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Old 03-25-2014, 08:37 AM   #1
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THE Pittsburgh Arsenal

Welcome to the official dynasty report for THE Pittsburgh Arsenal. I'm relatively new to OOTP but I'm already lost in the wonderful world of my National Baseball League. After a few trial & error leagues, I've found my baby. Not since Earl Weaver Baseball way back when have I spent so much time with a baseball sim.

I pre-ordered OOTP 10 but I could never immerse myself in it. I decided to give OOTP 14 a try this past January and I haven't stopped playing since. My kids have learned that OOTP is now part of my everyday life. It's become my second wife. This dynasty report may well become my third.

I've designed and written hockey websites about my Washington Capitals so I plan to extrapolate what I've done with that over here. My plan, as of now, is to detail the whats and the whys of my decisions as GM of the Pittsburgh Arsenal. I'll be touching on everything I find interesting from around the league, but the focus is on my team.

I'm jumping into this dynasty report several years into the league, so I've got a lot of recapping to do. To the best of my memory, I'll be rehashing my thought processes to date. Once I'm caught up, which will be a while, the pace will slow considerably. Bear with me as we head out on this memorable journey.

Welcome to Pittsburgh, home of the Arsenal.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:00 AM   #2
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General rules, settings, and format

-Using 1989 financials, strategy, settings/modifiers, and PCMs.

-Default aging/development

-2 Leagues, 2 Divisions each, 6 Teams per division, 24 teams total

-162 game reg season, NO Wildcard, only the 4 division winners make the playoffs, Best-of 7 series to decide League champs and World Series champ

-All modern day MLB rules except no 2012 CBA

-5 Levels of Minors: AAA, AA, A, Short A, Rookie
-5 Feeder Leagues: 4 yr NCAA College, 4 yr North European Colleges, 4 yr West European Colleges, 2 yr American JUCO, and 4 yr High Schools of America

-25 round amateur draft on June 5, draft pick and recent draftee trading enabled

-International Amateur FA on July 1

-Scouting on, Normal, Ratings 2-8

-Normal injuries, Suspensions on, Average trading, Coaching on
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:15 AM   #3
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The NBL's leagues and divisions are geographically oriented.

METROPOLITAN LEAGUE (ML)


Atlantic Division

Boston Pilgrims
New York Skyliners
Philadelphia 76ers
Washington Potomacs
Atlanta Rebels
Miami Flamingos

Pacific Division

Houston Roughnecks
Dallas Tycoons
Phoenix Rattlers
Los Angeles Knights
San Francisco Legion
Seattle Steelheads

CONTINENTAL LEAGUE

Midwest Division

Pittsburgh Arsenal
Cleveland Lakers
Columbus Explorers
Detroit Wolves
Chicago Packers
Nashville Vols

Plains Division

Minnesota Muskies
St Louis Lions
Kansas City Bandits
New Orleans Pelicans
Oklahoma City Cyclones
Denver Crush


Sending a HUGE shoutout to TxRanger for the gorgeous retro-style unis and logos the men of the NBL are privileged to don.

Another GIANT thank you goes to QuestDog straight from the men of the NBL, who get their unique and realistic identities from the hard work put into the names files.

Great stuff you two.

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Old 03-25-2014, 11:06 AM   #4
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Do you remember 1989?

Do you remember 1989? Let's go BACK to the FUTURE and check out the year in movies. A year after a depressing look at one of the darkest moments in baseball history in Eight Men Out, Hollywood came up with a couple feel good stories about our national pastime. Was this the greatest single year for baseball movies?

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Old 03-25-2014, 11:23 AM   #5
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1989 Baseball Immortality

Immortalized in 1989 were Johnny Bench, Carl Yastrzemski, Red Schoendienst, and Al Barlick as Baseball Hall of Famers and Bill Ripken as Baseball's F**k Face.

