Season Analysis

2007-2008 Offseason Recap

TeamKey DeparturesKey AdditionsBreakdownGrade
Florida FlamingosCF Vernon Wells, RP Matt Hammons, C Victor Martinez, SP Brandon Medders, SS Edgar Renteria, 2B Mike FontenotSP Hisashi IwakumaThe Flamingos have some interesting young bats, but sport too many holes to put together a winning season in '08. With a deep pitching draft, the Flamingos hope to create more pitching depth in their farm.C
Holbrook HawksCF Joey Gathright, SS Mike Young, LF Melvin Mora, LF Garret AndersonRF Alex OchoaThe late spring signing of Ochoa should help keep Holbrook in the conversation for division title. They also resigned many key players this year. The lineup is deeper than most in the AC, and there's enough pitching to keep them in most games. 10th overall prospect Mejia opens the season at 1B, so we'll see if this helps put them on top once again. Look for 85-90 wins here.B+
Philadelphia BrotherhoodRP Hisashi Iwakuma, RP Matt Lindstrom, 2B Jason Giambi, C Brandon HarperSS Jose Cintron, 1B Guillermo Batista, SS Cody Ransom, 3B Keith Ginter, CF Andres Torres, 2B Luis GarciaThe Brotherhood has pieced together a team that can win some games led by ageless wonders Lee and Everett, but looks to lack depth and will have trouble getting back to the 90 win mark that they hit last season. A good team but not the best in their division.B+
Pittsburgh Champions1B Kevin Youkilis, RP Marc Kroon2B Joe DillonDillon's bat at 2B makes a strong lineup even tougher to pitch through, as he compliments future HOF hopefuls Chipper and ARod. An additional plus arm in the rotation would put the Champions over the top as the favorite to emerge from the AC this offseason.B+
Gobbler's Knob TurkeysLF Albert PujolsNoneLocal beat writers were disappointed to see Pujols walk with no replacement subsequently onboarded. They have an unbelievably strong young pitching rotation with Lincecum, Greinke and Price (with Darvish and Kershaw waiting in the wings), but don't have a strong enough lineup to put up the run support to win enough this year.C+
New Orleans VoodooCL Matt Smith, LF Adam Dunn, LF Sergio Gastelum, RF Salvador Gonzalez, SP John Patterson RP Diego Quintana, RF Jason Werth, CF Antonio AvilesVoodoo fans collectively held their breath as Haren opted out of his contract, but management was able to secure him to a 7 year extension before he reached free agency. With Haren leading a strong pitching staff and 5 tool standout Valdez atop a potent lineup, the Voodoo should cruise to another AC Central title.B
Omaha MammothsRF Jason Werth, 2B Luis GarciaNoneThe Mammoths have a few aging stars but don't have the depth or the pitching to compete in 2008. Look for top of the rotation arm Oswalt to be on the block in July if the Mammoths don't start out hot.C-
San Antonio ArmadillosRP Wade Miller, RP Joel Peralta, SP Andy PettitteNoneThe Armadillos don't have many holes, but are generally below average in positions around the diamond. They should lose less than 104 games this year, but won't be anything more than a September spoiler in 2008.C
Cardiff Bay BarrageC Gyu-sik Park, RP Pedro Nunes, SP Luis Hernandez, C Bob Henley, CF Tike Redman, 3B Marco Scutaro3B Miguel Tejada, C AJ Pierzynski, RP Randy Flores, C Charles Johnson, SP Tony Saunders, CF Chone FigginsThe Barrage had a busy offseason as they look for ways to make noise in a crowded division with WCS winner Yellowknife and perennial playoff contender Portland ahead of them. They are a team much more talented than the 56 wins they mustered in '07, but still are missing out on the firepower needed to scare off the big guns. Rumblings of dealing superstar Rodriguez to a contender have quickly been dismissed by management.B
