2035 Montreal Blazers

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2035 Montreal Blazers

Post by indiansfan » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:30 pm

2035 Montreal Preview

You can always count on Montreal making the playoffs. For the last 8 seasons John Callahan has found a way to get into the post season. Last season they finished 19 1/2 games back in their division, but still pulled out a wild card spot and won their first round series. Their 87 wins were the first time the team fell below 90 since 2026. So the question is whether the Blazers are a team on decline or if they will bounce back to form. With realignment, the JL Atlantic is going to be a really tough division where every team is a playoff contender.

Key Losses - Wow. The Blazers lost Guerrera in free agency, one of the mainstays of the team. Did the heart just get cut out of the Blazers? Tonche gone in the expansion draft? The guy was one of the top players in the game. They lost all their catchers!!

1B Cisco GuerreroC Jim Miranda
C Jeremy Carter
LF Adam Parrish
SP Jesus Tonche
SP Van Willard
RP Chris Brown
RP Cam Palacios



Key Additions - Well now they have catchers again. Dempsey is a star, but wow these guys don’t add up to what they lost. Hope there are some guys coming up from the far,

C Jaoquin Camacho
C Jake Blues
3B Mark Dempsey
RF Jorge Martinez
CF Juan Diaz
RP Steve Russell

Okay, lets break this team down position by position and see what the revamped Blazers look like. Did they replace Guerrera’s bat? Did they rebuild their rotation? Let’s take a look.

Hitters

Catcher - Jaoquin Camacho - Well there was a clean sweep here. A couple years ago Miranda was one of the best in the game. He hit 41 homers in 2031 and 47 the next year for Huntsville, but he isn’t the hitter he was then. Miranda left in free agency and signed with New Orleans for less than he got paid in Montreal. Carter was just clinging to a bench job.

Camacho is definitely an upgrade. A career .318 hitter, he had 5 solid seasons in Atlantic City. Montreal is trading some power for a much higher batting average. He is okay with the glove, but won’t win any Zimmers. I would also have to think that he will be happier with the fishing opportunities in his new home. Now they need to sign him to an extension beyond the one year of arby he has left. With Jake Blues the team has a solid lefty bat that can play the position or contribute as a pinch hitter. The contract is a bit high for a backup catcher, but I think he was signed before the trade for Camacho

1B - Benjamin Dale - Cisco Guerrera has driven in over 100 runs every year he has played in Montreal. 981 RBIs in 7 1/2 seasons. Lets add 290 homers, including 55 in 2031 along with 176 RBIs. His 2031 season was one of the greatest in the history of the BBA. He is a career .320 hitter. He signed with Brooklyn for almost $18 million per year. We are talking about a future Hall of Famer here, how do you replace that?

This will be an in house replacement as Montreal has been trying to find a place for Benjamin Dale to play. A proven power hitter in the minors, Dale needed a spot on the roster. Montreal tried to convert him to an outfielder last year, but Dale just couldn’t handle the position. He will move into Guerrera’s spot and should be able to put up similar home run numbers, but with a lower average and a much lower contract. The 23 year old is also good enough with the glove that he should compete for a Zimmer at 1B. So he isn’t Guerrera (who is), but he is a pretty good replacement

2B - Charles Martin - I see no reason that Montreal would make a change here, Martin is a .333 hitter that is great on the base paths. He is not the greatest glove, but his bat more than makes up for it. How has this guy only made 1 all star team?

SS - Luis Gonzales - Like Martin, Gonzales will return as a starter, He is another guy that will hit over .300, giving Montreal one of the best hitting middle infields. He is fast on the base paths too, but get caught about half the time. Not sure why that is happening. A below average glove, but again a great bat.

3B - Mark Dempsey - The big free agent signing for Montreal was Dempsey, who will get $11 million a year over the next 3 years (then Montreal can opt out). He should hit .260 with 30+ HR if he stays healthy. He was hurt for about half of last season and has missed parts of the last 3. Some people say his health is “wrecked”. He is a definite upgrade over last year’s 3B Gary Schneider and will be a real boost to the lineup, if he stays healthy, which is a big if.

