The Dutch Ovens were the preseason favorite for many in the league after the draft this year. They finished the year with a 15-9 record and the #2 seed going into the playoffs. This was the first year in the franchise’s history and it could stand as the only season in this franchise’s history after Kyle stepped down after the season. They had a 14-7 regular season and were knocked out of the first round to the Free Agent Otters in a upset no one saw coming. The Dutch Ovens statistically had one of the best years we have seen to date. The offense from this squad was the 3rd best team ranking in the history of the league. They finished with a 0.470 batting average (3rd), 196 runs batted in (2nd), 96 Homers (2nd), and 281 hits (T-1st). The roster had 3 guys finish in the top 6 in homers for the year. They finished with a 7.48 E.R.A. in 114 2/3 innings pitched, not a very highly sought after number.
Kyle had the first pick in the draft and many had him taking Andrew Sitter or Marty Rasala with the first pick. He threw a curveball and selected the hard throwing righty Matt Dykstra. He had to wait 12 more picks until he made a huge gamble and selected Jack Hillegonds with the 14th pick in the draft. Greg Gierling was signed with the 15th pick to wrap up the Oven’s draft. Kyle was the only owner to not make one single move the whole season. His lineup on draft night was his lineup going into the playoffs.
Kyle Jansma took home plenty of All Team awards yet again this year and established himself as one of the most consistent players in the league. For the third time in his career he snatches an All Leroy Team award. The four-time all-star is one of 2 players to have accomplished three All Leroy’s. He played all 24 games this year going 15-9, he has now played 70 career games with a 33-36-1 record. He is 1 of 3 players in the history of the league to have played 70 games or more, and he has done that never reaching the finals and only reaching the semifinals once in four years. He had his best season statistically from both the plate. He finished with 35 homers this year, he sits at 92 (2nd) career just 8 shy of being the second player to hit 100. He had 71 RBI’s and 61 runs scored on a 0.423 batting average on the year. With only 44 k’s in 168 at bats for a guy that never takes walk singles, it was another big year. He finished with a 7.27 E.R.A. this year with 34 k’s in 34 2/3 innings pitched. He set himself up as the closer more times than not and got the job done with 7 saves this season.
Matt Dykstra had another great season that was slightly skewed from a late season injury. He played 23 games this season going 14-9 and posting his 40th career win in just 59 games, a 0.678 winning percentage. Like many others this year he posted career highs from the plate. The final numbers included 24 Homers, 49 Rbi’s and 52 runs scored, while only striking out 39 times which was less than last season. He sits at 49 career homers and bumped his career batting average to 0.408. Matt had a sub 2.00 E.R.A. going into the last few weeks of the season. The last few weeks of the regular season he took some off his pitching bumping his season E.R.A. to 5.57. His strikeouts numbers show what he can do when he is on with 62 k’s in just 32 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up 30 runs this year which was as much as the first three seasons combined. A career 4.20 E.R.A. sure seems a bit “high” for a guy like Matt, no pun intended.
Jack Hillegonds would be most team’s number 1 or 2 as he finished 10th in ranking for the 2017 season, he was the ovens #3. Jack had a roller coaster year, but finished with some big-time numbers. In the second week of the season Jack was retrieving balls behind Harambe when he slipped and from initial reports broke his ankle. It turned the Ovens season upside down and many didn’t think he would make a return this year, or ever again. He did, and played 19 games on the year. He finished 3rd in home runs (36), RBI’s (69), and runs scored (59). A career best 0.627 batting average and 1.515 slugging percentage and only 22 k’s in 134 at bats this year. If Caleb didn’t have the year he had this year, it would have been the highest ranked batting season in Leroy history. He also is one of the more consistent pitchers in the league finishing with a 4.00 E.R.A. for the second straight season. He threw 31 k’s in 24 innings pitched, he has 99 career k’s.
Greg Gierling rounds out the Ovens. Greg finished his first full season this year and his batting numbers were nothing to breeze over. Greg is the most patient batter in the league and finished with a 0.423 batting average with 27 runs scored. The highlight was him cranking his first homer over the fence on his birthday in the Quarterfinal semi’s. Like many, the pitching had some issues with the adjustment to 48 feet. He posted a 16.65 E.R.A. but grabbed 19 k’s in 26 2/3 innings pitched this season.
Kyle put together a great team that played for each other all year. After winning the first game against the Otters, they may have taken them for granted. Matt and Greg are becoming owners next season. Jack and Kyle are guaranteed to be first round picks next year with the seasons they had. The Ovens franchise, unless it returns, will forever be considered the biggest disappointment in Leroy history. Check out the Franchise History Page: Here