THE RACE OUT WEST
By Scott Travers
1st MONTREAL menace
Kal is the perfect leadoff guy for such a good team. He may not be able to hit 20 home runs or drive in 70 runs, but he sure knows how to get on base at the leadoff spot. His .321 career average is a stat he should be very proud of. His on base percentage is almost up there at .400 for his career, also a very respectable number. Kal is the right leadoff player for this deadly lineup. He gets on base a lot and scores a lot of runs. Look for him to be a key component to a Montreal Western Hemisphere championship.
Brooks is a solid #2 hitter that can hit the ball to all fields, with some power. His days spent in San Juan between 2007 and 2008 were not pretty as he had a hard time with management. Although being traded 3 times already this year, twice in the same day, Brooks is positive on his outlooks towards the team. Heís very happy that he has finally come to a franchise accustomed to winning and looks to be the 2nd leadoff hitter if Kal doesnít get on base. His speed and power make Brooks a very dangerous threat this year.
The 2008 MVP has to be pleased with his performance so far this year. A Nx already has 13 home runs and 32 runs batted in after just 15 games. I guess you could give a little credit to Jordan and Simmons for getting on base, but he sure is bringing them in. It appears that Nx will go to his 5th straight all-star game this year if he continues to put up the numbers. He has been a consistent part of the Montreal offense for a while now and his talent just seems to be increasing by the day. Look out for another MVP performance this year from A Nx.
One of the top 3 catchers in the league, alongside Boom and Schultz, Hill has been able to become a big time player in Montreal. He was a major player in Montrealís run to the title last year as he put up decent numbers, but that of which werenít really comparable to the likes of Nx, who was just unbelievable. 49 home runs and 96 runs batted in doesnít look so good against Nxís 92 home runs and 166 runs batted in. Look for Sam to have a little bit of a down year, but still produce a solid 2009 campaign and make the all-star roster.
Andrew is one of those players who is consistent all of the time. Throughout his career, his batting average hasnít been more than .22 away from highest to lowest. Andrew fits in very well into this offense as he can drive in Nx or Hill if they donít go yard. Itís a good possibility that he and Simmons could switch order spots, but in all likelihood they wonít because of Simmons lack of power. Biggs numbers should shape out to be around 30 home runs, 90 runs batted in, and a .285 batting average.
Dice is one of the best $500,000 per year buys out there. Wow, another perfect fit on this Montreal offense. Dice can go deep, hit for average, but isnít a superstar yet like A Nx or Sam Hill. His limited playing time as a rookie hurt his numbers and he wasnít able to be as good as he can be. He can probably hit 20 home runs this year and drive in about 100 runs. Jackson has the potential, now can he live up to it? Weíll have to wait and see.
A very new player who has already jumped onto the scene as a good player with the playing time heís given. Shooper is a young and developing man who has moved up to #21 on the prospect list in a matter of a few days. The owner of Montreal, Jeremy, is very lucky to receive such an awesome prospect who looks to be the real deal. It might be a struggling year at first for Shooper, but if he keeps it up, heíll turn up his ability to full board. Making him one of the toughest rookies to get out.
Right now, Adam Brown is off the charts. I know itís only been 2 weeks, but the kid isnít just hitting .400, heís hitting .500, with some room to spare. One of the most surprising players so far in 2009, doesnít look like the player that was the past few years. A hitting machine, heís batting .519 with 28 hits already. There is no way that Brown is the real deal this year as his average wonít go any higher than .300. Expect his old ways of 5 home runs, 40 runs batted in, to kick back in sometime next week.
If you think there is a better starting pitcher in the league, you are crazy. Jeremy is the most dominant pitcher out there and averages over 10 strikeouts a game, thatís sometimes without going more than 7 innings. The guy is flat out unbelievable. He averages 21 strikeouts per 9 innings this year, which is off the charts. His career 1.90 ERA is the best in the game and he should get as much recognition as possible. 3 perfect games, 2 cy youngs, 2 world championshipsÖ Shirley has that in only 5 years, which many pitchers would kill for in throughout their career.
