Season Analysis

2011-2012 Off-Season Recap

TeamKey DeparturesKey AdditionsBreakdownGrade
Florida FlamingosRP Peter Moylan, LF Miguel Mora, RF Ignacio Lopez2B Bill HallFlorida is building but is still incomplete. Their outfield of Brantley, De Salazar and Inciarte is one of the best in baseball, but they only feature three pitchers any team would fear in Ketchner, Maeda and Jansen. If Rizzo reaches his potential and Wright stays healthy, the Flamingos could slug themselves into contention in September but will likely fall short. Look for 85 wins.C+
Holbrook HawksLF Carlos Lee, RP Pablo Chavez, RP Jerry BlevinsNoneThe Hawks aren't the most talented team in the AC, but are the most complete team in the east again and should easily take the division again, led by a scary heart of the lineup with Valadez, Mejia, Ten Wolde and Rodriguez. After finishing 3rd in the Pitcher of the Year voting last season, look for Neil to build upon that success and take the title in 2012.C-
Philadelphia BrotherhoodRP Brian Fuentes, 2B Sergio Acuna, CF Vernon Wells, SP Ricardo Macias, SP Glendon Rusch, C Ramon Esparza, LF Greg Halman, 3B Carlos GuillenLF Shane VictorinoThe Brotherhood improved to 84 wins last season, and have some interesting pieces entering this season. Their bullpen is strong, and they have a couple of big arms atop their rotation in Wood and Garcia. The lineup has talent but lacks power, and may have trouble manufacturing runs. A repeat of 84 wins is a safe bet.C
Pittsburgh ChampionsRP Octavio Lopez, RP Pat Neshek, RP Jesse CarlsonLF Chris Denorfia, RP Jonathan Ortiz, SP Octavio Lopez, RP Jerry Blevins, RP Dale Thayer, RP Francisco RodriguezThe Champions continue to age (are the only team in the league with an average age over 30), and look to be a step behind Holbrook and could get passed soon by the Flamingos. It may be prudent for the Champions to sell and retool. They don't have the horses to win more than 82 games in 2012.B+
Gobbler's Knob TurkeysSP Zach Greinke, RP Pedro Rodriguez, RP Matt Belisle, LF Josh Hamilton, SP Tim Lincecum, LF Clete Thomas, 1B Allan Dykstra, C Shawn Riggans, RP Ramon Troncoso, 2B Hector BernalSP Jeremy Sowers, 2B Melvin Upton Jr., 1B Todd Frazier, 3B Evan Longoria, LF John Hamilton, RP JJ Putz, 2B Jason GiambiThe Turkeys welcomed a new GM this offseason who immediately got splashy in the trade market, moving top flight arms to seriously upgrade the lineup with Upton Jr, Longoria and Frazier. Banking on the wealth of pitching talent they've drafted to fill the voids, the Turkeys could be this year's dark horse. Look for a 90 win season with a possible wild card berth.A-
New Orleans VoodooSP Miguel Rodriguez NoneThe window may be closing on the Voodoo, who have a lot of money sunk into aging star Haren, SS Valdez and LF Werth, but not enough wiggle room to supplement their roster with enough talent to compete with Omaha. New Orleans will need to get creative if they want to remain competitive, but a 85 win season looks most likely.C-
Omaha MammothsLF Shihei Ageda, SP Mike Megrew, CF Paulo Orlando, 3B Jorge Ramirez, RP Jay JohnsonLF Nick GorneaultNot many would have picked the Mammoths to win it all last year, but with all the key pieces back and the Voodoo looking to have taken steps back, Omaha looks to be the frontrunner from the central division. Look for 95 wins, and Justin Upton to take the next step into stardom in 2012.C
San Antonio ArmadillosSS Alexei Ramirez, RP Francisco Rodriguez, C John Vanden Berg, 1B Chris DuncanSP Tim LincecumThe Armadillos have a good rotation featuring Mat Latos and a good enough bullpen with Chapman and Ramos, but have one of the weakest lineups in the league and don't look like they'll do much better than 70 wins in 2012.C+
Cardiff Bay BarrageRP Francisco RosarioC Carlos Ruiz, 2B Aaron HillThe Barrage are well balanced but don't have a strong enough bullpen to hold leads that an average rotation might secure. Lance Lynn needs to prove he can step up and go toe to toe with the competitor's ace, something the Barrage has been waiting on for a few years now. Look for a 500 finish in 2012.B-
Palo Alto PrankstersSP Angel Marquez, CF Jorge Ruiz, CF Chone Figgins, CF Hartmann Schiemann, RP Wade MileyLF Allen Craig, CF Jeremy MooreThe Pranksters are well positioned to repeat or improve on their 103 win season last year. The rotation is strong and deep featuring Worley entering his prime, and the lineup is the best in baseball with slugger Fyfe, Murphy, Gonzalez and youngster LeMahieu. Look for a showdown between Palo Alto and Omaha to decide the AC winner.C+
