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Bottom line here is that the rest of the Heartland division needs to hope that Hector Amaral (at 32) and Egbert Behner (at 36) are on their last gasps, and that their arms, having been stretched an inch too far, finally snap. This would leave them without a ton of pitching until Augusto Sanchez comes back (just in time to waltz into the playoffs and win the whole damned thing—which would be an easy gig if you can get it, right? I mean, take a season off, then throw four or five games in October, and cash that big Landis check that I hear they give the winner…but I digress). If neither of these things happen, Amaral and Behner will team up with Commie Child to give the Sluggers a three-man wrecking crew. Add in young Stanley Palacios, who won 11 games last year, and one of a few candidates for the #5 slot, and you’ve got a very dangerous staff—and, oh yeah, minor league sensation James Browning is only a little ways off, too.
Louisville is going to be a bear. Which just sucks eggs if you ask me.
Anyone paying even a little attention to conversations going on around the league know how Kwako (Silk contender), Hubbard (Puckett and Zimmer contender), and Bourges (Silk, Zimmer, and Gillstrom contender) comprise the best outfield in baseball. A few folks are talking about how Hugh Mangrowthhormone will raise the price of replacing baseball through either hitting them to Pluto or just disintegrating them off the bat. (Aside: what is the ruling when the guy swings and literally just pulverizes the ball into atomic sub particles? Seriously? I mean, the ball doesn’t technically leave the park, right? Just suddenly transfer from its state as matter into pure energy and horsehair detritus that wafts in the air for a few minutes before returning to the mother earth that birthed it in the first place. Shit-fire, man? Is that a home run, or just a hard foul ball? Or, like Schrodinger’s Balls, are they actually both at once until Mrs. Schrodinger checks them out with a sly glance down at the boxers? These things are important to understand when you’re writing a preview like this, right? I mean, if loving Mangrowthhormone is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.)
So, yeah, the outfield is brilliant now. Add to this that the infield is young, but is also quite good—which means you want to play them in April rather than October, because, kids, these days. Juanny Baseball is taking over at the role of 20-year-old media darling shortstop. Raul Gutierrez fills the 22-year-old veteran 3B who just threw down a .348/.372/.490 slash in his last 300 plate appearances since becoming a Slugger. Switch hitting Carlos Reyes at first could be improved upon, but he’s 24 and solid. Second base is still kind of held down by the veteran clubhouse presence of ex-YS9 guy Bob Frazier, who if he’s just plugged in and let to set will turn into a quite WAR or so—nothing blazing, but just what the doctor ordered in this mess of blasters.
Catching will be done by young (again with the kids, eh?) switch hitter Calvin Johnson. We'll see whether that happens in April--which we doubt heavily since the kid hasn't played above A-ball yet--or August, which we wouldn't be surprised at. Johnson is raw, but a talented defender who projects to hit some. He's also likely the best player in the organization at the position, so we'll see how patient Shaw can be in the heat of a pennant chase.
If there’s a real problem point, it’s probably that the bullpen is young and susceptible to distraction. Only 19-year-old Andresa Pires really draws the eyes when it comes to the concept of reliability--and he hasn't done it in the big league's yet. Shaw, however, is a fixer, and addressing leaky bullpens is something he does as a side gig in between stand up routines at any one of a hundred or so greasy dives he moonlights in.
So, what’s the scoop, you say?
What’s the future hold as far as those sweet, sweet wins are concerned?
Well, the other thing Loserville has going for them is that the Nine seem to be pathologically unable to beat them. So, pencil in 14 Slugger wins there. I’ll guess they add at least 82 more.
So, lets throw the dart and get as close to 96 wins as possible.
Yellow Springs Nine
Playoff Regular, Landis Averse
Playoff Regular, Landis Averse
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Reading this - some ill time injuries to Hector Amaral and/or Egbert Behner early on could be the death-nall for this team. Good write-up. I like these - they give some good incite on other teams.
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