Saturday, January 30, 2016

Season 36 Pre Season Power Rankings

Los Angeles Colemans
Current: 1  Last: 4

The champs return relatively intact to make their run at back-to-back titles.  Their biggest off season moves were  ponying up to resign Cecil Clark and Wellington Diaz.

Honolulu Jackwagons
Current: 2 Last: 1

The magical 115 win season was historic, but not quite magical enough to unseat the reigning NL champs.  No need to monkey with the formula, as the 'Wagons resign Melvin Rose,  Orval Moss, and most of their other free agents.  Even if they suffer a set back or two, they still should be a powerhouse.

Wichita Rocks
Current: 3  Last: 2

The Rocks repeated as NL champs, but couldn't quite grab the trophy either try.  They buy out arbitration years to keep both ace Alex Harris and slugger  Ricardo Piedra in the fold long term, as they hope third time is a charm.

Iowa City Johnsons
Current: 4  Last: 3

The team that led the NL in runs scored and was second in runs allowed, comes back mostly intact.   Some money needed to be spent  in arbitration on the likes of William Tolberg, Hector Vizquel, and several others.  The team is built to make another run at it all.

Syracuse Barking Spiders
Current: 5  Last: 5

The Alex Dong era ends in Syracuse, but something tells me the AL East champs will be alright (although Dong is on pace for a career high 27 walks with his new team.)  The team that was fourth in the AL in pitching strengthens the staff by signing Albert Polonia,  Cesar Mesa, and  a couple other solid arms with the hopes of vaulting them to the top of the pack to make another run.

Tacoma Tornadoes
Current: 6  Last: 6

Getting Benny Molina to resign was priority number one. but coming to terms with 15 game winner Max Ugueto and 17 game winner Louie Frias were important as well.   They lost top hitting catcher Phil Rice to free agency, but were able to replace him with Silver Slugger winner Vic Shipley.   Taking care of the important business should keep them in playoff contention.

Burlington Bookworms
Current: 7  Last: 14

For the second season in a row, the 'Worms made a big splash in the free agent market, this time nabbing SS Wilt Burks.  They let pitchers Tony Jorgenson and Calvin Curtis walk, but still have plenty of solid arms.  The addition of Burks will help their run production and keep them near the top of the contenders list.

Pittsburgh Appalachians
Current: 8  Last: 8

Just a few minor moves to strengthen the bench was all that was needed this off season, as slugger Mike Christians , co Cy Young award winner Karim Izquierdo, and the rest of the NL east champs return to make another run.

Jacksonville Minutemen
Current 9   Last 7

The always active Minutemen acquired slugger  A.J. Sheffield as a free agent, and traded for starter Ryan Green  to add depth.   No doubt that the team that has made 10 consecutive playoff appearances will be in the  hunt for a championship once again.

St. Louis Sabotage
Current: 10  Last: 11

Getting Yadier Padilla to resign was the number one order of business.  A team that was in the hunt for a playoff spot for most of last season adds a couple of needed starting pitchers in Heinie Tobin and Sandy DaVanon, and a reliever in Angel Guerrero.  They should be primed for playoff contention once again.

Fargo Marlboro Men
Current: 11  Last: 22

Got to the playoff with a  sub .500 record, won a series, and went up 
2-0  in the next series before bowing out.  My bet is that the playoff team is the one that shows up this season.  They resign Benji Cortes and add a top hitting catcher in Phil Rice to try to make that happen.

Richmond Confederates
Current: 12  Last: 9

You would think the defection of a top of the rotation hurler (Perry Gonzalez is this year's victim) each season would set them back, but they just keep winning.  Solid replacements keep coming through the pipeline, keeping them serious contenders.

Santa Fe Brooks
Current: 13  Last: 13

Losing Skip Walton to free agency would devastate most teams, but the Brooks are loaded with offensive talent.   The pitching is solid as well, and they added Jeremy Sauveur to bring depth to the 'pen.   

Philadelphia Phoenix
Current: 14  Last: 15

After a couple of near misses each of last two season. the Phoenix are looking to get over the hump and into the playoffs.  They resign a couple of their own free agents, and add some big guns in Alex Crespo,  Woody Bryant and Gerald Strong.

