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Anaheim Anteaters S8 Preview

A few seasons ago, Anaheim(then Portland) was steeped in the possibilities of the future. The minor league system was preparing to mature many top-flight prospects: Charles Jones, Alex Beck, Patrick Spencer, Marino Flores, Julio Santos, Pat Trammell, Cristobal Cruz, Delino Julio, and Eli Lopez were either getting their first taste of the bigs or prepping for their big-league debut. And while many of them have, indeed, flourished, the franchise is suddenly met with a pressure to win now.

Anaheim's veterans are getting older and beginning to see an erosion of their skill ratings. Chiefly, Jacob Foster, Kip White, and Nerio Miller are entering their mid-30s, an age-set that HBD doesn't think very much of. Furthermore, the fact that so many of those prospects graduated at the same time will price some of them out of Anaheim's budget in another year or so. This current group of ballers, that has played in the previous two League Championship Series, may be in their final season together.

Specifically, Santos is not expected to return this season, Trammell and Cruz may be in their final season in SoCal, and Julio and Flores will likely be leaving right behind them. The club is expected to cough up the $ to keep Jones, Spencer, and Beck long-term.

So how does the club look for this season? Much like last year's team. In fact, the only expected lineup change is at the hot corner, where Julio Iglesias , who will test the free agent market, will be replaced by the Brandon Inge-ish Mathew Witt and punch and judy rookie Darrell Daniels. And Anaheim can't expect White, Leary, Cruz, and Beck to all repeat their career-best numbers from last season.

The pitching rubber will host the same starting three as the previous three seasons: Jones, Spencer, Foster. The fourth and fifth spots will be a competition between Alan Dorsey, rookie Fausto Cruz and veteran and former Portland ace Max Bennett. Of course, Nerio Miller will contnue his wild ride as the closer.

Opening Day Lineup
RF Billy Leary
2B Cristobal Cruz
1B Kip White
CF Alex Beck
3B Mathew Witt
C Eli Lopez
LF Marino Flores
SS Delino Julio

Charles Jones
Patrick Spencer
Jacob Foster
Max Bennett
Alan Dorsey/Fausto Cruz

Nerio Miller
Walt Leonard
Clay Allen
Lance Howell

S7 predicted win total: 94. Actual total: 98.

S8 prediction: 92 wins.


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Baseball America's Capra Top 40 Prospects

1. Gregory Roth 21, SP Anaheim- Season 40 2nd Overall Pick
    -Roth looks set to anchor the Anteater rotation as Anaheim completes another successful rebuild
2. Dorssys Arcia 19, SP Los Angeles- Season 41 International $23.3 Million
    - Crown jewel of S41 international bidding, in the same season LA traded Livingstone, Arcia looks likely to continue the legacy.
3. Shooter Smyth 22, SP Augusta- Season 38 5th Overall Pick
    - Top 3 pitchers are nearly interchangeable, Shooter could easily hold the top spot and may see the majors this season
4. Beamer McCallum 20, 1B Chicago- Season 41 1st Overall Pick
    - Top hitting prospect in Capra, dominated the minors last season, future MVP candidate
5. Albert Espinoza 23, C Iowa City- Season 40 International $14 Million
    - Acquired from Chicago last season, will anchor the Harvesters lineup and provide excellent value at catcher
6. Amp Brooks 19, SP Hartford- Season 41 2nd Overall Pick
Minnesota North Stars All Time Team 


Hardball Dynasty'sJose Almonte
Jose Almonte
Years Active: -2 to 11
Years with North Stars: 0-11
Claim to fame: 1,496 consecutive games played (Capra record)
Awards: All-Star (1, 4), Silver Slugger (4)

Almonte was an on-base machine, with 7 seasons of .400 OBP or better. That was also his career mark and he had 7 100-walk seasons. He also scored 92 or more runs each of the first 5 seasons of Capra, and hit 38 doubles in season 4. A forearm nerve injury ended his record games-played streak, particularly impressive considering he was a catcher.

Hardball Dynasty'sWesley Wilson
Wesley Wilson
Years active: 27-41
Years with North Stars: 36-41
Claim to fame: 98 RBI on a dismal 96-loss team in 37

Wilson had a long career and finished it with 3 straight seasons hitting over .300 with the club. His .322/.381/.547 slash line at age 34 was impressive.

Hardball Dynasty'sJeffrey Brow
Jeffrey Brow
Years active: 3-13
Years with North Stars: 3-…