2022 ZSABL Western 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.

 

Memphis Sound

Starting Staff:

(A&B-Z) de Grom

(B) Musgrove

(B) McClanahan

(B) Bieber

(B) Luis H.Garcia

(B) Sandoval

(B) Flaherty

(B-Z) Turnbull 9 GS

(C-Z) Manaea

 

Note: de Grom has been used as a closer in the early goings.

There is a host of B-No Zís to choose from

Division Rank: 4th

 

Bullpen:

de Grom as the closer is a big plus with his A&B-Z 92 IP. Three more A*-Zís and a A&B* along with a A&C* and another A* make it the top pen in the division.

Division Rank: 1st

 

Catchers:

Posey, .889 OPS in his final season is backed up by E.Diaz, making it a strong tandem with Rutschman and Melendez on the way.

 

Infield:

A top notch infield consisting of Riley and Correa on the left side with Alonso and Baez on the right. Yandy Diaz is the only reserve on the bench. The minors have Bregman and Lux to boast about.

 

Outfield:

Nick Castellanos is the DH. The ďCaptainĒ Starling Marte will be flanked by L.Robert who has just 275 at bats. Benintendi, Adolis Garcia and Carlson have to fill in the rest.

Division Lineup Rank: 1st

 

Draft Analysis:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Un-Carded Melendez and N.Gonzales are the best of the newcomers along with Sandoval.

 

Synopsis:

They have the best lineup in the West, their biggest weakness is that none of their starting pitches have a (Z). A strong bullpen means they only need to get 5 innings out of their SP.

 

Norfolk Neptunes

Starting Staff:

(B-Z) Berrios

(B-Z) Webb

(B) Valdez

(C-Z) Greinke

(C-Z) Civale

Other possibilities are Gonsolin (B-W 13 GS) and Ober (C-Z 20 GS)

Division Rank; 3rd

 

Bullpen:

Skipper Groff always said you need two A*-Zís in the pen to be competitive but they only have one in Steckenrider. Their four B*-Zís will have to pick up the slack.

Division Rank: 4th

 

Catchers:

They coveted Daulton Varsho and got him in the 2nd round. M.Garver will be his complement. Joey Bart and Jeffers are in the minors.

 

Infield:

B.Lowe, Devers and Walsh are the mainstays in the infield with Lindor, who had a down year, filling out the quartet. Adames, who will see some DH duty, Mondesi and La Stella are the reserves. A lot of hopefuls in the minors in Gorman, Luciano, Garcia and Jung.

 

Outfield:

Yordan Alvarez and Buxton, who only has 235 at bats, are two starters along with Mountcastle with Duggar and McCormick on the bench. Lewis and Kirilloff are down on the farm.

Division Lineup Rank: 3rd††

 

Draft Analysis:

They got their man Logan Webb with the first pick of the draft and added Varsho and Steckenrider in the 2nd. Highly thought of but injured for most of the next season was Jung who they took with their last pick.

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Synopsis:

After a dismal 2021 season, the Nepís regrouped and they look like a contender for a post-season berth in 2022, even if that is by default.

 

 

Cleveland Naps

Starting Staff:

(B-Z) Lopez

(B) Miley

(B) Quantrill

(C-Z) Senzatela

(C-Z) Mize

Division Rank: 6th

 

Bullpen:

Three A*-No Zís will lead the charge out of the pen with a pair of B*-Zís in support.

Division Rank: 6th

 

Catchers:

They have an above average pairing in Kelly and Jansen.

 

Infield:

Its solid at the corners with Muncy and Jose Ramirez. The ďWunder-KidĒ Franco and H.Castro will split shortstop duties. Segura will be at second base and Sano will be the DH. Galvis is the utility man. Jose Miranda and Toro are the top rated prospects in the bushes.

 

Outfield:

Haniger and Verdugo are locked in as starters with a combo of De La Cruz and Tapia in the other spot. Jorge Mateo is the versatile back up.

Division Lineup Rank: 6th

 

Draft Analysis:

They went mostly pitching, grabbing Miley, Sulser, Scott Barlow and Cessa with their early picks. Un-Carded Michael Harris and Miranda were both nice selections.

 

Synopsis:

They grade out next to last in the main categories unlike the Cinderella story of last season, there will be no sequel to the Fairy Tale.