Palo Alto PrankstersSP Barry Zito, 1B Frank ThomasRP Marc KroonStill with the #1 ranked farm, the Pranksters look to be on the upswing of their deep rebuild. Young talented bats are peppered through their lineups, but their pitching is still weak. They're progressing on the right track though.C+
Portland BeaversRP Kevin Barry, RP Koji Uehara, RP Randy FloresCL Matt Smith, RP Victor AlvarezTaking the last 3 wild card spots, the Beavers shored up their pen with standout Matt Smith to anchor, and are solid from top to bottom. They are definitely a 90-95 win team (or more), but on paper look to be a half step behind the defending champs.B
Yellowknife TargaryensRF Franklin Gutierrez, 2B Raul Martinez, 2B Alfonso Soriano, C David RossNoneNo moves needed to keep this train rolling, as their main issue is too much depth (and an owner unwilling to spend). All the pieces are there, led by 3 time MVP Valadez (only 26 years old this year), and a stronger and more seasoned rotation than they've had to work with over the last couple of seasons.C+
Atlanta BanditsRF Brian Giles, LF Butch Huskey, RP Adam Butler, LF Donzell McDonald, 2B Orlando PerezLF Cliff Floyd, RP Koji UeharaAtlanta had a respectable first season in a very tough division, but know their window is not in the short term. They spent some money on Floyd to marry with Ramirez for a decent middle of the lineup, but will hover around 4th or 5th place for one or two more seasons while they continue to build from the ground up.C+
Charleston RebelsRP Jason Herz, 1B Guillermo Batista, RP Lee Gardner, 1B Carlos Casimiro, 3B Miguel Tejada, CF Carlos Beltran3B Wu-shin Zong, C Carlos RuizThe Rebels finally broke through and reached the post season in 2007, led by Wainwright, Hernandez and Hamels in their rotation. Veteran signal caller Ruiz was brought in to maximize pitching output and add a good bat to their lineup. Will be difficult to pass by the NYC juggernaut, but the Rebels are positioned well to secure another WC birth.B-
Coney Island WhitefishSS Akinori Iwamura, 1B Joe Dillon, LF Alex Ochoa, RP Chirs Demaria, SP Jason Schmidt, CF Pedro SepulvedaRF Won-u Lee, SP Luis Hernandez, CC Sabathia, 2B Ronnie Belliard, 1B Carlos CasimiroThe Whitefish made many strong moves in the offseason, but lack the star power to compete in the division this year, and look to be stuck in the middle. They will do well enough, and should finish the season around .500.A-
New York City Baseball ClubRP Derek Wallace, RP Kazuhisa Ishii, LF Carlos Valderrama, 3B Freddy Sanchez2B Jason Giambi, SP Glendon RuschThe harsh media in New York took the Baseball Club down a peg after resigning super-stopper Smith fresh off of blowing a WCS for them, but his 6.5 WAR and 290 strikeouts out of the bullpen are records not even worth this writer's time to double check, and the move was a necessary evil. The team is well balanced and features too many stars to list (2 of the top 20 OSA hitters and 3 of the top 20 OSA pitchers). NYC continues to be the favorite to emerge from the RC in October.B-
Old Bridge TitansC Ramon Castro, LF Shelley Duncan, 3B Mike Lamb, SP Vincente PadillaRF Franklin Gutierrez, RP Rich HardenThe Titans will put a respectable team on the field, but are playing for the future - a position which was evident when they sent veteran Padilla to the Spartans. The minor league depth is strong, but it will take a lot of time and effort to start seeing results at the ML level.C+
Dallas DaredevilsSP CC Sabathia, SS Jorge PineiroRF Brian GilesDallas came crashing back down to earth in 2007, where many of their depth issues were exposed throughout the year. There are some pieces in place to win some games, but with CC off the books and finally getting to draft in the first round of the amateur draft this year, Dallas may look to head in the other direction.C-
