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Monterrey Campéones Season 20 Preview

After making their 3rd consecutive ALCS appearance, and celebrating 8 straight AL South division titles, Monterrey is back to compete for the title again. Monterrey said goodbye to two more of their longtime heroes, but hope with some new faces to make another deep run in the playoffs.


Perennial All-Star Alfonso Cortez is back after signing a lucrative contract to anchor the Campéones infield. Vinny Holmes returns to man the hot corner. The right side of the infield is brand new, with defensive wizard Lance Plant at second, and rookie Juan Brogna at first. Veteran professional hitter Stan Lee will take time out from his budding career as a comic book artist to play some first base and help mentor Brogna. Ralph Daniels will hope to rebound from a very disappointing year last year, while Orlando Javier brings his stellar defensive skills and occasional pop back for another year. Ivan Soriano comes over from Madison to back up any and all positions. Javier Leon still owns a catcher's mitt, but is expected to mash homers from the DH spot again this season.


Fans used to seeing Al Maurer patrol right field for the home team will have a new look this year as Al has headed on to the West Coast. Marshall Allen, Jim Heathcott, and Seth Knowles will all see time in the side outfield spots, while Alejandro Gutierrez will continue his stellar play in center field.


Livan Lee got a big payday to head north, leaving a sizable hole in Monterrey's rotation. Enos Garciaparra assumes the nominal ace role, but he, Rock McCarty, and Desi Martin will combine to present a formidable Big Three in the rotation. Albie Alvarez and Haywood Melton will round out the rotation.


Several signings and trades have bolstered the bullpen, making it one of the elite crews in the league. Fireman of the Year Taylor Bowie returns to own the ninth inning. Melvin Hernandez signed a big contract to bring the heat in a setup role for the next five years, while former closers Victor Martin (Louisville) and Kevin Sodowsky (Los Angeles) will patrol the middle to late innings. Youngsters Cutter Boudreau and Ahmed Ford will round out a deep and powerful pen.


Fans demand nothing less than continued playoff success, and with continued good play from the top of the order and continued good health, this team will look to deliver the goods once again. The farm will be very busy this summer, with several big bats ready to come up and contribute with the big club if events warrant.


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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-…