Here's a quick wrap-up of some of the things we saw this season in The Bigs.
Fargo will be the top seed in the NL playoffs, and appear to be a World Series contender. Atlanta followed up last season's division win with a 110-win season, launching them into the elite group in this league- they'll be the 2 seed. Houston wins its 5th straight division title and will be the 3 seed. Cheyenne has come back from some hard times to win the West and be the 4th seed. Chicago is back in the playoffs as the first wild card team, and Salem beat out Trenton to claim the last spot.
On the down side, Vancouver followed up their World Series appearance with a last-place record, and Salt Lake City (last season's NL West winners) couldn't manage a .500 record. Norfolk and San Juan were also disappointments, and Austin lost 107 games for the NL's worst record.
Stan Starr for Atlanta came out of the shadows of last season's (now traded) MVP Matty Matos and put up a monster seasonof his own. Cap Herrera of Vancouver may be watching the playoffs, but he'll claim the batting title. Osvaldo Johnson hit 65 HRs and drove in 140. Lonny Gates for Houston went 17-7 in his rookie season and appears to be headed for great things. Teammate Jerome Oliver led the league with 19 wins.
Monterrey and Milwaukee (big surprise) will be the top 2 seeds and have the byes- each wins its 5th straight division title. Louisville wins the East again and grabs the 3rd seed. Las Vegas will get into the playoffs with a below .500 record as the "winners" (read: least terrible) of the AL West). The Scranto franchise will make its 3rd straight appearance in the playoffs as one of the wild card teams. They will be joined by a team with a $17 million payroll in Jackson, a first time entry. The matchups have yet to be determined. Disappointing teams are: the entire AL West (all below .500), Oklahoma City (worst record in the AL), New York (just short of .500) and Boston (did I really pick them to win the East? Oops).
Buffalo finished in last place again, but the bright spot was 1B Julio Diaz, who made a leap into stardom this season. Ismael Polanco, Louisville's 1B, did the same. Milwaukee's Luis Martinez goes 40-40 (46 HRs, 64 SBs) for the second time in his career, joining Monterrey's Ryan Snyder (seasons 3 and 4) as the only guys to go 40-40 twice (Gregg Black is the only other player to do it once). St. Louis's Nick Hernandez wins the batting title, with Diaz taking the other 2 Triple Crown categories. Milwaukee's Woody Hiller and Monterrey's Albert Gonzalez tied with 19 wins for the league lead.