S) Realmuto 27 HRS 60 RBI'S ) and Reed (32 HRS 82 RBI'S) . The pitching staff will be consisted of Espinosa ( 20 for 22 in saves) Lee (21 for 28 in saves) Aguilar (16-7 212 innings pitched) Person (14-9 207 innings pitched) and Thompson (13-8 228 innings pitched). Austin will compete and stick around until the end.
PREDICTION 94-68 THIRD PLACE!
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Tampa Bay was 70-92 last season. They are the red headed step child of the division. Three teams are competing for the division title, and they are the ones getting beat up for them to do so. They traded Moore (39 HRS 105 RBI'S) in the off season. Shave ( 14 HRS 65 RBI'S) left for free agency. The offense consists of Bailes ( 16 HRS 83 RBI'S) Bard (21 HRS 76 RBI'S) and Lorenzo (29 HRS 92 RBI'S). The pitching staff includes Camacho (10-12 177 innings) Miller (9-12 167 innings) Vansuri ( 8-12 206 innings) and Erdos (6-10 33 for 44 in save chances). I have no choice but to think that they will be beat on again this season by the rest of the division.
PREDICTION 64-98 FOURTH PLACE!