Mujuri is a very good 2nd year pitcher who is coming off the comeback of the year, in which he was able to win the Rookie of the Year award. This may be in part because he was traded from Frankfurt to Montreal in the middle of last season, with a 1-8 record and a disappointing ERA. In Montreal, Shipal was able to find his stuff and rolled off 8 straight victories and lowered his ERA to 3.07. Shipal is a good backup to the always dominant Shirley, and with Montrealís run support, should get a decent amount of wins, which will put him on the all-star team and in contention for the Cy Young award.
Carmelo is a very talented young man who sometimes can get lost in the moment. At times, Carmelo Jackson can be unstoppable, and other times, heís all over the place. So far this year, Carmelo is looking very consistent and hopefully for Montreal he can keep that up. His 3.43 career ERA doesnít put him up with the likes of Shirley, Powers, or Parmelee, but it certainly is respectable. Of a very solid pitching rotation, being the 3rd guy looked towards is pretty good for such a high profile team.
Nolan Ryan is hands down the best rookie in the western hemisphere. He has the lowest ERA, 1.07, for a starting pitcher in the western hemisphere. Every day, Ryan is improving, that is why he is such a good player. A player will strikeout against him, and then later on down the road, 2-3 weeks from the last meeting, Nolan has improved his stuff and is even more untouchable. Thatís the true sign of a great player, always improving. Jeremy is very lucky to have such a good looking prospect.
Ryan was an unbeatable force last year with a 1.68 ERA and the prospect ability to become one of the greats in the league. There was one problem, he cheated big time. Magana was charged for WBL fraud and was banned from the league immediately. Since then, his talent levels on the field have diminished and he could become a weak part of the Menace roster if this continues to drag out. It is quite a shame that Ryan had to result to such a disrespectful way, but thatís the way the cookie crumbles as he is no longer part of this great league.
Rounding out the bullpen is Pedro Ortiz. Pedro has been a disappointment throughout his career and doesnít look to be changing that anytime soon. Heís a good player that doesnít play well. Easily the weakest link of this Montreal team is their small bullpen with players that underachieves. This could be Montrealís downfall in the playoffs when it is a close game and theyíre forced to take out one of their studs at starting pitcher and put in one of these losers. Jeremy has to do something about the Ďpen if he wants to repeat as champs.
Montreal has four for sure all-stars on their team, with a possibility of others jumping in. A Nx, Sam Hill, Jeremy Shirley, and Mujuri Shipal are looking to be the easy front runners of the team, with a chance that a Jordan, Biggs, Simmons, Jackson, or Ryan could get in if they play better than their potential.
Predicted Record: 71-39
Montreal has a great combination of offense and pitching. With A Nx, Sam Hill, Andrew Biggs and the others, it looks as if the Menace will be heading back to the playoffs to defend their ring. Jeremy Shirley will be back once again with other starters: Shipal, Jackson, and Ryan. This is going to be one tough team to beat.
2nd CARACAS cougars
Emanuel is one of the better inactive players to have on your team because he doesnít take too much out of the pocket of owners, but is still able to put up solid numbers. Since the beginning of the 2007 season, Toombs had been released 6 times, including 3 by the Iceland Icecats. This year seems to be a breakout year for Toombs as he is batting .382 after 15 games. For Caracasí sake, they better hope that he can at least keep that average around .300 for the season for them to have a chance against Montreal, Santo Domingo, and St. Louis for playoff spots.
One of the better rookies out there, Dan Wade has really stepped it up and is making sure that he doesnít let the team down. A solid .275 average makes him a good #2 hitter to get on base for the big bats of the Guzmans and Springfield. It should be expected that Wade be in the race for the Rookie of the Year crown, but if heís going against Nolan Ryan and Corey Whitney, Wade has to get his average up towards the .320 mark. Look for Wade to keep improving and become the teamís solid catcher/#2 hitter, if he already hasnít.
Easily one of the best hitters in the league, Shammondís numbers have dropped heavily the past few years. Although he has managed to keep a .322 career average, .231 so far this year wonít do it as the #3 hitter for such a talented team. Guzman has 15 hits so far this year, 12 of which have been home runs. He has to stop swinging for the fences, and just try to hit the ball hard back up the middle. If not, there is a chance that Guzman wonít be able to make the all-star team this season.
