Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Buffalo Nickels - Striving for Mediocrity

Buffalo (AP) - After two seasons of rebuilding, the Nickels may be poised to reach that magical .500 mark this season.


The starting five are solid if unspectacular, with Andy Lofton, Marty Mintz, Joshua Davis, Teddy Winn and Paul Person all getting the nod to fill out the rotation. The middle relief is a gigantic question mark, but any lead effectively shortens the game to eight innings with Rob Carpenter in the closer's role.


Dale Hudson (2B) will bat leadoff, which already raises question marks about the lineup. High contact and speed, but not much else. Esteban Viriato (RF) hits out of the two-hole and looks to improve on last season's rookie campaign. Vic Castilla (1B) would be a superstar with any durability - as it is, he'll be sretched to the limits of his fatigue in his rookie season. Greg Trachsel(CF) mans the cleanup spot with a ton of power and no average. Dave Kingman would be proud. Phil Lee (LF) hits five, and needs to see a boost to his average in his sophomore season. Orlando Vidal put together a fine season last year, and we look for a repeat performance in the six-hole. The Lonnie Magee/Mike Nelson (C) platoon holds down the seven spot, while the Mateo Herrera/Tony Martinez (SS) platoon hits eighth.

The Future

The seasons to come look to bring a bevy of young talent, especially pitching, to the ML level. The top prospects, not involved in pending trades, in no particular order:

Oleg Barber (C)
Francisco Escobar (CF)
Jackie Lewis (SP)
Vic DeLeon (SP)
Vic Jerzembeck (RP)
Miguel Posada (SP)
Danny Catalanotto (2B)
Juan Gabriel (SP)
Phil Jenkins (SP)
Nick Brown (RP)
Ronald Buckley (2B)


The Nickels aren't playoff contenders yet, but they continue to make progress toward that end. If they can add to the offense over the next couple of seasons while the young starting pitching matures, they look to be a force to be reckoned with.

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