Friday, February 22, 2008

Minnesota Season Preview

Minnesota Power Loons

A review and preview of things to come

The defending division champion Power Loons seek to repeat in season 4. It by no means was a runaway, and judging by my competition, it won’t be this year either. Three different division winners in three seasons has proven that.

Montreal has been restocking through trades and the FA market. At 84-78 last season, (256-230 in three seasons) they have been in either 1st or 2nd each year. Judging by the talent they added they will be at or near the top again.

Pittsburgh is only 1 season removed from their 104 win season. They finished last season at 80-82 (276-210) and spent last season re-tooling after losing out retaining their top pitcher who bolted for Vegas. Considering that that was their worst season, they will again challenge for the top spot.

Dover is running with its’ 5th owner. After finishing 33-129 (173-313) last season, there is hope the new ownership can provide some stability and get them back on track. In season 1 they challenged for the top spot at 86-76 and have since lost 100+ the last 2. Good luck and welcome to the NL North sccrplyr16!

The Loons have made the long climb from the bottom of this division to take the crown last season. Using primarily players developed from within, finished 86-76 (235-251) and then were promptly swept by the aforementioned Vegas in the 1st round. Aquiring Alberto Cruz in the offseason from Little Rock has given the Loons a clear #1 pitcher to lead this young group back to the playoffs.


Starting Pitching

The average age of this rotation is 26 years old, but don’t let that fool you. There is only 1 starter over that age. Although not flashy, the expectation is to keep the opponents down enough to allow our top offense to overpower the opponent.

Alberto Cruz 20-7 / 237.2 IP / OAV-.276 / Whip-1.33 / ERA-4.13

As a key FA acquisition, Alberto will be counted on to be the stopper this rotation needs. Won 50 games with his first three seasons in Little Rock. At 33 he is still young enough to play another 3-4 effective seasons.

Douglas Ducey 13-9 / 193.0 IP / OAV-.258 / Whip-1.38 / ERA-4.10

Douglas had made all 35 starts last season and proved to be effective. Tied for the team lead with 13 wins, he did a good job keeping the team in every game.

Tony Rosado 5-7 / 95.2 IP / OAV-.269 / Whip-1.41 / ERA-5.08

Tony won his first 5 starts as a late season call-up last season. Although he struggled late last year, he has the right stuff to be at this level. Lets’ just hope he can do it for an entire season.

Pablo Manzanillo 13-8 / 180.1 IP / OVA-.264 / Whip-1.40 / ERA-4.24

Pablo was the co-leader in wins last season. He has been steady since coming to the ML. Would like to see a breakout year from him.

Russ Adkinson 11-13 / 184.0 IP / OVA-.262 / Whip-1.42 / ERA-4.79

Russ came storming back last season after a season ending injury ended his year 2. Making 36 starts showed his durability. He was the only starter last season to record a CG.

Relief Pitching

Group 22-13 / 47 of 57 saves / 432.2 IP / OVA-.265 / Whip-1.38 / ERA-4.58

A couple years ago this was the achillies heel of the team. Adding Tim White to the team has produced amazing results. Guys like James Kim, Torey Alcantara and Billy Ray Sanders have solidified the group.

Position Players


Rule 5 selection Patrick Stockton performed well last season (.290-16-79) and has earned a spot in the lineup. But Billy Rivers (.318-21-78 @ AAA) is demanding playing time and claims the job is his. Looks like a platoon for the start of the season.

1st Base

Pasqual Guillen finished strong last season (.277-32-96) and finished 2nd in HR’s. As well as he performed, others could split time here if he starts slow like last season.

2nd Base

Greg Cobb had a great comeback season (.302-3-49 w/27 SB). The move to 2nd base proved a good fit for Cobb and expectations are that he should flourish again.

3rd Base

After the season Thomas Cannon (.298-36-87) had as a utility player. He is being asked to play fulltime at 3rd to get his bat in the lineup more ofton. The fact that he led the team with .973 OPS and only had 363 AB’s shows what he can do with a bat in his hands.


Tony Soto was steller at 3rd base last season and SHOULD have been awarded a Gold Glove. That said, he has the skills to be a SS and his move helps with the Cannon arrangement. After the great rookie season (.327-30-121) he had, this year comes with higher expectations.


Robert McGee (.271-28-92) had a good year and it is hoped he will build on it this season. A fine athlete with all the tools, Robert is expected to be a big part of this teams future. A late season call-up, Flash Lane (.299-5-16 in 24 games) has also earned a spot with the big club. His ability to play multiple roles will prove valuable.


Since season 2, when Vic Cummings (.329-18-89) took over for Cobb in centerfield, we have not had more steady play from any other position. The All-Star, Gold Glove and reighning NL batting champ will be patroling CF again for the Loons and his bat is just as valuable as his glove.


After a Gold Glove in season 2 and the All-Star MVP in season 3, Pablo Guzman has shown his ability to be another All-Star performer for the Loons. He became the first Loon player to amass 200+ hits in a season. He credits his and his teamates success at the plate last year to their new hitting coach.

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