Wednesday, September 17, 2008

N.L. South Division Predictions

Season 9: 1st Place (106-56, World Series Champions)
Season 10 Prediction: 1st Place

The Skinny:
I'll be honest, I haven't even looked to see what the other teams did in the offseason. I don't really need to. 8 division titles in 9 seasons, 6 league championships and 3 World Series titles. Enough said. Florida will win the division again. C'mon, someone prove me wrong.
Florida did add a couple free agents in the offseason in 38-year old Buddy Menechino. At this point, Menechino is just touring the U.S. before he retires as he visits his 10th team in as many seasons. And it seems as if Menechino picked up a touring pal as Mike Etherton follows Menechino from Jacksonville to Miami. The real meat and potatoes of this team though is 2-time MVP Elmer Coleman and 20-game winner Ned McInerney. McInerney had a lot of help last season though as 7 pitchers won at least 10 games for the Lockdown. And Coleman has a nice sidekick in Humberto Lima who drove in 100+ runs last season.

Season 9: 2nd Place (78-84)
Season 10 Prediction: 2nd Place

The Skinny:
If someone's going to contend with Florida, I believe Texas has the best chance. They finished 28 games behind the Lockdown last season, but I don't see that happening again this season. The Longhorns have some future stars on the roster. We're mainly talking about 23-year old Carlos Aguilera, 24-year old Gary Blake and 24-year old Gregory Williams. Let's start with Aguilera. In 2 full seasons, he hit 96 home runs and drove in 281 runs. His projections are off the charts too so he's still getting better. Blake, on the other hand, doesn't pack the punch that Aguilera does, but he's a pure hit machine with a total of 360 over the last 2 seasons. I predict Blake reaches the 200-hit mark this season provided he stays healthy. And last but not least, Texas has a great young arm in Williams. Williams has a great changeup and slider and keeps the ball down. He's also equally tough to hit for lefties and righties. Williams should win around 15 games for the Longhorns this season.

Season 9: 4th Place (70-92)
Season 10 Prediction: 3rd Place

The Skinny:

Louisville had a very busy offseason and it should pay off for the Beaners. The biggest acquisition has to be J.R. Barkley who leaves Florida with a World Series ring. Barkley still has great ratings and he's very healthy so we expect he'll have another solid season. Louisville also signed a couple nice bats in Brian Tamura, Michael Cortes and Erik Langston. Of the three, I'm highest on Tamura.
With Barkley and Steve Floyd at the top of the rotation, Louisville has a nice 1-2 combo and should make some strides this season, but they've got some elder statesman so they'll need to remain healthy if they expect to move up in the standings.

Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City Power Failure (NL)
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Season 9: 3rd Place (76-86)
Season 10 Prediction: 4th Place

The Skinny:
When Louisville signed J.R. Barkley, that made Mateo Estrada expendable and he headed to division rival Oklahoma City. Barkley is better, but Estrada is a nice pick up. He'll join Nicky Hill, a decent young arm, and Sam Guerrero at the top of the Power Failure's rotation. Oklahoma City needs to find another arm if they want to contend in the division though. The offense is led by one of the best names in the game, Chili Chen. Chen has put up strong numbers over the last 2 seasons and he should continue to do so this season. Chen will get help from Grady MacFarlane who had a nice rookie campaign last season and Kip Sosa who has the ability to be a future star.

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