Today we analyze the Backdoor Sliders, the only team name that has been a part of every Leroy season since the first season back in 2014. Jordan Mosel will go into his 4th season as an owner, but this season looks to be his biggest challenge. The Backdoor Sliders were originally the H-Town Huskies going into the draft this past December, but due to personal reasons Neil Krooswyk looked to step down as owner and a trade ensued. Jordan was originally drafted by Kevin Vroegh's Fantastic Four, he was then traded to the Huskies with Nick Fiene. Tim Wiltjer and Neil Krooswyk were sent to Fantastic (now the Truckers) and Jordan rebranded the Huskies back to the Backdoor Sliders. His roster includes Nick Fiene as well as Robby Zandstra and Jake Olthoff. Jordan Mosel immediately released Jake and signed 2014 Champion Drew Eenigenburg.
The Sliders roster is one of the most interesting in the history of Leroy. Going into 2017, 7 owners who previously had teams went into the season without a team. Drew Eenigenburg was owner of the Chainsmokers in 2014 & 2015, he was offered a team in 2016, but declined due to commitment. Alan Myszkowski was owner of the 2015 Southside Sluggers, after winning MVP in 2014 he failed to show up once in 2015 and has yet to be seen since. Kyle Reynhout owned the Honey Nut Ichiros in 2014, he did not qualify for a team in 2015. Tim Wiltjer was in charge of the Leroy Truckers in 2014, he declined to to sport a team in 2015. Side Note the Truckers are back this season, tune in in a couple of weeks to see the preview to get all the insight on that. Nick Fiene was the man behind the Legends of Leroy in 2015 before not qualifying for a team in the 2016 campaign. Robby Zandstra led the Sultans of Soy to the Championship in 2016 before not qualifying for a team in the 2017 season. Finally going into this season Jordan Mosel was the owner of the Backdoor Sliders from 2014-2016, but didn’t qualify for a team in the 2017 season. So why did I post all that, well because this roster is entirely of previous franchise owners. The downfall is that the reason behind them all losing their team is attendance issues, which could play a major role in how this team performs. None of the roster, other than Jordan, is signed up for week 1. This team could be good, scratch that, this team could be great if all 4 guys committed each week and strived to play their best. One of the key strengths of the league is the ability to market all types of players, even the guys who do this for fun and can’t commit to a whole season. The con to that is when you have a roster full of those guys, Jordan will have some big time decisions to make this season. Whether he grows a strong relationship with his current roster and gets them to come, or finds new guys to fill his spots will soon be determined.
With all that being said let’s dive into some numbers already. The Sliders roster has played the second most games of any roster and have a career record of 66-67-3, just under .500. This team can hit the ball and have a career 0.423 batting average which sits second among all rosters. That hitting doesn’t translate into power as they sit fourth in Slugging percentage. That fact is further backed when you look at the singles totals, a stat this roster leads among the other 6 rosters. They are a middle of the road team as far as pitching with a career 5.94 E.R.A. in 182 innings pitched among the 4. Although the actual record is 66-67, the pitching record is 26-20 implying they weren’t to blame for most of the losses. The 26 wins also ranks first among all teams, with the 20 losses sitting 4th among the 7. As stated before this is a team of owners, how they mesh will determine the roster at the end of the season.
The batting numbers for this roster have plummeted season after season in every category except strikeouts, which saw a rise. That declined has mimicked Robby’s career as well. Robby was a hit away from winning Batter of the Year in the 2014 season, and has seen a slow decline since. That decline could be worrysome, but at the same time his average season is stellar compared to normal hitters. He hit .438 last season grabbing 14 homers in 105 at bats. That seems great until you look at his 2014 numbers where he hit .646 with 14 homers in just 48 at bats. He also struck out 29 times last season which is 12 more than his previous 2 combined. Next we go to Nick, if you look at his numbers you would think he had a stud year. He finished with a .434 batting average, but when you see only 53 at bats to his name it doesn’t quite have that wow factor. Nick plays well on an established team, but struggles when his teammates struggle. Drew Eenigenburg looked to have a comeback season last year, and from the batting side he sort of did. In 2014 he claimed a .419 batting average with 15 homers, then 2015 rolled around and his hand injury sank him to a .239 batting average with only 2 homers. He found his contact again in 2016, claiming a .306 average, but failed to get any power back only hitting 3 homers in 108 at bats. His 49 strikeouts were a cause for concern from the plate striking out nearly every other at bat. Jordan had his worst season from the plate last year by far. In 2014 & 2015 he hit .485 and .490 respectively before grinding out a .372 season last year. He was never a power guy always looking to hit the gaps, but in 2015 he did claim 11 homers in 96 at bats on the year. Other than Nick this team had a down year last season. With the pitching mound being moved back and wider fields this team could get some confidence in their bats again.
Like much of the league this roster improved from the mound last year, well except for Jordan. Robby dropped his 2015 E.R.A of 11.70, down to 4.36 getting 48 k’s in just 22 innings pitched. Nick Fiene didn’t give up a run until the playoffs posting a 2.25 E.R.A. in only 8 innings pitched. Although Drew didn’t find his pitch he found a way to limit runs in 2016, posting a 3.60 E.R.A. for the 2016 season. None of these pitchers are #1’s, although you can argue Robby could be when he’s on. These guys are all great #2’s. Jordan needs to find himself on the mound. He posted a 8.87 E.R.A. last season giving up 34 runs and only striking out 18 guys in 23 innings pitched. He never made it on time to practice before the games, and that definitely effects his numbers when he gets just thrown in there. If the team comes Jordan will have some big time decisions on where to pitch guys throughout the year.
After looking through the numbers and actually studying this team I think they could be good. I think this roster in 2014 competes for a Championship, with both Drew and Robby being on the team that won it in 2014. First off they need to come, second off they need to perform. I don’t see that happening and many others don’t as well with early rankings. Jordan has a lot of cap and freedom to change the roster, and like I said before this will be the hardest managerial season for Jordan to date. We saw him struggle to put together an active team in 2014 leading to a forfeit in the Quarter Finals to the last place Ichiros. In 2015 we saw another quarter finals exit when they were swept by the Bushleague Badgers. Then in 2016 a rematch against the Badgers looked grim losing the first game before miracle home runs from Neil Krooswyk and Kyle Reynhout to finally get to the semi’s. The problem was they faced the greatest team the league has seen to date. They lost 1-0 in both games which went into extra’s to the eventual champion Jager Corn Bombers. Jordan will be in another tough spot this season, but he out of anyone knows how to overcome odds.