2022 Eastern Division Analysis

 

Since there was a plethora of games played already except for Hartford, who yet to roll some dice, the analysis will be not go into detail like previous years. A summary of each teamís strengths and weaknesses will be this yearís format. Detailed descriptions of entire rosters will have to wait until next year. Choppy and run on sentences are rampant and not the usual literary style of the author.

 

 

Philadelphia Black Sox

Starting Staff:

(B-Z) Flexen

(A & B-Z combo) Sale & Duffy

(B) Morton

(B) F.Peralta

(C-Z) Darvish

(C-Zís) Wood & Ryan

Note: After Flexen and the Sale/Duffy combo, nothing to write home about.

Division Rank: 6th

 

Bullpen:

(A*-Zís) Iglesias & Castillo

(A&C*) Treinen

(A*) Minaya

(A*-W) Feyereisen

Note: No B*-Zís to bridge the gap to the closers

Division Rank: 5th

 

Catchers:

Haase with double ones provides some pop but Casali as the back up will delight opposing managers.

 

Infield:

Cron, France, Seager and Moncada will not get any endorsements from the Rawlings Glove manufacturers. Seager and Cron can hit but the former has light at bats. Flores is not much of an option at DH. A.Frazier can throw some leather with his 2B-9 but has a OPS of .779. Guillorme is no help in reserve. J.D.Davis is the only serviceable piece in the minors.

 

Outfield:

Schwarber, Pollock and Avisail Garcia are an above average lot especially Schwarber, but his OF-1 has to be hidden. An aging Blackmon is not the answer and Canha has been on a decline.

Line up Rank: 5th

 

Draft Analysis:

Not an inspiring draft unless Flexen proves he is the real deal after his stint abroad. Josiah Gray if he overcomes his penchant for the gopher ball could be their best selection.

 

Synopsis:

The second oldest team in the division especially with aging starters Darvish and Morton could see their streak of six consecutive .500+ season abruptly end. They have come in 4th place in four of the last six years, which is the worse spot to be in, no playoffs and a lousy draft position. The East is a tough division, they will be hard pressed to duplicate their recent marginal success.

 

Sherwood Forest Machine

Starting Staff:

(B-Z) Pineda

(B-Z) Urquidy

(Bís) Lauer, Kim and Houck

(C-Zís) Hendricks, Gonzales and Weaver

Note: Not a typical Machine rotation.

Division Rank: 5th

 

Bullpen:

Apparently a few managers in the East had an epiphany and decided that the ďend game" can be handled by A*-No-Z's and if they get into trouble bring in a B*-Z. They have four such A*-No Zís and three B*-Zís. We will see how this system plays out.

Division Rank: 3rd

 

Catchers:

Will D.Smith and Willson Contreras are a strong tandem

 

Infield:

Belt at 1B had a great year, McMahon gets a 3B-5 but only a .780 OPS. Story and India are fine up the middle. Hoskins is the DH. Choi, Duffy and Sosa all have roles to play off the bench. Urias, a solid all round player is in the minors.

 

Outfield:

Bryce Harper and Judge are studs with Brandon Nimmo an on base guy. Supporting them are Gallo and fan favorite Akil Baddoo.

Division Lineup Rank: 1st

 

Draft Analysis:

They thought about Baddoo with their first pick; which was in the 2nd, but they held off until the 4th before they grabbed him. Lauer and Edmundo Sosa were their best selections along with un-carded Marcelo Mayer.

 

Synopsis:

They look playoff bound again, with the highest rated lineup in the league. It will be interesting to see how the new bullpen strategy plays out. They only have 1271 innings and they will need to squeeze something out of every one. A position player may have to help out on the hill as a D-W.

 

Brooklyn Metropolitans

Starting Staff:

(A-Z) Buehler

(A-Z) Rodon

(B-Z) Stroman

(B-Z) Fried

A formidable quartet but it drops off at # 5 with Kaprielian a Grade C-No Z.

Division Rank: 2nd

 

Bullpen:

(A&B*-Z), (A&C*-Z), two (A*-Zís) and a (B*-ZZ) will really shorten the game.

Division Rank: 2nd

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Catchers:

J.T.Realmuto had a down year but he is still better than average. Keibert Ruiz backs him as they wait for Francisco Alvarez to arrive in the show,

Infield:

Goldschmidt is solid at first base with his .879 OPS. Chapman and Gleyber Torres provide very little offense. Brendan Rodges is more than adequate at the keystone bag.

 

Outfield:

Marte is needed more here in the outfield instead of second base. Springer is solid but only 299 at bats. G.Cooper has the next highest OPS, he could be deployed in the pastures or maybe at DH but he limited to just 215 ABís. Brantley will start at one of the outfield post with Soler and Hilliard rotating in the outfield and DH. Two promising youngsters Jasson Dominguez and Julio Rodriguez, both un-carded, are getting close to their debuts.

