Monday, June 20, 2011

100 Win Seasons: Season 20 Update

Season 21 went to the Charlotte Driskills, giving infamy his 2nd World Series title in a row in Gehrig.

In 21 seasons, 68 teams have 100 wins or more in a season, with 30 from the NL and 38 from the AL. Of these 68 teams, only 11 teams have ended up winning the World Series. This equates to a 52% success rate of winning the championship after recording 100 or more wins.

Click on the image for a larger, and easier to read, image.
Season 21 AL Preview

FA signings: Antone Howard (RH setup), Mitchell Langerhans (OF), Fernando Romano ( C), Dee Helms (RH SP/LR), Ben Jackson (RH setup), Hector Almonte (SS)

Bullpen upgrades were needed - hard to believe when a bullpen has Luis James, but it’s true - and addressed in the offseason with new righthanded relievers. Jackson could close for many teams, while Howard is older but still valuable. Helms can contribute as a starter or in the pen. Langerhans will add power from either the outfield or third base while Almonte brings a Gold Glove to the shortstop position. Romano’s durability might be an issue but is talented.

Trade Acquisitions: Kevin Weathers (RH setup), Jay Throneberry (SP),
Weathers is yet another solid addition to the pen. Throneberry arrives from Charleston where he was a very effective starter.

Losses: Richard Tanaka, Raul Guillen, Orlando Molina, Harry Beltre, Felipe Lopez, Will Phelps, Sammy Mesa
Quite a few names here, including starter Phelps and the disappointing young Tanaka.

Last season: 78-84, 2nd place in the AL North
Runs: 779 +32 from last season (9th in AL)
ERA: 4.48 +0.14 from last season (11th in AL)
Fielding: .985 (11th in AL) 92/13 +/-

Conclusion: Last year was a disappointing one for Fargo. Most of the departures have been answered with either free agency or trade acquisitions. Although there’s not much at AAA, two young position players are in the mix (David Lee, Zephyr Anderson) and should contribute significantly.

FA Signings: None
The Bulldozers did re-sign a couple of vets - the venerable Dave Barnes and first baseman Alberto Santos.

Trade Acquisitions: None

Losses: None

Last season: 76-86, 3rd place in AL North
Runs: 757 -87 (11th)
ERA: 4.41 -0.17 (10th)
Fielding: .986 (T7th) 22/74 +/-

Conclusion: The status quo appears to be good enough for Buffalo for the second year in a row. There are 2 good looking pitchers in AAA (especially David Gao), but for the most part the roster appears to be somewhat unchanged. This is a fairly wide open division so Buffalo certainly has a shot with the players they have.

CLEVELAND (was Philly):
FA Signings: Mateo Rosado (RH Closer), Don Perez (LH SP), Lorenzo Cordero (RH Setup)
Rosado and Cordero are both relievers signed away from the Colorado (formerly Vancouver) franchise. Perez is a future hall-of-famer but still an effective pitcher at age 39.

Trade Acquisitions: Brant Martin (1B), J.R. Benson (RH SP)
Martin is an effective young slugger while Benson will be making his MLB debut at 25.

Losses: Rip Palmer (1B), Enrique Lunar (LH closer), Fausto Ramirez (RH setup)
Rip is a huge bat to lose but Martin is a nice replacement.

Last season: 61-101, 4th place AL North
Runs: 794 -30 (7th)
ERA: 5.77 +0.46 (15th)
Fielding: .979 (15th) 21/97 +/-

Conclusion: Everything got worse for a bad squad in season 20. The new owner did manage to do well in replacing the talented but departing Rip Palmer with a very good batter in Brant Martin. It looks like there still is a lot of work to do with this franchise, but bullpen additions and 2 new starters in Perez and Benson should improve things in Cleveland (Philly last season).

FA Signings: Vance Surkamp (1B/LF), Don Buckley (1B/OF)
Surkamp is another speedy slugger, the kind of player that Detroit seems to favor lately. Buckley looks to play more a bench role.

Trade Acquisitions: Rafael Baez (OF/1B)
Not as busy on the trade front this year, the North Stars obtained just Baez from Santa Cruz. He’s a speedy guy who can get on base to go at the top of the order.

Losses: Tony Atkins (SP), Marty Steele (C/DH)
The oft hurt Atkins declined his option, while Steele was a sturdy platoon player.

Last Season: 98-64, 1st place AL North
Runs: 824 -10 (5th)
ERA: 3.97 -0.91 (3rd)
Fielding: .988 (T4th) 75/35 +/-

Conclusion: Last year’s success was a complete surprise to North Star fans and management. The pitching staff really improved. The core of that overachieving team is still intact; it remains to be seen if they are capable of winning close to 100 games for a second season in a row.