 

 

Billings Mustang

Starting Staff:

(C-Z) Minor

(C-Z) Alzolay

(C-Z) M.Kelly

(C) Montgomery

(C) Skubal

(C)Gallen

(C) Barria

Note: Suarez is a A&B-No Z with 12 GS

Division Rank: 7th

 

Bullpen:

Clase an A&B*-Z is the closer. Garcia A*-Z sets him up but not much to follow, just a pair of B*-No Zís and a B*-W.

Division Rank: 7th

 

Catchers:

They are carrying three back-stops all with .700+ OPS in Stephenson, Mejia and Gomes. Gabe Moreno is an un-carded hopeful in the minors.

 

Infield:

The exciting Fernando Tatis Jr. is at SS with Polanco at 2B and Josh Bell at 1B. The hot corner will be manned by Villar, Bohm and Espinal, when he is not used as the DH. Hosmer and Solano round out the infielders with the latter helping out with DH chores. Oneil Cruz is the most notable minor league infielder.

 

Outfield:

Not a lot of punch with this group led by Wil Myers. Santander and Grichuk will be the other starters with Eloy Jimenez and Jankowski in reserve. The minors are high-lighted by Seiya Suzuki, Brennen Davis, Kelenic and Josh Lowe.

Division Lineup Rank: 7th

 

Draft Analysis:

Knowing it was going to be a long season, they went after youth and boy did they get them, Cruz, Suzuki, Grayson Rodriguez, Moreno, Skubal , Lowe and Kirby all joined the fold.

 

Synopsis:

How the mighty have fallen, the World Champs have a very weak rotation, bullpen and lineup, in fact they grade out last in all three. They knew that going into the draft so they went to an all-out youth movement and the results look promising.

 

Union Station Mystic Cowboys

Starting Staff:

(A-Z) Lynn

(A) Tr.Rogers

(B-Z) Cortes

(B) Lucas

(B) Anderson

(C-Z) Irvin

Division Rank: 2nd

 

Bullpen:

Whitlock (A&C*-Z) is the closer. A pair of A*-Zís, an A* and a B*-Z make a formidable bullpen. D.May is in the minors with his A-Z, 5 GS and 23 IP

Division Rank: 2nd

 

Catchers:

Narvaez and the much maligned Gary Sanchez will share the back-stopping duties with un-carded Cartaya in the minors..

 

Infield:

Veteran Joey Votto and Semien will be on the right side of the diamond with N.Lopez at SS and K.Seager at 3B. Wendle is the main reserve along with Edman. N.Cruz will DH. Youngsters Madrigal, Brujan, Marte, Henderson and Casas await the call.

 

Outfield:

Betts, Bader and Laureano with a splash of Happ and Hays make up the flychasers. Yelich, a shell of his former self, is on the bench. The Minors have Adell, Siri and Cespedes.

Division Lineup Rank: 5th

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Draft Analysis:

Whitlock was their best pick followed by Cortes Jr. Bednar is probably the Pirate closer. They took four un-carded guys, all highly rated.

 

Synopsis:

They will hit some home runs but the teamís overall OPS is only .808 leaving one to believe most of them will be solo shots.

 

 

Hartford Hurricanes

Starting Staff:

(B-Z) Gausman

(B-Z) Wainwright

(B-Z) Ray

(B-Z) Lopez 9 GS

(B) Peralta

(C-Z) Gilbert

(B-W) Gil

Note: Swingmen are Glasnow (A-No Z, 14 GS) and Alexander C-Z 15 GS

Division Rank: 1st

 

Bullpen:

Again they added no traditional reliever, holdover Kittredge A&C*-Z is the closer, a pair of B*-Zís and a C-Z with a C-No Z as a mop up guy. Glasnow (A-No Z) now appears to be the set up man.

Division Rank: 5th

 

Catchers:

They are pretty well set behind the plate with Pina and Contreras but both have light at bats. The minors have DíArnaud and Higashioka with un-carded Langeliers waiting in the wings.

 

Infield:

It is an airtight group with 1B-5 Olson, 3B-5 Longoria, SS-9 Swanson and 2B-9 Albies. There is ďno room at the innĒ for NL batting champ Trea Turner so he will DH. Tyler Wade is in reserve. Some of the glove work will be sacrificed when power hitting P.Wisdom is installed at the hot corner. The minors have NYY un-carded hopefuls Volpe and Oswald along with come back candidates 3B KeíBryan Hayes and Gio Urshela.

