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Old 01-22-2009, 01:02 AM   #1
catman
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Default Major League Previews

This is the thread in which you pick a team and give a preview of the upcoming season, just as we've done before. Pick a team and tell us what they can do next season, giving a position-by-position preview, OK?

NL East:
Atlanta --
Florida --
New York Mets --
Philadelphia --
Washington --

NL Central:
Chicago Cubs --
Cincinnati -- CK FResh
Houston --
Milwaukee --
Pittsburgh --
St Louis --

NL West:
Arizona --
Colorado --
LA Dodgers --
San Diego --
San Fransisco --

AL East:
Baltimore --
Boston --
New York Yankees --
Tampa Bay --
Toronto --

AL Central:
Chicago White Sox --
Cleveland --
Detroit -- HibachiDG
Kansas City -- tobynosker
Minnesota --

AL West:
LA Angels --
Oakland --
Seattle --
Texas --


First come, first served. If someone wants 2 teams, that will likely be OK, but give everyone a chance to take a team, OK? I'll do a team or 2 if there are teams available.
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Last edited by catman; 01-26-2009 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
I'll do a team or 2 if there are teams available.
I have a sneaking suspicion there will be teams available...
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:13 PM   #3
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I have a hunch you are correct, Doug. Who do you want?
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:17 PM   #4
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You know who I got

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:40 PM   #5
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You've got the Reds.
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:21 PM   #6
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Eh, I'll take the Tigers. Not too much you can say about the Phillies other than World ****in' Champs.
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:28 PM   #7
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I'm waiting for someone to claim the...

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Old 01-22-2009, 01:34 PM   #8
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Doug, the Tigers are yours. My wife will be interested in what you think.
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:36 PM   #9
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I'll take my local team...