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Old 03-25-2014, 11:57 AM   #6
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The year is 1989 and there's talk of a whiz kid who draws fictional ballparks in school and has devised a formula incorporating baseball's major statistics that can accurately predict a team's run totals within half a run in his down time. Rumor has it that the kid was looking for a way to create his own fantasy lineups so he could construct his own legendary franchise.

With little in the way of baseball simulation games, the 6th grader -- who for some unknown reason likes to be called Papa -- keeps himself busy dreaming of the day he might one day get the chance to lead 25 living, breathing ballplayers to the promised land.

For now, Papa settles for shuffling his ever-growing baseball card collection around on his bedroom floor while meticulously analyzing the mythical numbers of baseball's greats.

With spring training about to get underway, baseball pundits are programmed to think of the future. They seem to enjoy speculating whether or not the kid from a Washington D.C. suburb will one day become the NBL's next great front office mind.
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Old 03-25-2014, 01:29 PM   #7
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Why 1989? Why not!

Yep, Why Not indeed. Unless you're an Orioles fan, that may mean nothing to you. But for me, all of 11 years old at the time, it was probably my favorite season as a baseball fan.

I just endured an Orioles team that lost 21 games to start their 1988 season en route to 107. Right out of the gate, that entire season was worthless. With no expectations, my Orioles held first place for much of 1989 until losing to the Blue Jays the final weekend of the season. The O's slogan that season:

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'89 also saw the emergence of one of the best pitchers I'd ever seen, ROY Gregg Olson. He had a curveball that fell off a table like none I've personally seen before or since.

What's more, 1989 was just a good time for baseball. There was no inclination that we were less than a decade from seeing hallowed records fall to players that will likely never be allowed in the HoF. A .300/30/100 season was still elite, 50 home runs were elusive as they should be, and Jose Canseco was a year removed from an unthinkable 40-40 season. Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry still had only one drug arrest between them and my baseball cards were still worth money.

'89 was the near the end of baseball's innocence. Heck, it was near the end of my innocence as well. Just a good time to love baseball.

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Old 03-25-2014, 10:38 PM   #8
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Wrapping Up Some Loose Ends

My original idea was to sim 20 seasons of the NBL then take over the league's worst team. I paused the sim at the 15 season mark, and saw something I may never see again that prompted me to jump right in. All the variables were in place for this to be one of the toughest challenges ever in a sports sim.

But before I go into those details, we're going to take a look back at that 15 year history of the NBL. Because everything is in the history index, I can't go through mid season details. Rather it will be an overview that looks ahead as much as it looks back.

Beyond the 15 year sim, I've completed 4 seasons in charge of the Arsenal bringing the league to its present day, season 20 preseason. With the NBL well into its existence, we have the luxury of examining all the drafts and key transactions with an eye toward the future. Along the way, I'll allude to who panned out and who didn't, but their career numbers won't be divulged early on.

I'll be scouring the entire league with a slight prejudice toward Pittsburgh as we begin approaching the 15 year mark where I take them over. Getting there will be relatively quick. Upon my takeover prior to year 16, the analysis will change as I begin sharing my thought processes as Arsenal GM. Once we're all caught up, this report will begin to take a week-by-week (or some similar timeframe) approach.

Now that all the basics are out of the way, let's get going.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:37 AM   #9
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Oops, when I threw those movie posters together I didn't realize The Little Mermaid seems to like Batman a bit too much.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:37 AM   #10
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1989 Metropolitan League

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ML Batting Leaders

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ML Pitching Leaders

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Old 03-27-2014, 07:44 AM   #11
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1989 Continental League

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Old 03-27-2014, 07:49 AM   #12
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1989 NBL Amateur Draft

An overview of the first round of the 1989 June draft. Top players in this years draft: Ben Brown, Jared Larck, and Gabe White.

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Old 03-27-2014, 08:35 AM   #13
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1989 Playoffs

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Old 03-27-2014, 11:44 AM   #14
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1989 Trade Market Steals

A look back at the winners and losers in the trade market.


