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Old 02-14-2015, 09:06 PM   #1
coljesep
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VBL - Grand Championship Preview

The following preview was written by the VBL team representative.

The Virtual Baseball League's roots began with the VBL3 which was a simulated league using Front Page Sports Baseball 98 for 10 years with 20 simulated seasons. In 2012, the league chose to start fresh utilizing OOTP 13 and the VBL was born using most of the same members from the original league. The league was based on real players, and transitioned to a fictional feeder league. We've been running consistently since the start and we are currently in our 8th season. In every season prior, and in every season moving forward - the Commissioner does not, and never will own a team.

League Website: http://virtualbaseball.org/vbl/

You can check out the VBL team by visiting: Home Page


The draft is over and the VBL Copperheads are ready to play ball.

Overall, the Copperheads were satisfied with their draft selections. We mainly focused on offense and trying to build the best offense we could within our budget. We're a firm believer that offense wins championships, so we'll live and die off of their production. With that said, the pitching staff was not ignored, as we tried to grab some good, young, cheap arms to carry us. As long as our starters can go six or seven innings, they have done their job. That means we need a solid bullpen, and this area was focused on more than the pitching staff. Losing games late with a poor bullpen is a pet peeve of mine, and although bullpen production can be erratic from year to year, we tried to find the most consistent guys that we could rely on. Here's a more in-depth look at each area.

Pitching Staff

The staff will consist of five starters, including José Bañuelos, Ramón Soto, Bob Duncan, Marvin Randall, and Javier Trevino. There is no definitive ace in this rotation, but José Bañuelos, Ramón Soto, Bob Duncan will be the ones counted on the most. Randall is a nice lefty to have in our rotation and could be a big part of our success later on in the year, and Trevino is an improving young arm that can be just as good as anyone when he is on. Harvey will get the ball on opening day.

Bullpen

Expectations are big for this unit. The best closer in the game, Michael Ramey, will be relied on heavily to shut down games. After him, we have a ton of great relievers who could all be used to set-up Ramey. To start off the year, set-up duties will be given to Michael Ramírez.

In the seventh inning, expect to see up-and-coming left-hander Jason Swinney, a pitcher some scouts are saying could be the next great closer in the game. To round out the bullpen when these three are tired, or the starters don't go as far into games as we would like, you will see Ken Bannatyne, Stan Rouse, and Jaime Segura.

Each of these three have different styles that will hopefully keep hitters off balance. Overall, this is a hard throwing bullpen that loves to get ground balls. If starters can go six innings, or even if they can't, I have full confidence giving the ball to any one of these guys to keep the game close for us.

Offense

The bread and butter of this team. Hopefully they are second to none in most offensive categories, including home runs, OBP, and runs scored. The lineup will be platoon heavy as we try to get the most out of the batter's strengths. The leader will be veteran Mike Shelton, a player who can relied on to hit at least .330/.420/.530.

Two other key players will be Jesús Ruperto and Don Fagan. Ruperto will be expected to get on-base for Shelton and Fagan, and Fagan will be expected to drive the batters ahead of him and himself home with one swing of the bat. The offense doesn't have a prototypical lead-off hitter, which has never been my philosophy anyways.

Luis Torres and Pablo Vélez will split that duty for the time being. Rounding out the offense is future MVP Luis Torres, contact hitting Raúl Chávez, balanced hitter Salvador Ramos, high OBP Stan Sweetapple, lefty smashers Brendan Carter and Héctor Rodríguez, team motivator John Harper, and the consistent catchers, Jason Parker and Francisco Luna. For a closer look at each lineup, see the projected lineups below.

Lineup VS RHP
1 L Luis Torres SS
2 R Jesús Ruperto CF
3 L Mike Shelton 1B
4 R Don Fagan RF
5 L Ken Payne 3B
6 L Raúl Chávez LF
7 R Stan Sweetapple 2B
8 L Salvador Ramos DH
9 L Jason Parker C

Lineup VS LHP
1 R Pablo Vélez LF
2 R Stan Sweetapple 2B
3 R Jesús Ruperto CF
4 R Don Fagan RF
5 L Mike Shelton 1B
6 R Héctor Rodríguez DH
7 L Ken Payne 3B
8 R Francisco Luna C
9 R Brendan Carter SS

Outlook

The regular season will be a lot about testing out players in certain batting situations, seeing which reliever works better where, and determining what the rotation will look like in the tournament stage. We expect to be a top ten team when reaching the tournament stage. VBL management is ready to roll, lets hope the players are as well.
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