Season Analysis

2008-2009 Off-Season Recap

TeamKey DeparturesKey AdditionsBreakdownGrade
Florida FlamingosSS Jerrel Ten Wolde, SP Wandy Ramirez, RP Dale Thayer, CF Chris YoungNoneFlorida allowed Ten Wolde to walk in his prime, and needed to replace him with upgraded pitching to compete this year, but made no such moves. Look for the Flamingos to pull up the rear in the AC East standings.D
Holbrook HawksC Mike Piazza, RF Lou Stoops, 1B Hector GaranzuaySS Jerrel Ten Wolde, RF Steven PearceThe Hawks stole Ten Wolde from divisional foe Florida, and are well positioned to take the division back this year with a well balanced lineup and a pitching staff that doesn't have any holes in it. The Hawks should take home 95 wins this year.A-
Philadelphia BrotherhoodCF Andres Torres, 2B Tae-kon Lee, CL Armando Benitez, 1B Guillermo Batista, SS Roberto Rodriguez, 3B Keith Ginter, SS Cody Ransom, RP Bobby JenksCL Brian Fuentes, SS Julio Lugo, 3B Carlos Guillen, SP Glendon Rusch, LF Garret Anderson, RP Hideki OkajimaPhiladelphia had an active offseason adding smaller replacement parts throughout their lineup and pitching staff. They may rack up 600 k's between Wood and Fuller in the rotation, but lack a strong enough lineup to be anything more than .500 this year.B
Pittsburgh ChampionsSP Mike Maroth, SP Masami Jouda, SS Pedro Martinez, 2B Flavio Romero, RF Luke Allen, LF Melvin Mora, RP Rafael PerezCF Willie Harris, SP Joe Blanton, 2B Placido Polanco, LF Drees Boudewijn, RP Jesse Carlson, SP Ricky Nolasco, CF Corey Patterson, SP Jason Jennings, C Charles Johnson, C Jorge Posada, CF Gabe KaplerPittsburgh had a solid offseason, making a couple of strong signings, important trades and issuing a couple of contract extensions to key players (Chipper and Zobrist). But an average rotation will not be propped up as much with an aging and less scary lineup. The Champions will find themselves in the mix for the Wild Card but will fall short when September rolls around.B
Gobbler's Knob TurkeysCL Brian Fuentes, C Craig Ansman, RP Anthony Lerew, LF Edgar Quintero2B Khalil Greene, CF Antonio Estolas, RP Javier Lopez, C Ben PetrickThe Turkeys will have one of the best young rotations in baseball with Price, Greinke, Lincecum and Kershaw. Greene will be a breath of fresh air with gold glove caliber defense at short. Health will play a key factor to any success they have this year. They will need to the rotation to stay healthy and dominant, as their lineup will not scare too many opponents. This team could surprise, or could crash.B
New Orleans VoodooRP Jesse Carlson, C Carlos Rodriguez, SP Jeff D'AmicoSP Roy Halladay, C Jorge Orozco124 wins in 2008 was one for the record books, but falling short of a title was not an easy pill for the Voodoo to swallow. The acquisition of Halladay behind Haren solidifies a scary 4-headed monster of top tier veteran starting pitching. Their lineup is also strong from top to bottom, so they will cruise to a division title and 105 wins.A
Omaha MammothsC Ivan Rodriguez, CF Willy Taveras, RF Ryan SpilborghsCL Tim Hamulack, LF Abraham ValenciaOmaha has gotten stronger, but suffer from sharing a division with New Orleans. Assuming good health, the Mammoths are in a strong position to win 90 games and make a serious push for the wild card spot. Look for Ageda to have a MVP type season at the plate this year.B-
San Antonio ArmadillosRP Livan Hernandez, RF Darnell McDonald, RP Carl PavanoSS Mike Aviles, 2B Hae-young ChoThe Armadillos will put a respectable team on the field in 2009, but are mediocre at best at most positions across the diamond. Boasting the #2 and #3 ranked prospects, they're focused on a calculated rebuild.C+
Cardiff Bay BarrageSS Andres Rodriguez, SP Tony Saunders, 3B Miguel Tejada, C Charles JohnsonRF Alejandro Hernandez, SP Ryan Bicondoa, 3B Jose Bautista, SP Rich Hill, 1B Shea Hillenbrand, 2B Jose VidroTime will tell if the Barrage received fair value in return for superstar Rodriguez, but for 2009, the Barrage have taken a step back. They will look to build on their third ranked minor league system this year.B
