Thursday, January 13, 2011

Season 14 "Preview" - NL WEST

This has nothing to do with anything, but did anyone else notice how Ed Reed's brother went out exactly like the guy in Waltzing Matilda?


Omaha Bluffs
Projected Record: 103-59, 1st
Best Player: Irv Rooney
Random Trivia:  While it is somewhere in middle America, no one is sure where...

Pick a card, any card.  For the Bluffs it’s often been the wild card.  And much to the dismay of the steak lovers of Omaha, this is a team who's playoff runs sink faster than Ed Reed's brother.  Wow, too soon.  But a very busy off-season sought to end that pattern with the acquisitions of 9 players on the ML roster including MVP hopeful Peter Selby, Lewis Harvey, Phil Dougherty, and Jeff Lombard.  A disappointing pitching staff from a year ago was kept mostly intact and the addition of grief counselors to combat the depression of playing in Omaha seems to paying off…so far.

Arizona High Heat
Projected Record:  102-60, 2nd
Best Player: Victor Bennett
Random Trivia:  It really is the heat, not the humidity.

Two seasons removed from a World Series title, the High Heat are gunning for their 4th straight NL West crown.  With all 5 members of the rotation back as well as reigning MVP Victor Bennett, it’s no doubt they should be the odds on favorites.  But in a division that featured all four teams with winning records last season, fans of the High Heat will surely be sweating out another post-season.  Still, as long as they keep throwing "high heat" instead of "high slow hanging curve ball," they have a chance to win it all.

Tucson Toros
Projected Record: 82-80, 3rd
Best Player: Russell Rizzuto
Random Trivia:  Torosaurus is a real dinosaur.  Also, has a timeshare in Tucson.

13 seasons, 0 losing records.  Last year’s 82-80 record was the closest the Toros have ever come to mediocrity.  In response, Tuscon embarked on a massive off-season spending spree bringing on starters Omar Gonzales and Vic Molina for a combined $112.75 million.  Much to the delight of aging vets like Rizzuto, Dusty Durrington and Pablo Alvarado, the window will stay open a little while longer.  At least until the fans get their way and the 9 major leaguers from south of the border get deported.

St. Louis Lunatics
Projected Record: 75-87, 4th
Best Player: Onan Tabaka
Random Trivia: St. Louis is the most dangerous city in America.  I blame Nelly.

After last year’s 84-78 third place finish, fans were hoping for some improvement and a trip to the playoffs.  But an early season-ending injury to CF Steve Sullivan has taken a big toll on a team that didn’t do much this off-season.  Tabaka along with power hitting 3B D’Angelo Vasquez and solid 2B Ross Gordon can only carry the offense so much.  With a starting staff featuring control ratings of 49, 44, 54, and 55, the stadium soundtrack has been known to feature songs such as “Walk This Way,” “Wild Thing,” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”  Unfortunately for Nelly and the Lunatics, their best shot will most likely not be enough yet again.

Final division coming soon....then draft grades....

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