Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Season 14 Preview - NL SOUTH (Pole)

Those flags took a surprisingly long time.

Texas Instruments
Projected Record: 86-76, 1st
Best Player: Hipolito Reynoso
Random Trivia: It's true...everything is bigger in Texas, except their instruments.

Last season the new owner of Texas burst onto the scene by winning the division with lots of runs and some solid pitching.  This off-season was a bit rough, as the team decided to let last season's ace Omar Gonzales, 20-20 threats Lewis Harvey and Kent Pride, and Stephen Phillips depart to NL rivals.  To offset this, the Instruments stole 5-time All-Star 3B Jermaine Good from San Antonio for prospects.  New #1 pitcher Donovan Mateo is out for the next 34 days, so if Texas wants a repeat division title, they better score in bunches.  If they can't manage to score enough runs, Texas will be left holding their Instruments come October. 

Monterrey Jack Cheese
Projected Record: 85-77, 2nd
Best Player: Archie Charleston
Random Trivia: Off-brand Monterey Jack Cheese is commonly referred to as Jack Off.

Does this team have enough for one last run?  The staff has over 10,000 innings pitched, 55 years of ML experience, and an average age of 34.  It seems as though this will be the last year before the Cheese-heads will be taken to the grater.  However, if they can get enough run support from the likes of 5-time All-Star Archie Charleston and RF Ed Borders, these aged cheeses might be able to spank the Instruments out of a division title. Either that, or they'll stink...like cheese.  Ok, now I'm out of cheese jokes.

Florida Storm
Projected Record: 79-83, 3rd
Best Player: Trevor Marquis
Random Trivia: "Eye of the Storm" is the theme song on the direct-to-video Rocky vs. The Cyclone

The Storm is coming.  Last year we saw this Florida team win 71 games, which was a marked improvement over the previous 3 seasons which totaled nearly 300 losses.  This season, the signing of Carl Blue finally gives the Storm a table-setter and trading for Trevor Marquis brings in the ace they've needed for years.  This may be the season where we see the long-awaited promotion of slugger Dioner Zumaya.  However, this is still a work in progress and the team may not gel with all the new additions.  Look for this team to surprise a lot of people, but fall short of a postseason berth.

Charleston Chews
Projected Record:
62-100, 4th
Best Player: Ernest Rooney
Random Trivia: While the Chews excel at Mastication, the Instruments excel at...

Ah yes, rebuild mode, I know ye well.  After winning 68 games last season and currently operating with one of the lowest payrolls in the majors, the road to recovery looms long for the Chews.  But let's not hang our heads too low.  With young talent such as Ernest Rooney and Welington Solano already in the majors, and potential All-Star Esteban Guerrero a likely call-up this year, don't be surprised if Charleston becomes Big League Chew sooner than later.  Although I must say...personally, I prefer a good Toblerone.

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