2023 Eastern Division Analysis


Philadelphia Black Sox

Starting Staff:

Justin Verlander (A&C-Z, 28 GS 175 IP) is the “ace” of the staff. Cristian Javier, obtained via the trade routé,  (A-No Z, 25 GS 149 IP) follows him in rotation. A pair of B-Z’s Yu Darvish (30 GS 195 IP) and Triston McKenzie (30 GS 191 IP) line up as # 3 and # 4. The 5th starter will be some kind of hybrid mix with Freddy Peralta (B-No Z, 17 GS 78 IP), Jon Brebbia (B-Z, 11 GS 68 IP) and possibly Tyler Wells (C-Z, 23 GS 103 IP) when he isn’t being used in long relief.  Joe Ryan (B-No Z, 27 GS 147 IP) adds depth in the minors. Also down on the farm are the obligatory C-No Z’s Charlie Morton and Josiah Gray along with Alex Wood (D-Z) and Madison Bumgarner (D-No-Z) who somehow survived the draft day “Axe". Un-carded hurlers are Taj Bradley and Eury Perez and joining them are the perennially injured No-Card in Sixto Sanchez and the equally always injured Chris Sale (B-Z 2 GS 6 IP))



(Grade A&C*-Z, 70 IP) Anthony Bass will get the call to close most games, lending a hand in mostly setup situations are the tandem of (A*Z’s) in Trevor Stephan (64 IP) and Raisel Iglesias (62 IP). More support will come from the A*-No Z's Chase De Jong (72 IP) and John Schreiber (65 IP). The farm system boasts J.P.Feyereisen (A&B*-Z, 2 GS 24 IP), who did not allow an earned run last year in MLB,  



The backstop position is in disarray both offensively and defensively. Nick Fortes (C-7, .696 OPS 217 at bats) and Francisco Mejia (C-7, .645 OPS 289 at bats) are the only receivers on the roster.



Ty France (1B-4, .777 OPS) is starting at the “cold corner” with C.J.Cron (1B-4, .783) on the bench in the early going.

Jeff McNeil (2B-8, .836 OPS) and Cory Seager (SS-8, .772 OPS) are up the middle.

Josh Rojas (3B-3, .740 OPS), a draft day trade acquisition, will occupy the “hot corner” despite his glove work.

The reserves are Nick Gordon (2B-6, SS-7, OF-2, .743 OPS) who has a little bit of “pop” in his bat and Luis Guillorme (2B-8, 3B-4, SS-7, .691 OPS)

The disappointing Yoan Moncada (3B-4, .626 OPS) is in the minors.



Taylor Ward (OF-2, .833 OPS) and the powerful Kyle Schwarber (OF-1, .827 OPS) are two of the starters although the latter could just be employed as a full-time DH. Michael Brantley (OF-2, .785 OPS), but only 245 at bats and Harold Ramirez (OF-2, .747 OPS) have been regularly used in the pastures at the start of the season over the likes of Brandon Nimmo (OF-2, .800 OPS) and A.J.Pollock (OF-3,. 681 OPS). Veteran Charles Blackmon (OF-1, .733 OPS) and un-carded Sal Frelick are down on the farm.


Draft Analysis:

The Black Sox, via the Lottery, had the # 1 pick in the draft but they unloaded it to Queen City in return for a nice sized haul in Cristian Javier and a #2 and # 4 pick next year. They had their eyes on Spencer Strider but getting the same (A-No-Z) in Javier and a few more innings plus the two high picks next year were too much to pass on.

2nd Round, they got their closer in Anthony Bass

No 3rd but in the 4th they added Trevor Stephan and Harold Ramirez

No 5th but in the 6th another B-Z in John Brebbia who was still on the board, joined the club.

A pair of 7th rounders in Chase De Jong and highly touted Eury Perez were selected.

The anemic catching situation was addressed in the 8th with Nick Fortes, a 10 chance card but a ghastly 33-8

The 9th gave them un-carded OF Sal Frelick

In the 10th they took John Schreiber, Grade A's were still prevalent this late in the draft.

Passed in the 11th but added Tyler Wells in the 12 as Grade C-Z’s and other useful pitching pieces hung around.

