Its been awhile since you’ve heard from me. I have to admit that the 2 week weather hiatus brought me to a tough place as I’m sure it did for you as well. Its been so busy getting everything ready for the season that the blog kind of had to take a backseat. Now that we are back on track for the Leroy season I feel prompted and educated enough to give my opinions on teams and where I see them now and potentially. Lets jump right in.
Lake County Liners (3-0)- We have been playing good wif period. A lot of the league has been going through growing pains here in the opening weeks and the liners have been playing clean wiffleball. The weather was a blessing in disguise for my team because instead of playing without Jon Gibson for 4 games it only ended up being one. And we saw again Wednesday night why he is a top 3 player in Leroy. Hit .500 and had at least 8 RBI I don’t remember. His pitching was off but for his first time he got in a good rhythm which has me excited. Jon will continue to be a beast for us and we need him to stay at his 2015 form. What most excites me about our team right now is our acquisition of Quin Cloghessy. He didn’t give up a run this week and going forward If he can do that he will add a dimension to the liners that make us very hard to beat. Austin is our biggest question mark but we all know what that kid can do if he puts his mind to something. I fully expect him to come out and pitch the ball well after a few weeks of practice. I have enjoyed a strong start to the year as well. All in all the only way I feel we begin to slide is either injuries or mound inconsistencies. We are the best hitting team in the league and if we continue to hold teams to 2 or less runs we will have a really good chance of claiming “the ship”.
Free Agent Otters (2-0)- The success of this team is why I love Leroy. The new guys coming into the league are no scrubs and that was shown this past week. Shane Anderson played out of his mind hitting wise and fielding wise. Alex Friedman held his own. Also having Ryan Barnes and Brandon Swanson available is dangerous. I’m not going to make any bold predicitions or criticisms because of the inconsistency of this team, but don’t be surprised if the free agent team wins a series in the playoffs you heard it here first.
Jager Corn Bombers (2-1)- If you would have told me that Jager Corn bombers would be 2-1 facing the liners, ovens, and truckers I would have said it would be unlikely. If you told me they wouldn’t have Brett for a single one of those games either I would have said impossible. But here we are. And this just goes to show you what a pitching minded approach to the game does. My favorite thing about the Bombers is how they minimize damage and maximize mistakes. Brett and Erik are the best 1-2 pitching punch in the league but Jake and Kyle are “below average” pitchers statistically, but are they? They give up a few homeruns here or there but Kyle especially has learned the art of pitching to weak contact. Kyle doesn’t care if you hit it, he just doesn’t want you to hit it hard. And this small ball approach seems to be working for the bombers. They aren’t above taking 10 pitch singles if you can’t throw strikes and they will minimize damage on the mound. They thrive off opponents mistakes so if you want to beat them don’t make many.
Backdoor Sliders (1-2)- The sliders are a team that has done exactly what I thought they would do. They are competitive and scrappy. Jordan has done the best he could with the hand he was given. Huge plus to have Robby show he instantly makes them competitive in any game. The problem is pitching. Robby is good but he struggled against the liners and Jordan isn’t top tier. If Jordan can’t find anyone to come consistently it could be a long rest of the year. I’ve been encouraged with what ive seen so far and I think its really likely Jordan could finish .500.
Dutch Ovens (1-2)- My biggest negative surprise. People will look at this team and say oh its because of Jack. And yeah 70% of this team’s struggles this past week have come from not having that stable lefty arm and hitting prowess. But Kyle Jansma is having the worst start of his career in Leroy. Greg is hitting great and is doing his job. but he still gives up many runs and is a fielding liability. And Matty D can only do so much with his limited innings on the mound and would probably admit that he wishes he was hitting a little better. Jack’s loss was a huge blow but the rest of the team collectively have underperformed in this second week. Now its one week and I don’t expect Kyle Jansma to struggle for much longer. Greg will continue to get better on the mound and barring any major injury matt will still be the ace of that club and a top 5 player in the league. But, going into the first few weeks of the season this team looked poised to make a championship run and was the heavy favorite. 2 weeks in and the ovens look a lot less intimidating with a lot more question marks. There is still championship potential here but a lot has to change for that to happen.
Big Unit Bashers (1-2) My biggest positive surprise. Grant is silencing haters slowly but surely. The signing of Jon Newcomb was a huge move. Jon is a competitor that can hit for power and is developing on the mound. Marty looked good for his first week and Grant has almost 43 bucks in cap space to sign another free agent. Having Jon Newcomb as your potential number 3 is nasty. Grant still has to prove that he is capable of recognizing potential and then getting it all the mesh which he has failed to do in the last few years. But in 2017 Grant seems to be turning the train around and has the bashers moving in the right direction. My sleeper team for 2017 is the bashers. If grant can sign one more big name the bashers could become a top 3 team. They will need Jon to become a solid pitcher. Grant will give up a few runs but if you can get through the first 3 pitchers in that lineup with 2 runs or less that’s a winning combo for the bashers.
Leroy Truckers- (1-2)- The truckers had me intrigued after week 1 and then made more sense after week 2. Sure the free agent team was loaded. Sure the bombers are still good. But they should have out hit the bombers with the wind blowing out, or played small ball against the free agents and at least been 2-1. Tim has started hot from the plate but after week 2 is looking to continue his 3 year trend of hot starts on the mound to cold finishes. Neil came ready to hit, but also had his pitching woes. Sitter was touted as a potential threat to dethrone Caleb Jonkman for MVP this year but hasn’t looked like himself, and Brad Kamstra a rookie is still getting his feet wet. This team in my opinion is the most inconsistent team in terms of production. This team has the capability to drop 10 runs on you and leave you wondering what just happened. They also can give up 10 just as quick giving their opposition a stat booster game. This team is going to ride on their 3-4 options. When Tim and Neil are pitching well they can beat anyone. When they aren’t its almost a guaranteed loss. Sitter will pan out as an ace but if the truckers want to see any rounds past quarterfinals this year, Tim and Neil have to be consistent on the mound.
Bushleague Badgers (0-2)- The badgers have had bad luck to start the year. They had to mix players the first week. Had to play the liners for their first game together, and then lost to a 3 run walk off homer from Jon Newcomb. Jared has looked like his usual self. He’s at the top of the league in homers and batting average and has been solid on the mound. The big surprise for me for this team is Jeremiah. His accuracy has been shaky at best and his bat has not been good. Staal hasn’t thrown well and Warner gave up a few runs this week. The badgers have to find a way to get consistent on the mound. Jared can carry this team offensively but if they are giving up 5+ runs a game, that’s a deficit even Jared can’t overcome alone.
All in all its hard to say if any of these early trends will continue. The first few weeks are always the toughest and in the grand scheme of things aren’t more important than the end of the year. However, consistency is king in Leroy and the quicker some of these players and teams get there the better their chances are come playoff time.