Arizona Scottsdale – 85-77
Best Players – Dick Yeats, Doug Connelly, Jim Jeffries
Team Rankings – 24th Pitching, 12th Hitting, 13th Fielding
Team Notes – In a season in which they saw their wins decrease by 8, Arizona still won the division by 4 games. 4 straight division titles, is anyone in this division capable of knocking Arizona off their perch? With Rico Bravo and Ned Hawkins on the verge of breaking into full-time major league pitchers, this could be another year of divisional victory for Arizona. 26 year old Ralph Becker pitched strong in AA, but with sub-par control, likely will not contribute at the major league level. With a repeat of the season that Yeats had, this team could very well continue to rule the roost that is the NL West.
Albuquerque Cowboys – 81-81 (Colorado Spring Chickens)
Best Players – Dorian Tracy, Randy Pember, Del Martinez
Team Rankings – 8th Pitching, 26th Hitting, 20th Fielding
Team Notes – Although a solid, not spectacular franchise, 81-81 qualified as their worst finish in four years. No worse than a .500 record in any year, yet no playoff appearances to show for it. With solid pitching both at the major league level and in the minors, it appears that this team is either going to have to swing some trades for some offense or figure out a way to rely and win with pitching. Raul Pena and Fred Blake could be contributing by season’s end, while Walt Welsh could contribute in a pinch if needed.
Los Angeles Dodgers – 73-89 (OPEN)
Best Players – Mark Lee, Sammy Vega, Clayton McCartney
Team Rankings – 15th Pitching, 31st Hitting, 30th Defense
Team Notes – This team had it’s best season ever, and was taken over in early season by a very aggressive owner. He made several trades and aggressively tried to improve the team. With a solidly stocked minor league system that includes AAA prospects Tony Espinosa, Derek Griffin and Ted Griffiths, this team appears to be a year away from competing, but when those guys are ready, the West had better be ready for a steamroller to come through.
Las Vegas Gamblers – 68-94
Best Players – T.J. Hornsby, Kiki Lopez, Buddy Munoz
Team Rankings – 28th Pitching, 24th Hitting, 27th Fielding
Team Notes – With its worst finish in 4 years of existence, this original franchise has itself poised to make a run at the West and possibly dethrone the Arizona franchise, if not this year, then next. With one of the younger NL teams, a key acquisition or two, or solid contributions from William Matthews or Eugene Farrell, this team could break out this season.