Portland Sea DogsRP Joe Thatcher, CF Rocco Baldelli, CF Melky CabreraRP Pablo ChavezWith the monkey off their backs, the Sea Dogs were quickly swept out of the 2011 playoffs. Chavez was brought in to replace Thatcher and represents and upgrade. Roark is a pitching machine - who has 57 wins before turning 26. After Carpenter and an aging Palmiero, the Sea Dogs don't have much pop in their lineup, but could be a calculated buyer at the deadline. Portland will more likely be fighting for a Wild Card spot finishing second behind Palo Alto with 90-95 wins.B
Yellowknife ThievesLF Ryan Spilborghs, LF Nick Gorneault, RP Brad Kilby, 2B Ian Kinsler, C Ramon Castro, RP Jonathan Ortiz, 3B Evan LongoriaCF Rocco Baldelli, SS Alexei RamirezThe Thieves' window is officially closed after two seasons of 94 wins didn't get them to the playoffs, and could only muster 75 in 2011. The pitching is below average, and the lineup lacks punch behind stalwart catcher Mauer. Look for another 75 win season in 2012. B-
Atlanta Bandits1B Paul Konerko, RP Sancho Hernandez, 1B Howie KendrickSP Chuck Huggins, 3B Sergio Acuna, 1B Mark HamiltonThe Bandits scrambled for 79 wins in 2011, and look to have enough front line pitching with Strasburg and Gonzales and Reed at the back-end, but don't have a deep enough lineup past Desmond to make a playoff push in 2012. Look for another 500 season.C
Charleston RebelsRF Brett Gardner, 3B Wendell Wisse, 2B Gordon Beckham, SP Jerome Williams, C Rodrigo Moreno, 1B Jose Cruz, RP Scott Randall, SP Jered Weaver, RP Paul MaholmCF Paulo OrlandoThe Rebels improved again in 2011, winning 105 games and making it to the Final Four. The budget constraints of Lorohna and Hernandez wouldn't allow the Rebels to keep everyone from last year's team, but still have enough talent to give NYC a run for the division.C
Coney Island Whitefish3B Julio Romero, RP Dale Thayer, 2B Joe Dillon, RP JJ Putz, 1B Nick Johnson, RF Angel Cuevas, 1B Hector Garanzuay, SS Josh Rodriguez, C Manuel Cortes, RP Sean Thompson, 2B Jesus Deleon, SS Aaron Hill2B Joe Dillon, 2B Jesus Deleon, RP Brad Kilby, 3B Andy LaRoche, RF Ignacio Lopez, RP Joe Thatcher, RP Pat NeshekThe Whitefish don't have many weaknesses, but lack a true star to put the team on their back when the dog days of summer hit. After 91 wins last year and some well calculated moves this offseason, Coney Island could compete through September, but would likely snag the Wild Card spot if they get to the playoffs.B+
New York City Baseball ClubNoneNoneStrapped for cash and having locked up the majority of their team on long term deals, the Baseball Club is looking to get back to the playoffs and do better than the first round sweep that knocked them out last year. Look for NYC to have the strongest pitching in the RC, for Rodriguez to win his third batting title. They're not a head above the competition in the RC anymore, but are a still a force.C-
Washington GeneralsRF Franklin Gutierrez, 2B Jason Donald, SP Aaron Marsden, SP Cesar Valdez, RP David Hernandez, CF Lance Berkman, RP Josh KinneyCF Lance Berkman, SP Jason Davis, LF Laynce Nix, 1B Kong Wu, LF Shihei AgedaThe Generals have a bonafide star behind the plate in Davis, but don't have much around him to put up much of a fight in a consistently tough division. The best is a year or two away, but for now the ML roster is a revolving door of mediocre talent.B
Eden Prairie LandsharksSP Jorge Rivera, SP Kevin Correia, RP Erik Bedard, C Daniel Underwood, SP Jeff Karstens, RF Rafael Carvajal, SP Luis GomezLF Jin-yong Man, SP Marco Sanchez, RF Pedro Ynostroza, SP Jered WeaverEden Prairie is poised to win the division with a handful of superstar hitters in Morillo and Burciaga putting up big numbers on the scoreboard. Come playoffs, the Landsharks aren't equipped with a strong enough rotation to make any noise. If Archer and Parker get called up and make an impact, that could change.B+
Fargo RageSP Francisco Liriano, SP Brett Myers, 1B Brandon Gemoll, RF Edgardo Garcia, 3B Deivi Cruz, SP Jeremy SowersLF Carlo Testa, 3B Julio Romero, C Daniel UnderwoodThe Rage said goodbye to an injured Liriano, who, in 6.5 yrs in Fargo, totaled 111 wins, 2,352 K's at a clip of 14.9/9, and sported an ERA of 1.65 and WHIP of 0.90. The Rage couldn't capitalize on his greatness, only giving Liriano one start in the playoffs. Given his age, injury and contract, the Rage got a decent return and will look to avoid a total rebuild and try to retool over the next couple of seasons to stay relevant. Look for 75-80 wins.B-
