National League Division Series
Trenton Capitols vs. Charleston Men of Risk
Men of Risk won season series 7-3
The winner of this NLDS matchup will undoubtedly be the favorite to represent the NL in the World Series. In seven of the past nine seasons, including four straight, one of these two NL East rival franshises have made it to the WS. It's hard to think of reason why it won't happen again.
Who to Watch
Trenton: Kris Jones - Mr. Trentonian crushed the ball in the Play-in Series (but who on theCaps roster didn't crush?). He was 8 for 13 with 3 HRs, 6 runs and 6 RBIs in three games. But against Charleston this past season he only hit .260 (6 for 23) with 1 HR, 3 runs and 2 RBIs.
Charleston: Felipe Marquez - I think I could have chosen the entire Big Three in Charleston's starting rotation but Marquez is the marked man. Marquez pitched stellar in his seven starts in postseason13. He followed that up with 23 wins this past season. He went 2-0 vs Trenton in S14 and only gave up 1 earned run in 14 innings.
New Orleans Flashers vs. Colorado Springs Rainbow Trout
New Orleans won season series 6-4
More than likely this will be a very tight series. Both teams have similar statistics on offense, pitching and defense. We know both teams have big-time aces so this series will come down to the other pitchers on the rosters.
Who to Watch
New Orleans: Vicente Delgado - In Game One, the NL Cy Young Award winner in S13 will face off against Leonardo Walker, the likely NL Cy Young Award winner in S14. Delgado will have to match Walker pitch for pitch to give the Flashers a chance to win. He didn't pitch against Colorado Springs this season but in the past has been very effective in the postseason (9-3, 3.10, 123 K in 136 1/3 innings). Personally I hope to see these two pitchers face off twice in this series.
Colorado Springs: Clarence Black - Black had a down year...at least by his past standards. He had career lows in runs (83), hits (159), HR (27) and RBIs (92) but this is a guy with 469 career HRs and two MVP Awards. He didn't hit particularly well against the Flashers this season (7 for 36, .194) but he has had success hitting in the playoffs (.315, 8 HRs in 92 AB). If he gets the bat going the Rainbow Trout are heading to the NLCS.
American League Division Series
Dover Dozers vs. Santa Cruz Spartans
Santa Cruz won season series 7-3
This series has a very MAPS feel to it. Both teams sport several ex-MAPS on their rosters, including three ace pitchers, Cliff Dessens for Dover & Nick Ransom and Tomas Armas for Santa Cruz. The latter two no doubt give Santa Cruz the edge.
Who to Watch
Dover: Cristobal Gabriel - Gabriel was the MVP for all four first round matchups. He almost single-handedly knocked out the defending champion Brewmasters himself. In those four games, he went 10 for 19 with 4 HRs, 7 runs and 13 RBIs. All this coming from the Dozers lead off spot. But in his S14 matchups with the Spartans Gabriel hit a meager .200 (7 for 35).
Santa Cruz: Nick Ransom - What a shocking pick! This quite as easily could have been Armas but of the two, Ransom had more success vs Dover this season. In 3 appearances, he went 2-0 with an ERA of 2.12. He pitched 17 innings and gave up only 10 hits while striking out 20. Total Domination.
Kansas City Fountainheads vs. Burlington MAPS
Kansas City won season series 6-4
I was shocked to see that KC had won the season series against the MAPS. With 118 wins, I assumed that no team took a season series over them. Four of the ten games these two played were decided by one run (each won 2). This series has the potential to be alot tighter than we might think by just looking at records.
Who to Watch:
Kansas City: Bullpen - 10 players recorded a save for KC in S14. So this truly is a bullpen by committee. And every guy in the bullpen will be needed in this series because when you get a lead on the MAPS you can't let them back in the game. In 10 games vs MAPS, the KC bullpen pitched 37 1/3 innings. They allowed 36 hits and 22 earned runs (5.30 ERA).
Burlington: Andrea Dodd - Dodd easily posted the best season of his career in S14. He had career highs in wins, innings pitched and starts. He also had career lows in ERA and OAV. But a side from all the critical talk of his control, the one thing lacking with this guy is postseason experience. He has pitched exactly six postseason innings in only one career start and that was way back in S5.