Division Lineup Rank: 6th

 

Draft Analysis:

They swapped a lot of picks in this years draft to stockpile a crap load for next season. They did use their first four picks to take relievers, all A*-Zís or better.

 

Synopsis:

Pitching is not a problem, rotation is very good except if they need a 5th starter and the bullpen is excellent but the name of the game is to score some runs which could be problematic with a woeful lineup. Confidence was never a trait lacking in the Metropolitan front office but in a stacked Eastern Division, a lack of offense does not bode well for a post-season berth.

 

Rochester Rockers

Starting Staff:

As usual the Rochester manager has mapped out all 138 of their starts for this season. Although they did hit a snafu in their 3rd series when they pitched Eovaldi on two days rest.

(B-Z) Means

(B-Z) Cole

(B-Z) Bassitt

(C-Zís) Eovaldi, Ynoa and Anderson

Chris Ellis is a (A-No-Z) with 6 starts for the final section of the schedule

Sampson is a B-Z with 5 GS to also help in tier three.

Note: They did keep Strasburg hoping he will finally be healthy

Division Rank: 4th

 

Bullpen:

There are a lot of options here. Two A&C*ís and three A*s but NONE have them have a (Z). A pair of B*-Zís and two B*-No Zís fill out the pen. There is no bona fide closer.

Division Rank: 6th

 

Catcher:

Behind the dish they have to make do with Barnhart and Suzuki both sub .700 OPSís.

 

Infield:

ĺ of the infield in Crawford, Machado and Bryant are fairly solid with Josh Harrision the ďweakest linkĒ at second base. The DH chores will be shared by sluggers Schwindel and Dalbec. Long time ZSABL star, D.J.Lemahieu is in the minors..

 

Outfield:

All-World Outfielder Mike Trout is still that; but he only has 117 at bats. Brian Reynolds is a rising star. Newcomer Rafael Ortega will play a lot with Ruf, Renfroe and Luplow picking up the slack with Troutís limitations.

Division Lineup Rank: 4th

 

Draft Analysis:

They addressed any offensive concerns with Schwindel and Ortega. They then kept adding pieces of the puzzle with their final pick a gamble on Mike Clevinger bouncing back.

 

Synopsis:

The Rockers have a ďniceĒ team, but is it enough in a tough Eastern Division?

 

Las Vegas Crazy Horse

Starting Staff:

(A-Z) Buehler

(A-Z) Rodon

(B-Z) Stroman

(B-Z) Fried

(B) Hernandez (11 starts)

(C-Z) Cueto

Division Rank: 1st

 

Bullpen:

A*-ZZ, three A*-Zís and a A&C* make it a very deep ďpen".

Division Rank: 1st

 

Catchers:

Zunino has triple ones, Molina in his last hurrah backs him up with promising Riley Adams also on the roster.

 

Infield:

Freddie Freeman and Xander Bogaerts head the list with an aging Justin Turner at third, Kemp and Merrifield deploy at second base. Hoerner is in reserve but the shining stars are in the minors in un-carded C.J.Abrams, Spencer Torkelson and Bobby Witt Jr.

 

Outfield:

Juan Soto with a boat load of 14ís and J.Winker will start with the other spot filled by Duvall and Engel. J.D.Martinez will DH. Brandon Marsh looks to be the most promising of the minor leaguers.

Division Lineup Rank: 2nd

 

Draft Analysis:

They drafted exactly what they needed to fill needs. Took fliers on Detmers, Jax, Cabrera and McKay, Added Molina after he was cut loose by Memphis.

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Synopsis:

Metrics rate the Crazy Horse # 1 in starting pitching and bullpen with their line up at #2. This has to make them the prohibitive favorite to claim the Eastern Division crown. The caveat is that Las Vegas has NEVER won a playoff series, going 0-6. Sherwood and Amsterdam will challenge them. Their three un-carded players, although they are never a sure thing, bode well for the future. If this looks familiar it is because it is almost verbatim the same synopsis as last year.

 

 

Queen City Rojos

Starting Staff:

(B-Z) Alcantara

(B) Montas

(B) Manoah

(B-W) Javier (9 GS)

(C-Z) Ryu

(C) Cease

Note: Cease will take a regular turn because the management is so enamored with him.

Division Rank: 7th

 

Bullpen:

McHugh (A&C*-Z) is off to a fast start. Baz (A-Z) is currently in the minors until the former runs out of innings. An A&C* and a pair of A*ís fill out the pen, none with Zís.†††

Division Rank: 7th

 

Catchers:

Christian Vazquez and Kevin Plawecki (157 at bats) have to hold down the fort for a couple of years until the kids, Henry Davis and Soderstrom are ready.