Nick Gordon was a nice pick up in the 13th

Passed in the 14th but added un-carded Taj Bradley in the 15th



They are still the second oldest team in the division but dropped their average age down from 31.28 to 30.15. They do have, by our methodology, the worst offense in the East. Like everybody else they have some solid pitching but the lineup leaves a lot to be desired. Rojas defensively at third base will be a huge detriment. The catching corp is a glaring weakness. Even though they are in first place as this is being written, play offs seem to be a remote possibility; they could even conceivably finish in the basement in the highly competitive Eastern Division.


Sherwood Forest Machine

Starting Staff:

Brandon Woodruff  (B-Z 27 GS 153 IP) is by far the best of this lot. (B-No Z’s) Matt Manning (12 GS 63 IP) and Tanner Houck (4 GS 60 IP) begin the season as the #2 and # 3 starters, Marco Gonzales (C-Z 32 GS 183 IP) and long time Hartford Hurricane Robbie Ray (C-No-Z 32 GS 189 IP) will be asked to eat up a lot of innings. In the minors and waiting for an early recall is a pair of (B-No-Z's) in Blake Snell (24 GS 128 IP) and Sonny Gray (24 GS 120 IP) as Sherwood's analytical department deemed this the best recourse. Sam Long (B-No-Z 6 GS 42 IP) joins them.



Cionel Perez (A&B*-No-Z) is the highest rated hurler of the group but sans a “Z" it remains to be seen if he is used as the closer. Jordan Romano (A*-Z 64 IP) and David Price (A*-Z 40 IP) are more likely to pick up the saves. Adding some support is Robert Suarez (A*-No Z 48 IP) and Nick Sandlin (A*-No-Z 44 IP). Bolstering the pen is the (B*-Z) tandem of Dylan Floro (54 IP) and Timothy Hill (48 IP).



The Machine have a solid receiving corp in Will D.Smith (C 8, .808 OPS) and Willson Contreras (C 8, .815)   



Yandy Diaz (1B-4 3B-3, .824 OPS) will see duty at first base and DH.

1B-3, .794 OPS Rhys Hoskins despite a down year will also be employed at first base and designated hitter on occasions.

2B-8, .737 OPS Trevor Story has seen most of the early action at second base

Ryan McMahon (3B-5 2B-7, .741 OPS) will play everyday, probably at the “hot corner” but sometimes at the keystone spot.

Wander Franco, acquired from Cleveland, (SS-8, .745 OPS) starts at shortstop

On the bench is Edmundo Sosa (3B-5 SS-9, .644 OPS) and Cavan Biggio (1B-3 2B-8, .668 OPS), a former # 1 overall pick.

Dan Vogelbach (1B-2, .793 OPS) will be the primary DH.

The minors are flush with former Sherwood starters of the past, Brandon Belt (1B-4, .676 OPS), Jonathan India (2B-7, .705 OPS), Ji-Man Choi (1B-4, .729 OPS) and Eugenio Suarez (3B-4, .791 OPS).

A pair of SS-8’s in J.P.Crawford .675 OPS) and Geraldo Perdomo (.547 OPS) will also bide time on the farm.

Un-carded Marcelo Mayer will join them.



Aaron Judge (OF-3, 1.111 OPS) fresh off his phenomenal year and Bryce Harper (OF-1, .878 OPS) headline this cast. The latter only has 370 at bats. Completing the fly-chasing trio is Mark Canha (OF-2, .770 OPS). The top reserves are newly drafted T.J.Friedl (OF-2, .750) along with the ubiquitous roster presence of Joey Gallo (OF-3, .637 OPS). Riding the bush league busses are Nolan Jones (OF-1, .681 OPS), the first player taken by Sherwood in the 2023 draft, who may be in line for some third base duty in Colorado, Akil Baddoo (OF-2, .558 OPS) and un-carded Zac Veen.


Draft Analysis:

They didn’t select until the 3rd round and they took Nolan Jones, a head-scratcher among the “peanut gallery” but one can never question the Machine’s history of success.

With their other 3rd round pick they added T.J.Friedl, a nice 11 chance card

5th Round was Blake Snell a Grade B with 120+ innings

In the 6th another 11 chance card in Dan Vogelbach

They had another 6th rounder and here was Cionel Perez A&B*-No-Z, 58 IP as the pitching supply seemed to be endless

They selected David Price (A*-Z) in the 7th 

and with no 8th rounder they took Timothy Hill (B*-Z) in the 9th as teams will run out of roster spots before all the quality pitchers are gone.