Shammond should take a tip from his cousin Jermaine because the center fielder is batting .600 with similar power numbers as Shammond. Jermaine has never been known as being a great player, let alone a good one. His past two season of .228 and .227 are not very impressive and this has to be the biggest surprise of the year so far. Expect this monster batting average to slide down to .300 by the end of the year. The great start almost assures Guzman a shot on the all-star team as long as he can have consistent hitting.
A journeymen for the past 5 years, Fingers really hasnít been able to find a home yet. Since coming to the league in 2004, heís been on 7 different teams and hasnít been able to put up quality numbers. It might be strategic in some way by Guzman, but I feel that Fingers is not deserving of a #5 spot in a lineup because he just isnít that good. Ken is a great guy to have come off the bench and pinch-hit, but as an everyday player batting 5th, the fans donít get as excited as they could be.
Itís quite obvious to know that Smitty Springfield is a great shortstop. Itís also been discovered that for him to put up the 50 home runs, 150 runs batted in, and .350 average, he needs support throughout the lineup, above and below. Smitty now has guys on base as compared to last year in Dublin where he only had Sirbeepalot Jr. to protect him. Look for Springfield to sew up the starting all-star spot for the western hemisphere in midseason. The triple crown is well within his sights.
Miguel is a typical #7 hitter. Heís the player who has a little power and usually bats around .250. This is Castilloís first full-time starting gig since 2005 and he looks to make the most of it or he will once again be a part of the huge free agent pool. As long as Miguel can do his part and be an o.k. hitter, then he should have no problems keeping his job through at least the 2009 season barring any trade for an outfielder by Caracas.
Julius and Matt should be sharing the right field job because clearly neither of them are better than the other. Currently, Izaguirre is listed as the starting right fielder, but Lem appears to be given playing time in the future as well. Neither of them are impressive when you look at both their numbers and their ratings. The only reason neither of these guys will be playing is if the Cougars manage to sign a somewhat decent or prospect right fielder. It is up to Guzman with how he should address the situation. Although rumor has it that new player, Da Bomb, is heading to the team very soon as a free agent.
Kyle is one of those pitchers who thrives on a good team, but does poorly on a sub par team. All one has to do is take a look at last year, where he was 5-9 with a 3.90 ERA because he was with Iceland, San Juan, and Dublin. All of those teams arenít anything to brag about. Before last year, Kyle was 25-5 and had an ERA of 2.40 with the successful teams of Iceland and Dublin when they went to the World Series in 2007, although Smith was traded to Frankfurt with only a few weeks left in that season. Now that Kyleís on a very talented team, it is expected that he puts up the good numbers once again.
Josh is a young, but he does have the prospect of being a star in the near future. In his first 3 starts, 23 innings, 4 earned runs, no walks, resulting in a 1.57 ERA. Caracas was very lucky to pick Josh up as a free agent this offseason and it should serve them well when it only costs them $5,000,000 for the talent of a $12,000,000-$15,000,000 player. Poole could easily make the all-star team if he keeps this up or anything similar to it throughout the year. Right now, heís letting the batter put the ball into play too much and his strikeout numbers are down, expect those to rise to about 8 or so strikeouts a game at the end of the season.
Manny was raised, along with many other stars in the league, out of Great Britain. An above average pitcher, Manny should put up solid numbers such as a 3 ERA, 12 wins, 70 strikeouts. Throughout Mannyís short career, heís had run support, and that doesnít appear to be different here in Caracas with this lineup. A former Rookie of the Year in 2007, Martinez is looking to take that next step up from solid pitcher, to a #1 quality type of guy. Right now, as the #3 starter, he doesnít appear to be there, but once again, this isnít the Antarctica Chill.
The only reason one can suspect that Tsao is the #4 starter is because Guzman could have promised Poole and Martinez the #2 and #3 spots as long as they joined the team. Chin Hui has the heart and determination to be up there with the likes of Parmelee and Powers in a few years. After getting out of the disaster occurring in San Juan, Chin Hui appears to be heading on the right train tracks with a talented team like the Cougars. Tsao is another candidate that could well easily make the all-star team this summer.
