The Big Unit Bashers finish the season with a 10-13 record and finish under .500 for the second consecutive season. Grant Reynhout made the decision to turn down the offer of owning a team for a fifth season in 2018 and instead will enter the draft for the first time. He leaves behind a franchise that went 31-42-2 (0.425) with a 4-9 (0.308) career playoff record. Although I think in the future we may see Grant come back into ownership as for now the only highlight year he can hold onto was the 2015 campaign. The team was called the Soup A Stars and made a run to the Championship before losing to Fantastic Four. The Bashers went back to their hitting ways this season with a 0.413 batting average and 0.820 slugging percentage. A huge improvement after a 2016 campaign that saw this franchise produce a 0.265 batting average. To put that into perspective how bad that season was offensively historically, the only other team to finish under a 0.315 batting average ever was the Legends of Leroy a team run by Nick Fiene in 2015. The franchise has a career 0.382 batting average throughout 4 seasons. The struggle for this team that has plagued so many other teams is the pitching. The Bashers finished with a 8.34 E.R.A. which was the worst for the franchise since their 2014 campaign which ended in a league worst 16.20. Even though they were 6th last year in E.R.A. the team finished 4th in strikeouts finishing with 162 k’s in 109 1/3 innings pitched. From a statistically standpoint this was the most average season any team has had. The Average Salary Ranking for a team’s season is 120.00, which is a formula based on both pitching and batting stats equally. The team finished with a 120.31 Ranking, just above the threshold with the 2014 Backdoor Sliders right above them at 121.12 and the 2017 Backdoor Sliders right below them at 117.17.
Grant made some big moves throughout the season to make a good run at the end of the year. He had the 3rd pick in the draft and picked Marty Rasala, this was the first time in four years Grant didn’t use his first round pick on a Gibson who were both available at the #3 slot. His second and third round picks were Mike Fiene and Nathan Zuidema. Mike Fiene never played one game this season as he now joins the list of players considered retired in LWA. Mike was one of the most feared hitters in Leroy history and it’s a shame we didn’t get to see him play this year. Nathan Zuidema played just six games this year and once again proved unreliable. He signed two true rookies in Lucas Miedema and Wes Ellis. Both great players who have bright futures in the league. With this being Marty’s first full season and both Lucas and Wes playing for the first time the inexperience wasn’t enough to take out the Jager Corn Bombers in the first round. They played the eventual two time champs tough in the first game with the only run scored being on a play by Wes Ellis who tried pegging Brett going for second to have the ball sail into center field with Brett rounding home on an infield the park homer. It was a tough matchup for a 5 seed and shouldn’t hang their heads with many saying Grant should have Manager of the Year with his assembly of that roster being able to pick out talent.
Grant Reynhout went back to his 2015 form this past year having the best year from the plate in his career. In 2014 he had a salary of 14.53, in 2015 a salary of 24.34, in 2016 a salary of 14.50, and this season finishing with a 23.64. With Grant entering the draft next year it will be interesting for owners decide if he can break the yearly trend of good season, bad season. He had a 0.322 batting average this season a much-improved year after last year’s 0.210. He had a career high 8 homers this season as well as 24 RBI’s (Career High) and 27 runs scored (Tied Career High). He also sits at 99 singles currently for his career. His pitching was rough this year, like many others the move back to 48’ affected his ability to pitch strikes in the fast pitch counts. He finished with a 12.71 E.R.A., a little higher than his career 12.48 E.R.A. He finished with 23 k’s on the year in 28 1/3 innings pitched, his lowest k to inning rate of his career. He has 91 career k’s in 88 innings pitched.
Marty Rasala finished his first full season and took home some hardware winning rookie of the year. He had a coming out party for his 2017 campaign and looks to be another face for the league moving forward in 2018. With the season he had he will look to run one of the 11 teams in 2018, and we can’t wait to see what he can do from that role. He finished 2017 with a 0.555 batting average and 1.190 slugging this season in 19 games. He grabbed 26 homers with 58 RBI’s and 51 runs scored in just 137 at bats. He made the Leroy All Batting team this season finished 3rd in the running for batter of the year. His bats weren’t the only thing to brag about, with almost 75%+ players getting worse at pitching due to the mound change, Marty improved. His E.R.A. dropped to 2.20 after a 3.25 2016 campaign. He finished with 68 k’s in just 30 innings pitched, giving up only 32 hits on the year. He finished 6th in the running for pitcher of the year, and being such a two way player made the All Leroy Team finishing 3rd in the running for MVP. Next year will be a big year to see if running a team will hurt his ability to make a push for MVP, or if it will only make him better and get him over that next hump to being a Mr. Leroy contender.
Wes Ellis will be a big name to watch next season. Wes only played in ten games this season, but was another great two-way player who looks to prove his worth in a league with fast pitching. He won 5 slow pitch tournaments this year including the Hometown Cup, a tournament with 80 teams. Wes finished with a 0.533 batting average and a slugging at 1.080 on the year in 75 at bats. He hit 10 homers with 23 RBI’s and 29 runs scored. Wes had some inconsistent innings from the mound this year finishing with a respectable 6.40 E.R.A. When he is on he can dominate an inning and his 32 k’s in just 15 innings pitched show that. Similar to Lucas, Wes will go in the first round and could be a great #2, and potential #1 for a team if he can improve that consistency from the mound week in and out. He expects to play most of the season and without getting enough at bats and innings pitched this year he will be up for rookie of the year.
If this same team could be put together next year they would be an instant Championship favorite, it was a growing year for many of them and it was good to see Grant get back to competing. Check out the Big Unit Basher (2014-Muffin Men, 2015-Soup A Stars, 2016-One Hit Wonders) franchise history page to see the franchise leaders and head to head matchups for the franchise. I also want to give a personal thanks to Grant for the new strike zones we used for the playoffs and will use for future years to come.