The next preview will highlight the Bushleague Badgers. Jared Jonkman goes into his 3rd season as an owner, the youngest in each of the 3 seasons. At only 18 years old he looks to finally take a team to the Championship this year. The Bushleague Badgers had the last pick in the draft, but with it being a snake draft also had the next pick as well. With his first pick he selected the 2016 Champion Jeremiah Wiltjer. With the next pick following he selected Sam Staal with the 8th overall pick of the draft. He then waited pick after pick and with the final pick of the draft selected Aaron Barnes over Drew Eenigenburg. He then traded Aaron Barnes to the Leroy Truckers in exchange for Neil Krooswyk.
The Badgers is roster is the only roster with only 1 player who performed above average last season. Jared is the only player on the roster who from a skill point of view performed above average. Yet owners have them listed as the 4th best team, while the first power rankings based on last year’s stats have them ranked 3rd going into the season. Jared seems poised to make a deep run after last year’s quarter finals knock out. He couldn’t make the opening round series and thought he had nothing to worry about with his team going up against the sliders, until miracle home runs from Kyle Reynhout and Neil Krooswyk left his team eliminated. Jared wanted a fresh restart this season not drafting anyone from his 2016 roster.
The Badgers roster has a 57-60-6 roster collectively. From the plate this is a power-hungry squad. They are 4th in total at bats, but sit 2nd overall with 116 career home runs combined including 45 last year which is first among all 7 rosters. With that being said they are also 2nd in strikeouts from the plate as well, striking out 301 times in 874 at bats. The team is also middle of the road from the mound as well. A career 7.06 E.R.A. could be improved this season. They have a 19-25 record combined from the mound the most losses of any team. Their doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to who Jared picked and this roster. Jeremiah and Jared are quiet players who like to show up and get the job done, while Neil and Sam are very talkative with big personalities who are historically one way players.
Jared and Neil will look to lead from the plate this season. Jared has been a consistent batter and when Neil wants to he can be a big time producer as well. Neil finished with 18 homer last season, Jared finished with 17, both in the top 7. Jeremiah had a great start to the year, but his aggressiveness led to some struggles late in the year trying to do to much. A lot could be said about Sam’s struggles from the plate last year. My analysis shows his desire to power the ball over led to his demise. In 2014 he led the league with 20 homers, but last year he hit only 5. In 2014 he stuck out 40 times a 2-1 strikeout to homer ratio, while last season he k’d 83 times with only 5 homers. If Sam can utilize his speed and just make contact I think this team makes a big push late in the year. Jeremiah finished with only 5 homers as well last year, but a .417 batting average shows he got on base. If Jeremiah and Sam can find ways to get on so Jared and Neil can power them in this could be the most lethal offense in the league. Although if this team tries to do to much they will struggle and will find themselves in the same situation the 2016 Badgers were in, struggling to get runs.
This roster in my opinion has 3 number 2 pitchers and Neil. Jared, Jeremiah, and Sam all have the same pitching strength. These 3 pitchers find a way to limit damage even when they don’t have the best stuff. They aren’t overpowering guys, but one way or another find a way to get guys out. Jared will have to find the right rotation for each matchup and make wise decisions on who to pitch and when. Neil who claims is a good pitcher finally dipped under the double digit E.R.A. last season. He has given up 99 runs in 50 1/3 career innings pitch. He claims his fielders have been a big reason for his spiked E.R.A. but with 3 capable guys on his roster this season there will be no excuse for him getting guys out.
Owner’s can’t figure out this team. Some have them as a top 2 team, while others have them as a bottom 2 team. One of the biggest things will be chemistry, will Jared be able to get this team to want to play for each other. Jeremiah was thrown into the gauntlet last season and his numbers were skewed from it. It took almost 3-4 weeks for him to figure out his stuff and when he did he was damn near lights out from the mound. I think he could be a bargain that will pan out to have an All Star season this year. Sam was on a team that hit rock bottom and continued falling with no end in sight. If his team can be competitive will we see a different Sam this year. Neil is a emotion guy who can rally a team, but with getting married and his duties as a deacon how much impact can he really have this season coming only at most half the games. I think at worst this team is a 2016 version of itself. They win games by a lot, while losing close games due to lack of runs. At best this team could make a deep run if they find a way to gel and play to each other’s strengths.