T.J. is one of the few closers in the league that actually is staying a closer. Although Farrell has a career 9.59 ERA, heís improving so much, that so far this year it is 2.57 and it looks as if Caracas spent the $8 million on him very well. So far in each appearance, Farrell has been solid and could very possibly go to the all-star game as the western hemisphere closer.
Mike is another solid reliever for Caracas. If T.J. happens to struggle or is brought up in a trade offer and dealt, Jameson Jr. is the perfect guy to take Farrellís job. He has only given up 1 run in his 9 appearances this season and seems to be the unanimous #2 guy in the Ďpen. Jameson, Jr. also gives the team the option to trade him instead of Farrell, and maybe get a bat in return. It must be great having such a solid bullpen.
Jake Thomas is a perfect mop-up pitcher with the ability to spot start or relieve in late innings. Jake was released by Cancun this offseason. Soon after, Dublin picked him up but the signing fell through after Thomas rejected the deal. Now on Caracas, Jake Thomas is finally with some talent that could take it to the top. This bullpen is very impressive for the Cougars, and so is the entire team.
There are so many players on this team that have a decent shot at making the playoffs. Shammond and Jermaine Guzman, Smitty Springfield, Kyle Smith have to be considered to have the best shot. While Josh Poole, Manny Martinez, Chin Hui Tsao, and T.J. Farrell also have the skills to make the roster. This team is filled with good players.
Predicted Record: 68-42
Caracas, even though they are an expansion team, are the most talented of the 6 franchises in the west. Although it is very close between themselves, Montreal, Santo Domingo, and St. Louis. The Guzmans and Smitty Springfield should lead the offense while Kyle Smith and the rest of that amazing staff will be spectacular.
3rd SANTO DOMINGO rush
A high prospect rookie who could be the next Blake Roberts, Shammond Guzman, or Shawn Baig. Already with a .292 average in his first 15 games should be a sign that heís going to be an amazing player. There arenít too many guys that can say they started out their career with a .300 average, not including the start of the league. Vidro is a good speed man that is perfect for the leadoff job and it gives the Rush a pretty darn good infield. Quentin is a strong candidate for the Rookie of the Year award.
2. Tony Pryor [3B]
Tony came over in a trade from Caracas to complete the very solid infield. It appears that the #2 spot is good for Pryor because of Roberts, Torlone, Lawley, Jr., La Roche, all batting behind him. Pryor is going to probably take some votes away for Rookie of the Year award from Vidro because he also has the same potential. Tony can get on via the base knock or by drawing a walk if the pitches he likes donít come to him. It seems that Tony will be scoring a lot of runs this year with the talent hitting behind him.
3. Andy La Roche [SS]
Andy is much improved from a season ago, in which he only batted .241 with 22 home runs and 68 runs batted in. This year, heís upped his average big time and is on base to have more home runs and runs batted in than last year. With Blake Roberts directly behind him, Andy has the protection he needs to drive in Vidro and Pryor all of the time. When pitchers stare down and glance at the batters circle, they realize they have to come to Andy. It is quite a huge advantage for La Roche with the talent behind him that there is.
4. Blake Roberts [1B]
Blake is the WBL leader for career home runs with 388, thatís 56 more home runs than Joe Slugga, although to Sluggaís credit, heís been around 1 less year. Roberts has the best run producing numbers in the history of the WBL and is always a dangerous threat at the plate. A 6-time all-star, Blake has hit 249 home runs in the past 3 seasons, which is quite a feat. Blake should make another good campaign for MVP, as he tries to lead the Rush back to the playoffs. Although it is going to be tough with the Cougars, Menace, and Stallions standing in his way.
Gregg is a very fine player who was with the San Juan Tigers the past 3 years but was traded as soon as new management stepped in. Although Torlone had a terrible time in San Juan and put up such awful numbers, he has proved, like most players, that they play better on teams that have more talent. Gregg is batting .122 higher than last year through 15 games. We can expect those kinds of numbers to drop a little bit, but I think Gregg can bat above .300, especially since he has a decent lineup around him.