Hypno’s Projected Order of Finish:
1. Fargo
2. Detroit
3. Buffalo
4. Cleveland

FA Signings: Rodrigo Tavarez (RH SP)
The 29-year-old Tavarez was brought over from St. Louis on close to a max contract. He’s a Cy Young caliber pitcher that will be returning to the AL. Jax also re-signed 2 important pieces, Jeremy McCall and Butch Michaels.

Trade Acquisitions: None

Losses: Norberto Hernandez (3B), Pablo Gabriel (RP), Vic Barcelo (SP), Vincente Ibarra (RP)

Last Season: 92-70, 1st place AL East
Runs: 790 +35 (8th)
ERA: 4.23 -0.11 (6th)
Fielding: .986 (T7th) 81/39 +/-

Conclusion: Jacksonville improved both offensively and defensively last season, which meant an 11 game jump, a division title and a return to the playoffs for one of the most successful and consistent franchises in Gehrig. Tavarez is a huge addition to a starting staff that lost some aging vets. There doesn’t seem to be much help at AAA, so replacing Hernandez at third base will be done by someone at the major league level.

FA Signings: Brace Clinton (SS), Keith Heath (RH LR), Troy Denny (RH LR/SP)
Clinton was finally used as a shortstop by Vancouver the past couple of seasons and looks to do the same in Trenton. Both pitchers are not impact pitchers but should look to stabilize or improve last season’s 13th best staff.

Trade Acquisitions: None

Losses: Brian Wilkins (RH Closer), Al Pinzon (LH RP), George Taylor (RH SP)
The underperforming bullpen takes a hit, which might not be a bad thing.

Last Season: 74-88 3rd place AL East
Runs: 773 -84 (10th)
ERA: 4.97 no change (13th)
Fielding: .981 (T13th) 70/39 +/-

Conclusion: Last season Trenton slipped in the standings, outpaced by a surging Pittsburgh team. The relatively few offseason moves may be balanced by several good pitchers in AAA that may make an appearance this season in the majors.

BOSTON (was Cleveland):
FA Signings: Jerome Cooper (RH RP)
Cooper last played in AA; Boston did resign Clarence Ramsey (P).

Trade Acquisitions: Stu Huson (RH SP)
Huson is a good looking young pitcher who should have no problem improving a pretty sorry pitching staff.

Losses: Brant Martin (1B), Carlos Melendez (RP), Skip Allensworth (RP)
Martin is a solid bat and not an easy one to replace.

Last season: 60-102 4th AL East (as Cleveland)
Runs: 706 -43 (16th)
ERA: 5.33 +0.20 (14th)
Fielding: .980 (14th) 90/13 +/-

Conclusion: More subtractions than additions might actually be a good thing in Boston. Huson is a nice addition, but Martin is also a big loss from the lineup and there doesn’t seem to be anything at AAA to help out.

FA Signings: Rip Palmer (1B), Rob Holbert (LH Setup)
Palmer is a big-time bat, while Holbert was rescued from the Arizona desert .

Trade Acquisitions: None

Losses: Yoo-nah Masato (RP), Hooks O’neill (OF), Alberto Cervantes (3B/SS)

Last season: 84-78 2nd in AL East
Runs: 798 +135 (6th) (big jump)
ERA: 4.25 -0.68 (7th) (nic jump)
Fielding: .988 (T4th) 77/23 +/-

Conclusion: Easily the most improved team in the AL last season., they only get better with the addition of Palmer. The losses are marginal. There’s a future superstar at AAA in Sherman Fleming; it remains to be seen if we’ll him in season 21. This is a young team that is still improving and should really push Jacksonville for the title.

Hypno’s Projected Order of Finish:
1. Jacksonville
2. Pittsburgh
3. Trenton
4. Boston

FA Signings: Norberto Hernandez (3B),Harry Jensen (DH), Victor Estrada (RH setup), Terrell Wheat (OF), Dude Lanigan (CF), Enrique Lunar (LH setup),
Pretty busy time for Richmond, re-tooling after an unsuccessful defense of a world’s championship. None of these players are blockbusters but all are solid additions.

Trade Acquisitions: None

Losses: Harry Delgado (SS), Robert Barker (OF), Odalis Garza (RP)

Last season: 93-69, 2nd place AL South
Runs: 747 -169 (12th)
ERA: 3.96 no change (2nd)
Fielding: .989 (T1st) 82/17 +/-

Conclusion: The offense took a huge hit in season 20, but a strong pitching staff carried the team to another playoff appearance. That looks to be the same formula this season - although the offense should be improved, pitching remains the team’s strong point. In almost any division but this one they might be favored.

FA Signings: Trot Andrews (RH SP)
Andrews will be given a shot , his first chance at the majors since season 19.

Trade Acquisitions: Malcolm Rivera (OF)
He is a power bat and will be given a chance in Atlanta.

