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Old 12-26-2013, 08:06 AM   #1
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PEBA Team preview

As the GM of current PEBA champions, London Underground, it befell me to defend the PEBA’s crown as champions of the original OOTP Grand Champions League. Drafting seventh in the inaugural draft for the GCL 2 I was looking to draft a team that oozed speed and defence. My plans were slightly altered by the lack of top class pitchers which caused a run on starting pitchers early on, a lack of power batters meeting my speed and defence criteria meant I joined the pitcher run to some extent. In the end I was able to stay well within budget and construct a team I felt was capable of being right in the mix for post season action.

The press agreed and the initial predictions they published had the PEBA winning 92 games and being one of the leading lights of OOTP GCL2. A 14-10 showing in Spring Training left the PEBA second in their division, three games behind FOBL, but good enough for second place in any of the divisions. The press revised their predictions downwards but still were confident we would end up winning the RAHT division by six games with 87 wins. The RAHT division looks though to be only the third strongest division and none of the PEBA roster is predicted to be in the top 10 pitchers or batters but I feel the sure handed defence and speed all around the field will help the pitchers keep the runs off the board while patience & discipline at the plate will lead to plenty of base runners using their speed to manufacture runs. While none of the pitchers may be superstars they are all more than competent and I have faith in them all. In particular the trio of set-up men / closers at the back end of the bullpen will be more than capable of keeping the game under control in the final innings.

Enough of the team booster chanting lets meet the 25 men that will defend the PEBA’s crown


26-yr-old Roy Clark was drafted to be the man behind the plate. A solid defensive catcher he runs like one but was expected to hit around .250 and even perhaps show a bit of welcome power. He did hit two homers in Spring Training and managed a .242/.254/.354 slash line but will start as the team’s back-up due to the showing of 25-yr-old Juan Vélez. Juan is an even better defensive catcher with good leadership skills but was expected to be a complete bust at the plate. However in Spring Training he pulled out a .393/.393/.500 slash line and while that might just be a spring stat it has earned him the chance to have first shot at calling the pitches behind the plate.

The Infield

Most of the starting infielders are more than capable of playing more than one position but this is where we expect them to start. At first base will be 35-yr-old Griffin Price. The PEBA’s final draft pick was expected to be mere filler but his .364/.450/.635 spring line outshone most of the other candidates and his record of only striking out four times in 33 AB’s was the clincher. Back-up 25-yr-old António Hernández ran him close with a .351/.383/.596 slash but an 3/11 BB/K ratio against Griffin’s 5/4 ratio. He may well end up platooning Price against LHP

At second base will be 27-yr-old Gabriel Quinones. He is a very sure handed defensive middle infielder with excellent plate discipline & eye. His partner up the middle will be 24-yr-old Will Barnes whose cannon of an arm would probably have him at the hot corner in most defences but his slightly above average defensive skills make him the best fit at shortstop for the PEBA. His .302/.362/.377 Spring slash line hints at being a solid offensive contributor.

At the Hot Corner will be 22-yr-old Luis Gonzáles. Luis’s range could be better but he has a rocket launcher of an arm and rarely makes an error. An excellent eye at the plate and above average power should lead to him being a leading light in the PEBA offense

The back-up infielder will be 24-yr-old Jeff Jones who is an outstanding middle infielder and has the tools to be more than competent at the hot corner. Jeff was rather let down by a .136/.183/.152 Spring slash line, leaving him expecting most of his work to come as a defensive replacement and the occasional fill-in start.
Most of the DH starts will be taken by 25-yr-old Júlio Díaz who knows his strike zone well and will draw his share of walks while contributing his fair share of long balls.

The Outfield

The PEBA will carry four outfielders on opening day. 26-yr-old Glenn King, 27-yr-old first round pick Jorge ‘Edgy’ Rivera and 23-yr-old Cody Turner will be the starting trio, all three are more than respectable defenders and have the plus speed to glide across the outfield robbing the opposition of those extra base hits. They will also be all contributing solid offence and plenty of stolen bases in a line-up that will become known for running the opposition to death. 28-yr-old Francisco Montoya will back them up with some more top class defence particularly at the corners. He too is known for his speed and on his AB’s will be swinging for the fences on most occasions.

The Rotation

1. 29-yr-old LHP Jim Taylor has four above average pitches in his locker - fastball, curveball, slider & changeup. He can tough 92-94 mph on the radar gun but suffered a bit in Spring Training walking 10 batters while only striking out 13 in his four outings

2. 26-yr-old RHP Thomás ‘Fingers’ Sánchez is equally adept at throwing his fastball, slider or changeup at touching 92 mph. Held opponents to a .190 average against him in Spring Training.

3. 25-yr-old LHP David Dixon is a groundball pitcher whose best pitch is a forkball but can also throw passable cutters, sinkers, curves and changeups. He managed a 3-0 record in four Spring starts with a 1.13 ERA but walked 9 batters while only striking out 10.

4. 22-yr-old RHP António Barrón doesn’t often touch more than 90 mph on the radar gun and his best pitches are his curveball & changeup while his fastball is distinctly average. He showed superb control of the plate in Spring training, walking just one batter while striking out 12.

5. 29-yr-old RHP Albert Duncan can touch 93 mph with his slider and also has an above average fastball & changeup. Despite allowing batters to hit .254 off him at Spring Training he commanded the plate walking just 2 batters while sitting down 12.

The Bullpen

31-yr-old LHP Gabriel ‘Home plate’ Espinoza will handle the long relief duties. He can touch 91-93mph with his fastball but his main arsenal is his off speed stuff with a curveball, changeup & knucklecurve in his locker.

26-yr-old LHP Mark Sneider will be the right hand specialist. He can throw a fastball, sinker and curveball but rarely exceeds 87-89mph on the radar gun. Good command of the plate with 11 K’s in Spring Training but no walks.

23-yr-old RHP Jake Wolf & 35-yr-old RHP Lloyd ‘Squirt’ McGee will be the workhorses of the pen. Jake has a top class fastball & slider that can hit 93-95mph on the gun and he is trying to add a changeup to his arsenal while veteran Lloyd is a groundballer (71%) whose fastball & slider may not be the best but can touch 92 mph.

28-yr-old RHP Cisco Estranda & 23-yr-old RHP Jim MacDonald will share the set-up role. Cisco boasts excellent movement and control on his pitches with the best one being his changeup but he also throws a passable fastball, curveball & circle change. Jim has a top notch fastball & curveball that top out around the 93-95 mph mark. He allowed just eight hits in 13.1 IP in Spring Training, restricting opponents to a .170 average against him and ending with a 3-1 W-L record.

28-yr-old RHP Ricardo ‘Sweetness’ Williams will open the season as the closer. His sinker & slider don’t excite the speed freaks at just around the 89-90 mph mark but his control and movement on the pitches often leaves the batter flailing at thin air.

Nigel Laverick
A Lost Soul

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