They had no 10th but selected two players in the 11th, J.P.Crawford and P Sam Long (yet another Grade B Starter albeit just 6 starts)

In the 12th Nick Sandlin (A*-No-Z 44 IP) and another (A*-Z) Robert Suarez in the 13th.

A decent pitching staff could be derived from all the left over pitchers post draft.



Plugging in their pitchers at the most opportune time will be a season long problem for the Machine. A .825 team OPS is great but it is only 4th best in the East. Asking Robbie Ray to throw 180+ innings at just a Grade C-No Z in order to get through the year does not bode well. As much as this publication is an admirer of Sherwood’s analytical approach to APBA, I believe the Machine will miss the playoffs in a very tough division.


Chicago Hawks

Starting Staff:

Max Fried (A-Z 39 GS 185 IP) got the opening day nod. Marcus Stroman (B-Z 25 GS 139 IP) and Ross Stripling (B-Z 24 GS 134 IP) will follow him. Carlos Rodon (B-No Z, 31 GS 178 IP) and Nick Martinez (10 GS 106 IP) round out the rotation. After his 10 starts the latter will work out of the bullpen. Walker Buehler (C-Z 12 GS 65 IP) will make some spot starts. In the minors are Lance McCullers Jr. (Grade A-No Z 8 GS 48 IP) and Roansy Cabrera (C-No Z 18 GS 95 IP). Ryne Nelson (A&C-Z 3 GS 18 IP) bides his time waiting for a late season audition.



Jhoan Duran (A&C*-Z 68 IP) is the closer with Bryan Abreu (A&C*-No Z 60 IP) the main set up guy. The supporting cast of three B*-Z’s are Adam Cimber (71 IP), Seth Lugo (65 IP) and Richard Bleier (51 IP 1 GS). A.J.Puk (B* No Z 66 IP) will pitch in mop up roles. Down on the farm is Dan Hudson (A*-Z 24 IP).



J.T.Realmuto (C 9 .820 OPS) is still one of the best in MLB.

Backing him up is Keibert Ruiz  C-8, .673 OPS who was the subject of many off season trade rumors.

In the minors is Francisco Alvarez (C-6, .786 OPS) who hopes to carve out some playing time with the NY Mets and Luis Campusano (C 6, .593)



(1B-5, .981 OPS) Paul Goldschmidt had a great all-around season is at first base.

Brendan Donovan (2B-7 3B-4 OF-2 1B-3, .773 OPS) an on-base machine but devoid of power will play the keystone bag

Sharing some time with him at second is Vaughn Grissom (2B-7, .793)

Matt Chapman (3B-5, .757 OPS) gives them a steady performer at the “hot corner” although

David Villar (3B-3, .786 OPS) will push him for some playing time

The shortstop position is very deep with Nico Hoerner (SS-9, .736 OPS) and Jeremy Pena (SS-9, .715 OPS)

Brendan Rodgers (2B-9, .733) provides some infield depth.

In the minors are Livan Soto (SS-7, .996 OPS) but only 55 at bats and Garrett Cooper (1B-3, .752 OPS).

Also down on the farm and looking to bounce back after several injury riddled years is Anthony Rendon (3B-4, .706 OPS)

Un-carded Cam Collier is probably a couple of years away.



Julio Rodriguez (OF-3, .853), the AL Rookie of the year is the creme de la creme of this group.

32 year old Trayce Thompson (OF-2, .860 OPS) but only 219 at bats is the next best.

George Springer (OF-3, .814 OPS) rounds out this fine ensemble.

Chrstian Yelich (OF-3, .738 OPS), a shell of his former self, is the 4th outfielder or full time DH depending on where they play Thompson.

Oswaldo Cabrera (OF-2, .741 OPS) is in reserve plus he can back up all the infield positions.

In the minor league system they have Jorge Soler (OF-1, .695) and the heralded un-carded duo of Jasson “The Martian" Dominguez and Jackson Chourio. 


Draft Analysis:

They had four first round picks and they made them all count as Jeremy Pena, Brendan Donovan, Jhoan Duran and Trayce Thompson all became members of the Chicago Hawks.

The 2nd Round gave them Ross Stripling and with no 3rd they plucked Vaughn Grissom off the board in the 4th.

