Position PlayersMontreal has been as stable in the playoffs as any team in the BBA, appearing in 9 of the past 10 postseasons prior to 2037. Montreal however had a huge downswing in wins last season, finishing below .500 for the first time since the 2026 season when they won 78 games. A spike in team ERA of nearly 0.75 and a batting average of balls in play for opponents of 0.30 higher point to some signs of bad luck but both were equally to blame for the team dropping as many games as they did last season.
Is the honeymoon over?
This is an odd question and an even more odd answer.
It didn’t have to be.
When the team struggled last season, they sold off key pieces that could have led to an instant revival this season. Now with those pieces gone, I am going to say that the honeymoon is over, and counseling isn’t going to help right away.
Before you riot and call me a fool. Hear me out by taking a look at what Montreal has in store for the 3038 season followed by a final season prediction.
The first base side of the infield should be held by Ettienne Lafitte & Kel Bacon (6/8/5/4/7 Ratings, .296/.332/.476, 29 HR, 128 RBI) and both combined for over 6.0 WAR last season and another season of that production should be expected. On the other side of the diamond Luis Gonzales should cover shortstop again and he was worth 2.2 WAR last season. I would expect close to the same this year. The club does have a gaping hole at third base as they will need to replace Mark Dempsey (6/5/8/7/5 Ratings, .272/.350/.499, 434 HR, 1195 RBI) who over 99 games last year had a 3.7 WAR. The club does have a very good platoon in Bill Wilkins (5/7/7/6/5 Ratings, .239/.312/.448, 16 HR, 48 RBI) & Dan Norman (4/5/7/7/4 Ratings, .230/.333/.450, 93 HR, 230 RBI). Wilkins, who they acquired via trade who can play an average third base. He does have a very good bat against right handed pitchers. Norman is the exact opposite of Wilkins, playing a good third base and excellent power against lefties. All in all, the infield seems that it should be right where it left off last season.
Infield grade: B
The club acquired future hall of famer, Hank Brewer (7/6/6/7/6 Ratings, .304/.376/.502, 228 HR, 839 RBI) over the off-season. Brewer had a total of 1.7 WAR last season but missed some time. He has been close to a 4.5 WAR catcher over past seasons and his glove work behind the plate is unmatched by many. Not only will this help the offense, but the pitching staff should rebound excellently with a great mind behind the plate. Previously the club had Joaquin Camacho (7/6/3/4/8 Ratings, .312/.349/.451, 68 HR, 462 RBI) behind the plate, and he was an average of 1.0 the past 2 seasons as far as WAR goes. His work behind the plate, could have been better, to say the least.
Catcher grade: B+
This team has quite a few outfielders. Juan Santana (9/8/6/4/9 Ratings, .305/.351/.502, 58 HR, 289 RBI) in left field should have a nice year for the club, and I would expect him to take most of the starts in left field. I can’t imagine the club rolling Benjamin Dale (6/7/8/7/5 Ratings, .266/.353/.475, 83 HR, 258 RBI) out there any longer after his defensive showing last season. Kevin MacKeith spend last season in AAA, but appears ready to go and his glove alone will make up for any production lost compared to having Juan Santana (9/8/6/4/9 Ratings, .305/.351/.502, 58 HR, 289 RBI) play center field again.
The club did lose Alonso Olvere (8/8/7/5/7 Ratings, .286/.348/.493, 21 HR, 76 RBI) in the trade to Omaha, but have options in right field of Jose Olivarez or George Closson. I would be hesitant to send Jody Crawford (9/9/5/3/10 Ratings, .329/.362/.505, 9 HR, 41 RBI) anywhere near a place he may have to use a glove and rule 5 pick Jassiem Dukuzumuremyi probably should be sent back as he doesn’t have the fielding ability to deserve a spot on this team.
Outfield grade: B+
Names not included that probably should make the roster include
Charles Martin (7/6/1/3/9 Ratings, .321/.350/.431, 10 HR, 406 RBI), who has the ability to play 6 positions, although only 2 of them in passable form.
Anabal Garcia, because Brewer is not going to catch 162 games.
Pedro Navarro, who can pitch in if needed in the outfield.
Juan Becerra (5/5/5/5/6 Ratings, .150/.227/.150, 0 HR, 1 RBI), you’re going to need another player capable of handling shortstop duties, and this is the best option that is sitting on the team right now.
All in all, overall for this offense, I am expecting it to be very comparable to last season, where they crossed home plate 824 times.
