Season 14 Recap: Burlington took its 3rd straight division title. The other teams were in various stages of rebuilding, although Indianapolis improved by 10 games. The NL East took home no major awards last season.
BURLINGTON LAKE MONSTERS
Season 14 Rankings: Runs - 9th, Team ERA - 9th, Fielding % - 11th
Sayonara: RP Don Lee
New Faces: 1B James Riggs, 3B Wes Phillips
Rookie Possibilities: Sammy Canseco, R.A. Everett, and Sammy Coronado join the LR/starter group. AAA SP Joaquin Polanco is ready should any of the startes falter.
OUTLOOK: Wes Phillips is getting long in the tooth, but he should still help an offense that was too reliant on COF's McDowell and Beckett. Lotta rookies joining the staff - that's not usually great news. Look for some uneven performances from the newbie pitchers. My guess is the lake Monsters will be about on par with last year...the question is whether someone can improve enough to overtake them. Likely finish: 1st
Season 14 Rankings: Runs - 12th, Team ERA - 13th, Fielding % - T 4th
Sayonara: RP's Wolf Ellis and Lawrence Simpson, IF Ismael Lima, IF Brad Hart
New Faces: SP Cory Mitchell, 2B Tim Murray, LF John Li, RP Eric Langston
Rookie Possibilities: LR Richie Reuschel has made the roster. AAA IF Benji Cedeno and SP Efrain Zhang look like they could help at some point this year.
OUTLOOK: Could see a big jump in run production with Hart, Murray and Li on board. Mitchell will help the staff, but it will take some surprise big seasons from other pitchers for them to overhaul Burlington. Likely finish: 2nd
TOLEDO MUD HENS
Season 14 Rankings: Runs - 11th, Team ERA - 14th, Fielding % - 14th
Sayonara: C Lou Riley, CF Carlos Cairo, OF Harry Seguignol, OF Gary Goodwin.
New Faces: RP Russell Forest, RP Diego Martinez, 1B Sean Rakers, OF Omar Cruz
Rookie Possibilities: IF Charles Wakeland has a utility role. LF Garrett Fordham has the LF job, at least for now. Domingo Guillen has claimed a rotation spot. Relievers R.J. Abbey and Buzz Beck open in the 'pen.
OUTLOOK: With the end of the Goodwin era in Toledo, a step backward and more rebuilding ins likely. There are still some quality bats here that could bring good prospects in trade: watch for C Ted Stein, 1B Rafael Carreras and IF Robert Scarsone to be in new unis sometime this year. Likely finish: 4th
Season 14 Rankings: Runs - 7th, Team ERA - 15th, Fielding % - 16th
Sayonara: OF's Juan Rivera and Elroy Gant
New Faces: none
Rookie Possibilities: 3B Luis Diaz gets a shot after only a year in the minors. Rule V slugger Miguel Colon gets to see what he can do as a big league DH. Carl Reed will be a backup OF. Fonzie Tessmer starts the season in the rotation.
OUTLOOK: Didn't do as much in the offseason as Jacksonville, but I think they'll still improve. They have a respectable offense, and rookie 3B Diaz could help. While you'd have to say they're still very much in rebuilding mode, their top prospects are moving up and they shouldn't be more than a season away from making a significant move. Likely finish: 3rd