Utility man Cabrera came in the 5th and Nick Martinez arrived in the 6th

Villar was a nice pick in the 7th

The 8th saw them grab pitchers Abreu and Ryne Nelson

They went un-carded the next two rounds, Chourio and Cam Collier

Their last pick was Livan Soto in the 11th.



A tightly packed middle of the division will make it tough for the Hawks to make the post season. Manager Lutz's APBA savvy may be enough to keep them in contention. Other than Rodriguez, Goldschmidt and Trayce Thompson when he is in the line up, the offense lacks a lot of fire-power. Two of their starting pitchers do not have the "Z". It will be rough to keep the ship sailing into the promised land.


Rochester Rockers

Starting Staff:

As usual the Rochester manager has mapped out all 136 of their starts for this season. Tyler Anderson (A-Z 28 GS 179 IP) came out of no-where to become the "ace" of this staff. Two veteran (B-Z's) line up next in Gerrit Cole 33 GS 201 IP) and Chris Bassitt (30 GS 182 IP), Carlos Carrasco (29 GS 152 IP) is the # 4 with Adrian Sampson (B-Z 19 GS 104 IP) filling out the rotation. Nathan Eovaldi (C-Z 20 GS 109 IP) will be the swing-man. In the minors are Jake Junis (C-Z 17 GS 112 IP) and John Means (B-Z 2 GS 8 IP), who is recovering from TJ surgery.



There are a lot of options here, with Tyler Kinley (A&B*-Z 24 IP), Ryne Stanek (A&B*-W 55 IP) and three A-No Z’s in Jorge Lopez (71 IP), Rafael Montero (68 IP) and Wandy Peralta (56 IP). In addition they have a tandem of B*-Z's in Matt Bush (60 IP 6 GS) and Eli Morgan (67 IP 1 GS). Stashed in the minors are Caleb Ferguson (A&C-No Z 35 IP 1 GS), J.T.Chargois (A-Z 22 IP 3 GS), Harvey Hunter (A*-No Z 39 IP) and Giovanny Gallegos (B*-No Z 59 IP).



Behind the dish, Cal Raleigh (C-8, .773 OPS) with his double ones is the starter, backed up by Christian Bethancourt (C-7, .692 OPS)



Albert Pujols (1B-3, .895 OPS) in his swan song year, was reunited with the Rochester franchise after a five year hiatus from the league and will see most of the PT at first base.

Darick Hall (1B-2, .804) will DH occasionally with his 136 at bats

D.J.Lemahieu (1B-4 3B-4 2B-7, .734 OPS) will be in the line up some-where every day, mostly at 2B.

His DP partner will be Luis Rengifo (SS-8 2B-8 3B-3, .724 OPS)

Manny Machado (3B-5, .898 OPS) of course will be the third baseman.

Elvis Andrus (SS-8, .707 OPS) is in reserve.

The versatility of Lemahieu and Rengifo cover all the back up needs.

In the minors are veterans Jose Iglesias (SS-7, .723 OPS) and Aledmys Diaz (2B-8 3B-4 SS-7, .6091 OPS) along with Bobby Dalbec (1B-4, .652 OPS).

Joining them will be un-carded Jordan Walker, who is looking like he is hitting his way onto the Cardinal roster.



All-World Outfielder Mike Trout (OF-3, .999 OPS) will have to be monitored a bit with his 438 at bats.

The other two posts will be filled by some combination of Brian Reynolds (OF-2, .807 OPS), Hunter Renfroe (OF-3, .807 OPS)

and Jake McCarthy (OF-2, .769 OPS) with Yonathan Daza (OF-2, .733 OPS) and Kris Bryant (OF-2, .851 OPS) pushing for some playing time albeit the latter has just 160 at bats.

Everyone with the exception of Trout could be line for some DH at bats.

Riding the bush league busses are Rafael Ortega (OF-2, .688 OPS), crest fallen Cody Bellinger (OF-3, .654 OPS and Austin Meadows (OF-1, .675 OPS)  


Draft Analysis:

Jake McCarthy went in the 1st Round with Cal Raleigh lasting until the 2nd.

Phenom Jordan Walker arrived in the 3rd while Daza and Rengifo were selected in the 4th.