Kansas City trades 29 yo Josh Hardesty to New York for 5 prospects.
Hardesty saves over 200 games over the next 8 years while none of the prospects reached the majors. Winner: New York

Seattle trades 36 yo Dustin Byerley to Oklahoma City for 4 prospects.
Byerly has only 176 more hits before retiring. Two of the prospects each play for 8 years while a third, closer Cheney Adler, has become the NBL's all-time saves leader. Winner: Seattle

Washington trades 26 yo Adam Cecil to Oklahoma City for 18 yo Carlos Martinez.
Cecil bats .224 with 567 hits over 9 years while Martinez becomes a two-time All Star and Gold Glover, once leading league with 120 runs, before a career ending injury in 1999. Winner: Washington

[Denver trades 27 yo Mark Sasser to Miami for 5 prospects.
Sasser saves more games than the prospects play in their careers combined. Six straight years in the NBL's top 4 save totals including the fourth best season of all time. Winner: Miami

Atlanta trades 29 yo Jamel Brumfeld to Nashville for 20 yo Craig Plattner.
Brumfeld sports a career 41-85 record and 5.03 ERA while Plattner (who is traded frequently in his career) becomes one of NBL's top sluggers. Led league in HR and SLG once with six Top 7 finishes. Winner: Atlanta
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:15 PM   #15
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Change of plans, it's now year 16

Change of plans. Rather than do a year by year account of the first 15 years of the NBL, I'm going to jump into this the exact same way as I did my league - year 16. I am having as little interest in reporting the first 15 years as I did while it was being simmed. Though I'll occasionally refer to the early history, I want to get right into the meat and potatoes of this. So here we go.

It's now October 2004, and I've paused the long-term sim to check and make sure league stats are in line. I've got five more years to sim after this. just after the Denver Crush won a rematch of last year's World Series against the Phoenix Rattlers. That's Denver's second championship in four years and their fourth Continental League championship in the last six. We've got ourselves a bit of a dynasty on our hands.

I've become a huge fan of Denver's ridiculously hard-throwing, and even harder to hit, 26-year old phenom named Dan Taylor. This guy just finished the year with 424 strikeouts while going 22-7 with a 3.11 ERA. He won his second straight Outstanding Pitcher Award. Last year, Taylor went 27-4 with a 2.28 ERA and 394 strikeouts. And all this was done pitching at Coors Field, mind you.

While Taylor popped out at me right away, I had to do a double take at what I saw next. I stopped the auto sim right away, forgoing the next five years, and took the helm of the Pittsburgh Arsenal. Here's why:

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Old 03-31-2014, 04:20 PM   #16
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After seeing Pittsburgh's extended exercise in futility on the field, I checked the front office figures. I'm all about taking over the worst team but I didn't want to be able to just go out and buy up a bunch of free agents over the next couple years. Of all the different baseball sims I've played over the years, Pittsburgh appears to be the worst. But is it legit? Could this be a "moneyball" scenario? I sure hope so. Here's what I found...and yes, I was happy!

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I cropped the team finances report to hide the present day (Feb. 8, 2009) figures. Don't forget these are still 1989 financials.

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Without much hesitation, my planned 20-year sim history was over at 15. I wanted to jump right in while everything remained awful.

For me, Pittsburgh has it all. In 15 years, they've never finished better than 4th out of 6 teams and never had a winning record. They've bottomed out over the past five years, breaking their own record set in 2002 for most losses in NBL history with 116 this past year.

With no money and a tiny market, the Arsenal also hold all their league's worst attendance records. Only the 2002 New York Skyliners, a 60 win team of the Metropolitan League, eclipsed their mark of futility.

The Arsenal are comparable to the early years of the expansion New York Mets. Of course they had their Amazin' run in '69 (which my Brooklyn/Queens-born parents remember quite fondly) but had to wait another 15 years to win more than 86 games. For them, sustained greatness remained elusive.
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Old 04-13-2014, 10:47 AM   #17
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In Control

Now in control of the Arsenal, I've got a daunting task ahead of me. A look at the stats from the 2004 season that just concluded shows absolutely nobody on Pittsburgh is remotely close to being all-star caliber. No one is untouchable.

