2036 Atlantic City Preview

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RonCo
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2036 Atlantic City Preview

Post by RonCo » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:53 am

Let’s take a look at the Gamblers, shall we?

Among the great things we can do these days if neglect to mention the contract signings of Eduardo Lopez and Antonio Correa (7/5/8 Talents). Lopez is retired now, and Correa’s down to this year’s $22M year and next year’s $15M. We understand that when you walk through the Gambler’s front office, the financial relief is almost palpable.

Of course, they also dropped a ton of cash on Bucky Dornster (7/6/6/7/7 Talents) last year, and then followed it up by signing 34-year-old outfielder Alfredo Salazar (7/7/9/9/7 Talents) to a deal that’ll pay him $23M/$19M/$12M, a deal that will pay off if Salazar bounces back from a tough 1.3 WAR season. Will he? Well, we’ll see about that, won’t we?

They also added veteran pitchers Luis Soto (9/6/8 Talents) (37) and Rogerio Vazquez (7/7/8 Talents) (27)—Soto on a deal with vesting options and Vazquez on what could be a very team friendly front-loaded deal. Bottom line here is that if you’re looking at players flowing in and out, the ledger looks good for Gambler fans. Their big loss was Juan Castillo (to retirement) and their replacement, Jose Gamboa (5/7/6/6/7 Talents), should manage to at least do that, and could perhaps be a net positive. So yeah, 2036 looks good from that angle.

The fact however, is that the Gamblers are on a not-so-glorious slide, having won 91 games in 2032, then 81 and 80 before falling to only 70 last year.

They play in a pretty tough division.

So let’s take a spin through the club and see where we fall out.

INFIELD

As mentioned above, one expects Gamboa to be the team’s primary backstop, though Honorio Queixada (5/5/8/6/4 Talents) is a superlative defender. Perhaps we’ll see a classic starter/defensive replacement kind of thing there.

First base is probably a good news situation for the Gamblers, too, and youngsters Adrian Salazar (8/7/8/6/7 Talents) and Gustavo Aguilera (8/8/9/5/7 Talents) look like they’re ready, and can be an interesting platoon situation. Add in veteran FA Dani Lopez (8/6/8/6/7 Talents), who can mash if he’s focused on lefties, and you’ve got some interesting lumber. One assumes Glenn Gorman (5/7/9/9/4 Talents) is going to be in the mix there, too, and that these four guys will play the first sack and DH for most of the year.

At second base, the question is whether, after his cup of coffee last year, 22-year-old Keith Dean (8/8/7/5/8 Talents) is going to be ready. He certainly looks like he will be, and his stint with the Puerto Rican world team didn’t dissuade anyone of that view. The club played Jose Vela (6/7/4/3/8 Talents) at shortstop much of the year in 2035, and the fact is that he’s a slick fielder—clearly be best defensive option the team has at a tough position to fill. But it’s the old-saw of all glove, now lumber, and the next guys up (Derek Kennedy and Aubrey Montgomery (6/7/6/3/9 Talents)) are the counter-argument, fair stick, no glove. Bottom line: shortstop is a problem for the Gamblers, but then, it’s a problem for a lot of teams. Welcome to the BBA, right?

At third will be the aforementioned Bucky Dornster (7/6/6/7/7 Talents), who isn’t often discussed as a top player, but who’s earned that big salary bump by routinely dropping 4-5 WAR seasons. He’s only 28, and he’s a professional hitter. No reason to think he won’t do it again.

INFIELD GRADE: B-, curving upward

A lot of this grade depends on the kids on the right side of the field, but on paper we’re thinking Atlantic City’s looking pretty solid—especially if the club makes a break in the shortstop role. We’re going to guess they’ll start the season as a C grade and grow into a B.

OUTFIELD

Moving to the grassy knoll, so to speak, we’re going to see a similar dynamic, with Ed Brewer (5/5/1/4/6 Talents) in centerfield—a key defender, and a good one, but a guy who you can’t expect to hit at all.

That leaves 23-year-old Stanley Perimutter, Salazar, and Ricardo Hernandez (5/6/8/8/6 Talents) to supply the lumber. To be honest, that’s not a bad collection of guys right there. Perimutter is a solid young hitter with a live glove, ditto on Hernandez. If Salazar finds even a glimmer of his past prowess, the Gamblers will be a sneaky good offense. If he doesn’t, however, Brewer’s offensive black hole will be a tough one to deal with.

OUTFIELD GRADE: B+

Let’s go ahead and give Salazar the benefit if the doubt. I do this because Trump Park is somewhat properly name for its generally offensive nature and because playing in the Atlantic means most of its games will be in offensive minded parks (the Atlantic itself is full of pitcher’s parks, but ARC will play only 24 games in them).

THE ROTATION

All righty, then. Here we come to some problems. The same situation that helps the Gambler bats will hurt its staff—and the fact is that this staff is going to struggle. There is no ace, for example—unless you want to call Luis Soto (9/6/8 Talents) a #1, and at 37 he’s about two seasons removed from that kind of conversation. The real problem with writing this preview is that you have no real idea who is going to start. Soto obviously. And Vazquez. Byung-doo Yi (8/7/5 Talents) is in the mix, as is Carlos Rodriguez (8/6/7 Talents), Yoshitoshi Ota, and probably the rolling walk-a-beast Juan Jose Eilzando (10/7/1 Talents).

The real answer is “I don’t know, and neither probably does GM Joshua Biddle.” I figure the team will throw all these guys and more up against the spring training wall and see what sticks.

Until then I’ll just give the rotation a grade of Incomplete, and leave it at that.


THE PEN

Lucio Gomez (10/6/7 Talents) should be pretty good, but he’s 21 and you know what that means. Tomokazu Harada (7/6/7 Talents) can get a few guys out, and the aforementioned Correa made a conversion to the pen last year and didn’t require barf bags to watch. 23-year-old Afalawas Erevu (10/6/5 Talents) has enough stuff you have to keep running him out there even if he’s struggled mightily.

And there will be some losers in the rotation sweepstakes to look at.

Joy.

BULLPEN GRADE: D, at best

Look, maybe the pen will surprise use, but right now it feels like the Gamblers are pulling three cards to build an inside straight.


OVERALL – I think this is a team in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s going to score runs, but its staff gave up more runs than anyone not named Nashville or San Antonio. In this way, it’s kind of the anti-Des Moines of a few seasons ago.

Our best guess right now is that the adds it made to the staff will stop the bleeding, but won’t go too far toward healing the body.

Let’s say 73 wins.
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Re: 2036 Atlantic City Preview

Post by agrudez » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:33 am

They're a leading candidate with Nashville for worst pitching staff in the league, in my estimation. I think breaking 70 wins might be an uphill climb.
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Re: 2036 Atlantic City Preview

Post by RonCo » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:24 pm

agrudez wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:33 am
They're a leading candidate with Nashville for worst pitching staff in the league, in my estimation. I think breaking 70 wins might be an uphill climb.
On the whole I agree. Considered lowering it. Factors that changed my mind:

1) The young kids on offense will be better as the year goes along
2) The "balanced" schedule means they play outside the division a lot more than they normally would
3) The pitching won't be great, but it shouldn't be too much worse than last year, and Soto may make it a little better. Or not. They were already next-to-next-to last. That's the real question here, though. How much will Atlantic City actually get from these guys?
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Re: 2036 Atlantic City Preview

Post by GoldenOne » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:17 pm

agrudez wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:33 am
They're a leading candidate with Nashville for worst pitching staff in the league, in my estimation. I think breaking 70 wins might be an uphill climb.
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