Darick Hall came in the 5th and Rafael Montero was taken in the 6th

Albert Pujols lasted until the 7th round when the Rockers pulled the trigger on his re-union with the franchise.

Carlos Carrasco in the 8th and Matt Bush in the 9th became Rockers.

Jorge Lopez was picked in the 10th and Eli Morgan in the 11th.

The 12th Round saw the Rockers take Wandy Peralta and in the 13th they added Tyler Kinney

They continued to turn over their roster with Junis in the 14th and Bethancourt in the 15th.

With most clubs already packed and heading home, the Rockers were not done, in the post 15+ rounds,

they added Hunter Harvey, Brad Hand, Ryne Stanek and Jose Iglesias and finally in a supplemental pick they dropped a mis-printed Brad Hand and took Caleb Ferguson.



A turn over of 30 players usually means a team is in a re-build mode, but the Rochester management seemed to make it work as the draft was kind to them with Raleigh, Pujols, Jordan Walker and Rengifo all falling to them. The offense will be fine with Trout, Machado and Pujols leading the way. Defense could be a problem, at this juncture of the season they lead the league in errors, especially with Rengifo only a SS-8. They are going again with a lot of A*-No Z’s in the pen, this should hold them back from capturing the Eastern Flag but they have enough to earn a playoff spot.



Las Vegas Crazy Horse

Starting Staff:

A pair of “A-Z Aces" sitting at the top of the “Vegas" rotation are Nestor Cortez,Jr (28 GS 158 IP) and Max Scherzer (23 GS 145 IP). It thins out after that with Johnny Cueto (B-Z 24 GS 158 IP) followed by Drey Jameson (A&C-No Z 4 GS 24 IP), Edward Cabrera (14 GS 72 IP), Joey Wentz (7 GS 33 IP) and Lance Lynn (C-Z 21 GS 122 IP). Reid Detmers (C-No Z 25 GS 129 IP) will provide mop up duty. In the minors waiting to re-enforce the parent club with some early season player moves are Clayton Kershaw (A-Z 22 GS 126 IP), and Bryce Elder (B-No Z 9 GS 54 IP). The farm also has Mackenzie Gore (C-W 13 GS 70 IP) and Brayan Bello (D-No Z 11 GS 57 IP.



Scott Effross (A*-Z 57 IP 1 GS) appears to be the closer with Dylan Lee (A*-Z 51 IP) his left-handed complement. Another southpaw Brooks Raley (A*-No Z 54 IP) and a pair of B*-Z’s in Liam Hendriks (58 IP) and Griffin Jax (72 IP) fill out the rest of the pen. In the minors is Jonathan Loaisiga (C*-No Z 48 IP),



They went into the off-season with out a receiver on their roster until they traded for Salvador Perez (C-8, .757 OPS), backing him up is Austin Nola (C-8, .650 OPS) who was jettisoned by Amsterdam during the draft. In the minors is Logan O’Hoppe (C-8, .661 OPS) but just 14 at bats and un-carded Harry Ford who had a big WBC with England.



Freddie Freeman (1B-5, .918 OPS) is at the “cold corner” with Justin Turner (3B-4, .788 OPS) across the diamond at third base.

Up the middle the double play tandem will be Gleyber Torres (2B-8, .761 OPS) and Xander Bogaerts (SS-9, .833 OPS)

The only bench infield reserve is Whit Merrifield (2B-8 OF-2, .673 OPS).

In the minors are Ezequiel Duran (3B-3, .642 OPS), last year’s darling, Spencer Torkelson (1B-3, .604 OPS), C.J.Abrams another favorite from a year ago (SS-8, .604 OPS) and un-carded

Matt Mervis and Noelvi Marte.



Mookie Betts (OF-3, .873 OPS) leads the way with this group followed by Juan Soto (OF-2, .853 OPS), Lars Nootbar (OF-2, .788 OPS) but only 290 at bats. Brandon Marsh (OF-3, .679 OPS) and Alek Thomas (OF-3, .690 OPS) make up the rest of the fly chasing corp. J.D.Martinez (OF-1, .790 OPS) will be the DH and the “monster card of Matt Carpenter (OF-1 1B-3 3B-3, 1.139 OPS), 128 at bats will be used judiciously. On the farm is Jesse Winker (OF-1, .688 OPS)


Draft Analysis:

Of course the Champs picked last but they got at least one of their choices in the first in Lars Nootbar although they would have preferred Brendan Donovan.

