Consistent Winners Won't Find Latest Push Easy
Once again the team is led by its leader Paul Goldschmidt, one of only two players in league history to own two Most Valuable Player awards (2014, 2016). Goldschmidt is coming off his worst BoS Season (.240 BA, 21 HR & .733 OPS), but don't count on a repeat as he should rebound towards to a season geared more towards his career .858 OPS. He won't have to do it all on his own, as he will have key lineup contributors in Josh Donaldson, Khris Davis & Avisail Garcia (who came off a MLB breakthrough season in 2017 for the White Sox).
Davis & Garcia will likely be daily outfield starters, while the other outfield slot will likely rotate among Howie Kendrick, Mikie Mahtook & Jason Heyward, while Brandon Nimmo may get some DH activity, while Kendrys Morales has a day off.
The usual-dependable rotation for the Tigers will likely be more of a juggling act in 2018, with Madison Bumgarner's health & Parker Bridwell's limited innings likely to play factors. Their rotation at peak health will still be the best in the division, while they will have plenty of arms to throw out there to join Bumgarner, Bridwell, Greinke & Sabathia with the likes of Martin Perez, Erasmo Ramirez, and Marco Estrada. Zack Greinke will be the Tigers' ace, after another strong MLB season (17-7, 3.20 ERA & 220 strikeouts) with the Diamondbacks.
Always known for having one of the league's stronger bullpens, the Tigers made a splash by drafting Arizona's Archie Bradley, who will be joining consistent arms in Joe Smith, Bryan Shaw & Justin Wilson.
The team may be looking long in the tooth, but Fairgrove has always depended heavily on a veteran-laced roster.... if it's not broke, why fix it?
Prediction: 1st Place -- They won't win the division in a run-away as in year's past, but with Mosher at the helm, among the usual star players leading the way, it's hard to bet against the Tigers.
A Probable Chance of Injuries Projects for Weak Front
The Storm have plenty of productive bats to plug into their lineup. It's all going to come down to keeping those bats healthy. Players such as Dustin Pedroia (.293 BA, .369 OBP & 62 RBI in 406 AB), Brandon Belt (18 HR & .823 OPS in 382 AB) & Lonnie Chisenhall (.288, 12 HR & .881 OPS in 236 AB) are really productive when on the field, but all can't seem to stay healthy. There are others with similar situations, while other productive bats on the roster, such as Matt Olson (24 HR, 45 RBI & 1.003 OPS in 189 AB), Rafael Devers (.284 BA, 10 HR & .819 OPS in 222 AB) & Jose Martinez (.309 BA, 14 HR & .897 OPS in 272 AB) are going to be simply victim to limited play.
Their rotation may be the most durable rotation in their division for 2018, led by rising star Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA & 230 K) & Marcus Stroman (13-9, 3.09 ERA & 164 K) in the first two slots. The Twins' future ace, Jose Berrios (14-8, 3.89 ERA & 139 K in 145.2 innings) will likely be the #3 starter, followed by Danny Duffy and Yu Darvish. The Storm hopes that Darvish can bounce back to his more dominate days in his new Cubs digs.
The bullpen is formidable, while lacking control.
The current forecast may not be promising, but the future forecast looks bright & promising with the likes of Severino, Berrios, Devers, Olson, Edwin Diaz, Dinelson Lamet, Kendall Graveman, Mike Montgomery & possibly Tyler Glasnow emerging in future seasons to come.
Prediction: 2nd -- The team seems to be heading in the right direction, while reaching the post-season this season seems unlikely.
Buffalo Continues to Play the Waiting Game
The Yankees have never finished in dead last, that's a good thing... but never have had a winning record, that's not a good thing. Buffalo has been victim to dealing with a constant powerhouse in Fairgrove, while dealing with brief powers other than Fairgrove (Chicago Nine), while also having to face a more competitive division in the A.L. East. The American League East has generated a wild card team, in every season except for 2016 (Chicago has been the A.L. West's lone wildcard up to this point).
Buffalo's long-awaited success may have to be a waiting game, much in the same way that the King Road Kings had to do, until they finally broke into the playoffs last season.
For now, the Yankees will compete with a lineup that witnessed two players with rejuvenated bats in Austin Jackson and Alex Avila, both players almost fell into oblivion until they started playing more like circa 2012 versions of themselves. Marwin Gonzalez ended up being a huge pickup for Buffalo, as he might be their best option to hit clean-up. The lineup also boasts up-years from Jay Bruce and Starlin Castro, while the team roots for solid-glove guys Ian Kinsler and Trevor Story to have better years in the majors for 2018.
Gonzalez & Bruce will likely play the corner outfield spots, while Jackson will try to play the majority at center. The team could use Story the majority of time at short, while Paul DeJong hits in the designated hitter role, when he's at short or has a night off, Ben Gamel could fill in nicely at DH as well.
The rotation is headed by one APBA-B, among plenty of APBA-C starters, the APBA-B starter ended up being the most unlikeliest to suddenly anchor a rotation in Andrew Cashner; Casher had a career comeback-of-sorts with the Rangers, sporting a 11-11 record & 3.40 ERA in 166.2 innings.
The bullpen may be one of the better division pens, as they may have strong guys in Chris Devenski, Tommy Hunter & Alex Colome for innings 7-through-8... the question is, can the rotation hand the ball over to these guys with a lead by then?
All things are possible, but expect much the same as previous seasons.
Prediction: 3rd -- The Yankees have hovered consistently between 69-73 wins, which will probably be the same result, but the Yankees shouldn't be discouraged, this may be the murkiest of seasons for the Fairgrove Tigers, and who knows what the future holds? King Road's story has to be encouraging.
New Team, New Owner & New Expectations
To be fair, when first glancing at the Terminators, they read as a who's who of the 2000's to early 2010's, if we took a time machine back to 2009, this would most likely be an All-Star team. The team is loaded with the likes of Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano, Adam Jones, Matt Kemp, Jose Reyes, Andrew McCutchen & Justin Verlander... and out of the above, Verlander likely has the most gas left in the tank.
Entering 2017, Verlander's name fell down the Fantasy Baseball lists, many have written him off. A year later, Verlander has a strong chance at winning the 2018 A.L. Cy Young for the Houston Astros. Verlander was phenomenal down the stretch, the Terminators hopes this translates to having a powerful ace for a few more years at least.
Their rotation's success won't happen over night, but they added three young arms in Jordan Montgomery, Kyle Freeland & Trevor Williams... who are all 25 & younger. It will take J.V.'s as a mentor, to help these young arms develop.
Nolan Arenado (soon to be 27), is one of the youngsters of the bunch, coming off another excellent season with the Colorado Rockies... consistently solid with the glove & bat, you can expect a season close to .300 BA, 40 HR & 130 RBI; Mike Schmidt recently said when Arenado's career finishes, he will be the greatest third baseman to ever play... now that's high praise.
The team has a dependable veteran lineup, while it's bullpen may be among the better American League, sporting at least 4 APBA Z's (control)... that's more than you can say for some other teams out there.
They may suffer more losses than wins, but there definitely a lot of excitement in DeWitt.
Prediction: 4th -- The Terminators could easily finish third even, but this is a learning season for new manager Lundy, the success will come later.