Oh wait, I've never had a local MLB team. Closest I had was the Reds while living in Louisville. This is one of the reasons I never became a huge baseball fan. Wish we had a team near Charlotte.
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:22 PM   #10
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I'll tackle the Royals, catman. I was glad to see Kansas City sign Zack Greinke to a four-year deal today. His on-field performance continues to improve, and he will be a consistent young starter in the middle of their rotation.
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Old 01-26-2009, 05:47 PM   #11
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It is good to see that, but I think he'll end up at the top of the rotation. I like his stuff.
And, by the way, you have the Royals.
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:28 AM   #12
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bump so no one misses this one.
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:15 PM   #13
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Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins should win the AL Central, if everything goes right for them. They are solid offensively, but rely on speed and smart baserunning as opposed to power.
Catcher -- Joe Mauer, if healthy, is the best catcher in the AL. Potentially, he could bat .325/15/85 and steal 10 bases, scoring 80+ runs. Defensively, he is very good, having won the gold glove in 2008. He has a career fielding percentage of .996. He has won 2 batting titles, and has a career BA of.317. He calls a very good game and works very well with the Twins pitching staff. Unfortunately he will likely start the season on the DL with some inflamation in his back. His treatments have been going well and I do not expect him to miss a lot of time, but the Twins will be very careful with him. His backups will be Mike Redmond and Jose Morales. Redmond has a lot of experience and is a very good guy to have around. Morales is a rookie with great minor league numbers.
If Mauer plays 125 games this season, I give the Twins catchers an A. If not, it drops to a B.
1B -- Justin Morneau is among the better players in the majors at this position. He is good for .300 BA, 30+ homers, 125+ RBI and almost 100 runs scored. He fields his position very well. He doesn't run particularly well, but doesn't make many mistakes on the basepaths. He is a very smart player, and a nice guy (yes, I've met him and talked to him quite a bit). He provides the homerun power in the lineup. He is backed up by Brian Buscher, but should play 150+ games in the field this year. He gets a grade A-.
2B -- Alexi Casilla. He is a very fast, smooth fielding player with good hitting instincts. He has a bit of pop in his bat, but his biggest asset is his speed. He should bat around .280 and steal 20+ bases. He might hit 10 homers and should score 85 runs. The more ABs he gets, the more runs he'll score. He is backed up by Matt Tolbert and Brendan Harris (if Tolbert makes the team). I'd give him a B-.
SS -- Nick Punto should get most of the starts here, but Harris will get some ABs here as well. Punto is one of the best base runners in the league and could score 100 runs this season if he hits well enough. He has a strong arm and decent range at SS. He has a career fielding percentage of .979 at SS. Frankly, I'd much rather see a full-time SS, allowing Punto to be the utility player he has been, but he is adequate player there. I give him a B-.
3B -- Joe Crede was brought in to supply some power in the line up and decent fielding. His contract is very incentive laden and if he reaches 525 plate appearances, he gets paid very well. If he reaches 525 plate appearances, the Twins will be fine here. His backups are Tolbert, Harris, and Buscher. I give the Twins a B- here as well.
LF -- Denard Span and Delmon Young will both play here. Either guy is pretty good, but both want to be the full-time guy here. Both are capable fielders and offer the Twins good bats. Is this the year Delmon breaks out? We'll see. Grade B here.
CF -- Carlos Gomez is an up-and-coming player. His speed on the basepaths is amazing. He could steal 40+ bases this season and hit 15 homers. Defensively, he is not a gold-glover, but is better than average. I expect him to hit .275, with 12 homers and score 90 runs. His backup is Span, but Young plays CF once in a while. I give the team a B+ here.
RF -- Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer will both play here. They are very different players. Span is very fast and catches the ball in the gap very well. Cuddyer is not as fast but has one of the best arms from the corner and wall in baseball. He also plays the ball off the wall as well as anyone has. Span is a better baserunner, but Cuddyer has better power. If you could put them together, you would have an A+ RF, but the pair gets a B+.
DH -- Jason Kubel has grabbed the position and run with it. Before last season, he was a question mark. Now, he is solid. I expect him to hit .280 with 20+ homers and 85+ RBI. He doesn't run well, and could be a base-clogger at times. He can also play LF when asked to, but hopefully, he won't be asked to very often. I give him a B+.
The bench is strong and versatile. I give them a B+.
Starting Pitching is one of the biggest assets this team has. The rotation should go like this:
Scott Baker -- projected 15-9, 3.50 ERA.
Francisco Liriano -- projected 16-5, 3.20 ERA.
Kevin Slowey -- projected 16-7, 3.50 ERA
Nick Blackburn -- projected 13-11, 4.10 ERA
Glen Perkins -- projected 10-10, 4.50 ERA.
This rotation is, potentially, as good as any in the AL. I don't expect a Cy Young candidate this year, but the top 3 could contend down the road. No one walks many hitters, and none are big strike-out pitchers (with Liriano as the exception if he has his slider), so they play to the strength of the team -- fielding. I give this group an A-.
Bullpen
Joe Nathan has become one of the better closers in the business. He is a 3-time All-Star and has been in the top 10 in the AL Cy Young and MVP voting twice. His set-up crew will include Luis Ayala, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Craig Breslow, and 2 of these guys -- Philip Humber, RA Dickey, and Brian Duensing. Humber is out of options and would be subjected to waivers if he doesn't make the team. Breslow is the only lefty with a position set, but Duensing had a very good spring and has impressed nearly everyone. Questions here are several. Can Guerrier get his stuff back? Can Crain last the season? Can Ayala be the guy in the 8th inning? Was Breslow's 2008 the norm or the exception?
Other than the closer's position, the bullpen is the weakness of the team. I give the entire bullpen a C+.
Batting Order
Span LF
Casilla 2B
Mauer C
Morneau 1B
Cuddyer RF
Kubel DH
Crede 3B
Punto SS
Gomez CF
Rookies to watch will be Brian Duensing, Jose Morales, Anthony Swarzak and Jose Mijares. Other guys that might contribute include Matt Macri (utility infield), Sean Henn (LHP), and Jason Priddie (OF).
Overall, I expect the Twins to win around 90 games this year and make the playoffs. Morneau and Mauer (if he plays enough) will be in the running for MVP and Morneau could win another RBI title.
I give the team a B+ overall.
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Last edited by catman; 04-01-2009 at 10:31 PM.
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