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2038 Calgary Pioneers Preview
GM Kevin Dickson (2004-Present)
One of the BBA’s longest-tenured GM’s, Kevin has led the Pioneers to a 2,845-2,664 record with 11 playoff appearances, two League Championships and two Landis Championships.
Fun Fact: The Stockyard is known for being very friendly to right-handed power hitters with a park factor of 1.2. It’s also one of the biggest parks in the league with a capacity of 59,999.
Playoff Appearances: 24
Landis Memorial Series Appearances: 2
Landis Memorial Series Wins: 2
Known as the Calgary Marauders from 1973-2023.
83-79 3rd FLF
(WAR from 2037)
Jimmy Greenwood, SP, 6.7 WAR, Free Agency
Jason Morris, CL, 0.4 WAR, Free Agency
Jose Dyola, RP, 0.4 WAR, Trade with Montreal
(WAR from 2037)
Ettienne R. LaFitte (9/5/8/6/5 Ratings), DH, 3.4 WAR, Trade with Montreal
Lee Morgan (6/7/7 Ratings), SP, 0.8 WAR, Trade with Hawaii
Harlan W. Moore (6/6/1/3/8 Ratings), SS, 1.3 WAR, Free Agency
Timofei Bakitski (10/6/7 Ratings), CL, 1.3 WAR, Free Agency
Jorge Perez (10/6/8 Ratings), RP, 2.2 WAR, Trade with Brooklyn
Mario Balderas (6/3/7/6/9 Ratings), RF, 1.7 WAR, Trade with Brooklyn
Calgary rebounded nicely from a down 2036 (68 wins) season and finished just 4 games shy of a Wild Card berth. Despite losing a 6.7 WAR pitcher in Jimmy Greenwood, they have a net gain of 3.9 this offseason thanks to significant trades and activity in free agency. Edmonton remains the clear favorite in the Frick League Frontier, but Calgary looks to be in the mix for a Wild Card spot in 2038.
2038 Predicted Starters
Platoon mates Hector Serrano (6/6/3/2/8 Ratings) and Kevin Lyons (4/5/6/4/6 Ratings) look poised to split time behind the plate again this year. The duo combined for 2.4 WAR last season primarily on the strength of their defense. Lyons shows some power, and takes full advantage of The Stockyard’s left field fence, but does not hit righties quite well enough to play every day. Serrano is a switch hitter that should actually see more time against lefties than righties, but is probably more suited for a backup role. Catcher is Calgary’s weakest position, and they would do well to explore upgrades in the near future.
Francisco Marin (8/7/3/4/8 Ratings) is the kind of player that you just plug into the lineup and let him work. A great clubhouse presence, he’s not got the most power you’ve ever seen from a first baseman, but he plays the field well and will steal a few bags. A fine placeholder while the team waits for top prospect Lian-wei Mao to develop.
If you were given the opportunity to mold a second baseman from a block of clay, you might come up with someone like Jose Rios (8/7/7/4/7 Ratings). A perfect fit for Calgary (right handed, with power) he fields his position well enough, is popular in the clubhouse and with the fans. Did we mention he can hit a bit too? His 2037 line of .284/.324/.532 looks like a good baseline for the 22-year-old going forward.
Susumu Nakanishi (8/8/7/6/6 Ratings) doesn’t look like the ideal Calgary hitter, but don’t take that as a knock against him. Fresh off of a 4.6 WAR season, the 23-year-old absolutely destroys right handed pitching and isn’t bothered at all by being a lefty in The Stockyard. Unlike the other infielder so far, he can’t run a bit, but it’s not going to hold him back any more than his fringy fielding. With just two years of service, he’s the third young, cheap infielder in this excellent group.
While Tony Gustafsen (6/4/1/4/8 Ratings) performed admirably last year, Harlan W. Moore (6/6/1/3/8 Ratings) will be the likely opening day starter at shortstop. Moore is a switch hitter with good defense, and will free up Gustafsen to become the super-sub/defensive replacement that he probably should be. And of course, with Moore’s injury history, we anticipate seeing Gustafsen log significant innings at shortstop anyway. This position doesn’t quite live up to the rest of the infield, but that’s okay. The others will hit enough to cover some deficiencies here, and it’s hard to say that a defense first SS is a bad idea for any team.
