At first, we had the Chainsmokers, then we had Fantastic Four, and in 2016 the Jager Corn Bombers. In a salary run league it is next to impossible to go back to back. After Brett missed the first week of games everyone ran this team off as a bottom feeder, till Erik busted onto the scene and looked like he could lead not only from the mound, but the plate as well. Just as Brett returned, and they gained some momentum Erik went down with an injury and it was back to the drawing board for the Bombers. They struck a move with the Truckers and traded Kyle Reynhout and Jake Van Vuren and picked up Neil Krooswyk and Colin Lautenbach. It was a bold move that some considered controversially, but it was a business move and they proved it takes more than friendships and feelings to win in Leroy. So they did it, back to back and it caused me to change rules yet again to make sure we will have the most competitive field in 2018.
The Jager Corn Bombers 2017 season was ranked 8th all time, and was statistically the worst season by a champion in the 4 years of Leroy’s history. For the second straight season they were able to win yet still have a season with a below average batting ranking. They did it by pitching yet again as the 2017 and 2016 Bombers have 2 of the top 4 pitching seasons among the 28 seasons played by teams in the 4 years. They finished the season 11-10 as the #4 seed and were the first team to knock out a #1 seed in the playoffs in the history of Leroy doing it in the semi-finals. They finished the year with a 0.375 batting average and 0.758 Slugging which were 5th of the 8 teams this season. They had 228 strikeouts at the plate in 706 at bats, both are records for a team in a season. They are known for stretching hits, the 2017 Team had 40 doubles, the 2016 Bombers had 42. Those are 1st and 2nd in the doubles category. The 2016 Bombers had 11 triples and the 2017 Bombers had 7 triples, also 1st and 2nd all time for any team in a season. They finished with a 5.07 ERA and 0.322 opponents’ batting average, nothing compared to last year’s 2.08 and 0.235, but still dominant numbers. They finished with 256 k’s which is 2nd all-time only to the 2016 Bombers who put up a 290 mark. They pitched 154 1/3 innings which is a season record for any team.
Like I mentioned earlier Brett missed the first couple weeks and many wondered his commitment to the team with his brother taking over the leadership role early in the year. He silenced everyone when everything was said and done, finishing 4th in ranking at 52.40 and with his deep playoff run finished in the top 5 in qualifying making the All Iron Team yet again. He finished playing 23 games this year going 15-8. In career 69 games he sits at 48-21, which is second all time in wins. With a 2016 season that Brett had it would be disrespectful to make that the normal and expect that from Brett year to year. He finished with a 1.30 ERA and 0.126 opponents’ batting average this season, which were both better than last year. He finished with 102 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings pitched, only 3 people have struck out 100 people in a season. Caleb in 2017, Brett in 2017, and Brett in 2016. He finished with a 4-2 Record from the mound and blew a save this year in 4 save opportunities. Last season Brett finished with 16 Homers, 38 RBI’s, 41 Runs Scored and 51 Strikeouts in 203 at bats, this season Brett finished with 16 Homers, 38 RBI’s, 45 Runs Scored, and 55 Strikeouts in 180 at bats. Creepy eh?
Erik made a huge step forward this season finishing 2nd in Mr. Leroy voting even with missing some games. It was his best pitching year in his career, he is one of the most consistent in Leroy history. He played 26 games this year going 17-9, bringing him to 44-17 in his career 61 games played, so yes he lost more games this year than the other 3 combined. From the plate he found some power this season hitting 15 Homers, he had 7 last year, and 0 in the previous 2 years before that combined. He finished with 29 RBI’s and 49 runs scored, all career highs. He also was overly aggressive in many at bats striking out 51 times, he had 51 strikeouts in his first 3 seasons combined. It was the first season he plated 200 at bats, finishing with 201, he also finished with career highs in average (0.388), and slugging (0.706). He finished with a 1.19 ERA from the mound with a 0.182 opponents’ average. His career ERA of 1.82 still sits 2nd all time, trailing the man, they myth, the Legend, Alan Myszkowski. He had 91 k’s this year in 45 1/3 innings pitched and is 1 1/3 innings from pitching 100 career IP.
Colin Lautenbach has been a come and go player for the last 3 years playing 8 total games from 2014-2016. He played 17 this season going 11-6 and now 17-8 in his career 25 games played. He was a huge part to the Bombers success in the final weeks and the playoffs. He qualified for his 1st year of experience and made career highs in every category. He finished with 21 Homers, 41 RBI’s and 31 Runs Scored in just 1234 at bats this season, but struck out 42 times from the plate as will. This means 62 of his 123 (51%) were a homer or strikeout from the plate. After taking 2016 off due to a shoulder injury its hard telling if that affected his 2017 pitching, or if sitting out a year take a toll. He finished with a 8.03 ERA after entering the season with a career 2.31 ERA. He gave up 33 runs in 24 2/3 innings pitched, but also struck out 33 batters this year. He looks to have yet another improved season in 2018, but he will always be a champion.
Neil Krooswyk is a champion folks, he is a living proof that anyone and I mean anyone can win it. We can all remember at one point of the season he gave up 3 straight homers in an inning, kicked the bucket and said F it give me the max, which meant he gave up 8 solo homers in 1 inning not getting one out. He played just 12 games this season going 5-7 and just missed qualifying for his 2nd year of experience. He now sits at 16-31 in 47 career games played. One thing is for sure, Neil is a dominant hitter from the plate with some of the best power in the league. For a 3rd straight season he has hit 18+ Homers and now sits at 60 all time. He finished with 30 RBI’s and 23 Runs scored this year in just 90 at bats. It’s either Homer or nothing for him getting just 29 hits this year. Similar to his power hitting, he gives up runs as a pitcher. For a 3rd straight season he has given up 42+ runs on the mound. This year he finishes with a 15.58 ERA and 0.527 opponents’ batting average striking out just 19 batters in 17 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up 19 homers this year, in just 17 innings pitched. He is one of the most polarizing players in the league and one of the funniest players to watch on the diamond.
The Jager Corn Bombers era is over. The team is being rebranded to the Corn Bombers as Erik will leave to start his own team, Squints Sluggers. If you don’t count the season they were called the Brewcrew Screwballs in 2015, Brett and Erik won championships the past two years winning a total of 38 games together. It will be interesting to see the two like-minded players going their separate ways and we will always miss the bickering and name calling on the field together, who knows maybe we will see a Bombers vs. Sluggers Championship soon.