Saturday, January 30, 2016

2016 Outlook: Herman Wheeler Division

Big Innings takes a look at the four divisions to see what each team has and where each team will finish. Up first, the HWD.

Last year's division winner was the surprising Inmates, who had a late season surge to not only leapfrog over the Fungoes, but also jump ahead of the Sidewinders and Zaps to earn the #2 seed and a 1st Round bye in the 2015 Playoffs. Their showing there wasn't as positive, as they lost in 5 games to the Snakes.

Will the Inmates repeat? Will the Fungoes ride Trout and Kershaw back to the top? Are all those baby Rhinos ready for some post-season action? Will the Nads lose 120 games and STILL only pick 3rd? Read on, faithful readers...

Starting Pitching:
1. Fungoes
2. Rhinos
3. Inmates
4. Nads
The Fungoes are still tops here, with the always scary Kershaw, Harvey, and Price; but the Rhinos, with Syndergaard, Archer, and Cole, aren't that far behind. The Inmates rely on Salazar, Ross, and Quintana - definitely behind the other two. The Nads have some good young arms, but the only one with a good card has only 27 innings.

1. Fungoes
2. Nads
3. Inmates
4. Rhinos
This group doesn't have much difference between 1 and 4. The Rhinos only have 2 relievers, but they're both really good.

1. Perez, Fungoes
2. Swihart/Susac/Avila, Rhinos
3. Rosario/Ramos, Inmates
4. Montero, Nads
There's not a lot of offense with this group. Perez and Ramos have the big arms.

First Base
1. Votto, Rhinos
2. Hosmer, Fungoes
3. Rizzo, Inmates
4. AdGonzalez, Nads
Catcher might not be a strength in the HWD, but the guys holding down 1b are elite. Votto is maybe the best in the whole league (if you don't count players with 11 letters in their last name), and while Rizzo usually gets more notice, Hosmer had a better year. Gonzo would be higher than 4 in every other division.

Second Base
1. Altuve, Inmates
2. Lemahieu, Rhinos
3. Dozier/Harrison, Nads
4. Odor/Murphy/Galvis, Fungoes
Almost too close to call between the first two guys. Both are well ahead of 3 & 4.

Third Base
1. Bryant/Baez, Rhinos
2. Carpenter, Fungoes
3. Frazier/Harrison, Nads
4. Lawrie/EEscobar, Inmates
I really don't know where to place Josh Harrison. He plays everywhere, and he's really good. Bryant is really, really good - and should be for a long time.

1. Lindor, Fungoes
2. AEscobar/Baez/Castro/Flores, Rhinos
3. Aybar, Nads
4. Segura/EEscobar, Inmates
Lindor is the class of this group by a long shot. In Rhinoland, they have to allot extra time for infield practice so they can all get their reps.

Left Field
1. Cespedes, Inmates
2. Gordon, Rhinos
3. Revere, Nads
4. Gardner, Fungoes
Cespedes will have an interesting card. And even though he can't hit LHP, he's still the best of this group. Gordon and Revere are a virtual tie.

Center Field
1. Trout, Fungoes
2. Jones, Inmates
3. Lagares, Nads
4. Marisnick, Rhinos
When Trout turns to look at the guys in line behind him, they are too far back to see.

Right Field
1. JDMartinez/Cargo, Inmates
2. Betts, Fungoes
3. Markakis, Rhinos
4. Calhoun/Harrison, Nads
I don't know which of these two Inmates will play RF, but the other one will be the DH - and will be ranked 1st there, too. If Betts has an "up arrow" next to his name, Markakis has the "down arrow."

Designated Hitter
1. JDMartinez/Cargo, Inmates
2. Jaso/Zimmerman, Fungoes
3. Braun(?), Rhinos
4. Harrison(?), Nads
Cargo has the same problem as his teammate Cespedes: he can't hit LHP. He'll pound righties, though. That Fungo platoon is quietly stout.

Draft Picks
1. Nads
2. Fungoes
3. Rhinos
4. Inmates
The Rhinos actually pick first of these 4, but he doesn't have a 2nd rounder. The Inmates don't start picking until #30.

1. Fungoes
2. Rhinos
3. Inmates
4. Nads
This is a tough division to predict. The Inmates are the defending HWD champs and will score some runs, but their OB% will be about 5 points higher than their team BA. And their pitching just doesn't measure up. The Rhinos have the most talent, so this could be their year. It will depend, as it has often with the Rhinos, on whether he can avoid the temptation of adding more young studs and draft for need instead. Either way, they'll be better this year. But the pick goes to the Fungoes. With that park and pitching staff, it will be hard to score runs against them. Trout isn't a one-man show - Hosmer, Carpenter, and Betts will help, and Lindor is the best ss the Fungoes have had since Omar Vizquel. The Nads have had some good drafts the last couple of years, but too many injuries have left him with a long year ahead.

1 comment:

Fungoes said...

Awesome read!