Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are an enigma to me. It seems that any given year they can be contenders. But with veterans like Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzinski in the linup, mans using the White Sox in your Franchise could work out for you.
Adam Dunn: If Dunn can improve only slightly this year, it would still be a welcome improvement of last years disaster. Dunn has the potential to rake for you this season if he stays healthy.
Chris Sale: This young up-and-coming southpaw will be a key piece of the rotation – possibly for years to come. Sale has potential ace of the staff stuff. It will be fun to guide him through your franchise.
Paul Konerko: After all these years Konerko is still one of the best right-handed hitters in real, and videogame baseball. However, he won’t stay young forever. It will be interesting to see if he will start to regress anytime soon. In the meantime you should expect a high average and good power numbers from him.
The veteran lineup remains mostly the same this year. The Sox were not very active in the trade or free-agent market. This is something you may have to change in the very near future. Now to set the rotation, 1. John Danks, 2 Chris Sale, 3. Phil Humber, 4. Gavin Floyd, and to round it out, Jake Peavy.
This is the biggest issue for the White Sox. The minor league system is pretty depleted. You have a couple of good pitching prospects like Addison Reed and Nestor Molina, but it drops off pretty sharply from there. The same could be said about the hitting prospects. The only one who predicts to be a factor at this point is Tyler Saladino. The Outlook for the future would be middling.
The bottom line is that if you want to compete in future years of your franchise I would suggest being active in the trade and free-agent market.
Addison Reed is ready and waiting for use in the big leagues. Some say he has closer stuff with a closer mentality. I say you give him more time in the pen before usurping Matt Thornton as closer.
Just like the Tigers, you should have money to spend. With the depleted farm system and an aging team you will definitely have too. You could also go the route of blowing things up if your first franchise season doesn’t turn out well.
Organization Ranking: 6
The Tigers are sitting pretty in the American League Central this season. Most consider them to be one of the best teams in all of baseball. Adding Prince Fielder sure helps that consideration. This team can win right now.
Prince Fielder: Coming over from the National League is sometimes a challenge for a hitter. However, this shouldn’t be much of an issue in videogame form. Just make sure you stay patient at the plate and you should have no problem hitting bombs with Fielders high power ratings.
Alex Avila: After somewhat of a breakout season, Avila’s ratings have increased and he is quickly becoming a top offensive catcher in baseball. I see no reason why you shouldn’t hit close to .300 with around 20 home runs.
Miguel Cabrera: Cabrera can hit a ton, but will he stay healthy? The perennial 100 plus RBI man should see those numbers continue.
With the addition of Fielder and the continuing success of players like Cabrera, the offense will be even better than a year ago. Starting pitching is right where it needs to be. You have five very good, if not dominant starters. I would set the rotation like this: 1. Justin Verlander, 2. Doug Fister, 3. Matt Scherzer, 4. Rick Porcello, and round it out with Drew Smyly at No. 5.
I think the best bet with the Tigers is to try to win now. Their farm system drops off after Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos. While they have high potential ratings you may not hit on both of them.
If for some reason, the Tigers can’t put it together and win right now, things may not look so bright in the future. With aging veterans, and not a lot of talent coming through the system you might find yourself looking toward the trading block.
As mentioned above, Jacob Turner is a guy you need to keep an eye on. One of baseballs top 50 prospects, he should be able to play a part in your franchise soon.
The Tigers should always have some money to spend. So even though they might have a weaker farm system, you should be able to makes trades and sign free agents to help your club.
Organization Ranking: 8
Things were looking good this year for the Tribe - that is until the Tigers signed Prince Fielder. After finishing 80-82 last season things were looking up. Many prognosticators had them competing for the division with the Tigers. Now with that the Tigers have Prince Fielder in the fold, things may be much more complicated this year for the Tribe.
Carlos Santana: One of the brightest young up-and-comers in the league, Santana will help your franchise for years to come. His contact and power ratings have increased substantially this year.
Asdrubal Cabrera: The American League’s Silver Slugger Award winner at shortstop last year will be an integral part of the lineup in the two slot. He should hit close to .300 with at least 20 home runs in your franchise.
Travis Hafner: A key cog in the lineup when healthy. That’s the problem though, If you can keep him healthy he should be able to supply you with some great power out of the five spot, or wherever you wish to put him in the lineup.
