Quarter Finals Preview - Otters @ Ovens
#7 (7-14) Free Agent Otters vs. #2 (14-7) Dutch Ovens
Many thought the Otters would be a team to reckon with after a 5-1 start to the season. A very unique team that was created after the insane growth to the league this season. The Ovens are the only team to go start to finish without making one transition to the team, while the Otters roster changed every single week. The Facebook chat was amped up with Otters players predicting a huge upset. This is the first season for both teams who look to make a run. With 11 teams coming to the league next year the Otters franchise will not be coming back as this will be the first and last hooray for the team. The Ovens took care of business beating the Otters all 3 times with a 39-12 run differential. Let’s meet the teams.
Free Agent Otters:
Jake Van Vuren
Shane Anderson had a brief stunt with the Truckers, but was returned to the Otters where he has thrived this season. A 0.550 batting average to go along with 15 Homers and 30 RBI’s in only 8 games played this year. He came out of the gate hot, and was getting MVP recognition before a new work schedule forced him to miss 14 games. His pitching his above average and he has some pretty good velocity. In 11 innings pitched he has given up 11 runs and has 12 k’s. Shane will have to lead this Otters team if they want to pull the upset. A great showing could land him in the first round in next’s years draft.
Alex Friedman will be in charge of the Otters for the playoffs and I couldn’t ask for a better guy to be leading the team. The ORWBL Commissioner played 15 games this season with a very hit or miss track record. A 0.378 batting average with 12 Homers and 34 RBI’s is pretty good, but is isn’t Huffinator numbers. Alex pitching has been the struggle as of late with a 14.23 E.R.A. he has to look to improve that in this series for the Otters to have a shot. He did have 21 k’s in 20 2/3 innings pitches, so he can find the zone. He has to amp up the Otters and get they going, he can’t let the big bats get rolling because its hard to stop.
Ryan Barnes is also a true rookie this season playing 14 games this year. He was a part of the Backdoor Sliders for much of the season till a last minute trade sent him to the Otters. Ryan hit the ball very well in his first season a staggering 0.421 batting average with 7 Homers and 24 runs scored. His pitching was also right there with a 7.96 E.R.A. in 17 1/3 innings pitched. He struck 22 batters out, but the real question will be if he wears flip flops to the playoffs. He is 1 of 3 of the Otters who have never experienced Leroy playoffs and many wonder if the inexperience will be a factor.
Jake Van Vuren is a huge pick of up for the Otters in this series. He was a part of the Sultans last year, a team that made it all the way to the Championship. He was a part of the Jager Corn Bombers for much of the season till Brett needed some offense and decided to trade Jake. Although we know what level Jake can play at come playoff time his regular season numbers this year just weren’t up to par. A 0.289 batting average to go with 45 k’s on just 26 hits. He had more strikeouts this year than total bases. His pitching was also a career low for him. A 10.98 E.R.A. for Jake who seemed to always show up late which factored into him jumping into games with other players having practice. Don’t count him out of making an impact in this series.
This is going to be an interesting team that hasn’t played together once. Three of the four players haven’t played Leroy playoffs and we will see how it factors over.
Dutch Ovens -
Matt Dykstra is coming off a great rookie season last year and has done fairly well for himself this year as well. After the tournament, his arm was in pain causing him to take some off last week in his innings and he dramatically skewed his numbers. His hitting numbers have been great this year, 0.464 batting average to go with 24 Homers and 49 RBI’s, all career highs. He is one homer shy of hitting his 50th career homer as he looks to do that in the opening round series. His E.R.A. is 5.93 which is nowhere near what it should be, he has 59 k’s in 29 1/3 innings pitched this year. Compare that to last year when he had 1.11 E.R.A. and 88 k’s from the mound in 38 innings pitched, so I guess I was right after all, the mound being moved back affected him greatly.
Kyle Jansma has wiffle ball on the back burner of his mind with his first born being due this upcoming Friday. We will see if he can lead his first year franchise to a quarter finals win. After a slow start to the year he had a great finish. He has 33 Homers with 69 RBI’s this year both career bests. He has the exact amount of at bats as last year already, except this year he has 13 less k’s from the plate, with six more hits leading to a 0.422 batting average. His pitching hasn’t been the greatest, with a 7.58 E.R.A. compared to last year’s 3.96. He has 33 k’s in 31 2/3 innings pitched this year.
Jack Hillegonds has been a huge part in the Ovens success this year. After a scary moment in week 3, we saw Jack being carried off Harambe’s berm to be sent to the hospital in a serious ankle injury. Luckily no severe damage was done and he was able to return to the diamond and play 16 games this season for the Ovens. His bating numbers were at career bests as he is in the running for Batter of the Year. He sits with an insane 0.645 batting average, 33 Homers and 63 RBI’s. He has struck out just 19 times in 121 at bats this season and looks to be the driving force for the offense. His pitching is very respectable as well, a 4.29 E.R.A. with 28 k’s in 21 innings pitched. Kyle seemed to utilize more as a hitter then pitcher this year, but with every pitching 3 we will see what he has to offer from the mound in big game moments getting the start in game 2.
Greg Gierling, oh heyyyyyyyyy Greg. One of the toughest at bats in the league, he has a way of making almost everyone throw balls. He sits on a 0.420 batting average this year with 26 runs scored. He plays his role of getting on and is loving being with the Ovens this season. Through trade talks and speculations he kept moving on and stayed committed to the team helping anyway he could. His pitching is where he hit some snags with the move back to 48 feet. His E.R.A. sits at 15.46 and playing against four guys who can max run up to 8 he has to limit damage from the mound. This is a big series for Greg who loves the game. Not only that it’s his birthday and he couldn’t ask for much more than a big time Ovens win.
The Ovens have been perfected their approach all season and it’s time to test it out on the big stage. Matt has his championship streak on the line as the other three look to finally get their first taste of the cup.
This is going to be a good matchup and it won’t be easy, but I got the Ovens sweeping the Otters. Not enough pitching for the Otters to get a win.