Infielders - Kel Bacon, Gary Schneider, Miguel Angel Gallegos - These 3 will provide backup to Montreal’s starters. The question is if Montreal can squeeze all 3 onto their 27 man roster. Bacon has a good bat and can back up 2B, Schneider can handle 3B, but they have no versatility. Neither can cover short so if Gonzales goes down the Blazers have a problem, Gallegos is the only guy that can play short of the group and is a true utility infielder, but his bat is anemic. One thing that would help Montreal would be to move Bacon for a more versatile player. I know he has been shopped and he could start for many teams. Schneider provides a good insurance policy for Dempsey.

Left Field - Juan Santana - One of the keys to the Gillstrom trade, Santana is ready to join the starting lineup and show the league just how good he is. He hit .365 in a limited stint in Montreal last year and he could easily be a .330+ hitter this year. He is built for Montreal’s ballpark and should be good for 15 or more triples. He also will be a demon on the base paths. Santana will be one of the guys that gets talked about in the podcasts this year. I huge upgrade over Parrish.

Center Field - Pedro Navarro - No change here. Navarro is an outstanding defender, a base stealer and young. He isn’t going to do alot with his bat, maybe a .250 hitter, but his glove will be what keeps him in the lineup. He had a great rookie year, he slumped his sophomore year, but he should settle down this year.

Right Field - Robert Gowron - For some reason I get the impression that John isn’t a fan of Gowron. It is probably because this guy strikes out at a league leading pace. However, he has a good glove, hits .260 and will knock out 30 home runs. He is really the only guy in the lineup with a strike out problem, so Montreal can absorb it. I presume if Dale had been able to hack it in the outfield, Gowron would be the guy getting replaced.

Bench Outfielders - Juan Diaz, Jorge Martinez, Jose Carlos Gallegos- Diaz and Martinez were added during the off season and I would expect they will make the roster. Martinez is a good corner bat with a lousy glove. Diaz is the glove and could fill in at all 3 positions. Gallegos is a DH, he can’t play the field. I think there will be only enough roster spaces for one Gallegos. The question is infield or outfield.

Designated Hitter - Ettienne R. LaFitte - He will have to take over the leadership of this team with Guerrera’s absence. He is going to hit .320, with 40+ homers and will drive in 140-150 runs. He is a beast. The difference now is that he will be the main guy, all alone at the top of the food chain. He is signed long term, he is the franchise.

So offensively Montreal will produce numbers similar to last year. They lost a big bat, but adding Dale and Santana to the everyday lineup will balance that out. Dempsey will be a big question mark and his health will be under scrutiny. Their bench could use some upgrades, I would assume John will be looking for any waiver wire bargains.

Starting Rotation

Jubal Troop - The 2033 Nebraska winner laid an egg last year. His ERA ballooned a run and a half. He gave up a league leading 41 homers. Troop needs to come back to form if Montreal is going to compete for the division. The guy is one of the best strikeout guys in the game and I am betting he pitches a lot better this year than last.

Aki Kondo - His rookie year wasn’t too good, but he did show that he can keep up with Troop when it comes to posting Ks. Montreal will be looking at him to step up this year. The guy has 3 killer pitches, but like Troop he has trouble keeping the ball in the park. Both guys will shine at home, but there will be some stadiums on the road that he will have a rough time in. Someone needs to replace Tonche, the Blazers will be looking at Kondo to fill that hole.

Jesus Ramos - On paper he doesn’t look as good as Troop or Kondo, but last year he out pitched them both. He has the appearance of a journeyman pitcher, nothing spectacular, with a contract that looks bigger than it should be. However, this guy gets the job done. He is consistent and this team needs that. He also does a much better jog of keeping the ball in the park.