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Only one batter on the squad is showing reasonable upside. Jeremy Stubblefield, the team's 3rd round draft pick in '02 (70th overall) started all but 20 games behind the plate. At 24, he's already one of the CL's top hitting catchers and he's decent defensively.

Other than him, I'm struck by how old most of Pittsburgh's lineup is. Rather than fielding a youthful team of underage prospects, the Arsenal are a bunch of over-the-hill guys who can't find a job elsewhere.

Playing with trading on hard/favor prospects, I don't see anybody other than Stubblefield with any sort of trade value.


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A look at Pittsburgh's staff in '04 finds similarly little to like. Of the six starters, four have a negative WAR. Only one would slot in on a playoff-bound pitching staff. That's Jarod Ellinger. One problem, he was traded just days before I took control.
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Old 04-13-2014, 01:23 PM   #18
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Recent Pittsburgh Draft History

Time for a look at Pittsburgh's past five draft classes. With a bunch of crap seasons, it's reasonable to assume that Pittsburgh's stockpiling tons of young talent. Their overall and potential ratings (based on 5 stars) are current as of the '04 season.

2000 DRAFT

1st Round (4th overall) - Andnej Zajac, RF

Playing in the small, four-team Northern European college league, Zajac won the Outstanding Hitter Award all four years. In 113 career games in college, he hit .411/.535/.918 with 58 HR, 124 R, and 133 RBI. He has an elite arm in RF but is otherwise average with the glove. He debuted with Pitt in '02 but didn't become a starter until this past season, hitting .270/.345/.424 with 11 HR, 35 RBI and 109 K in just 344 AB at age 27. Nothing to like here. Overall 1.5 stars/Potential 4.0 stars

Supp. 1st Round (27th overall) - Nick Collison, SP

Collison was traded for 1B Zack Wernette later in the year. Wernette, a '91 2nd rounder, hit .230 in parts of four seasons with Pittsburgh and has 494 career hits. Overall 1.0 stars/Potential 1.5 stars. Wernette's ratings are Overall 1.5 stars/Potential 1.5 stars

2001 DRAFT

1st Round (2nd overall) - Jim Kalbfleisch, SP

A month after being drafted, Kalbfleisch tore his labrum, a 4 month injury. He debuted in '02 and posted a 16-25 record with a 4.50 ERA before tearing a flexor tendon in his elbow in August of '03. He missed the entire '04 season because of the injury. Overall 1.0 stars/Potential 1.5 stars

2nd Round (57th overall) - Alfredo Lopez, SP

Drafted out of high school, Lopez never made it past Low-A ball before retiring.

2002 DRAFT

1st Round (2nd overall) - Kyle Markham, SP

Six months after being drafted, Markham was traded to Detroit for 2B Kevin Dooley. Dooley, 26 years old at the time of the trade, hit .228/.310/.352 in '02 with the Wolves and hasn't done much better with the Arsenal since the trade. Overall 0.5 stars/Potential 3.0 stars. Dooley's rating is Overall 2.5 stars/Potential 3.5 stars

1st Round (15th overall) - Pat Colson, CF

As of the end of '04 Colson is playing AAA ball. Out of 10 statistical lines (seasons/levels) in the minors, he's only had two with an OPS+ better than 100. Overall 0.5 stars/Potential 1.5 stars

Supp. 1st Round (40th overall) - Lance Wheeler, SP

Wheeler finished '04 in class A ball with a career 14-15 record and ERA above 5.00 in the minors. Overall 0.5 stars/Potential 1.5 stars

