Tuesday, June 24, 2008


(New York, NY) Continung our series previewing Camp Season 9, let's take a look at the National League; home of three time defending Champions The Arizona Thunder Chickens.

NL North

Toronto Greased-Up Deaf Guys / 112-50 / NL North Champs
Season 8 in Review: Arguably the most complete and well-rounded team in Camp, and certainly the best team named after a Family Guy recurring character, Toronto is poised (finally!) to de-throne the Chicken Empire and represent the National League this season. TGUDG finished in the top 2 or 3 in every major pitching and offensive category last season, indicative of their dominant play throught the regular season. There is no weakness to be found on this club, something that cannot be said for any other squad in the National League. Toronto has a bad habit of coming up small in the post-season and another flame-out this time around would certainly trigger profound changes up and down the organization.

MVP: 1B Jim Drese (.351BA, 55HRs, 144RBIs) Drese had a career year and ran away with NL MVP voting.

Underachiever: LHP Juan Piedra (17 wins – 7 losses, 3.99ERA, 1.35WHIP). His post-season effort was piss-poor really, as was that of the entire staff…except His Majesty, Don Bale.

Outlook: The Post is betting this is the year they get the Chicken monkey off their back and power through to win it all.
110-52, World Champs!

Milwaukee Bondsmen / 86-76 / No Playoffs
Season 8 in Review: Milwaukee is the Goldilocks of Camp, not too hot, not too cold; consistently above average, yet never able to put together a breakthrough performance. Milwaukee fans are more than restless at this point as the franchise has finished 1st or 2nd in the division in each of the last eight seasons, made the playoffs in six of those eight, yet never advanced farther than the LCS. Unfortunately, last season was a step backward as the stats reflect this team slightly regressed in every aspect of the game; out of the top 5 in offense and pitching and into the middle of the pack.

MVP: RHP Jim Cepicky (11-4, 3.79, 1.28), The veteran proved to be the stopper of the rotation last season.

Underachiever: 2B Stan Presley (.271, 21, 66), the time is now for Presley to step up and meet the club’s high expectations.

Outlook: Easy team to handicap, as they have been since season one. Look for another above average season with an outside shot at a wild card berth.
84-78, Wild Card Winners

New York Bulldogs / 86-76 / No Playoffs
Season 8 in Review: This club took a real step in the right direction last season; primarily by improving their pitching staff across the board. Ranked 12th in total pitching in Season 7, the staff motored up to 4th ranked last season, by far the best improvement in the league. Offensively, not much to write home about, finishing near the bottom in all major categories. If not for Robinson, this club would be a real lightweight.

MVP: 1B Matty Robinson (.320, 62, 146), one of the all-time great sluggers turned in another strong performance. Money!

Underachiever: The rest of the starting lineup, who collectively averaged a paltry .247BA, 14HRs with 40RBIS. Yikes.

Outlook: Depending on how jway addresses the issues on offense, the pitching is there to make a push into the playoffs. The move to pitcher friendly Shea Stadium won’t help their anemic hitting however.
81-81, No Playoffs.

Chicago Cubs / 73-89 / No playoffs
Season 8 in Review: The hiccup that was Season 7 seems to have been just that as Chicago returned to respectability with a strong offensive output and slight but effective pitching progress throughout Season 8. Young arms developed out of that nightmare the previous season and into dependable pitchers, while the offense slugged along bashing homers at a 240 clip, good for 3rd in the NL.

MVP: RHP “Lights Out” Larry Chambers (3-1, 2.67, 33 Saves, 3BSV), “Lights Out” was one of the best closers in baseball last season anchoring a strong bullpen.

Underachiever: LF Yorvit Morales (.262, 4, 27), never recovered from early nerve irritation and a long stint on the DL. Despite clean bills of health from team doctors, he was slow to return and played without inspiration when he did. Rumors were the bad start Chicago got off to was enough to convince him to shut it down altogether. Not a good example from one of your supposed team leaders.

Outlook: We like Chicago to continue improving on the mound and to continue pounding the ball, but they are most likely still one or two seasons away from challenging the Torontos and Arizonas of the League.
78-84, No Playoffs.
NL East

Tampa Bay Boozers / 100-62 / NL East Champs
Season 8 in Review: Another NL powerhouse franchise finished a hard-charging regular season with another failed effort at getting that Chicken monkey off its back. It’s difficult to fathom this squad has been to one LCS in eight years and even harder to believe they are 0-4 in playoff series against the hated Thunder Chickens while rolling over and dying to a combined 4-13 record in those series. Season 8 was once again a clinical display of TB pitching, highlighted by a remarkable Team ERA of 3.79! Best Save%, Best WHIP, most CGs, most shutouts…yada, yada. Offensively, a very potent 4th Overall. Nevertheless, thanks again to the Evil Chicken Empire, Boozer officials and their fans cannot be pleased with the season.