Manuel Pena - I think Montreal will open the season with him in the rotation, when this guy is better suited to the bullpen. He is a knuckleballer with 2 other decent pitches, but unlike many of his kind he doesn’t give up too many home runs. He does put way to many guys on base as his 1.61 WHIP last year shows. I guess based on his 2033 performance I’d start him in the rotation too, but if he pitches like last year he should go to the pen and make way for one of the rookies.

Eric Franklin or Roberto Rios - One of these rookies will get a shot at the rotation, I am guessing it will be Rios. With injuries the way they are, both will get starts at some point. Rios was solid in AAA last year. He will walk more than you would like, but he will strike out a bunch too. He should be able to hold down the #5 job. Franklin didn’t pitch as well last year as Rios, but he has the better upside. He still needs to work on his cutter which is why I think he will start the season at AAA. If someone gets hurt he will be the guy they call up or if Pena can’t cut it.

Losing Tonche puts a hole in the rotation. However, he had a big contract and Montreal had to deal with it’s salary issues as they have been bumping near the cap for several seasons. Montreal had a great rotation a couple seasons ago and then had a lump epidemic. They are rebuilding now with some strikeout artists that are also going to give up the long ball on the road. That is where the offense has to out hit their opponents. This is a young group, 5 out of the 6 I mentioned are 24 or younger. Long term Montreal has the roots of a good rotation.

Bullpen

Closer - Bob Sanderson - Last season Sanderson split the closer duties with Chris Adkins. I assume that he will begin the year as the team’s closer and I don’t see why that should change. He is one of the best closers of his generation. He has a room full of trophies and has played on multiple Landis teams. That experience and talent should take care closing out games for the Blazers. He is a free agent next year, so it could be his last in Montreal, but he is one of the best in the game

Set up - Luis Flores, Matt Hansen - Montreal has a lot of talent to pick from so it could be these two or it could be someone else. Both will be in the pen. Flores is a good setup guy as a lefty, leading into Sanderson a righty. He has pitched great the past 3 seasons. Hansen is the righty version of Flores. Another solid guy that throws solid innings. The back end of the bullpen is strong in Montreal.

Rest of the Bullpen - Chris Adkins, Jermaine Clayton, Steve Russell, Alberto Ramirez, Marcos Marquis - I would expect that these are the guys that will fill out the bullpen. Adkins, Clayton and Russell are solid vets. Ramirez and Marquis are the newbies. There won’t be room for all of them so Ramirez or Marquis will go down. Maybe both depending on room, but I’d bet one sticks with the team. This is a really solid group. Montreal’s bullpen has the depth and experience that they should be able to bail out their starters when necessary. The depth here means Montreal should be good for several years and can focus on upgrading other areas of the team. Interesting fact on Russell. This is his second stint in Montreal, This guys seems to be out there in free agency every year. Nobody signs him right off the bat, but he always finds a job and always produces.

So here are your 2035 Montreal Blazers. As we would expect, they are a solid team with no glaring weaknesses. They are thin in a couple spots, but who isn’t. The two big questions will be how well the rotation performs and does Dempsey stay healthy. They have been trying to rebuild their farm system, but except for the guys mentioned it is filled with designated hitters. The one guy that could generate some interest however is Connor Hamilton. He has the potential to be a great home run hitting catcher. If John needs to plug a hole I would think this would be the guy to deal.


Prediction:

Of course they will make the playoffs. I would think 92-95 wins. It is going to be tough, because the division is tough. I think Dale and Santana will generate a lot of headlines, but it is going to rise and fall with the rotation.
Kevin

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Re: 2035 Montreal Blazers

Post by usnspecialist » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:41 pm

I will always have a soft spot for Santana as he was my first ever draft pick. Hope he does well.
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Re: 2035 Montreal Blazers

Post by ae37jr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:58 pm

I almost threw Dempsey a big offer in FA sim 2. At he time Vegas was his top bidder and I was really scared of his injury history combined with his age. When I saw him sign with Montreal I was like, damn I should have did it. Perfect signing by John. Use Nightmares money to pay Dempsey and let Dale play.
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