Palo Alto PrankstersRP John Van Benschoten, 2B Ruben Gotay, RP Chris Seddon, 3B Santiago Jimenez, RP Yoel Hernandez, RP Greg Burke, RP Marc KroonSP Victor Santos, SP Barry Zito, SP Randy WolfStill with the #1 ranked farm for over 3 years now, the Pranksters are able to turn their focus to supplementing their young talent with proven veterans. Wolf and Zito will help stabilize their pitching while much of their talent continues to develop. Look for the Pranksters to surprise this year with 82 to 88 wins.A-
Portland BeaversRP Neal Cotts, RP Julio Villalon, SP Ryan Bicondoa, CF Ryan Freel, SP Victor Santos, RP Victor Alvarez, C Mike NapoliRP Omar Poveda, SP Adam WainwrightPortland stuck their necks out and gave big money to Wainwright, who hasn't had an ERA over 2.00 in THREE seasons. But, he's still recovering from a serious UCL tear, and how he comes out on the other side could be a toss up. Overall, Portland is not as scary as they used to be, and will need Waino to be dominant when he returns if they want to keep the Wild Card or division in their sights.B-
Yellowknife TargaryensSP Jesus Guerrero, RP Chris Ray, C Bobby Estalella, 2B Skip Schumaker, 3B Phil Nevin, SP Erik Bedard, 2B Angel BerroaSP Juan Castillo, 2B Skip Schumaker, SP Mike Maroth, LF Ryan SpilborghsYellowknife is feeling the effects of being in a small market, and experts are penciling in this team as taking a half step back. But, Valadez and Mauer in their primes is enough to put them in contention for the division title again. Another 100 win season may be a little more difficult to achieve this year, but the playoffs are still well within reach.B+
Atlanta BanditsLF Cliff Floyd, RF Jose Guillen, 1B Russ Johnson, RP Ricky Nolasco, RP Michael Wuertz, RP Koji Uehara, 1B Darin Erstad, CF Corey Patterson, 2B Jose Vidro1B Guillermo Batista, RP Bobby Jenks, 3B Angel Berroa, C Jason KendallThe Bandits made a few strong and calculated signings this offseason, dipping into the veteran pool for the first time in their short span. Playing in a brutal division will keep their win totals down a bit, but the Bandits could approach 80-85 wins this year.A
Charleston RebelsSP Adam Wainwright, LF Abraham Valencia, 2B Jamey Carroll, 2B Vincente LevyaNoneThe Rebels front office was in transition this offseason, but they did manage to make their CF'er Loronha a very rich man with a 7 year extension. The Rebels are a playoff bubble team, where a few breaks could go their way or burst in their face. We could see anywhere from 80 to 90 wins in Charleston this year.B-
Coney Island WhitefishSS Goris de Smet, SP Seung Song, SP Johan Santana, LF Carlos Valderrama, LF Garret Anderson, C Kenji Johjima, RP Yoshinori Tateyama, 1B Carlos Casimiro1B Hector Garanzuay, RP Dale Thayer, RF Angel Cuevas, 3B Julio RomeroInserting Romero into the Whitefish lineup will help keep Coney Island relevant this year. Local beat writers have complained they lack organizational depth, and success will hinge on health and/or the ability to pivot in the face of it. Will make a strong play at the wild card this year.B
New York City Baseball ClubSP Roy Halladay, C Jorge Orozco, LF Manuel Sosa, LF Drees Boudewijn, C Jorge Posada, RP Omar Poveda, SP Glendon Rusch, RP Javier Lopez, RP Rob NenRF Andres Rodriguez, CF Chris Young, C Carlos Rodriguez, RP Jeff D'Amico, C Mike Napoli, RP Rafael Perez, RP Yoshinori Tateyama, RP Koji Uehara, RP Mike SchultzNYC was finally able to bring a title back to the Ruth Conference, sweeping the series in dominating fashion. Losing Halladay but gaining Rodriguez (who will shift to RF), the Baseball Club's lineup is the best in the business (somehow they were even able to upgrade CF this year too). Look for them to slug their way to 100+ wins and a faceoff against the Voodoo to defend their crown.A-
Old Bridge TitansRF Brad Wilkerson, RP Mark Mulder, CF Nook Logan, LF David Murphy, SS Khalil GreeneNoneRising star C Chris Davis is the lone bright spot on an otherwise dismal roster. The Titans lost 119 games last year, and may not do too much better in 2009.D+
Dallas Daredevils3B Julio Romero, RP Dennys Reyes, RF Brian Giles, RP Roger Deago, SP Rich Hill, SP Joe Blanton, SP Randy Wolf, LF Norichika Aoki, CL Tim Hamulack, RP JJ Putz, 2B Roberto ReyesLF Norichika Aoki, CF Bubba Bell, LF Mark Hamilton, 2B Roberto Reyes, SP Gustavo Chacin, SP Erik BedardDallas lost a lot and gained a lot this offseason, but when all the cards are on the table, they have looked to have taken a step back. Their weak rotation will get knocked around very hard in 2009. Expect 70-75 wins.B