2nd Round (40th overall) - Liam Briggs, 1B

Briggs absolutely pounded Rookie League and Low-A pitchers hitting almost .380 with 48 HR in 404 AB. He's been very average against higher level pitching though. He made a less-than auspicious debut this year, batting .164/.232/.252 with 1 HR in 61 AB for the Arsenal. Overall 1.5 stars/Potential 2.5 stars

2003 DRAFT

Supp. 1st Round (29th overall) -Matt Dunn, LF

Dunn just hit .325/.391/.528 with 13 HR and 50 RBI in 326 AB in AA ball. He's put up those kind of numbers at every level of professional ball since being drafted out of college. Overall 1.0 stars/Potential 2.5 stars

Supp. 1st Round (44th overall) - Bobby Cato, SP/MR

Cato's been a starter thus far but his low stamina projects him as a relief pitcher at the higher levels. In Class A ball this past year, he started 26 games and went 7-11 with a 4.24 ERA. He struck out 104 in 144 IP with a 1.36 WHIP. Overall 0.5 stars/Potential 1.5 stars

Supp. 1st Round (49th overall) - Boyd Groves, SP

Groves split '04 between AA and AAA and it was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde performance. In 14 AA starts, he went 5-6 with a 3.61 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. In 16 AAA starts, he fell to 4-10 with a 7.48 ERA and 1.91 WHIP. Too early to tell which pitcher he'll become down the road. Overall 2.5 stars/Potential 2.5 stars

Supp. 1st Round (51st overall) - Chris Crawford, SP

Crawford never stood out in his 4-year college career and reached AAA in '04. He was just 6-11 with a 6.89 ERA and 1.73 WHIP this past season. Overall 0.5 stars/Potential 1.5 stars

2nd Round (54th overall) - Julio Burciaga, 2B

Burciaga outperformed his college numbers last year in Rookie ball. He hit .355/.479/.826 with 20 HR and 50 RBI in only 172 AB in '03 Rookie. He split this past year between A and AA ball and saw his numbers drop considerably. In Class A, he hit .279/.350/.510 with 13 HR in 247 AB but was just .225/.330/.337 with 0 HR in 89 AB in Class AA. Overall 1.5 stars/Potential 2.5 stars

2004 DRAFT

1st Round (2nd overall) -Mike Dinallo, SP/LF

While Dinallo wasn't the best player in this past draft, he certainly was the most intriguing. He has the chance at being both an above average pitcher and an above average left fielder with outstanding speed. He was used exclusively as a pitcher in college but got some at-bats in because of the lack of a DH rule. Dinallo played for five teams this past season, first in college, then Class A, AA, and AAA before getting a tryout with Pittsburgh in September. His numbers were fairly similar at each stop, posting a combined 5-12 record with an ERA around 5.00. His career college numbers were 19-15 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 46 starts but had an off year as a senior. He also hit .293/.368/.556 with 7 HR and 8 SB in 99 college AB. Overall 0.5 stars/Potential 3.0 stars

1st Round (26th overall) - Justin Elliott, 3B

Elliott's high school career was underwhelming, as he had a hard time staying in the starting lineup despite having no injury problems. He hit .312/.432/.514 with 11 HR in 253 career AB in high school. Overall 0.5 stars/Potential 2.5 stars

2nd Round (46th overall) - Aaron Sloan, 1B

Sloan is a strong hitter who does a good job getting on base. He played 2 years of JUCO before getting drafted and played Rookie ball as well this past year. In JUCO he hit .346/.407/.592 with 20 HR and 79 RBI in 355 AB. In Rookie ball, Sloan walked 25 times, hit .292/.412/.475 with 2 HR in 120 AB. Overall 0.5 stars/Potential 1.5 stars

MY IMPRESSION

There's not a single guy I can say was a good draft pick. Pittsburgh had a lot of draft picks over the past two seasons but only one was in the top half of the first round and it was used on a guy who probably wasn't deserving of such a high selection.

