Saturday, April 25, 2009

NL East Tour: Indianapolis Lancers

At a Glance
Owner: danmam - .523 winning percentage, 10 playoffs, 4 World Series titles
Team history: danmam's 12th season at the helm, 9 straight division championships
Last season: 103-59, 1st place in division
Top hitter: Rudy Aldridge (.321 BA, .416 OBP, .709 SLG, 51 HR, 124 RBI last season)
Top starting pitcher: David Lugo (15-8 with a 3.93 ERA last season)
Top relief pitcher: Josias Pena (5-5 with a 4.69 ERA and 10 saves last season)

Notable Departures
Alex Freeman: The Lancers let 7-time All-Star Freeman go to free agency to allow Jermaine Magee to come up. Freeman's speed will be missed at the top of the order. He signed a 5-year, $38 million contract with division rival Baltimore.

Carlos Fernandez: Fernandez was the Lancers' closer for the last 6 seasons. He has excellent talent but very low stamina. He saved 100 out of 108 games (93.6%) in his tenure as closer, but the Lancers couldn't justify paying several million dollars a season for only about 30 innings out of the bullpen. Fernandez signed a 2-year, $3 million deal to be a right-handed specialist with the Revolution.

Max Hernandez: Hernandez was blocked at the ML level by Aldridge, so the Lancers decided to trade him to the Arch Angels. Hernandez boasts 40 HR power and is only 23 years old, but he's slightly below average defensively behind the plate.

Fritz Gardner: Gardner was part of the Hernandez trade. This 24-year old RHP should be a solid long reliever or bottom-of-the-order SP for St. Louis in the future, but he was necessary to complete the trade for Rafael Quixote.

Notable Additions
Quixote: The Lancers traded Hernandez and Gardner for Quixote, a 20-year old RF with great contact ability, power, and above average speed. He won't make his ML debut until season 14 at the earliest, and might struggle against righties and drawing walks.

Prospect to Watch
Hee Kondou: Kondou was acquired last season in a trade with the Oklahoma City Outlaws. While he doesn't have a lot of pop in his bat, he will be able to draw a lot of walks and bat for a high average. With a little more speed, he would be a spectacular leadoff hitter. However, he's mediocre on the basepaths, so he'll have to settle for batting in the 2-spot or near the bottom of the order.

Season Synopsis
Not much has changed for the Lancers. McKay White replaces Fernandez at closer, Magee replaces Freeman in the starting lineup, Steven Harris replaces Joe Coggin as backup catcher, and Alan Ramirez replaces Ivan Nunez as the 12th pitcher on the staff. As a whole, the team has improved, but so have many others in the NL. Season 12 prediction: 106-56

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