No second but they went out and grabbed Matt Carpenter in the 3rd with his un-godly card of 1-1-1-0-0-0.

In the 4th they went for Effross and in the 5th they had a pair of picks and selected Joey Wentz, fairly early but he may work out and with their other choice they bolstered their catching corp with O’Hoppe.

Dylan Lee came in the 6th and they had no pick in the 7th.

Two slots in the 8th gave them Jameson and Bryce Elder.

Un-carded Harry Ford became a Crazy Horse in the 9th.

They went un-carded again in the 10th with Mervis

Brooks Raley arrived in the 11th and a pair of 12th round selections netted them Alek Thomas and Brayan Bello,

Austin Nola was their last pick in the traditional draft in the 13th, in a supplemental round, needing a back up at third base with 10 games they released Carlos Eduardo Hernandez and

took Ezequiel Duran.



A jumbled back end of the rotation to start the season after Scherzer and Cortes seems to lack direction. A lot of part-time Grade B-No Z’s will be used until Kershaw’s (A-Z) is recalled to stabilize the starting staff. Middle relief poses another weakness but the Crazy Horse have the best hitting in the East and it should carry them to the post season. Matt Carpenter himself should add a couple of games into the win column.



Queen City Rojos

Starting Staff:

A plethora of Grade A pitchers grace the Rojo’s rotation, Sandy Alcantara (A-Z 32 GS 229 IP) and Alek Manoah (A-Z 31 GS 197 IP), next up are a pair of Grade A’s but No Z’s in Dylan Cease (32 GS 184 IP) and Spencer Strider (20 GS 132 IP) rounding out the rotation is just a mortal B-No Z in Martin Perez (32 GS 196 IP). Probably getting a few starts will be Frankie Montas (C-Z 27 GS 144 IP). Down on the farm is Shane Baz (D-No Z 6 GS 27 IP) recovering from TJ surgery.



Zach Pop (A*-ZZ 39 IP) will get his fair share of save opportunities but the Rojo’s favorite go-to guy late in the game is Collin McHugh (A*-Z 69 IP). Also in the mix are Daniel Bard (A&C*-No Z 67 IP) and Jake Woodford (A-Z 48 IP 1 GS). For non-crucial situations, Sam Hentges (A*-No Z 62 IP) and Yimi Garcia (B*-Z 61 IP) will fill those roles.



Five catchers fill the Queen City roster. Christian Vazquez (C-9, .714 OPS) will be the primary receiver with Garret Stubbs (C-7, .812 OPS) backing him up with his 106 at bats. In their minor league system they have Kevin Plawecki (C-8, .572 OPS) and two un-carded ones in Tyler Soderstrom, who the Oakland A’s are really high on and unless they add a late spring training back stop, he could break camp with them, with all their injuries to the receiving corp. They would prefer he would work on his defense a little because he has progressed nicely at the plate. Their other un-carded is Henry Davis who is another bat first catcher but he was recently voted the most over-hyped prospect and it seems others have passed him on the depth-chart, a position switch may be in order.



Christian Walker (1B-5, .804 OPS) is at first base.

# 1 over all 2023 draft pick Andres Gimenez (2B-9, .837 OPS) is at second base.

Alex Bregman (3B-5, .820 OPS) who came over in a big pre-season deal with Memphis is at the hot corner.

Amed Rosario (SS-9, .715 OPS) will man the shortstop post.

The reserves are the speedy Jon Berti (2B-8 3B-3 OF-2 SS-7, .662 OPS) and Jake Cronenworth (2B-8 1B-3, .727 OPS)

The part time DH will be Joey Meneses (1B-3, .930 OPS), he will also back up Walker at first

Jazz Chisholm Jr. (2B-7, .850 OPS) will also draw part time DH duties as well as back up second base.

The bush leagues feature Willi Castro (SS-7 OF-2 2B-7, .651 OPS), Yuli Gurriel (1B-5, .647 OPS), who somehow escaped the dreaded Ax-Man, as did Hanser Alberto (2B-7 3B-4, .623 OPS)

Also on the farm is the soon to be starting shortstop for the Cincy Reds in Elly de la Cruz and from the far-east scouting department of the Rojo’s, 3B Munetaka Murakami.