Brian also bats up in the order at #2 against lefties, but most of the time heís back at #6, driving in all of players that drive in the leadoff men. Brian has been underachieving though, ever since he came into the league in 2006. A career .235 average and .268 on base percentage is just terrible from a talent like Lawley Jrís. Itís a shame that Brian canít perform up to his enormous potential because it would be a delight to watch. Look for Brian Lawley, Jr. to have another disappointing season.
Another one of those players who performed extremely well in the early years of the WBL, but has come to struggle since. In the last 3 years (í06-í08) he had less home runs than in that of his first two years in which he hit 34 home runs a piece. Santo Domingo needs for a guy like Perez to step it up and play decent baseball throughout the season because it is tough at the top. The Rush need all the help they can get from role players like Ethan.
This is AJís first year of starting and he already had 2 home runs and 9 runs batted in through only 15 games. AJ is the catcher for the Rush, and it doesnít looks as if heís ever going to be any things special. His player is just average and nothing else so it might be safe to say that Blake isnít the next J.D. Boom, Gerald Schultz, or Sam Hill. AJ is going to bat around .250 and hit 10 home runs or so. Hopefully, the Rush wonít need any big performances from the young guy.
Quite easily one of the top 5 pitchers ever in the WBL, Levesque has the talent to be a hall of famer when he retires. Paul followed up his 2006 Rookie of the Year award of 18-0 and a 1.74 ERA with a couple more solid years, in which he recorded an average of 200 strikeouts in each season. Now heís back for more and could very easily be in contention for the Cy Young award this year, but he is against some tough competition, as always.
Since joining the league when it opened, Brian Lawley has been on an up and down roller coaster ride with his wins and ERA. One year, heís very solid with a 3 ERA and 12 wins, the next year those 12 wins turn to losses and his ERA skyrockets. That might be a reason why Brian made his first all-star game last season instead of times before. Lawley has started out the year pitching very well with 4 wins in all of his starts and a 1.26 ERA. A great start to what hopefully will be a Cy Young type of year.
Michael is a very good young pitcher who just hasnít received much of any chance to prosper on the Rush. Wuellner has been given only 14 games to start in hit 2 + years in Santo Domingo, and has a career ERA of 5.07. But as of now, Wuellner is getting better by the minute and has already pitched well to start out the new year. With a 2-1 record and a 3.34 ERA, it looks as if Wuellner will be a main feature of the Rush rotation and probably will win 12 games or so.
Similar to that of Brian Lawley, AJ Blake has had a very up and down career. One year he had a 19-2 record with a 4.83 ERA, he followed that up with a 15-9 record and a beautiful 2.38 ERA in 2005. After that, things went to hell for Blake. While with Frankfurt in 2006 and 2007, he managed to only get 9 wins combined and 30 losses, but still had a solid ERA of 3.35 for that time. Right now he once again has a decent ERA, but isnít rolling in the wins. Blake has the opportunity to be very good down the road from now in the playoffs for Santo Domingo.
One of the better closers in the league, Mick racked up a league leading 24 saves in 2008 along with a nice 2.44 ERA. With what could possibly one of the best closers in the history of the WBL, Domas Jr. is looking to take back the World Series bid that Montreal stole a year ago. Domas, Jr. refused a trade to head to a lesser team because he wanted to win so much with Santo Domingo and wanted to do it now. Mick is comparable to the likes of Eric Gagne of the MLB, because he came out of nowhere to become great.
Jake was just recently banned from the WBL due to an incident where he tried to get Joe Kenny banned from the league by using his password and copying down a former article to have Kenny caught. But, through investigation, the league found that Joe Kenny was completely innocent and that Nelson would be banned from the league forever. Nelson currently this year has a 0.55 ERA and has seemed to find his place in Santo Domingo after rough years in Frankfurt, Iceland, Dublin and San Juan.
Jerome is a very disappointing player and has been throughout his career. Never being able to get the ERA below 12 in a single season as it sits up at 14.54 for his career. He should be playing much better than that considering he used to be the owner of San Juan. When Spann, Jr. became inactive out of nowhere, both Jerome Spann and Jr. played like they were crapping in their pants and were both released by the new San Juan, now Cancun, management. Santo Domingo has to get that ERA lowered for the team to be able to outlast the others in the west.
