Season Analysis

1996-1997 Off-Season Recap

Team Key Departures Key Acquisitions Summary Grade
Holbrook Hawks RP Mike Hartley; SP Frank Viola; CF Carl Everett; CL Billy Wagner; SP Roger Pavlik RP Jeff Nelson Got younger, leaner, and have upgraded themselves to the second best minor league system. B+
Pittsburgh Champions C Chad Kreuter; CF Dwayne Hosey C Tom Lampkin Relatively quiet offseason after a great 1996 campaign, will be looking to maintain that momentum in the AC East. B-
Florida Flamingos SP Roger Clemens; 2B Terry Shumpert; C Ron Karkovice; CF Ken Griffey Jr. SP Scott Erickson; SP Kevin Ritz; CL Billy Wagner; SP Jeff Suppan; 2B Randy Velarde Shed salary, stock-piled young talent and pitching. Under-performed in 96, could be a surprise in 97. A-
Philadelphia Phantoms 2B Mickey Morandini; CL Billy Wagner; SP Jeff Suppan; RP Tony Fossas; 2B Randy Velarde; 3B Dave Magadan; RF Tony Gwynn SS Tony Fernandez; CF Carl Everett; 2B Terry Shumpert; 1B Jeff Bagwell; SP Ienobu Asano; CF Ken Griffey Jr. Spent big dollars and brought in some heavy artillery. The question will be if they have enough pitching to make a serious push, but the Big Unit is still at the top of his game. B+
New Orleans Voodoo RF Darryl Strawberry; RF Mark Whiten; RP Xavier Hernandez; 1B Eddie Murray LF Dave Martinez; 2B Mickey Morandini; RP Norm Charlton Quiet offseason after a WCS repeat. Shed a bit of salary, but don’t have much wiggle room. Avoided the injury bug in 96; will have continued success if they can avoid it again in 97. B-
San Antonio Armadillos RP Bob Wickman; CF Franklin Stubbs; C Tom Lampkin RP John Habyan; RP Jeff Parrett; C Chad Kreuter; CF Dwayne Hosey Will give New Orleans a serious run for their money. No weaknesses, as the lineup, rotation and bullpen are all strong. B+
Houston 36ers SP Tommy Greene RP Tony Fossas Needed to add more pitching to be able to compete this season. Continued development of their relatively deep farm system is the angle they’re being played, but may not impact the 97 season. C
Gobbler’s Knob Turkeys None None No players of note in or out. A few key players can help provide wins, but will come up short behind New Orleans and San Antonio in a tough division. C-
Portland Beavers SP Scott Erickson; RP Tom Henke; RP Jeff Shaw None Quiet offseason for the Beavers who enjoyed incredible success last year, and have all the pieces coming back to put them back into contention for the upcoming season. Top ranked minor league system will help keep them on top. B
Yellowknife Targaryens SP Dennis Martinez; RP Dan Plesac; RP Jeff Parrett; RP John Habyan; CF Devon White; RP Mark Eichhorn SP/RP Tim Scott; CF Lenny Dykstra; RP Jeff Shaw; SP Bill Swift; RP Gene Harris Brought in some pitching, but may not be enough to help solidify a non-existent rotation over the past two seasons. C+
Palo Alto Pranksters RF Dave Martinez RF Kirby Puckett Rumblings of trading Albert Belle, Jose Canseco and Glenallen Hill have all proved to be rumors, although the team could spare an OF’er and be just fine. A Jeter led offense with a plus rotation and bullpen could push Palo Alto into close contention with Portland for the West Division. B-
Sturgis Grizzlies 3B Sean Berry; MR Bruce Ruffin; CL Duane Ward; LF Geronimo Berroa; RF Joe Carter C Don Slaught; 1B Eddie Murray Not much to get excited about this season in Sturgis, as the division is tough and their big-name rotation might not be enough to keep them in contention throughout the year. C+
New York City Baseball Club SP Kenny Rogers; RF Orlando Merced; CF Lenny Dykstra 3B Dave Magadan; RF Tony Gwynn; 3B Chris Sabo; LF Candy Maldonado; RP Tom Henke; 1B Julio Franco; RP Jose Mesa; CF Chili Davis; RP Tom Edens Solid pitching and timely hitting got the NYCBC to the WCS last season, but may fall out of contention in their own division as rivals continue to build. B-
Old Bridge Titans RF Kirby Puckett; 3B Terry Pendleton; RP Tom Edens; C Don Slaught; 3B Chris Sabo RF Orlando Merced Old Bridge needs a few more bats to be competitive. Look for Maddux among others to be on the trading block if the season doesn’t start out well. C
Coney Island Whitefish LF Bernard Gilkey SP Diego Trujillo; SP Dwight Gooden; SP Brian Bohanon; SP Ryosei Fukuda Added a lot of solid pitching to a roster with an outstanding lineup. Coney Island should be a very tough matchup in 1997, and is the favorite to take the RC East. A
Charleston Rebels SP Dwight Gooden; SP Jamie Moyer; RP Norm Charlton; CF Eric Davis; 2B Howard Johnson; SP Jimmy Key; RP Jason Christiansen None Rebuild mode for the Rebels, partly forced by an upset owner over not meeting previous expectations. GM Mark Allen has his sights set on 1998 already. C
Bismarck Otto Vons 3B Bill Spiers; CL Dave Veres MR Bruce Ruffin; SP Kenny Rogers; 2B Howard Johnson; RP Mike Stanton; LF Bernard Gilkey Added a bunch of key pieces to the mix this offseason. The lineup will definitely produce, but the pitching depth will be a question mark. B+
Dallas Daredevils 1B Julio Franco; SP Brian Bohanon; RP Jose Mesa; 1B Jeff Bagwell None Although moving Bagwell upset many fans, the Daredevils lineup is still a tough out. Not enough quality pitching to be considered for serious contention, however. C-
Toledo Troutheads CF Chili Davis; 1B John Kruk RP Dan Plesac; 3B Sean Berry Toledo is a well balanced squad that should be able to make a playoff push this season. B+
Eden Prairie Landsharks RP Mike Stanton RP Duane Ward The Landsharks have great pitching from top to bottom. They can find themselves at the top of their division this year if their lineup can produce enough run support. B
Hollywood Stars SP Bill Swift C Ron Karkovice; SP Jimmy Key; RP Jason Christiansen; CL Dave Veres; RP Roberto Moya; SP Tommy Greene; SP Jamie Moyer The Stars took many steps to improve their roster this offseason, but as it stands, they are still a work in progress. A-
Seattle Steelheads RP Gene Harris None Seattle needed to upgrade their pitching staff this offseason and didn’t come through. Their offense is strong, but they match up poorly against the powerhouse in Phoenix. C-
Phoenix Firebirds LF Candy Maldonado RP Bob Wickman The Firebirds are still the scariest offense in baseball, and will win a lot of games if their starting pitching can get through the first few innings, as their bullpen is also top-notch. B+
Vancouver Porcupines 2B Nelson Liriano SP Roger Clemens; RP Xavier Hernandez Lots of big hitters, and an improved pitching staff. The Porcupines will look to build on last year’s success. B+

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