Salt Lake City StingersRP Gustavo Chacin, RP Kenneth Trapp, RP Brandon Medders, SP Steven Wright, RF Cory Sullivan, 1B Mark Hamilton, SP Clay Buchholz, LF Chris DenofriaNoneStingers fans are secretly hoping Takahashi opts out of the last 4 years of his $271M contract signed in 2010, because their team has too many holes and not enough money to fill them. Look for them to shop pieces like Soto and Donaldson aggressively as the deadline approaches. For now, they're set to finish 4th in the RC Central, and need to add to their minors to improve on their ranking of 24th.C
Toledo Troutheads2B Jason Giambi, SP Cliff Lee, RP Tyler Walker, LF Allen Craig, SS Jose Pena, 3B Chris DavisRP Jesse Carlson, SP Wade Miley, RF Andrew McCutchen, SP Jose Valverde There will be questions around the Troutheads rotation all year, and that may be the key factor keeping them from playoff contention in 2012. The addition of McCutchen via trade and a full year of Jose Altuve will help put plenty of runs on the board, but they will be outscored more often than not, finishing around 80 wins.A-
Hollywood Stars2B Robinson Cano, LF Shane Victorino, RP Joaquin Benoit, C Carlos RuizSP Brandon Lyon, SS Jhonny PeraltaThe Stars are still a powerhouse team, and didn't take kindly to not making the playoffs with 95 wins in 2011. But with lots of money invested long term, no big moves were made, and they also watched Cano and Victorino slip into free agency. They are dead last in minor league rankings, so this team must win now around Pujols, Cruz and Darer. Look for a dog fight between the Stars and Firebirds this year, with both teams eclipsing 90 wins.B
Oregon Ducks1B Juan Negrete, SS Jhonny Peralta, RP Victor Santos, RP Bryan Bullington, 3B Kyle Blumenthal, 2B Jose Amador, RF Francisco Ortiz, C Brian Juhl2B Robinson Cano, 2B Dean Anna, 1B Jose Cruz, 3B Alex Gordon, C Bryan Anderson, SP John Gragg, SP Jorge Rivera, RF Edgardo Garcia, RP Mike Adams, SP Jason Jennings, RP Carlos Lopez, SP Jeff KarstensOregon's weakness in 2012 is going to be pitching depth. Top prospect Matt Harvey will debut this year, helping out Anderson in the rotation, but there are few other arms of note on the roster. Solid additons were made to their lineup in free agency, namely Cano and Gordon to flank Posey. While improved, the Ducks have more work to do to compete in this division. Look for a 75-80 win season.A-
Phoenix FirebirdsSP John Gragg, C Jose Morales, 1B Agustin Murillo, RP Dan Perkins, 2B Melvin Upton, Jr, 3B Todd Frazier, RF Andrew McCutchenSP Zach Greinke, CL Pedro Rodriguez, SP Jimmy Nelson, 3B Chris DavisThe Firebirds were correctly picked as the surprise team of 2011, making it all the way to a WCS appearance. A bold offseason saw the front office deal from their superior lineup in order to greatly improve their rotation, as they shipped out McCutchen, Upton and Frazier, netting Greinke, Nelson, closer Rodriguez and an additional 3B slugger in Davis. Look for these bold moves to pay off and for the Firebirds to be back in the playoffs in 2012.A
San Francisco SpartansSP Jason Jennings, SS Jason Bartlett, LF David Murphy, LF Manuel Sosa, 1B Makoto Shimizu, RP Kameron Loe, 2B Ryan Roberts, CF Coco Crisp, SP Jeff Niemann, RP Kevin HartSP Francisco Liriano, C Toyokazu Iwata, LF Hartmann Schiemann, RP Victor Santos, LF Brandon GemollThe Spartans are ready to start pushing their chips into the center of the table, and plan on debuting to prospect Jacob DeGrom in the rotation this season, who will be supplemented by the offseason steal of super-ace Liriano once he returns from injury around the All Star Break. Other key pieces as a part of their expansion build like Gennett and Chisenhall will debut this year, with Gregorius back in AAA for more seasoning. Offensive signings Iwata from Japan and Schiemann look to lengthen their lineup a bit. The division is tough, so the Spartans may finish above 500 but out of the playoffs.A
Seattle SteelheadsSP Brandon Lyon, SS Bill Hall, RP Mike Adams, 3B Hanley Ramirez, RP Scott Rice, SP Jose ValverdeSP Wes Roemer, LF Greg Halman, C Rodrigo Moreno, SS Justin SellersAfter 96 wins in 2009, Seattle could only muster 72 and 63 over the last two seasons. While not improving much this offseason, the Steelheads look to be deep into rebuild mode, and will probably start actively selling their remaining chips - namely slugger Bruce, de Smet and lock down closer Melancon. With the talent in the RC West improving, look for Seattle to finish at the bottom, fighting up against 100 losses like last season.B-

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