Quarter Finals Preview - Truckers @ Liners
#8 (2-19) Leroy Truckers vs. #1 (19-2) Lake County Liners
The Leroy Truckers will be the last team to go into the playoffs as the worst team. The league is expanding to 11 teams next year with 3 not making the cut. The Truckers franchise has a 9-27 career record a horrifying 0.250 clip. They have a 2-3 playoff record making it to the semifinals in 2014, before losing to the eventual champion Chainsmokers. The Lake County Liners finished their first season with a 19-2 record, a .905 winning percentage. The Liners not only swept the season series against the truckers, they shut them out all 3 games. A 27-0 runs scored differential included one game finishing 20-0.
Leroy Truckers: (This will be pitching and batting rotation)
The Truckers came to formation after Kevin Vroegh announced his inability to play due to internship last year. From the start of the season I had a huge task in replacing Kevin on the roster, add the inconsistency of the #2 Andrew Sitter and this team was doomed for failure. On the back half of the season I finally dropped Sitter as I looked for a team that would come and could make some noise late in the year.
Zach Huisman – The 18 year old played 8 games this season, all in the back half of the season. Zach will go toe to toe with the best team in the league and get the Game 1 start for the Truckers. He finished the season with a 3.23 E.R.A. recording 25 k’s in just 13 innings pitched. His batting has been right about average, a 0.316 batting average with 4 homers and 10 RBI’s in 8 games. It’s not flashy, but its enough for pitchers to take him seriously when he’s in the box. A bright future is in store for Zach if he makes a return next year. His performance against the Liners will be a huge factor in where he goes in the draft.
Tim Wiltjer – Things didn’t go well for the commissioner this season. After winning player of the week the first week of the season, things started plummeting, and fast. With uncommitted players most of the season, loss after loss slowly affected his gameplay. His hitting has been about equal to where he’s been his whole career. His 2017 batting average is 0.319, his career batting average is 0.319. He has hit 9 homers this year which is a career high as well. From the mound, it’s been an absolute failure. He has allowed 46 homers this year which is close to the first three years combined (49). His E.R.A. sits at 19.40 in 25 2/3 innings pitched, coming after last year’s 5.28 E.R.A. in 36 1/3 innings pitched.
Brad Kamstra – Brad played his first game this year and has played nearly ever week with 17 total games played. His bats have struggled for most of the season as he sits with a 0.258 average. Lately he has found some power hitting 6 homers this season, but striking out 38 times and getting only 25 hits needs to improve next year. Brad is a hit or miss guy from the mound, if he gets his stuff moving the right away he can be deadly. When he gets into pitch to hit he gets eaten alive. A 9.50 E.R.A. for the year, but has 24 k’s in 24 innings pitched to go along with it. The commitment we saw from Brad this year will go along way, he will end up a team next year, hopefully with a better shot at making a deep post season run.
Kyle Reynhout – Kyle is having a big year from the plate this season. A career high 19 homers and 42 RBI’s in 18 games. He now sits at 46 total on the career mark, and a matchup against Austin Warner could lead to him hitting that mark this series. Kyle struggled from the mound with a 14.68 E.R.A. this year giving up a career high 53 runs. With the league expansion many think he may resurrect his Honey Nut Ichiros franchise and give it another go next year.
The Truckers never had a shot to be competitive this year. With the last-minute scramble to put together a winning team, this squad won’t have enough chemistry to shock the world. They have to all play the best they can and hope for some mishaps from a Liner’s team who rarely do.
Lake County Liners (This will be pitching and batting rotation)
Austin Warner – Austin has had a wild ride this season. He made a huge deal about a “return” when before this season he had only 2 total games played, both coming in 2014. Shockingly he has made great strides this year and so far is an above average pitcher. He has himself a 4.17 E.R.A. and has only given up 5 homers in 23 Innings pitched. He was originally signed by the Badgers and played a few weeks before being dropped and resigned by the Liners the next day. Many believed some collusion was taking place, but nothing came about it. Austin has found the bats when he joined the Liners hitting 7 homers this season with a 0.336 batting average to go along with it. It’s a surprising move to have Austin start game 1 for the Liners, but we will see how it pans out.
Caleb Jonkman – I don’t know what it is about Caleb, but I always play it off as him being decent. It probably stems from my early days playing him one on one in his backyard. I can’t deny his greatness any longer. This season will go down as the greatest season we may ever see. He has 48 Homers this year with 84 RBI’s, while has given up just 2 homers and only 2 runs in 39 innings pitched. He has struck out just 16 times this year from the plate and has registered 103 k’s from the mound. He has compiled 106 hits in 162 at bats, a 0.654 batting average. He has given up just 10 hits on 126 at bats, a 0.079 batting average. I really don’t know what else to say about him this year, with a team of mostly free agent’s week to week he has found a way to get it done.
Austin Gibson – He has fit nicely into the Liners squad just as Caleb had predicted. After suffering a leg injury, he was sidelined for almost ¾ of the season. He has been slow to getting used to the pitching with a mere 0.289 batting average and only 4 homers in 6 games. The shocking numbers lie in his pitching stats, where he like his other 3 teammates are above the league average. He sits with a 3.43 E.R.A. and a shocking 0.222 opponents’ batting average in 7 innings pitched. He is slated to start Game 2 in this series. Austin played for the Wonder’s last year in his only playoff series and it didn’t go well, let’s see if he can bounce back this year.
Jon Gibson – Start calling this the even year guy. In his 4th year he decided to come and show up again, and have a season similar to his 2015 season which he won Mr. Leroy. Jon has 18 homers this year in 14 games played. His 0.495 batting average and 1.141 Slugging is top 5 in the league. His pitching has been exceptional this year with a 3.82 E.R.A. with 31 k’s in 22 innings pitched. Jon claims he is ring chasing this year and between his obnoxious outfits each week he could give Caleb a run for his money as best player in the league if he tried or cared more than half of the time. He looks to close the series for the Liners in the 2nd game if things go their way.
The Liners run has been marvelous, some will say it’s better than last year’s Bombers season. Other’s will say since the Liners were never all there, can they be considered the best. The whole team played together only 4 games this season, all 4 being wins.
If you had to take this matchup to the bank, you would take the Liners every single day. Unless Austin starts off rough and the Truckers can grab a lead and somehow maintain a lead to win the opening game I think this series will be over before it began.