Juan Karyabwite (9/7/5/3/9 Ratings)
Rafael Solis (6/8/7/6/5 Ratings)
Francisco Medina (6/8/8/6/5 Ratings)
Mario Balderas (6/3/7/6/9 Ratings)
There’s no superstar in this group (maybe Medina someday) and outside of Karyabwite, the defense is suspect. However, they can all hit, and they’re all pretty young. If Medina can figure out how to hit at the BBA level, he could be quite a force in the Calgary outfield. Karyabwite in one corner (preferably right) will provide excellent defensive coverage for the aging Soriano, and also bring an excellent bat. We think he should have no problem bouncing back after a “down” 2037 in which he was “only” worth 3.0 WAR.
All-time great and potential Hall of Fame center fielder Mario Soriano (7/4/1/4/9 Ratings) returns for his 11th season with Calgary. He’s not the defensive standout he once was, and maybe there’s a chance he’s just done at age 37 after a 0.2 WAR season, but we like his chances of bouncing back. With no pressure to put the offense on his back, he should be able to relax and focus on himself. If he is done, Karyabwite should have no problem sliding over to CF for a partial season, and there’s plenty of corner depth in the organization to fill in.
The headline offseason acquisition Ettienne R. LaFitte (9/5/8/6/5 Ratings) doesn’t really have any challengers for the DH job coming out of spring training. He hits, he runs, and at just 30 years old he could have a career year. hitting in the righty friendly park in Calgary. He could see some time at 1B, but with Marin there, and no other true DH, it is probably unlikely.
While they’re not as right handed as they have been in the past, the Calgary offense looks well suited for the park, and strong in general. They will have no problem setting the table with excellent contact/speed hitters at the top, followed by some power hitters in the middle. They’ll struggle on defense, and that could hold them back a bit. Overall though, a solid offensive unit.
Carlos Rodriguez (10/6/4 Ratings)
Edwin Gilliam (6/7/8 Ratings)
Jefferson Pierce (10/6/6 Ratings)
Cristobal Hernandez (8/6/8 Ratings)
Lee Morgan (6/7/7 Ratings)
As expected, the Pioneers have loaded up on right-handed starters to minimize the number of right-handed batters for their opponents at The Stockyard. Rodriguez’ stuff headlines the staff, but he could use some better control. Gilliam and Pierce hope to avoid a sophomore slumps and build upon their very successful rookie seasons. Hernandez is the veteran workhorse of the staff, consistently logging 220+ above average innings for the club. Morgan, another sophomore, arrived in a trade from Hawaii. Scouts see even more potential in him than his current 55 rating, and if he’s able to find that, he rounds out what could be a great rotation.
Jesus Arce (8/7/7 Ratings)
Thomas Crane (10/6/4 Ratings)
Paul Farrell (10/5/6 Ratings)
Jorge Perez (10/6/8 Ratings)
Juan Sanchez (10/7/3 Ratings)
Timofei Bakitski (10/6/7 Ratings)
VODAK is the headliner in a solid relief corps. Like the rotation, they’re very right-handed in hopes of keeping all opposing righties on the bench through the end of the game. There will be no shortage of strikeouts with this group, which will certainly help give the defense a much-needed break. You may be concerned with the price paid for Bakitski, but he’s proven himself as one of the most consistent closers in the game since 2031 and should help lock down a large percentage of the Pioneers wins in 2038.
There’s a lot of righties! They’re all pretty good. The rotation has a number of groundball pitchers, and they could certainly suffer with the mediocre defense at 2B and 3B. However, with solid defenders at SS, they should be OK at turning the double play. Once they hand the game over to the ‘pen, they probably won’t blow too many games.
Kevin knows how to build a team for his park, and he’s put together another solid one. As I said before, I don’t think they’re going to compete with Edmonton for the division title, but I think they’re a bit better than the other three teams in the Frontier. A solid, deep pitching staff will keep them in games and their offense is not lacking for much. Defense of course could let them down from time to time but it’s not bad, just fringy.
The competition for the 2038 Frick League Wild Card spots will be fierce, with likely just one spot coming from either the Heartland or the Frontier. As the second-best team in the Frontier, I think they’ll be in the thick of the race for that third spot. My guess:
89-72, 2nd FLF
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