It seems like the Arsenal stockpiled a bunch of future bench players and zero more.
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Old 04-13-2014, 05:26 PM   #19
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A week or so before I took over, Pittsburgh's only good pitcher, Jarrod Ellinger, was traded to Philadelphia for CF Ben Fearn and 3B Mike Benjamin. Not a deal I would have made.

We already had a CF prospect, Pat Colson, and Benjamin wasn't a strong prospect. The 24-yo Fearn hit just .262/.309/.461 in AA ball this past season but will likely get a shot on the big league roster this upcoming season.

With free agency approaching and holes everywhere but catcher, I have about $400,000 available to spend. I've resigned myself to another 100+ loss season for 2005.

My goal is to free up as much money as possible while getting rid of a lot of the old journeymen. The draft is still many months away so that will have to wait.

TRANSACTIONS

One of my first moves is to trade 2 nobodies for LF Bill Halvarson. Halvarson is 30 years old with excellent power but not much else. I sign him for 3 years, $600,000 total. (League minimum is $126,000) I'll be giving him his first real opportunity.

Halvarson has played in bits of 7 seasons, never getting more than 89 AB. His career totals are: 70 H for a .234 AVG with 17 HR but only 37 RBI.

No other moves before preseason begins but I've got my antennae up as I learn my way around the NBL.
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Old 04-13-2014, 08:20 PM   #20
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The '05 Lineup

In spring training recent pickup Ben Fearn goes down with a torn back muscle and with miss five months just as he's named the #81 prospect in the NBL. The piece we got in the offseason trade for our best pitcher will miss most of the season now.

Our lineup for this season looks to be:

CATCHER

Jeremy Stubblefield - Just 24 years old, he's developing into an above average backstop. He's already one of the league's best catchers in terms of extra base hits. Last year as a rookie he hit 29 doubles, 7 triples, and 18 homers. I'd like to see him improve on his .235 batting average this year.

FIRST BASE

Liam Briggs - Briggs won't be 25 until late June. In 2002 playing in college, Rookie, and Short A ball, Briggs hit over .380 with 33 doubles and 45 homers in just 387 AB. He added 113 RBI in those 102 games while winning the Outstanding Hitter Award in college. The following year he began in Short A and picked up where he left off with a .370 average and 25 homers in 200 AB. After his promotion to Class A however, Briggs put up very average numbers. We've seen excellence from him and for the Arsenal to do anything, he's gotta develop for us.

SECOND BASE

Aaron Goldstein - A cheap temporary fill-in to plug a hole on a team going nowhere this year. Played okay in AAA and barely held his own in a 48 game stint with Pittsburgh a year ago. Hit .228/.290/.327 with 11 doubles and 5 steals in 162 AB on the big club in '04 at 25 years old.

SHORTSTOP

Kevin Dooley - Brought over in a trade prior to the '03 season that saw a former 2nd overall pick depart the Arsenal. Dooley's a .230 hitter who's good for 25 doubles and 15 homers.

THIRD BASE

Jonathan Larsen - A 2nd rounder in '99, Larsen's now 25 and coming off his first full season in the bigs. He hit .252/.283/.371 with 32 doubles, 12 homers, and 15 steals last season.

LEFT FIELD

Matt Dunn - Dunn's produced at every level, hitting .325/.391/.528 in AA last year. He struggled as a late season call-up, with 6 hits in 45 AB. He's just 24 years old so he's got good upside, and we're gonna need it.

CENTER FIELD

Josse Bengtsson - With Ben Fearn out for most of the season and Colson still a year off, Bengtsson, who's a corner outfielder, is going to have to fill in. Last year, his second season, he hit .247/.320/.442 with 24 doubles, 5 triples, and 13 homers in 373 AB.

RIGHT FIELD

Andnej Zajac - Now entering his prime, the former fourth overall pick is the team's best hitter and will bat third in the very weak lineup. A year ago he hit .270/.345/.424 with 20 doubles and 11 homers in 344 AB.

At the moment I'm looking to upgrade every position except catcher. We'll see what where this season takes us.
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