2038 Hawaii Tropics Preview

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StormZ_23
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2038 Hawaii Tropics Preview

Post by StormZ_23 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:26 am

Before we talk about the upcoming season for Hawaii, let’s talk about where they have been for the past few years. Looking at their records over the past decade, they haven’t had a winning season since 2031, and even that was an 82-80 season with a 4th place finish. Basically, all you need to know is that Hawaii has been bad for a very long time. Their attendance numbers have been steadily declining for the past decade and the on-field product shows why. Last season, the Hawaii Tropics preview predicted a 76-86 record and a 4th place finish in the FL Pacific. Well, that ended up being pretty generous. They finished with a 62-100 record while holding a team average of .261 and a 5.24 ERA. Looking at those numbers before we even look at the roster, it is safe to assume that the hitting is not too bad but the pitching is atrocious. Last season’s preview ended with the statement “All in all, the Hawaii Tropics continue to grow and have gotten some very nice pieces in place. Probably not ready for a 2037 run, but 2038 could easily be a jump start for the program.” Seeing how bad Hawaii was last season, let’s see how much their young players have improved and how their roster looks overall.

Catchers:
Dan Buchanan, Jorge Bernal, Dan Calhoun, Andy Moore, Steffen Petersen

Dan Buchanan is the clear stand out from this group. He had a solid rookie campaign last season, flashing double digit home run power while having the ability to consistently getting clean contact. Coupled with above average catching ability, the Tropics should not have to worry about the catcher position for a while. Jorge Bernal will be the favorite for the backup role as he possesses great defense behind the plate. What holds him back most is his bat, so don’t expect a starting role unless Buchanan goes down. However, rule 5 draft pick Dan Calhoun should make things interesting as he needs to stay on the big-league roster. He played pretty well in A ball last season but is not ready for consistent big-league playing time. This should be interesting to watch in spring training. Andy Moore struggled in AA last season so don’t expect him on the big league roster any time soon. An intriguing player in this group is Steffen Petersen. Petersen has flashed potential that could one day rival Buchanan, but is certainly going to start this season in AAA.

Infielders:
1B Manuel Aguilar Jr., 1B Lou Ashley, 1B Benoit Begin, 2B Robinson Gonzalez, 2B Norberto Lozano, 2B Dave Tallent, 3B Mario Gorjo, 3B Ed Howell, 3B Felix Membiela, SS Ernesto Alfiche

Yes, there a lot of infielders here. This is the spring training roster after all. Looking at the first basemen, Miguel Aguilar Jr. is clearly the starter and is probably the best offensive player on this team. He had a solid rookie campaign last season and will only get better as his potential is limitless. He has potential to hit over .300 and smash over 30 home runs every season. One criticism for him is his strikeout numbers, but he is young so he can definitely improve. Lou Ashley had a taste of the big leagues last year, not really posting stand out numbers. Benoit Begin played in AA and AAA last season, so it’s very likely he starts in AAA this season. Dave Tallent will start at the second base spot this season and if he has a season like he had last season, he should be starting for a while. Norbeto Lozano played in AA and AAA last season and he had a great winter league campaign, so between him and Robinson Gonzalez, it’s more likely that Lozano will stay up in the big leagues. The third base spot is clearly the weakness of this infield as none of these three players show any potential to be long term options. It will be a battle in spring training to earn the starting spot. Ernesto Alfiche is the only shortstop on the 40-man roster and looking at his injury history, it would be a good idea for the Tropics to find a backup before the season starts. The Tropics do have Leonard Jones in the minors so he could be a capable backup. Alfiche is a decent player though as he is a defensive wizard, but the bat could be better. Overall, this group is pretty good and with a good investment at the third base position, this infield could be scary very soon.