New York
New York Bombers
Current 15  Last 12

They lose Ossie Davis and Eric Strickland, but lock up Jacob Lemke long term. and resign Darren Bell.   We'll see what kind of an impact the loss of the two starters will have, but the core group is still very strong. 

Colorado Surf Riders III
Current: 16  Last: 10

Faded at the tail end of last season to just miss out on a playoff spot.   Even though last season was a forgettable one for Ingacio Flores, his departure could still sting a little.   They add another slugger in Norm Reynolds, and an arm in Macbeth Sosa to give the 'pen some depth.

Trenton Thunder
Current: 17  Last: 17

The Thunder is not used to not making the playoffs, now two years running.  They upgrade CF with Guillermo Baez, and add a very nice bullpen arm in Matty Simmons to try to get them back to the tournament. 

Hartford Hippopotamus Dance Party
Current: 18  Last: 16

They missed out on the playoffs last season, but look to get back by signing Calvin Curtis and trading for Joe Danks, improving their pitching and their chances.

Anaheim Arte Morenos
Current: 19  Last: 25

Needed to try to close the gap on Honolulu, and did it in a big way by signing Ossie Diaz.  and Steve Snow, and trading for Cord Hennessey.   The gap was pretty wide, but these moves will certainly make an impact.

Tampa Bay Don Cesars
Current: 20  Last: 20

Desperately needed to upgrade the offense, and traded for Kris Roenicke, Bob Westmoreland and  David Reynolds to get some punch.  Still may be not quite enough to earn a post season berth.

Durham Bulls
Current: 21   Last: 26

Made a couple of big free agent splashes with Perry Gonzalez and Fernando  Romero.  With their solid core group, these moves should put them in the mix for a playoff spot.

Scranton Rail Riders
Current: 22  Last: 19

Another team that is on the cusp of contention makes a big move.  Ignacio Flores joins a squad that has been in the hunt, but has fallen a little short.  This may be the answer. 

Charlotte Charlatans
Current: 23  Last: 21

The time is now, with Arismendy Marquez coming on board to become the difference maker.  The team has improved steadily over the past two seasons, so playoff contention looks like the next step. 

Montreal Stars
Current: 24  Last: 23

Time will tell if the losses of Romero and Burks will have an impact.  Lots of young talent coming up through the pipeline, could take them to the next level,

Texas Wildcats
Current: 25  Last: 29

Looking to shed their losing ways from the past couple seasons. the 'Cats load up on quality free agents.  John Suzuki, Skip Walton, Eric Strickland, Bonk Lincoln, and a few others come on board to try to right the ship.

Washington D.C. Senators
Current: 26  Last: 18

A team built on home grown talent had a strong second half last season.  It'll be interesting to see if the youth in the pipeline moves the team into serious contention.

Chicago Blagos
Current: 27  Last: 28

Looks like the restructuring will continue for at least another season.  Paul Barry was a nice value signing, and will play well in that park.

San Francisco Lockdown
Current: 28  Last: 24

A few value signings, like Torey Chambers and the infamous Alex Dong could be the pieces that get them over the hump.

Cincinnati Dawgs
Current: 29  Last: 31

The most likely plan is a rebuild, as they ship out Ryan Green and make only a minor acquisition in Enos Phillips.

Buffalo Blues
Current: 30  Last: 27

They improve their pitching by signing Hipolito Cordero, Frank Yosida,  Tony Jorgenson and add a great game caller is Oswaldo Roque.   This could be a turning point.

Detroit Chippewas
Current: 31  Last: 30

They sign some pitching depth in Rocky Bundy and Larry Dean to supplement the influx of rookies.   If these kids can play, we could see a quick turnaround. 

Las Vegas  Bookies
Current: 32  Last: 32

Were busy this off season reshaping most of the big league roster.  A couple wily vets (Neil Moreno, Harry Guerrero) come on board with short term deals to add depth, and they make a big move in signing Pedro Profar.  With the first two picks in this season's draft, it looks like it will all be coming together soon.

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