MVP: RHP Karl Piersoll (25-7, 2.93, 1.10) Unlike the GMs of the league who couldn’t decide between Piersoll and teammate Abdul Wallace in last season’s Cy Young voting, we here at the Post unanimously agree ties are for Communists.

Underachiever: LHP Matt Adams (23-7, 2.95, 1.12), With a post-season ERA hovering near 6 and the Boozers losing all 3 of his starts, you can’t help but scratch your head at that type of performance.

Outlook: Tampa Bay has without a doubt all the tools in place for a Title run. But they need to put up or shut up at this point... until then the Post is unconvinced.
105-57, NL East Champs

Scranton Coal Miners / 90-72 / Wild Card Winner- Lost in 2nd Round
Season 8 in Review: You could see this club building to something special for several seasons now and Season 8 seems to have been the coming out party for this young franchise. Key signings during spring training finally got them over the hump and into the playoffs for the first time in team history. The bullpen deserves special mention as they led the league in holds, one run game victories with 29, as well as extra inning win% with a 12-4 record.

MVP: RHP Bill Appier (16-8, 2.86, 1.06) A #1 in every sense of the term.

Underachiever: LF Alvin Alexander (.262, 30, 74), For a talent like Alexander, he needs to show more at the plate, especially with RISP. Has been a slight liability in the field as well, combine that with a 30 HR and only 74 RBI performance…and it all reflects poorly on his concentration level.

Outlook: A team nucleus that is hitting its prime, strong pitching and improving defense all add up to another playoff run for the Miners.
92-70, Wild Card Winners

Augusta Pounders/ 86-76 / No Playoffs
Season 8 in Review: Augusta joins a long line of Camp franchises where age has become a real concern. Up and down the roster you find starters 30 years and older, and to a man their best years seem behind them. The stats bear this out as the club has inexorably slid down the offensive statistics. Over the last four seasons: Augusta was 1st, 4th, 5th and last season 12th in the NL for total offense. The pitching remains strong but there again, age is showing throughout the rotation. For the first time in club history the staff allowed as many HRs (210) as the lineup hit.

MVP: 1B Edgar Pantiagua (.296, 50, 119), we can’t have an Augusta Pounder MVP and it not be a homerun hitter, right?

Underachiever: 3B Monte Fisher (.274, 13, 75), Those numbers will not do from a middle of the lineup stalwart like Fisher with a high-end salary. Age may finally be catching up with him.

Outlook: It seems the jig is up for The Pounders, with an aging roster and one of the worst farm systems in Camp. The club’s minor league win % was .250 as it was obviously barren of ML prospects at any level. There are no ‘hot minor league prospects’ that GM’s love to trade for when attempting a quick fix nor is there anyone down on the farm that is ready for primetime. A frightening combination for the front office.
75-87, No Playoffs

Atlanta Regulators / 80-82 / No playoffs
Season 8 in Review: If you enjoy watching games with final scores of 11 to 9 and cheering for towering homeruns as they arc gracefully out of ballparks, then we recommend going to see this team play…because you’ll see plenty of long bombs from both teams during Atlanta baseball games. All or nothing is the name of their game and they hit long homeruns as well as anyone. Season 8 saw the Regulators explode for 265 round trippers, good for 2nd in the NL. Pitching on the other hand was a big disappointment as they could never address the gaping holes found all over their staff. It was “Stuart and Lincoln, and pray for rain” as the rest of the club gave up hits and walks like little leaguers. No other club had such a disparity between offensive success and pitching issues such as Atlanta last season.

MVP: 1B “High Flying” Eric Flier (.279, 65, 148), You’ll find Flier’s picture in Webster’s under the entry ‘slugger’.

Underachiever: RF R.J. Sheffield (.225, 19, 70), unacceptable effort from an everyday starter, let alone one with the potential this youngster has.

Outlook: With the questions this club has on the pitching staff, you can’t help but see them falling back to the pack this season. With all due respect to the talented sluggers they have, no one ever won consistently as a one dimensional team.
68-94, No Playoffs.

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