Eden Prairie Landsharks3B Russell Branyan, C Jason Kendall, RP Brent Franklin, SP John Patterson, RP Hideki Okajima, SS Julio Lugo, RP Chris Webb, 3B Jose Bautista, LF Matt Holliday, RP Tony Pena3B Santiago Jimenez, SP Johan SantanaRookie phenom Morillo suffered a sophomore slump in 2008, and will need to rebound to MVP form for the Landsharks to make noise this year. Verlander headlines a strong rotation, backed by an elite pen. The top of this division is very crowded, but the Landsharks have a good shot to come out on top.B-
Fargo RageSP Jason Jennings, LF Antonio Estolas, 1B Carlos PenaNoneThe Rage sport a solid rotation, headlined by the most exciting pitcher the UBA has ever seen in Liriano, who, at 25, has already compiled stikeout totals of 316, 371 and 414 in his first 3 full seasons. Dakotans are doubtful their lineup is strong enough to slug games out, but should Fargo get active around the trade deadline, they could get there. 88-93 wins, in the mix for the division and wild card. C-
Toledo Troutheads2B Chuck Knoblauch, C Javier Valentin, RP Mike Schultz, RF Steven PearceNoneToledo came out on top in a wild finish to the RC Central last season, and will be bringing basically the same roster back out on the field in 2009. They may look to add to the rotation at the deadline to help defend their crown.C-
Hollywood StarsSP Jason Schmidt, 1B Casey Blake, LF Raul Ibanez, C Ben Petrick, RP Kyle DenneySP John Patterson, SP Jesus Guerrero, C Bob Henley, 1B Carlos Pena, 3B Russell BranyanThe Stars have a very scary lineup featuring Beltre, Cano, Darer, Pujols and Manny Ramirez. The additions of Paterson and Guerrero to their rotations were the perfect fit, and the West is Hollywood's to lose. Look for them to creep towards 100 wins this season.A
Oregon DucksRF Bruce Aven, LF Gabe Kapler, SS Mike Young, 2B Placido Polanco, 1B Roger Cedeno, 2B Joe Inglett, RP Jason Lane, SP Gustavo Chacin, SP Juan Castillo, SS Vincente Valdes, LF Mark Hamilton, 3B Garrett Atkins, LF Sergio Gastelum, CF Bubba BellRP Brent Franklin, RF Sergio GastelumThe Ducks have a maturing rotation, featuring second year star Brett Anderson. Their lineup is pedestrian, and could use the impact of top prospect Buster Posey. Expect being hot or cold out of the gate to dictate how slow they are with their #2 ranked minor league system. Pundits predicting it's slow.C
Phoenix FirebirdsC Bob Henley, SP Rafael Martinez, 3B Carlos Guillen, 3B Jack HannahanNoneThe Firebirds made no acquisitions, but instead have been laser focused on developing home grown talent. Butler, McCutchen and Goldschmidt are a very strong core, and their pitching is better than it has been in the last few years. They're still a year or two out of contention at this point, though. Expect 72-75 wins.C-
San Francisco Spartans3B Jim Thome, RP Steve Green, LF Ryan Church, SP Barry Zito, SS Mike Aviles, RF Corey Sullivan, C Robby Hammock, 3B Shea Hillenbrand, CF Luis MatosRP Tony Pena, 3B Mike Young, RF Corey Sullivan, LF Manuel Sosa, CF Nook Logan, C Brandon Harper, RF Matt Holliday, LF David Murphy, CL JJ Putz, 1B Richie Sexson, 3B Miguel Tejada, 3B Melvin Mora, 2B Edgar Gonzalez, 3B Jack HannahanThe Spartans had a surprisingly strong showing from their rotation in 2008 and a surprisingly poor showing from their lineup, posting the 4th lowest team OBP in baseball. B level acquisitions of Young, Sosa, Murphy and Holliday aim to provide improvements to key metrics, and Putz will provide a shut down arm for the end of the game. The Spartans are getting closer but still need more work and lack any real star power threat. Look for a record just over .500.B+
Seattle Steelheads1B Richie Sexson, SP Brandon LyonSS Goris de Smet, SP Brandon LyonThe Steelheads got hot and snagged the '08 wild card spot with 93 wins, and will be right back in the mix again this year. The addition of de Smet really helps on both sides of the game, and helps take some pressure off developing slugger Jay Bruce. All the pieces are in place for another deep run in 2009.B+

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