Oscar Gonzalez (OF-2, .788 OPS) heads this non-descript cast of characters, Luis Robert (OF-3, .746 OPS), who also came over in the Bregman deal and Lourdes Gurriel (OF-3, .743 OPS) fill out the pasture starters for Queen City. Backing them up are Manuel Margot (OF-3, .700 OPS) and Leody Taveras (OF-3, .675 OPS) who have both out performed the starting trio when they have gotten the opportunity early in this season.

Down on the farm is Jesus Sanchez (OF-2, .682 OPS), Trent Grisham (OF-3, .626 OPS) and Myles Straw (OF-3, .564 OPS). Joining them from the Korean Chapter of the Rojo’s talent evaluators is un-carded Jung Ho Lee.


Draft Analysis:

They traded up to get the number one over all pick and selected Andres Gimenez. With the # 3 overall pick after much languishing they decided on Spencer Strider. Oscar Gonzalez was their choice in the 2nd and armed with the first two picks in the 3rd they opted for Elly de la Cruz and Christian Walker.

Zach Pop arrived in the 4th and Joey Meneses in the 5th

Jon Berti was their man in the 6th and Jake Woodford was selected in the 7th.

Garret Stubbs came in the 8th and reliever Daniel Bard was taken in the 9th

Plenty of A* relief was still around so they took Sam Hentges in the 10th

Hopefully all the resources they put into their over-seas scouting departments will pay dividends as they went for Munetaka Murakami and Jung Ho Lee with their final two picks.



The off season saw a lot of trades per usual for the Rojo front office. Ending up with four Grade A starters, two with “Z's" usually make you an instant contender. But you have to score some runs in order to win games and the Queen City offense is next to last in the East in that department. The few quality hitters they have, notably Meneses and Chisholm have less than 225 at bats. The pitching will carry them but it can only do it so far. The outfield is also an area of general weakness. They would have been better served if they dropping the dead weights on the roster like Gurriel, Alberto, Plawecki, Castro and Straw and adding an outfielder or hatchet card or two. They will probably escape the basement for the first time under Manager Lane but not go much further.



Amsterdam Bulldogs

Starting Staff:

Julio Urias (A-Z 31 GS 175 IP) and Shohei Ohtani (A-Z 28 GS 166 IP) form a stellar one-two punch at the top of the rotation. Three B-Z’s, in Zach Wheeler (26 GS 163 IP), Michael Wacha (23 GS 127 IP) and Drew Smyly (22 GS 106 IP) provide ample support to round out the starting staff. Michael Kopech (B-No Z 25 GS 119 IP) can make some spot starts. Hunter Greene (C-No Z 24GS 126 IP) will be the long man. In the minor league system are Hunter Brown (A&B-No Z 2 GS 20 IP), Jonathan Gray (C-No Z 24 GS 127 IP) and the un-carded Ricky Tiedemann.



Edwin Diaz (A&B*-Z 62 IP) is only missing the double “Z” to attain the highest possible APBA ratings for a pitcher. His season ending injury in the WBC will hurt next year. His pen mates include Devin Williams (A&C*-No Z 61 IP), a tandem of A*-No Z's in Lucas Luetge (57 IP) and Alex Vesia (54 IP) and a pair of B*-ZZ's in Joe Mantiply (60 IP) and Chris Martin (56 IP). Down on the farm reside Nabil Crismatt (B-No Z 67 IP 1 GS) and Zack D.Thompson (A-No Z 35 IP 1 GS)



Alejandro Kirk (C-7, .787 OPS) will start with Victor Carantini (C-8, .642 OPS) backing him up. In the minors is Seby Zavala (C-7, .729 OPS)



Vladimir Guerrero Jr (1B-4, .819 OPS) is at first base, Jose Altuve (2B-7, .920 OPS), although his defensive skills have been eroding he still boasts a quality bat, will be at the keystone position. His injury report from the WBC is still pending. Jose Ramirez (3B-5, .869 OPS), who was finally pried away from Cleveland in a trade after many futile years of trying the same tactic by the rest of the ZSABL, will be at the hot corner. Bo Bichette (SS-8, .802 OPS) is at shortstop. The reserves are Jace Peterson (3B-4 OF-2, .698 OPS) and David Fletcher (2B-9 SS-8, .621 OPS).