Santo Domingo is home to many talented players. Blake Roberts, Andy La Roche, Paul Levesque, and Mick Domas, Jr. are the biggest threats to get a spot on the all-star roster while Lawley, Torlone, and others still have an outside shot of making the elite group.
Predicted Record: 66-44
Santo Domingo has a very respectable team that is unfortunate to be in such a dogfight for the western hemisphere. Look for Blake Roberts to lead the offense to more runs through his homers and that Paul Levesque will pitch an outstanding year and hopefully give himself a shot at the Cy Young award. The Rush could still make the playoffs, but itís going to be a battle for the team from Santo Domingo.
3rd ST. LOUIS stallions
Jerek is the most hyped up rookie in the league. Although he is not known for the long ball, Deter is the perfect leadoff player to get on base for the rest of the team to drive in. It doesnít matter if he drives one into the gap or takes a base on balls, Deter will always find a way to get on, even when heís struggling. In his first year, Jerek has crumbled with the hype and only managed a .143 batting average. Jerek Deter is going to be very good one day, he just needs to mature and get some experience to figure out how to use his abilities towards being a great player.
Kip has really been an up and down guy throughout his career. In the first 2 seasons of the WBL, he played very well and had all-star like numbers with and average of 33 home runs and 110 runs batted in. The very next season, Kip played terribly hitting only 7 home runs and 53 runs batted in. He turned it back around by hitting 21 home runs in 2006 along with 120 runs batted in and a .399 average. Once again in 2007, Kip fell off the map with a .249 average with a very small amount of run production. He returned to have a respectable season in 2008 and should be able to be a good, not great, player in 2009 as he has 6 home runs, 15 runs batted in, and a .283 average after 15 games.
Alex has always been one of the top players in the league and has averaged 38 home runs a years while he has been a part of the WBL since 2004. Ever since coming to St. Louis, Zito has struggled and hasnít been able to put up a respectable batting average. Currently, after 15 games he has 11 hits, a .180 average, 8 home runs, and 15 runs batted in. Obviously Alex needs to stop swinging for the fences and get back to the basics in which he became the player he is in order for the Stallions to stay in the playoff race.
It seems that there is a trend with players around the league. When they become inactive, their player starts to diminish and their stats go plummeting to the ground. This is exactly what happened to Glenn these past few years. Heís been somewhat active, making updates every once in a while to get a few points, but nothing major. Right now, Wiggins is at a career low with his .235 batting average and inability to hit the ball. The Stallions need a better performance than what heís putting up now for him to remain in the #4 slot.
Chris is one of the purest hitters in the game. Very comparable to the likes of Tony Gwynn of the MLB, Chris has a smooth stroke and is able to hit for average. His career .371 is among the best in the business and heís been an all-star all 6 of his years in the big leagues. Rumor has it, started by Tdiggity Dawg, that heís going to be active again. Heqaiunu is going to be a big asset to the Stallions this year because he will be consistent and maintain a very high batting average along with a lot of runs batted in. But currently, the 3-4-5 hitters on St. Louis are struggling and need to improve for this team to make the playoffs.
Pierce is the man that has been one of the most consistent hitters in the history of the WBL. Although he doesnít put up numbers that are hall of fame worthy, Feltini is certainly one of the better players in the league. A career .310 hitter, Pierce has been moved around quite a bit recently and seems to have finally found his home in St. Louis. Although Pierce doesnít hit too much for power, he is the perfect #6 guy because he puts the ball in play and gets base hits and runs batted in. Look for Feltini to have a solid year, rebounding well after last yearsí terrible performance.
Matt had a tremendous first season of the WBL as he hit .399 along with 32 home runs and 126 runs batted in. Since then, Matt has become the scum of the league. Heís been unable to get any starting jobs until just recently with the Stallions. Itís been a long and tough road for Priesmeyer, and it doesnít appear that he will rebound and return to his terrific play of 2003. Priesmeyer is easily the weakest link on the Stallions offense and has to put atleast a .250 average out there to help the team out.
Woodrow has been with the Stallions throughout his career and it doesnít look like that will change for a while. Although he wasnít able to start last year, James has one of the higher spirits and is really hyped up to be starting again at second base. Woodrow has a career .211 average and isnít too good of a player. He certainly gives it his all on the field, but sometimes, you just donít have the god given ability to make him a good ballplayer. A new starting second basemen could arrive soon as trade rumors are circling about.