Outfielders:
LF Benton Allen, LF Harry Scott, CF Jose Berrios, CF Matt Clark, CF Thierry Mignot, RF Gerbrand de Best, RF Robert Gowron

Benton Allen and Gerbrand de Best, great name by the way, are the clear leaders of this outfield. Allen definitely produced the better season last year, but if de Best bounces back, that would be bad news for opposing pitchers. These guys should be key contributors in the lineup for a while. Thierry Mignot is probably the starting center fielder for the Tropics, however don’t count out Matt Clark as he could rival Mignot for that spot during spring training. Regardless who wins that battle, expect both these players on the opening day roster. Harry Scott has not played above A ball, so he won’t be up for a couple more seasons. Jose Berrios is pretty much in the same situation except he has played 1 game in AA (to be fair, it was a decent game as he went 1 for 3 with a walk). Robert Gowron can be a solid player as he could easily hit over 30 home runs in a season, however he was just awful last season. A -1.4 WAR in 73 games is never good, but don’t count him out for a bounce back season. Overall, the Tropics have a pretty good offense and with prospect Mike Campbell (#30 ranked prospect) coming up as early as this season, this offense will be very good for a long time.

Starting Pitchers:
Robert Hobbs, Stephen Taub, Luis Torres, Manny Villalobos, Zak Johnson

Stephen Taub will most likely get the opening day start for the Tropics and it’s not hard to see why. Despite what his record shows, Taub produced a 6.0 WAR season by throwing 177 strikeouts while holding a 3.84 ERA in 33 starts. Luis Torres is a hard thrower but this has not produced consistently good outings. Torres has the stuff, we all see it, but he really needs to throw with more control or else he will keep giving up home runs consistently. Robert Hobbs is not ready for major league innings but unless the Tropics sign an innings eater soon, he might be in this rotation. His stats were similar to Luis Torres but this was in AA, so not a good sign for major league success. Manny Villalobos played very bad in AAA last season, another bad sign for this rotation. Losing Charlie Iron-Knife, another great name, really put a hole in this rotation. However, Zak Johnson (#14 ranked prospect), could be the spark this pitching staff needs. While it is great to fantasize about what he could become, he probably won’t be a high-impact player this season as he was drafted last season. If development goes incredibly well, he could be called up this season, but it would be unwise for him to be on the opening day roster. So, there is one good starter and a lot of question marks. Hawaii really needs to find some guys on either the waiver wire or free agency to have a competent rotation.

Relievers:
Ghi-cheng Kum, Jorge Aguilar, Richard Radforth, Jugurtha Burhani, Niels Steincke, Tim Waller, Rob Fuller, Francisco Mejia, Arturo Trinidad, Hector Barajas, Norm McConnell

Ghi-cheng Kum is a rule 5 pick and despite the fact he is listed as a long reliver, there is a decent chance he finds his way into the rotation at some point during the season. He has good stuff, but not enough movement to keep hitters on their toes, but he is young so he could improve. Jorge Aguilar is a rule 5 pick as well, however I would not be surprised if he was sent back to California. Richard Radforth is a stereotypical long reliever as he is probably not good enough for a rotation spot, but could definitely eat innings if necessary. This same statement can be said about Jugurtha Burhani. Tim Waller had a pretty good season last year, but I wouldn’t trust him in high leverage situations. Rob Fuller and Niels Steincke are basically just bodies in this bullpen, nothing special. Francisco Mejia can bring experience to the young relievers and could still throw a little bit. Arturo Trinidad and Hector Barajas will be the setup guys for this bullpen. Trinidad is a nice story as he was drafted by the Tropics in 2031 and he will finally make his major league debut this season. Norm McConnell will most likely be the closer for the Tropics, however he does not have a great track record in the closing role. This bullpen is the weakest aspect of this team. Notably, there is no left-handed reliever in this bullpen, so that’s a problem that needs addressing. Overall, this bullpen needs a lot of work.

Will Hawaii be better than last year? Probably. The rookies from last year will be better and their lineup should lead this team to some wins. If the Tropics sign one or two starters and add a lefty to the bullpen, this team should be better than last year.

Prediction: 71-91, 5th in FL Pacific
Taylor Bettencourt
Vancouver Mounties GM (2037 - Present)

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