The farm is very deep in this area, Ketel Marte (2B-7, .727 OPS), Enrique “Kiki" Hernandez (2B-8 SS-8 OF-3, .629 OPS), Thairo Estrada (2B-7 SS-8, .724 OPS), Mark Mathias (2B-6, .825 OPS) and the veteran Joey Votto (1B-4, .689 OPS) who may be nearing the end, provide insurance for in-season injuries as well as the future.



Joc Pederson (OF-2, .874 OPS), Randy Arozarena (OF-3, .772 OPS) and Seth Brown (OF-2, .749 OPS) will be the starting trio. Defensive wizards, Mike Yastrzemski (OF-3, .697 OPS) and Michael A.Taylor (OF-3, .670 OPS) will come on late in games to provide maximum outfield glove work. Drew Waters (OF-2, .803 OPS) is a solid PH specialist with his 96 at bats.

The minors include Sam Haggerty (OF-2, .738 OPS) and Japanese import Masataka Yoshida. Of course the incomparable Shohei Ohtani will be the Designated Hitter.


Draft Analysis:

They gave up their 1st rounder in the Jose Ramirez trade but they had a pair in the 2nd and selected two B*-ZZ’s in Mantiply and Chris Martin. Wacha a B-Z starter arrived in the 3rd and with no 4th they took Hunter Brown with their #5 pick. They rolled the dice with un-carded Yoshida in the 6th and took utility man Jace Peterson in the 7th.

Michael A.Taylor in the 8th and Seby Zavala in the 9th were their selections.

They added more catching depth in the 10th with Carantini.

Haggerty in the 11th and another Thompson, this time Zack D.Thompson after releasing the other Thompson, Zach Thompson, during the off-season, arrived in the 12th

Mark Mathias in the 13th and un-carded Ricky Tiedemann in the 14th became Bulldogs.

Their final pick was Thairo Estrada in the 15th.



A very well rounded ball club, the only weakness appears to be lacking another Grade A-Z to complement Diaz in the pen and maybe an upgrade over Seth Brown in the outfield. They trail only Las Vegas in the hitting department in the East. Getting Ramirez in the trade with Cleveland punched their ticket to the post season.


Division Wrap Up

1st Place: Amsterdam, nicely built team, maybe a little weak up the middle defensively with Altuve/Bichette but their offense makes up for it. Any team that boasts Shohei Ohtani, other than the MLB Angels, are almost an instant contender. They should hold off Las Vegas to take the Eastern flag.


2nd Place: Las Vegas, they finally put to rest their past play off demons by capturing the ZSABL Championship last season. They can hit and if they can weather the early season storm of their jumbled rotation after Scherzer and Cortes they will earn a play off bid in an effort to repeat as champs.


3rd Place: Rochester, A huge turn over, 30 players, did not distract them from building a play off contender. Defense is the big bug-a-boo, especially at shortstop. The draft fell into their lap with key players still available when it was their turn to pick like Raleigh, Rengifo, Pujols and Jordan Walker. The lack of a true closer will hinder their chances of taking home the pennant but a playoff berth looks to be in the cards.


4th Place: Chicago, nothing really stands out with this squad other then Skipper’s Lutz usual masterful play but you can only use the hand you were dealt with and the Hawks look a little short in all areas to gain a post season berth. Their Pitching and Hitting seem to be a tad above average, which is not enough to get into the playoffs.


5th Place: Sherwood:, rarely do we see the Machine this far down in the predictions but their offensive fire power cannot compensate for the dearth of pitching on this year's team. Unless Grade C-No Z Robbie Ray pitches like "Cy Young" in his 189 innings, and every one of them is needed to get through the year, they are destined to miss the post season for just the second time in the last 13 years.


6th Place: Queen City: Grade A pitching will carry them to their best record ever under Manager Lane but the line up will drag them down to the nether lands of the division. They are finally giving up on the concept of hitting and run to spark the offense, they will still do it more than anybody else, but either they don’t have the horses to pull that strategy off successfully or realized that it is a fruitless ploy.     


7th Place: Philadelphia: The fact that Jeff McNeil is their best hitter speaks volumes on the inadequacies of the rest of their lineup. Woeful production from their catchers and third base are glaring holes that need addressed next year.


 Final Prediction


2-Las Vegas




6-Queen City





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.