San Antonio fighters
What Went Right: The fighters presented NL opponents with a formidable, balanced approach, finishing third in the league in both runs scored and runs allowed…Three fighters launched 40+ HR and Dwight Meyers fell one short of the benchmark with 39…Derek Stark was lights-out in the closer’s role, notching 41 saves in 43 opportunities. Stark limited opposing hitters to a .517 OPS.
What Went Wrong: The fighters never quite recovered from pitcher Clarence Ogea’s debilitating elbow injury. Once in the post season, the defending NL Champs swept a flailing KC team only to get swept themselves by the Yank-mes.
S8 Outlook: The fighters have no shortage of power in their lineup, and should be able to continue their punishment of NL hurlers in S8. Stud SP Harry Pena looms in the minors and could be the elite pitcher San Antonio needs to lead their return to the World Series in S8.
Kansas City Twisters
What Went Right: The Twisters hung on by the narrowest of margins to claim the 2nd NL wild card slot. As a result, KC maintained their perfect record in making the playoffs each of Griffey’s 7 seasons….Edwin O’Malley garnered RF Silver Slugger honors thanks to his .997 OPS…Lariel Santana provided the power belting 36 HRs while joining O’Malley on the All-Star Team.
What Went Wrong: KC finished in the middle of the pack in both runs scored and runs allowed, and nearly blew a substantial lead in the Wild Card race. Limping in to the playoffs, the Twisters were swept by San Antonio as the bullpen collapsed.
S8 Outlook: The Twisters appear to be a team at the crossroads. Solid pieces are present in the lineup in O’Malley and Santana, and Bryan Leonard should continue to anchor the rotation. However, KC will need more offensive and pitching firepower to catch San Antonio or stave off hungry Wild Card contenders Cincinnati, Chicago, and others. Reinforcements do not appear to be available at AAA, so if the Twisters are to make a 8th consecutive playoff experience, they may have to make a big play in free-agency.
Montgomery Miracles (S8 -New Orleans Domination)
What Went Right: Kevin Knott slugged 41 HR, and Paulie Thompson was a bright spot in the bullpen posting a solid 1.24 WHIP…With the first pick in the draft, Montgomery selected Alfonso Prieto, who has a fantastic ceiling… Other than that, not much went right for Montgomery, except that they shared a division with Florida, which kept them from the cellar.
What Went Wrong: The Miracles’ offense could have used a Miracle itself, having scored only 685 runs – barely 4 runs a game, and 2nd worst in the NL. The pitching wasn’t any better, allowing 910 runs, also 2nd worst in the NL.
S8 Outlook: New manager jhorsley has numerous holes to fill. The Domination have speed to burn offensively, but could sorely use another slugger in the lineup to drive the fleet featherweights in; however, those power sources are lacking in the New Orleans system. Solid pitching prospects are in the low minors, but are a few seasons away from contributing at the ML level. Given that previous managers saddled him with some long-term dead weight contracts, including $11M for pitcher James Wang, it will interesting to watch jhorsley's approach.
What Went Right: Jimmy Carter posted an OBP-heavy .931 OPS… Florida garnered Griffey’s Miss Congeniality honors, posting a full 22 wins fewer than any other team in either league.
What Went Wrong: Both UN troops and Bono were sent to Miami too late to prevent atrocities afflicted upon the pitching staff, many of whom were forced to pitch under subhuman conditions.
S8 Outlook: There are legitimate players on the ML squad and four 70+ OVR players in AAA. If the team is managed in a manner necessary to reasonably maximize wins at the ML level, given the payroll flexibility, this can be a 70+ win team in S8 without saddling the team with burdensome free-agent contracts. A .500+, Wild Card-contending season may even be possible if free-agency is hit strategically. Another 34-win season should be deemed unacceptable by Tropic fans.