Saturday, December 12, 2009

Changing of the Guard in the NL?

Around the NL at almost the halfway point. The two best teams right now in the NL are... Austin and Washington?

- Washington has been leading the NL East for most of the season. They're doing it on the backs of their youngsters- Willis Biddle looks like a star in the making and Carter Leonard could end up winning the Cy Young award this season (right now: 10-0, 1.80 ERA in 11 starts).

- After struggling through the beginning of the season, Atlanta's been hot lately and has overtaken Trenton for second, only 2 games back of D.C.

- Trenton, who some experts considered a co-favorite for the division title, is sitting in third. They've been very inconsistent, but they're still hanging in at 39-35. This is a team to watch in the next month or so because they could either launch back into contention or be very active in the trade market if they don't.

- In the North, Fargo is still in first, but it almost seems like it's by default- this doesn't look like one of their vintage squads at this point. They're still dangerous.

- As for the rest of the division, Philadelphia is a big surprise at 37-37; this is probably as big a surprise positively as Trenton has been as a disappointment. Kansas City is 3 games behind Philly for 2nd and Chicago has won 5 in a row to pull to within 4 of the Phantoms. Chicago could be active in the trade market after the all-star break as well, as that team has some talent.

- In the south, it's a Texas shootout. Austin is the only NL team that is 20 games above .500 (47-27) and Houston is only 5 back of that torrid pace. Carlton Fleming has yet to lose a start for the City Limits (11-0, 3.06) and William Satou is on pace to shatter the league stolen base record (currently Justin Hernandez at 134- Satou has 86 in only 73 games). Meanwhile, Houston is getting it done behind the bats of Monte Duvall, Cy Hughes, and Bret King.

- New Orleans has taken a step back this season, as they are currently below .500 and tied with San Juan for third in the South.

- Out west, Salt Lake City almost mirrors Fargo- leading the division and should have enough talent to win in the end, but not looking as good as previous seasons. Cheyenne is the only team that theoretically could give them a run for the title. Vancouver and Salem are rebuilding and fighting for draft position.

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