Wednesday, June 10, 2015

American League East Preview

American League East
Philadelphia Phillies
Prediction – 89-73

Offensive Rank – 10th             Defensive Rank – 11th              Pitching Rank – 15th  

Best Position Player –
Hipolito Paniagua (2B) 5th overall position player – 1st overall Second Basemen   
Best Pitcher –
Al Regan  (SP) 113th overall pitcher – 68th overall starting pitcher       
Added Players –       
Phil Gordon (CF) 5 years 25.0 million (mutual option) {176th ranked position player}
Jason Jakubauskas (CF) 4 years 24.8 million (mutual option) {160th ranked position player}
Luis Rodriguez (P) 3 years 13.2 million (mutual option) {161st ranked pitcher}
Al Regan (P) 2 years 10.4 million (mutual option) {113th ranked pitcher}
Miguel Alfonzo (P) 2 years 9.6 million (mutual option) {159th ranked pitcher}
R.J. Lopez (P) 3 years 7.8 million (mutual option) {222nd ranked pitcher}
Mark Lee (P) 2 years 6.4 million (mutual option) {137th ranked pitcher}
Walt Bolden (P) acquired in a trade from the Mexico City Cartel {160th ranked pitcher}
George Justice (2B) Rule 5 Draftee
Jose Maduro (P) Rule 5 Draftee
Heinie Montana (CF) Rule 5 Draftee
David Castillo (3B) Rule 5 Draftee
Sal Waters (P) Rule 5 Draftee
Wilin De La Vega (P) Claimed off waivers {243rd ranked pitcher}
Benito Ayala (RF) Acquired in a trade from Rochester {106th ranked position player}
Tomas Familia (P) Acquired in a trade from Rochester {124th ranked pitcher}
Departed Players –   
Miley Sowers (P) – Option Declined, Carlos Calles (P) – Option Declined, Hugh Whitehead (P) – Option Declined, Alex Neruda (P) – Option Declined, Juan Guzman (RF) – Option Declined
Yonder Mercedes (P) Left for Free Agency
J.P. Hutch (P) Traded to Rochester

Philadelphia Phillies was playing in the big apple last season but the management believed that for greatest success the team needed to move to the city of brotherly love.  New owner, brickyard9 said of this move, “The move to Philadelphia will be exciting and should continue to bolster an offense that has a lineup 1 through 8 with long-ball potential in every at bat.”  
The season did start out rocky for the new franchise as star pitcher J.P. Hutch threaten to retire if he was forced to pitch in Citizen Bank Ballpark, also star reliever Yonder Mercedes was determined to test the free agent market, especially in a weak year.  This will definitely affect the pitching staff this season, as the team went and got several pitchers in the free-agent market but none are even close to the caliber of Hutch and Mercedes.  brickyard9 added, “I know the bullpen will be struggle this season but we will throw anything at the wall, including the bullpen coach if we need to.”
“The goal this off-season was to get quality back for J.P. Hutch and provide depth to this team, as it was lacking in prior seasons under the old management, as it just fell apart in the playoffs.  We have several young sluggers in Kevin Matsui, Benito Ayala, Cookie Palacios and Yorrick Wolf that could make a big impression on the fans in Philadelphia.” brickyard9 said about his goals this season.
Expected Lineup:
Clay Olsen – Catcher
Kevin Matsui – First Basemen
Hipolito Paniagua – Second Basemen
Rudy McCracken – Third Basemen
Miguel Fernandez – Shortstop
Benito Ayala – Leftfield
Jason Jakubauskas – Centerfield
Andy Decker – Rightfield
Malik Dawkins – Designated Hitter

Expected Pitchers –
Walt Bolden
Tomas Familia
Yuniesky Ordaz
Alfredo Astacio
Seth Sierra
Warm Body

The Philadelphia Phillies are clearly in a rebuilding mode but they are lucky enough to play in a weak division this season and could still see the playoffs.  This team is stacked with offensive weapons that should really work well in Citizen Bank Park but the problem with the Phillies this season will be the pitching.  I believe the starters will be okay and most of the time decent but it is the bullpen that will cause headaches and heartburn for the fans in Philly this season.  The future looks bright for the team once the rebuild is done but this could be a difficult season even if they do make the playoffs.  