Losses: Ray Gray (P), Neil Mercedes (OF)

Last season: 86-76, 3rd Place AL South
Runs: 835 +49 (4th)
ERA: 4.37 +0.50 (8th)
Fielding: .989 (T1st) 65/16 +/-

Conclusion: This Atlanta team looks to rebound from a slip to 3rd place in the tough AL South. A bit of a rebuilding effort took place in season and the results showed as the team scored more runs, but also saw the pitching fall. There are several players in AAA who may have a chance to contribute in the majors this year.

FA Signings: None

Trade Acquisitions:

Losses: Wilfredo James (3B), Al Chantres (1B/DH), Edwin Lush (OF)

Last Season: 110-52, 1st place AL South; WS Champs
Runs: 965 +122 (2nd)
ERA: 4.10 no change (4th)
Fielding: .988 (T4th) 78/22 +/-

Conclusion: A huge year; a world series win; why change anything?

FA Signings: Diego Abreu (RH RP), Ivan Soto (IF)
Neither look to contribute much to a sorry Santa Fe team.

Trade Acquisitions: None

Losses: Diego Soto (RP)

Last Season: 40-122, 4th place AL South
Runs: 722 +54 (14th)
ERA: 6.83 +0.55 (16th)
Fielding: .973 (16th) 60/63 +/-

Conclusion: This is a young team that played horrible ball last season. There is talent at AAA, and several rookies in the majors that can make a difference, but ownership needs to supplement the youth with free agents to field a more competitive team.

Hypno’s Projected Order of Finish:
1. Charlotte
2. Richmond
3. Atlanta
4. Santa Fe

FA Signings: Lonny Fryman (LH P), Odalis Garza (RH P)
Both players are 36 so really shouldn’t be considered part of any future plans.

Trade Acquisitions: Davey Arrojo (RH SP)
Arrojo is a nice righthanded SP coming over from Salem.

Losses: Fernando Romano ( C), Rob Holbert (P), Don Perez (P)
Perez was still pitching solidly last season despite his age (38).

Last Season: 78-84, 3rd place AL West
Runs: 746 -41 (13th)
ERA: 4.37 -0.14 (9th)
Fielding: .986 (T7th) 65/31 +/-

Conclusion: The offense declined last season, but young Luther Evans awaits in AAA, perhaps as soon as this season. It’s doubtful though that Evans alone can change the fortunes of the Sun Devils in a tough AL West.

FA Signings: None
Re-signing Lou Luke was certainly the focus in the off season.

Trade Acquisitions: None

Losses: Gary Fielder (LH setup), Stuart King (RH setup), Kordell Bradshaw (RH closer)

Last Season: 94-68, 2nd place AL West
Runs: 862 -51 (3rd)
ERA: 4.20 +0.39 (5th)
Fielding: .989 (T1st) 63/26 +/-

Conclusion: The Burners took a step back last season. The bullpen will be young and volatile and could be this strong team’s weakest point.

COLORADO (was Vancouver):
FA Signings: Lloyd Williamson (LH SP), Chipper James (CF)
Williamson is a good, if pricey, starting pitcher while James is a speedy veteran centerfielder.

Trade Acquisitions: None

Losses: Mateo Rosado (RP), Brace Clinton (SS), Al Vazquez (P)

Last Season: 107-55, 1st place AL West

Runs: 976 -78 (1st)
ERA: 3.72 -0.01 (1st)
Fielding: .986 (T7th) 60/17 +/-

Conclusion: As talented a team as they come, Colorado (previously Vancouver) will need to try and put it together in the hitter’s park that is Coors Field. They have very strong starting pitching, but traditionally this team’s weakness has been it’s relievers. The bullpen, as in Salt Lake City, could be this team’s undoing.

FA Signings: Timothy Boyd (OF)
Only one signing but a big one - Boyd is a terrific slugger, coming over from San Juan with over 460 carreer homers.

Trade Acquisitions: Marty Steele (C/DH)
Steele crushes lefties, but will also have a hard time as a backstop.

Losses: Rafael Baez (1B/OF), Dan Strange (P), Cy Corcoran (3B), Geraldo Vargas (P), Slash Mills (P), Octavio Lugo (IF)

Last Season: 74-88, 4th place AL West
Runs: 707 +27 (15th)
ERA: 4.66 +0.12 (12th)
Fielding: .984 (12th) 56/31 +/-

Conclusion: With young talent already at the big league club and at AAA, combined with the addition of slugger Boyd, Santa Cruz looks poised to make a move but it will still be a struggle to stay out of the basement in this tough division..

Hypno’s Projected Order of Finish:
1. Salt Lake City
2. Colorado
3. Arizona
4. Santa Cruz

Hypno’s division winners: Fargo, Jacksonville, Charlotte, Salt Lake City
Hypno’s Wildcard picks: Pittsburgh, Richmond
Hypno’s Pennant Pick: Charlotte