Bench grade: C+
The pitching staff:
It appears only 2 of the starting 5 pitchers in Montreal last season are returning to the rotation this year. Manuel Pena (6/8/6 Ratings, 58 - 42, 4.35 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 612 K) being one and Jermaine Clayton (7/5/6 Ratings, 27 - 20, 4.39 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 418 K) being the other. Pena had a plus year finishing with a 14-12 record and a 3.7 WAR on the season over 230 innings pitched. Clayton wasn’t awful. He had an ERA under 5.00 and his 1.6 WAR at least have him better than a replacement player.
After those 2, the club welcomes top pitching prospect Vicente Lopez to the rotation. Lopez should adjust well and I would project a 10 win season and an ERA under 4.20 for the budding 21 year old star.
Another Lopez set to join the rotation appears to be Jesus Lopez. Lopez came to the club with Las Vegas that involved Troop last season. While Jesus is not quite as polished as Vicente or have the ceiling, Lopez could provide good stability to the rotation. He may win 7 games and finish with an ERA under 4.75 this season.
The 5th starter currently projected for Montreal shoots red flags instantly and that is Kane Dunham (4/3/8 Ratings, 3 - 6, 6.90 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 46 K). Dunham is simply not the answer and in my book your better off going with somebody like an Artie Archer or Eric Franklin currently sitting in AAA. Even a Cody Lee type player in AA gives you a better chance to win in my book.
This is where the trade of Jubal Troop (10/6/6 Ratings, 75 - 51, 4.30 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 1174 K) & Aki Kondo (10/5/8 Ratings, 45 - 35, 4.05 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 887 K) is truly biting Montreal in the rear end. Both guys that were on the pace when traded to be 5.0 WAR starting pitchers in the BBA and Montreal traded them when they may have needed them most.
Sure they got a left fielder who may pan out in 4 years, the before mentioned Jesus Lopez & also a mediocre relief pitcher for Troop. Troop was going to be in the final year of contract this season, would have he bolted elsewhere or been asking for to much for Montreal to resign? Maybe.
Kondo actually brought the larger haul, and rightfully so, netting Montreal George Claussen (5/6/7/6/6 Ratings, .236/.306/.424, 64 HR, 190 RBI), Dan Norman (4/5/7/7/4 Ratings, .230/.333/.450, 93 HR, 230 RBI), Fernando Moran and Lineu Aldo.
The only issue?
Claussen has nowhere to play, you can argue Norman has nowhere to play, Moran is a few years away and probably mediocre at best, and Lineu Aldo is even farther away but is projected to make a big impact eventually. Did we mention Kondo was signed through the 2039 season at only $8,000,000 per season?
The trigger was pulled to fast on both of these deals.
I understand the club moved these players because they cleared $18,000,000 off their payroll, but there were other ways to clear it. You have an absolute log jam at first base right now and $20,000,000 dedicated to the position through 3 players with only 1 spot to fill.
A rotation that would easily be graded as an A and rival others in the BBA with Kondo, Troop, and Vicente Lopez now falls to a C- without the two anchors.
Rotation Grade: C-
Chris Adkins (10/4/9 Ratings, 70 - 48, 3.85 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 968 K) is set to retake the closer role in Montreal this upcoming season after only recording 2 saves mainly in a setup role last season. Adkins is prone to the long ball, but is a veteran who should hold the spot through the season.
Alberto Ramirez could be worse, but along with Drees Geestman, the duo should hold down the setup roles. Geestman was acquired from Omaha in the trade that also brought Brewer in.
Joey Flannery will be in the pen as well, but will more than likely be tired from having to cover Dunham's short starts where he will get rocked.
After those 4 guys, this team needs some help in the bullpen as the only other 2 on the roster aren’t sexy names and don’t put up great numbers in anyone’s eyes.
Bullpen grade: D+
Down on the farm:
Not a ton to report in the minor leagues on. The closest player who could make an impact would probably be third base prospect Terry Rowland who is only at AA right now. Everybody else seems to be a season or so off.
Pedro Cardoza (6/4/7 Ratings) will probably get a chance in the bullpen as will Edgardo Lopez (6/4/5 Ratings). Conrado Chinita is another pitcher to watch as he may get a chance to come up and take a spot if the season starts well for him as some scouts believe he is ready.
So where does that leave us?
It would be foolish to expect this club to get back to its winning ways with the roster it currently has and the defending Landis Champions atop the division.
Buckle up residents of Montreal, it may be a few seasons.
Final prediction: 70-92