 

Outfield:

Ronald Acuna Jrís monster card, albeit 297 ABís, will be flanked by OíNeill and F.Reyes.L.Wade and A.Slater are the main reserves along with Tyrone Taylor and Stanton.

Division Lineup Rank: 2nd

 

Draft Analysis:

They watched in abject terror as three of their first five favorite draft picks got chosen. They ended up with Wisdom so they had to re-route their strategy. Gilbert, much to the chagrin of the masses, because apparently he was on everybody's list went in the 2nd. They correctly pegged R. Lopez to come to them in the 3rd but missed on their #4 when P.Sandoval went in the pick ahead of them. L.Wade surprisingly was still on the board with their other #4 pick. Rounds 5 thru 9 gave them exactly who they wanted. The Hartford front office was very pleased with the results of the draft.

 

Synopsis:

Hartford will challenge Memphis for the top spot, three B-Z starters with 190+ IP go a long way to a bullpen that maybe a little short. At times they can place seven guys with double ones in the lineup. Defense is solid except for when Wisdom is in the lineup. It is IMHO their most well-rounded ball club in recent memory.

 

San Diego 76erís

Starting Staff:

(A-Z) Burnes

(B) Houser

(B) Rasmussen 10 GS

(C-Z) Eflin

(C-Z) German

(C-Z) E.Hernandez

(C-Z) Nola

(C-Z) Mikolas

Division Rank: 5th

Bullpen:

McFarland (A*-Z 39 IP) is the closer. A pair of A*ís and an A*-W are next supported by four B*-Zís.

Division Rank: 3rd

 

Catchers:

Salvador Perez .860 OPS is still only in his age 32 season. S.Murphy backs him up.

 

Infield:

An average group makes up the 76er infield, Abreu, Wong, Arenado and T.Anderson with Abreu having the highest OPS at .832. M.Rojas and C.Hernandez are the reserves.

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Outfield:

K.Tucker and C. Mullins are top-notch starters with C.Taylor occupying the last slot. Lane Thomas and D.Peralta may share the DH role with M.Vierling coming off the bench. Pham will also be in the mix.

Division Line Up Rank: 4th

 

Draft Analysis:

No real surprises with their draft. Just filled needs mostly relievers along with Houser (B-No Z). L.Thomas was on the board longer than most expected with his 5 14ís and 4 zero's, the 76er's grabbed him in the 10th. Their obligatory Greek Heritage connection was completed when they chose Miles Mikolas in the 11th.

 

Synopsis:

The oldest team in the West has a decent shot at the wide-open race for 3rd place. Norfolk and USMC should be their main competition as long as the "experts" were correct in their assessment that Memphis and Hartford are the top dogs in the division.

 

 

Division Wrap-Up

 

1st Place: Memphis: Had a hard time placing the Sound above Hartford it is that close. Memphis has a slightly, albeit very slightly, better lineup. The 5 B-No-Zís in the rotation will be a hindrance but if they can get five innings from their starters the bullpen can take over.

 

2nd Place: Hartford: They have a well-rounded ball club and expect to battle Memphis down to the wire. Lots of (Z's) in the rotation, their bullpen is a little suspect but the starters can go deep in games. They can place seven hitters with double ones in the lineup at one time.

 

3rd Place: Norfolk: Should go toe to toe with USMC most of the year. Both teams match up evenly in the pitching departments but the Neptunes have an advantage offensively.

 

4th Place: Union Station: Probably will fall a little short this season. Their pen and starting staff are fine and there is a lot of HR pop in the lineup but there is a big difference in 3-run dingers versus solo shots and the Cowboys lack a lot of plate discipline to get runners on.

 

5th Place: San Diego: The oldest team in the West need their C-Z starters and B*-Z relievers to step it up. They are on the periphery of the post season. A decent lineup and a host of B*-Z relievers are their strong suit. Possibly could be a three-way battle for the last playoff spot in the West.

 

6th Place: Cleveland: There will be no Cinderella story this year. They come up short in nearly all areas. Next to worse lineup, and their rotation and the bullpen are just lacking any ďstar qualityĒ.

7th Place: Billings: A huge drop off for the defending World Champions. They rank last in the West in their starting staff, bullpen and lineup. Itís going to be a long season.

 

The final prediction:

1-Memphis

2-Hartford

3-Norfolk

4-Union Station

5-San Diego

6-Cleveland

7-Billings

 

 

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.