The one-through-nine looks pretty decent this year, as long as the strike-outs get cut down. (Its tough to lay off those low breaking pitches isn’t it?) As far as the rotation goes I would set it up like this; 1. Justin Masterson, 2. Ubaldo Jiminez, 3. Derek Lowe, 4. Kevin Slowey and to round it out I would go with Genmar Gomez.
If you intend on playing multiple seasons in your franchise you will find out quickly that the Indians minor league system is pretty depleted. I would guess that you have two-to-three seasons to get it done. After that you better hope you hit it big in free agency and the draft.
Lonnie Chissenhall is still the Indians top prospect - even after getting his feet wet with the big league club last year. As of now I think Its a good idea to go with Jack Hannahan at 3rd and give CHissenhall one more season to improve.
Overall I would say the outlook is middling. You have a chance now to make some noise, but the door will close quickly. However, you could prolong the opening by trades or key free agent signings
Organization Ranking: 6
Kansas City Royals
Things are looking up for the Royals. Some of the young prospects are starting to pan out. However, there is still more work to be done. Pitching remains a question mark and some moves might need to be made if the club wants to compete.
Alex Gordon: Gordon finally had his coming out party last year. With some boosted ratings this year he should be just as good if not better for your team this year.
Eric Hosmer: Hosmer is on the verge of being an elite player. He could be one of the best players in your franchise over the next few years.
Billy Butler: The wily veteran provides you with a solid right handed bat. He should have at least a few more years where he produces at a relatively high level.
With the young players starting to pan out at the plate, the pitching will have to follow suit. Veteran Luke Hochevar turned in a solid performance last season, getting better as the season went on. The addition of Jonathan Sanchez should help as long as he can stay healthy.
For this years rotation I would go with, 1. Hochevar, 2. Sanchez, 3. Bruce Chen, 4. Felipe Paulino, and to round it out I would go with Danny Duffy at number 5.
The Royals still rank high when it comes to who has the best farm system. This bodes very well for the future. I think the Royals are a great team to run with this year. If you plan on playing multiple seasons then you should have no issues with lack of talent going forward.
Over the next season or two you have an ace in waiting with Mike Montgomery. With a killer changeup and a good fastball, he will definitely win you ballgames. I wouldn't hesitate using him as soon as year one in your franchise.
It’s getting closer for the Royals. Prospects are starting to pan out, and there are more on the way. They may not contend right away, but things could change for the better in the next year or two.
Organization Ranking: 6
Lets face it, this team has a lot of work to do. While injuries have plagued the team, the loss of key players over the last few years hasn’t helped either. I wouldn’t expect a playoff run this year and I would also consider trading off some of my assets.
Joe Mauer: Such a great player to have on your team if he can stay healthy. He will not only hit for a high average with power, but he can also gun down some runners on the bases. If you can keep him in your lineup for most of the year he can definitely help you win ball games. Then of course you can say, “Well played Mauer.”
Justin Morneau: Just like his buddy Mauer, Justin Morneau needs to stay healthy. He can smash right handed pitching but tends to have a little trouble against southpaws. He won’t really help or hurt you in the field.
Josh Willingham: A key offseason free-agent acquisition for the Twins. Its always good to have a powerful right handed bat in the lineup to keep the lefties honest. Coming off a career high of 29 homeruns with Oakland last season, Willingham’s increased power ratings should make for some fun times in Target Field.
Overall, hitting might not be anything special this season. With the exception of the above mentioned key players. Pitching might also be an issue. Either way I set the rotation like this. 1. Carl Pavono, 2. Francisco Liriano, 3. Nick Blackburn, 4. Jason Marquis, and to round it out, Scott Baker would be my fifth starter.
The Twins’ minor league system is ranked near the middle of the pack. There are some potential regulars, but no one worth writing home about at this point. With guys like Morneau and Mauer oft-injured, it may serve you well to seek out trades or try to be savvy on the free-agent market.
To sum it up I see the outlook as bleak.
If there is a silver lining, it's Miguel Sano. The third baseman/shortstop is the best power hitting prospect in the organization - and that's at age 18! Keep an eye on this kid. But make sure you give him enough time to develop.
Like I said at the beginning, the Twins are a team with a lot of work to do if you want them to be competitive in your franchise. If you choose to run with the Twins, just keep in mind that you have a long way to go.
Organization Rank: 3