Friday, April 3, 2009

NL East Preview

The NL East returns all 4 owners from last season. No team won more than 95 or less than 75 which means this division is even top to bottom. Every team has a shot a the division title and could take home 3 playoff spots. It may be reviewer bias but this is probably the best division in the world however it will be interesting to see if all 4 teams beat up on one another so much that it will hurt their overall win totals. The front runner looks to be the Loggers with dark horses in the Hoosiers and the Redlegs with the Hilltoppers having a disappointing season compared to years past.

Kansas City LOGGERS- Owner: Llcc (12th Season)
Payroll- $82,968,283
Last Year's Record- 95-67 (1st)

Owner Llcc returns for his 12th season at the helm of the Loggers. He has had a monopoly over the NL East with 7 Division Championships and 10 playoff appearances. He is still looking for that elusive World Series Crown. He retruns probably the best coaching staff in the league and the pressure on them is coming to a head with an increasingly competitive division. The team is led by LF and returning MVP Mateo James. With over 150 Hr's in two years and still improving, there is no reason to think he wouldn't repeat as MVP again. There could be problems with some of the offense however. This reviewer wonders if some of the LOGGERS would be able to hit the pitching in one of the deepest pitching staff's in baseball. The pitching staff is solid once again behind staff ace Jeff Cirillo. One weakness to the staff would be a lack of a 5th starter. If llcc could pick one up, the LOGGERS should compete for the division again. There are a couple pieces down in the minors but Llcc will look to restock the organization for the future.

Projected Wins- 90-95

Indianapolis Hoosiers- Owner: Xubrad (2nd Season)
Payroll- $50,305,416
Last Year's Record- 75-87 (4th)

Last year was the first year under new owner Xubrad. In his first season he had to rebuild the entire organization through trades and the draft. This year we will see if all of the hard work will pay off. The Hoosiers are going to be one of the youngest teams in the world. The Hoosiers will have 9 rookies and 16 players total with less than 3 years of experience. This team is one of the most improved and talented teams in the NL where they will try to break the 9 year losing streak. The offense will be led by 2B Clay Webb and Zoltan Terry. These two will be competiting for MVP honors for years to come. The Starting rotation will be the key to the team this year. The Hoosiers will have 3 rookies in this years rotation led by future Cy Young Aaron Duff and future All Star in Doug Hogan. the Hoosiers will have one of the deepest teams in the league and have even more depth if needed in the minors. This looks to be an exciting season for the Hoosiers and may lead to their first post season appearance in a long time but can they break through in what looks to be the biggest and baddest division in baseball.

Projected Wins- 87-92

Cincinnati Redlegs- Owner: Mjdato (9th Season)
Payroll- $63,475,800
Last Year's Record- 83-79 (3rd)

Mjdaro enters his 9th season at the helm of the Redlegs. So far he has had littke success but the last three years he has compiled winning seasons. So far he had little to show but will this be the year when the Redlegs break through? This years pitching staff will be led by a late addition last fall in Felix Cummings. This will be his first season with Cincy at he will look to get them over the hump. The rest of the starting rotation looks to be above average. The bullpen may be the weekeness keeping the Redlegs out of the playoffs. They have soe quality pitchers but there may be a lack of depth when the pitchers start to tire over the summer months. 3B Albert Julio will look to lead another above average offense in the division. If they can keep their run production high enough to cover some weak spots in the bullpen then the Redlegs may break through for their 1st playoff appearance.

Projected Wins- 85-90

Wichita Hilltoppers- Owner: Oakout (6th Season)
Payroll- $81,040,950
Last Year's Record- 92-70 (2nd)

Oakout returns for his 6th season at the helm of the Hilltoppers. Oakout has led Wichita to 5 straight post season appearences and have consistantly battled the LOGGERS for for division championships year in and year out. The Hilltoppers offense and defense could be the downfall this season. There is no doubt that Shep Daal and Marty Schrenk will lead the team offensively but their is concern with OF depth and at SS. The will have to fill some big gaps offensively if they want to compete top to bottom. Cy Young Rolando Nieves looks to lead a front loaded pitching staff. The entire staff is by far the weakest in the division. Nieves will put up double didget wins but will it be enough to pull through in such a loaded division.

Projected Wins- 75-80

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