Previous Division Champion
Previous Record: 100-62
X-Factor: Bullpen is a subject for discussion on this Austin team. Their offense fires on all cylinders and you have to love their starting rotation, but can their bullpen close out the close games? Expect Clayton Keyshaw, Austin Torres, Charlie Head, and Kenley Jansen too all be important players for this Bats team. If they pitch well then this team can go the distance.
Previous Record: 95-67
X-Factor: The HL West has gotten stronger this year so you’ve seen my predictions take quite a few wins away from both Austin and Portland so far. Portland is pretty special all the way around but I’m not sure they are dominant in any category unlike division rivals Austin (Offense) and Richardson City (Defense). For them to take that next step forward look for team aces Ken Holman and Gerrit Cole (out last year due to injury) to have excellent seasons.
Previous Record: 94-68
X-Factor: Surprisingly to say I think the factor that will make the biggest difference toward a playoff run for RC is Offense. Team GM Imran has said his team is in a soft rebuild mode but his team still will compete for a spot and will always be scary in playoffs. Defense is the name of the game in RC and that won’t change for quite sometime but losing Hosmer to division foe Colorado could potentially hurt. Can Sano have yet another MVP season? I think that’s a given. Will Yorman be a monster again? DUH. Ulitimately RC’s offense will be good, but will it be elite like there previous championship runs? Only time will tell.
Previous Record: 66-96
X-Factor- This team took the offseason by storm, I love many of this teams acquistions and if they stay the course the team will gain chemistry but I think they’ll need time to gain it. Bullpen is my question mark with them, and defense. Starting pitching is solid and so is offense. Who fills in for Koehler from last season? Some arms in their bullpen need to step up to dethrone Austin.
Previous Record: 57-105
X-Factor: I have them getting better while being worse. I like the deal he got for Trent Johnson and I think it’ll help him retool. Plus he has a good system and first overall pick in a great draft class. So there are things to be excited about for sure. Being patient is the name of the game for Vallejo. Ultimately I have them a little worse at the CBL level mainly because the division as a whole got better significantly.