 

Infield:

Yuli Gurriel is at 1B and Cronenworth at 2B with a lackluster Candelario and Amed on the left side of the infield. Chisholm and Hanser Alberto, who seems to have locked in a permanent spot on the roster are the reserves along with Kiner-Falefa. Lawler and Willi Castro are their main hopefuls in the minors.

 

Outfield:

Grossman, Straw and Lourdes Gurriel are locks to play every day with Jesus Sanchez and Grisham as the back ups. Sheets will be a part time DH along with probably Sanchez. In the minors is another enigma in Leody Taveras who they refuse to give up on.

Division Lineup Rank: 7th

 

Draft Analysis:

A good draft netted them Montas, Manoah, McHugh and Baz along with Cease who they expect to have a ďmonsterĒ season. Straw, Sanchez and Sheets were solid selections.Un-Carded Lawler,Davis and Soderstrom are likely a few years away.

 

Synopsis:

Last by our methodology in starting pitching, bullpen and lineup make you think they are bound for last place in the East but they have gotten out of the gate fast although they have used a lot of their resources. They have a chance to over take Brooklyn to escape the confines of the basement.

 

 

Amsterdam Bulldogs

Starting Staff:

(A-Z) Wheeler

(A) Bauer

(B-Z) Urias

(B) McCullers

(B) Ohtani

(C-Z) Plesac

(B) Thompson

Division Rank: 3rd

 

Bullpen:

Luetge (A*-Z) is the closer with Loup (A&B*) and Leone (A&C*) as set up men. Kennedy (B*-Z), Williams (A*-W) and Vesia (A*) will also help out.

Division Rank: 4th

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Catchers:

Very deep with Grandall, Nola, Kirk, Stassi and Garneau..

 

Infield:

Vlad Jr, Altuve, Donaldson and Bichette make up a very good infield alignment. Rizzo and Crawford are the ďdefenders of the Faith" for late inning defensive changes. Un-Carded Bryson Stott looks like the real deal.

 

Outfield:

Teoscar Hernandez and Arozarena are starters with Yaz and Kike Hernandez plugging in at times in the other slot. Ohtani is of course the DH.

Division Lineup Rank: 3rd

 

Draft Analysis:

Their first five picks were all relievers with Stott being selected next. The rest of their draft was rather non-descript except for taking chances with Bobby Bradley and Andrew Young.

 

Synopsis:

It looks like a real horse race for playoff spots in the East with Amsterdam, Sherwood and Las Vegas all fairly evenly matched. Rochester is the ďdark horseĒ. The Bulldogs will score some runs, a dearth of (Z's) on the staff could hinder them.

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Division Wrap Up

1st Place: Las Vegas is the CrŤme de la CrŤme of the division. They have it all starting pitching, bullpen and a lineup. The APBA gods rarely smile on them. On paper they look like a lock for the division but we have seen this scenario play out before for the Crazy Horse. Perhaps their first ever series playoff victory is in the cards.

 

2nd Place: Sherwood has the best lineup in the league and they are a solid choice of making the post season. It will be tricky to navigate the bullpen without a bona-fide closer. Do they have enough to over take Las Vegas ?It depends on if you believe in karma where the Crazy Horse is involved and if you do it doesnít bode well for Las Vegas.

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3rd Place: Amsterdam is a tough choice for the last playoff berth in the division. They certainly have enough to get to the post season. They could even challenge for the Eastern pennant. If either Las Vegas and Sherwood falter the Bulldogs will move up..

 

4th Place: Rochester:With only three teams advancing to the post season itís a challenging position for the Rockers. Astute pitching management may enable them to compete for some post-season honors.

 

5th Place: Philadelphia: Seems to remain stagnated in the ďlimbo" area of not quite good enough to make the playoffs. The band-aid approach has been good enough for .500 seasons the past six years but not really contend for the title although they got to the finals in 2018.

 

6th Queen City: Their good start is the only reason to keep them from finishing at the bottom of the East. Their offense is putrid and their pitching is slightly below average but they have been successful in winning a lot of 1-run games, ten so far at this juncture. If that keeps up and they win the close games, a 6th place finish will be a prescient prediction.

 

7th Place: Brooklyn: Its tough to pick them last with all that pitching, if the APBA gods are kind to them and they score some runs they may challenge for the last playoff slot but I donít see that happening. If the lineup had been bolstered via the draft or trades they would be in the thick of the race.

 

Final Prediction

1-Las Vegas††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

2-Sherwood

3-Amsterdam

4-Rochester

5-Philadelphia

6-Queen City

7-Brooklyn

 

Disclaimer:

This journalistic endeavor is just an opinion. Please, if you disagree with it, post your own predictions. I do take a lot of time analyzing the rosters etc. If you must comment, make it to the entire league, sort of like a Letter to the Editor. In the past I have been wrong and sometimes right on the money just like the Weathermen.