Chris has been one of the most consistently improving players throughout the past 3 years. When he started out in í06, he had a 9.57 ERA and a disappointing 3-10 record as the Stallions were rebuilding the team. Since then, heís been around the 3.30 ERA mark and pitching tremendous baseball. In my own opinion, there is no way that Prior should be the #1 starter on the team. Thomas Kenny, Tdiggity Dawg, and Iamgona Strikeuout are all better, but it is Kip Wesleyís decision to do as he chooses.
Tdiggity has also been a part of the rebuilding of the Stallions the past couple of seasons and heís a main part to their success so far this year. Although his 2-2 record doesnít say much, Dawg is going out there, eating innings up and letting the other team score 3 runs per nine innings of baseball. He canít help it if the offense canít support him and score. Tdiggity Dawg is a free agent at the end of this season and a lot of teams are interested. Dawg declined to make a comment on the matter.
Another one of the players that is a favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award in 2009. So far, Corey has been able to mastermind a 1.93 ERA to go along with his 2-1 record. One of the most hyped up players this year, Whitney has really faced the challenge well and seems to be headed for glory. I give this kid a lot of props for not cracking under the enormous pressure of being a rookie. Fortunes look very well for Whitney, and it very well could be true that he wonít be a member of the Stallions as well next year, weíll just have to wait and see.
Ace makes a return after a season where he didnít pitch at all. His return is so far so good as he is 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA. Hurley is really proud to be active and pitching well again. Especially for such a talented team as the Stallions. Already, it looks as if he is the front runner for Comeback Player of the Year. Itís tough to go against a guy who could have just given up while he was at the bottom, but he decided to stand back up and make a statement by becoming active again. It looks as if Hurley will be a main player in the St. Louis future.
Iamgona came into this league like most newbies do, active and very adamant about becoming the best. Well, one things for sure, Strikeuout has done a lot more than people expected. Does anyone remember back in the 2007 season when he was traded for Matt Jalove? Of course not! Many of you are even saying "Matt JaWHO?" Strikeuout was on a mission to rebuild the Stallion franchise to have dignity once again. He was the very first step towards a process thatís taken the team 2 years up until now in which they are one of the top teams. Iamgona has an ERA of 0.82 and is another favorite to make the all-star team.
Tom Kenny makes this bullpen remarkably good. A winner of the Cy Young award just 2 years ago, Kenny isnít even able to make the starting rotation of the St. Louis Stallions with his 0.40 ERA and amazingly 0-1 record. This bullpen is so good, that the starters will be able to have enough rest throughout the season, and the playoffs to be at their best ability. The recent trade that sent Kenny over from Dublin is just for this year as Dublin was looking to get some prospects in return so they could rebuild again.
Cleveland is another solid pitcher who makes this entire pitching staff a gold mine with his 1.64 ERA. It doesnít matter that he went 3-12 last year with a 4.34 ERA. That was last year, and this is now. Cleveland is improving tremendously and should make this staff untouchable come postseason time. Itís very tough to not have this team heading to the playoffs in my predictions, but I just donít feel that the offense is there. Although I do compliment Kip on a job well done with the pitching staff. Cleveland Dawg will be a great mop-up guy for the team.
St. Louisí pitching staff is full of all-stars while their offense is slacking off and doesnít have really any solidified guys for the roster. Their all-star players should be Chris Prior, Tdiggity Dawg, Iamgona Strikeuout, and Tom Kenny. With outside shots from Corey Whitney, Kip Wesley, Alex Zito, and Christopher Heqaiunu. This team is loaded with talent and will only improve.
Predicted Record: 66-44
St. Louis will obviously be lead by their pitching staff that consists of the most well-developed and groomed players in WBL history. Although they arenít at the Jeremy Shirley or Blake Roberts stage quite yet, they are good. Kip Wesley and Alex Zito have to step up on the offensive end for this team to have a shot come playoff time. It is a 4-team race in which Cancun nor Antarctica have the talent to compete with these teams.