NL South Preview!!!!11111

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Montgomery Burns

Last year, the Burns looked like a coiled spring ready to blast through the NL playoffs after turning in their sixth straight 100 win season. With a lineup already featuring Todd Ford and Jamie Jung was coupled with the mid season acquisitions of Che Ong, Andruw Henderson, Ariel Sosa. But it was for naught as the Burns fell to the cinderella Salt in the NLCS. The season the lineup is as potent as ever even with loss of Jung to free agency. GM Ttjack cashed in the trade chips of Lonny Aguilar, Tom Booker, and Ed Cannon to restock the prospects last season's trades had depleted.

Overall, the moves mitigated the off season losses, but one has to wonder if the Montgomery pitching staff will be strong enough to ensure another 100 win season and NL South title. The staff is lead by Sandy Mieske but after him there is a considerable drop off in talent and the bullpen has no real "go-to guy." With the organization's top pitching prospects likely at least a year away, there doesn't seem to be any in house reinforcements riding to the rescue should injury or ineffectiveness strike. However, as we all know, GM TTjack is not afraid to go out and fill any holes mid season.

Prediction: 98-64, 1st place NL South

Jacksonville Alcoholics

Last season Jax finished with a higher expected winning percentage than the Burn yet finished 10 games back in the standings. They did however earn the franchise's first playoff berth in team history which inspired enough confidence in GM Frankum to stand pat this off season. While the 'Holics were a bit unlucky in one-run and extra inning games, its a bit puzzling why no moves were made to shore up the long relief, catching, or add bench depth. The entire rotation is very young and strong with the trio of George Reuschel, Glenn Carlyle, and Howard Fasano and the backend of the bullpen is solid. If the #4-5 starters don't regress too much, the pitching staff should be formidable again.

Offensively, Ron Puffer should rebound slightly from his down year, but at age 30 one has to wonder if the 50 HR seasons are behind him. Rolando Guerrero continues to be the definition of consistency with the bat which should make up his age slowly draining his first step on defense. Dan Clayton and Zeus Thurman are nearing the cusp of their prime and need to continues their offensive progression. The most glaring weakness for the Alcoholics seems to be their bench with no LH pinch hitting option and little more than defensive value. All in all, Jax is a solid team and should be in playoff contention

Predicition: 95-67, 2nd place NL South, NL Wildcard

Tampa Bay Pirates

GM presidentdan went into full blown rebuild mode by dumping high priced veterans like Andruw Henderson, Ariel Sosa, Gabe Matthews, and Vicente Lee. While their returns were solid but lacked any players with real impact upside. They should provide a solid base to build upon, but only a few are ready to help out now. Steven Hiljus and Desi Nunez are on the 25-man roster and Rule V pickup Carlos Rios should slot into the starting CF job, but right now Chuck Robertson is the lone offensive force. The good news is that Pirates have one positional player over age 30 and should stay nice and cheap while progressing.

The pitching staff will be the major concern as Edgar Pascual and Bernard Frederick appear to be the only two that are capable of replacement level production. Giving innings to Brian Brea, William Wang, and P.J. Bush should give Tampa sports writers plenty to talk about.

Prediction: 60-102, 4th place NL South

Richmond Tyrants

Richmond's inexplicable free fall caused some uproar last season as GM bwb53 turned in his worst season ever by 16 games. Every pitcher not named Philip Reed struggled to miss bats while only two players with over 200 PAs had OPB better than .340. So distraught over his performance, Dion Forrest restructured his contract to give Richmond future financial flexibility. In order to right the ship, Richmond signed FAs Kirt Strong, Jaret Hall, Benny Rodriguez, and Daniel Ruffin. Richmond sports a solid rotation backed by a shaky but improved bullpen, but the staff was hit by the recent injury to Eugene Hartman.

The Tyrants abysmal OPB led to being the 4th worst in runs scored and a poor 15-26 record in one run games. The bright spot for the offense this season should be newly promoted prospect, Peter Chong. The #11 pick in season 8 should bring some much needed power and on-base skills and could partner with potential mid season call up Ivan Silva to form a young and potent 1-2 punch in the middle of the Tyrants' lineup. Until then the offense is going to have to rely on Chong and David Rojas to shoulder the load. Richmond has a potential contending level pitching staff, but until they provide the offense to back it up they will end up with more losses than wins.

Prediction: 72-90, 3rd place NL South



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