Season 15 Recap: Cincinnati squeaked by Augusta by 3 games for its 2nd straight division title. Augusta improved by 10 wind to 77; Buffalo and Columbus continued rebuilding campaigns. Edgar Perez of the Waste Managers took hone the AL FOY. Cincy upset D.C. in the first round of the playoffs and lost to Cleveland in the Division Round.
CINCINNATI could have one of the best rookie classes in the AL...don't know if there's a ROY candidate among them, but there are 5 who could possibly contribute. A return to Season 14 form by SP's Carlos Javier and Andy Newman would be a big help.
AUGUSTA dumped a bunch of 30+ guys - the only one they'll miss is C Crawford. Diego Coronado (1B) and Victor Perez (RF) should make up for his production plus some, and if they add a FA DH (a distinct possibility with guys like Padilla and Brooks still available) their offense could be much improved. Inoue and Barkley could give a boost to a staff that was pretty good last year.
BUFFALO is looking at another rebuilding year, although they could make some noise if they get good seasons from the aging-but-still-dangerous vets, William Katou and Vinny Zhang. Look for a better sop season from Season 13's #3 overall pick, Daniel Tankersly.
COLUMBUS has a trio of rookies - Theodore Maxwell, Andrew Davis and Fred Watson - ready to join last year's ROY candidates Fernando Espada and Pascual Pena in what could be the AL's youngest lineup. Problem: 16th in ERA last year and adding Humberto Roque (although that was a good move) isn't gonna be enough. With a couple of hitting-for-pitching trades, the Criminals could get into the race.
1. Cincinnati and Augusta battle it out all year again...I think the Waste Managers' rookies will trump the Bears' FA signings and pull it out.
2. IF Columbus can pull off a couple of trades to improve their pitching, they could get to .500. .500 can win this division.
3. Watch for Columbus' Fernando Espada to make some nosiue in the MVP race. The Criminals also have a possible ROY contender in Andrew Davis - his other ratings are just good enough for that 99 power to translate to 40+ HR's.