Dover Destroyers
Prediction – 81-81

Offensive Rank – 20th             Defensive Rank – 14th              Pitching Rank – 13th

Best Position Player –
Yonder Zurbaran (CF) 2nd overall position player – 1st overall Centerfielder
Best Pitcher –
Jocko Lambert (RP) 35th overall pitcher – 12th overall relief pitcher       
Added Players -       
Clay Giles (P) 3 years 23.0 Million (mutual option) {84th ranked pitcher}
Greg Fleming (SS) 1 year 3.3 Million {275th ranked position player}
Ron Cloud (P) 2 years 5.8 Million (no-trade clause) {190th ranked pitcher}
Colby Hewson (LF) Rule-5 Draftee
Departed Players –
Rafael Arroyo (SS) Released, Albert Holt (SS) Released
Ozzie Patton (P) Declined Option, Roger Shiell (P) Declined Option
Wiki Flores (1B) Left for Free Agency, Al Dunn (LF) Left for Free Agency, Reid Cassidy (2B) Left for Free Agency, Al Polanco (P) Left for Free Agency, Edgmer Estrada (RF) Left for Free Agency

Tampa Bay Targaryens
Prediction – 70-92

Offensive Rank – 24th              Defensive Rank – 30th              Pitching Rank – 20th

Best Position Player –
Dale Rolle (RF) 22nd overall position player – 3rd overall Right Fielder
Best Pitcher –
Ryne Crow (RP) 53rd overall pitcher – 22nd overall Relief Pitcher
Added Players -   
J.R. Payne (P) 1 year 2.6 Million {228th ranked pitcher}
Derrin Henry (P) 1 year 2.6 Million {100th ranked pitcher}
Cookie DeRojas (SS) Rule-5 Draftee
Joshua Gardner (SS) Rule-5 Draftee
Hector Iglesias (SS) Rule-5 Draftee
Rich Fowler (P) Rule-5 Draftee
Departed Players –   
Rocky Mottola (P) Released, Zephyr Thomas (P) Released, Gene Alexander (3B) Released, Harvey Serrano (LF) Released
Yeico Rosado (SS) Left for Free Agency, B.C. Prado (SS) Left for Free Agency, Fritz Burks (P) Left for Free Agency, Brent Ventrella (P) Left for Free Agency, Aurelio Estrella (P) Left for Free Agency, Jacob Kaufman (P) Left for Free Agency, Freddy Haynes (2B) Left for Free Agency

Hartford Hungry Hungry Hippos
Prediction – 51-111
Offensive Rank – 32nd              Defensive Rank – 28th               Pitching Rank – 23rd  

Best Position Player –   
Don Won (1B) 55th overall position player – 12th overall First Basemen
Best Pitcher –       
Tony Forest (SP) 25th overall pitcher –17th overall Starting Pitcher
Added Players -       
Mack Timmons (P) Rule 5 Draftee
Departed Players –           
Ed Kirkland (P) Released, Harry Byrne (P) Released
Archie Johnstone (P) Declined Option, Joshua Phillips (LF) Declined Option, Eduardo Tarraga (1B) Declined Option, Junior Cortes (LF) Declined Option, Jesse Owens (RF) Declined Option, Ned Kashmir (RF) Declined Option
Andrew Young (C) Left for Free Agency, Max Aguilar (3B) Left for Free Agency, Nate Bechler (LF) Left for Free Agency, Lon Burch (LF) Left for Free Agency, Buck Ward (DH) Left for Free Agency, Midre Castillo (DH) Left for Free Agency, Milton Guerrero (2B) Left for Free Agency

Hartford Hungry Hungry Hippos or what Hartford is calling them “4H” or “Hartford Help Help Help” was playing in the St. Louis last season but the management believed that for greatest success the team needed to move to the Hartford too shack the bad taste of many losing season behind them.  Dabomb163783 is quoted about the move “we've been able to draft well and bring in the type of players who should excel in this type of city, and the hitter's park that comes along with it. Also, the move to the Northeast fits the team’s personality, as we look forward to leading the league in IHB (Intentionally Hit Batters).”  
Hartford’s main priority was to resign their best relieve pitcher in Ken O’Neal, which they did, so now the team knows who will be closing there games for them this season.  The other goal was to improve the coaching staff and sign defense guru Tom Emanski.  These are not lofty goals for a season but it’s a step in the right direction for the team.  
“Hartford is full of young energetic players and we have a couple rookies who will be making a major impact this season.” dabomb163783 said about a very strong rookie class coming up for the team.
Expected Lineup:
George Fleming – Catcher
Don Won – First Basemen
Wilbur Borland – Second Basemen
Chili Tabaka – Third Basemen
Wilfredo Franco – Shortstop
Otis Hunter – Leftfield
Damaso Martinez – Centerfield
Christopher Gray – Rightfield
Chris Kirby – Designated Hitter

Expected Pitchers –
Tony Forest
Tripp Payne
Troy Mahomes
Martin Decker
Chris Woodson
Ken O'Neil – Closer
Hope and Pray
The Hartford Hungry Hungry Hippos are on the up-swing but will take a step back this season.  The young players will need time to grow and the complete lack of depth in the pitching department will hurt in the homerun paradise that is Welch Field.  The future is bright for Hartford but this season will still be rough and painful to watch at times but there is a definite light at the end of this tunnel.

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