Author Topic: The Start Of A New Run? 2078 Cheddar Bay Biscuits Preview  (Read 305 times)

Offline eriqjaffe

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The Start Of A New Run? 2078 Cheddar Bay Biscuits Preview
« on: August 22, 2017, 03:37:21 PM »
After stumbling out of the gate in 2077 a couple of huge additions sparked the club into the playoffs, and they nearly captured the division in the process.  With a strong young starting staff, some extremely talented young players and a good amount of financial flexibility, the Biscuits may be a strong team for the foreseeable future.  But will this core finally be able to get them their second OTBA championship?

Key losses:

DH Tynan Beaubien, 3B Haywood Goodman, SS Noriyuki Ishii, RP Juan Lara, RP Alejandro Cavazos

Key additions:

RF Seung-woo O, RP Xi-tong Cao, RP José Lara, SS John Ellis

1B) Seung Pang.  Pang (.250, 16, 64) seems to have settled in as an average first baseman.  1 WAR or so per season.  Replaceable production, but he's not hurting anything.

2B) Haru Shiroi.  Shiroi bounced back from a sub-par 2076 to hit .311 with a .369 OPB and 17 stolen bases in 23 attempts.

SS) Dewitt Marín.  Injuries derailed the season of glove-first Norberto Reyes (.205/.291/.271) and will likely keep him out the entire 2078 season as well.  Marín hit .327 with a .420 OBP in 62 AAA games last year and represents the club's best combination of contact and defense at short.

3B) Octávio López.  Acquired in a trade with Albuquerque last season, López was a sparkplug for the club's second half run, putting up a .335/.376/.458 line after coming over.  His 56 overall stolen bases placed him third in the Heinsohn League.  He doesn't hit for power, but his solid defense and ability to get on base make up for it.

LF) Sam Strudwick.  A big-ticket international Free Agent signing last year, Strudwick overcame a slow start and some DL time to put up a .248 average to go along with 15 home runs and 64 RBIs.

CF) Álex Cruz.  The other key mid-season addition last year, Cruz was called up midway through the season and put up a .315/.398/.474 line in 82 games, hitting 10 home runs and driving in 40 duing that time.  His 4.8 WAR was the highest by nearly 1 full point over any other hitter on the club, despite only playing in 82 games.

RF) José Córdova.  He quietly went about putting up a second straight solid campaing, hitting .276 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs.

C) Herb Ortega.  A disappointing second season saw Ortega's offensive numbers plummet to a .223/.297/.314 line.  The club is hoping for better things from the 24-year-old backstop.

DH) Seung-woo O.  Acquired in an off-season trade with Orlando, O has hit 22 home runs or more in each of the last 5 season (including a career-high 32 in 2074 when he led the HL with 122 RBI).  It is hoped that he will bring some punch to a lineup that was lacking in home run power much of last season.

SP) Tony López, Mike Kern, Jesús Rosado, José Montero, José Solíz.  A strength of the Biscuits over the past few seasons, the rotation returns intact from last year.  López (15-9, 2.32) posted the lowest ERA in the Heinsohn League in 2077.  Kern (16-8, 2.62) continued the excellent play from his rookie season, while improving his K/9 and BB/9 rates.  His 6.8 WAR led the club overall.  Rosado (10-14, 4.20) struggled in his third full season, and has yet to break the 200 inning mark as a starter.  Montero (15-11, 3.20) was a tremendous addition, winning the HL Super Newbie award.  Solíz (12-10, 3.65) is the question mark of the group, although he has historically outperformed what his high walk and low strikeout rates would ordinarily suggest.  If troubles or injuries strike, expect to see Bob Martin (0-2, 5.40 in a handful of appearances) or Qiang Tieh (10-2, 3.94 in AAA) get some playing time.

RP) Jerry Cassell, Manny Cervantes, José Lara, Roberto Mata, Xi-tong Cao.  While there are no real stars in the bullpen, there are few real liabilities either.  Cassell (2-4, 2.97) is a crafty southpaw.  Cervantes (3-3, 3.68) was a pleasant surprise as a 33-year-old Rule 5 pick last season.  Free Agent Lara (4-2, 3.70 in 10 starts with Jacksonville) returns to the bullpen after 7 strong years as a staring pitcher, although his injury history is a concern.  Mata (6-4, 1.73) was a dominating setup man in his rookie season.  Cao (9-5, 3.23 with Pittsburgh) will help stabilize the late innings.

CL) Jimmy Dunlap.  Dunlap (5-2, 1.99) emerged as an elite lights-out closer, racking up 47 saves and striking out 94 batters in 77 innings of work in his first full season in the big leagues.

Bench) IF Mario Robles, IF John Ellis, OF Paul Waltenberry, OF Juan Valenzuela, C Mario González.  The surprising Robles hit .340/.359/.467 in 73 games (40 starts) last season, but the club still feels he's best suited as a backup on the left side of the infield.  Rule 5 pick Ellis (.217/.294/.304 in AAA) is a glove-first infielder that the club doesn't expect much from at the plate.  Waltenberry (.305/.411/.460 in AAA) is on the opening day roster largely due to the injury to Hiroshige Tanaka, and Valenzuela (.253/.301/.377) has simply been squeezed out of the starting lineup by Strudwick and Cruz.  His glove doesn't necessarily play well as a backup, but he can also back up at first base so he has a bit more usefulness that way.  González (.240/.314/.644) is a strong defensive catcher who can play regularly if Ortega continues to struggle.

Can the Biscuits keep up their strong second half performance?  Or will regression strike?


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