Eden Prairie LandsharksSP Ryan Drese, SP RA Dickey, LF Emil BrownC JC Boscan, RP Sang-mok Lee, SP John PattersonMaine who? would be what most Landshark fans would say after watching Morillo win rookie of the year and MVP in 2007, leading his team to the playoffs in a tough division. Kendall's leadership, Morillo's raw talent and a tough rotation make Eden Prairie the favorite to repeat in the division.B+
Fargo RageC Carlos Ruiz, SS Jason BartlettC Victor Martinez, LF Antonio EstolasThe Rage came up just short of the playoffs in 2007, after getting a performance for the ages from Pitcher of the Year Liriano, and made a splash acquiring Martinez to work behind the dish. But on paper, they look to be a half step behind the Landsharks, but will make it a contest all the way up to the final 3 games of the season (played in Eden Prairie). A-
Toledo TroutheadsRF Gary Sheffield, SP Diego Quintana, SP Kip Wells, C Charles Johnson, SP Brandon DuckworthSP Cliff Lee, C Javier Valentin, RF Salvador GonzalezToledo has quietly been improving and moving on past older contracts, and are positioned with a solid roster from top to bottom, but will need big performances from a couple of bats (Larish and rookie Davis) to make a push in the division. Look for 83-86 wins from the improved Troutheads.B+
Hollywood StarsRP Victor Alvarez, 1B Jim Thome, 2B Mike Caruso, SP Tony Saunders, C Javier Valentin, RF Bobby Abreu, SP Ryan Rupe, LF Antonio EstolasLF Albert Pujols, SP Jason Schmidt, CF Pedro Sepulveda, RP Kazuhisa IshiiHollywood broke away from the mediocre pack and took the division again in 2007, and made plenty of noise in the offseason to position themselves as the easy favorite to do so again. Pujols will slot in between Cano, ManRam and Beltre in a very scary lineup, which should put up plenty of runs to offset any missteps from an average rotation (the Schmidt setback didn't help). Look for 90-95 wins here.A
Oregon DucksCF Chone Figgins, RP Hideki Okajima, 3B Bobby Hill, SP Tomo OhkaRP Jon Rauch, SS Vincente Valdes, RF Shelley Duncan, SS Mike YoungOregon looks to be steadily improving, while also knowing they haven't reached their window yet. 50 wins in '06 to 63 wins in '07, this team should take about 75 games in '08. Top 20 prospects Posey and Inman are licking their chops in AAA, and could add some firepower should the Ducks come out of the gate hot this year.C+
Phoenix FirebirdsRP CJ Nitkowski, RP Paul Shuey, 2B Placido Polanco, LF Andres TorresC Bob HenleyPhoenix is slowly but surely bringing their homegrown talent to the bigs, and in a year where they have no expectations, have the ability to test out where the team is headed. An average rotation will keep them in games, but any success they do have will be based on Cutch and Upton helping out Butler in run production.C+
San Francisco Spartans2B Ronnie Belliard, LF Cliff Floyd, RP Jason Isringhausen, C AJ Pierzynski, 3B Casey Blake, SP Cliff Lee, SP Glendon Rusch, RP Mike Johnson, RF Richard Hidalgo, RP Rich Harden, CF Antonio AvilesRF Carlos Beltran, CF Vernon Wells, SS Jason Bartlett, 1B Jim Thome, SP Barry Zito, SP Vincente Padilla, 2B Freddy SanchezSpartans fans appreciate the effort, as middle of the road talent in Thome, Sanchez, Zito, Bartlett and Padilla were brought in to help field a respectable team next to fan favorite Yadi Molina, but San Francisco knows they aren't looking to October until deGrom, Eaton and whoever else they continue to draft make their way through the ranks. 79 wins from 2007 should be about the mark they hit in '08 as well.B+
Seattle Steelheads1B Ryan Howard, RP Jon RauchNoneWith mostly the same team in place (and some big names signing extensions), the 88 win Steelheads team should remain over .500 this year, but did not do enough this offseason to match the Stars, and will fall short of the playoffs a few games out of the division and the wild card.C+

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