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2055 Pre-Season Rankings
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2055 Pre-Season Rankings
Some reading enjoyment whilst we await the results of Spring Training.

-J.J.

Weaverball 2055 Season Preview

1. Calabria Godfathers
Could free Agent Jim Gunning be the final piece the puzzle of winning the Barnes? The Godfathers return an intact team that won 110 games, 5 less than what was needed for the divisional crown. A fast squad with good defense and big power in the middle of the lineup makes Calabria odds on favorites this season. Two 20 game winners, Tomokazu Yasuda and Elias Souza, could easily repeat those numbers, and having all starters with 20 is not out of the question with Gunning (17), Johnny Ripple (17), and Bill Yost (17) toeing the rubber. This is a no holes, fully loaded, and meaty roster showcasing All-Timer Bryce Harper, Harry Plantier, and Billy Thompson in the most feared outfield in all of baseball.
Grade: A+

2. Honolulu Volcanoes
The best record in the Inferno League and Divisional Crown were welcomed achievements. But being swept out of the post season and losing second baseman Irv Cristante to free agency has cooled the Volcanoes hope of a repeat. Rookie Walter Riley will have some big shoes to fill, and Triple-Crown winning MVP Terry Heathcott hopes management will fill the gaps at catcher and DH to give Honolulu a better chance at the Weaver Cup. The second best pitching staff in baseball either needs a solid fifth starter or a stud Ace that would bump everyone else down. Reliever Reggie Traffley should move into the full-time closer spot, bumping effectively wild pitchers Mac Bogan and Junior Peguero out of the pen.
Grade: A

3. Long Beach Lobsters
The Lobsters returned to the post season for the second time in 4 years and was ousted from the playoffs yet again by the eventual Weaver champs. Climbing back to the top will be harder without staff ace Bryce Coleman. A strong bullpen will help prop up any suspect starters that make it to the back end of the rotation, but there is no help in the minors to alleviate the strain. The clarified butter of the club is 41 year old All-Timer Adrian Beltre, entering his 25th year in the big leagues. He could again lead the team in hits, home runs, and RBIs while carrying the club who crushed the most long balls (301) in Weaverball to another Roehm title.
Grade: A

4. Hong Kong Dragons
Winning over 100 games and finishing third hurts like a thorn stuck in a claw. Not to mention 40 year old free agent pitcher Sled Filley is no Jim Gunning, who left the team for more money. Still, the one-two punch of All-Timer and Cy Young Award Winner Matt Harvey and Titus Bynum should keep the Dragons in the hunt. The rest of the rotation is up for grabs with Filley, Scott Gagnon, Daniel Lahm, and Hank Stivetts competing for three spots. Blizzard League saves leader Tommy Wisner might also move back into the starting rotation. The hitting is great up and down the lineup, but upgrades in the outfield and designated hitter would improve Hong Kong’s chances of winning the pennant.
Grade: A

5. Stockholm Swedes
Eleven straight post season appearances. Seven Weaver Cups. The question is, do the defending champions have one more run left in them? Losing three .300/25/75 starters in the lineup doesn’t help. First baseman Chris Rowland and shortstop Sam Andrews both retired while right fielder Juan Scarritt did not resign with the team. 20 game winners Jake Arrieta and Wanye Bigelow should continue to dominate at the top of the rotation. But the Swedes cannot endure another 4.15 ERA season from Bob Thomas. Stockholm will also be hard pressed to keep their bullpen ERA under 5 as a myriad of aging arms were shelled last year. With a non-existent minor leagues, if the team falters, then it might be time to blow it all up.
Grade: A-

6. London Bulldogs
The Bulldogs have six straight division championships but nary a sniff of the Weaver Series. Usually good pitching beats good hitting, and London had the best staff last year. But an offense lacking production from half its lineup makes beating other good pitching teams that much harder. Sinkerballers Corey Landess and Art Weber both had ERAs under 1.50 and the rest of the starters were under 2.90. Meanwhile, Dylan Mastracci and Marty Crawford combined to save 35 games. But if the ultimate treat is to be tasted, first basemen Ray Cash and Julian Jeffords need to improve their average and on-base percentage and a right fielder needs to be tracked down.
Grade: B+

7. Cozumel Mayans
Cozumel is close. 95 wins and 9 games back close. A better backstop, two back of the rotation pitchers, and a stud closer should vault the Mayans over 100 wins and into first place. Unfortunately, there is still a power outage on the island. The team led the league in Left On Base with nobody clubbing more than 27 home runs and only two players drove in more than 60 RBIs. A trio of 20 game winners should arise from Dennis Gaines, Roy Kane, and Trent McGowan, but without a solid pen to secure victories, this older team might end up sacrifice veterans for youth in a rebuilding effort.
Grade: B

8. Jamaica Rastafarians
Second place with 100 wins is good. Seventeen games behind the division leader equals bad. Losing right fielder Adam Davies to free agency is also bad. Having the best pitching staff in the Blizzard League equals a great chance for first place in the Roehm. The worst ERA on the team was a 3.54 by reliever Don Taylor and the team led the league in K/9. With a little better offense, Jamaica could have three 20 game winners in Jack Coombs, Zach Jaynes, and Curt Washburn. The middle of the Rastafarians’ order is intimidating, with Don Mattingly, Norm Cash, and Levan Zubashvili. Unfortunately, the rest of the lineup, while defensively amazing, is less than impressive with their bats.
Grade: B

9. Amity White Sharks
The White Sharks could be buyers or sellers at the start of the season. If the wild bunch of two-pitch starters can repeat their dominance over the Polanski Division and free agent pitcher Ferris Unger from London can solidify his game, Amity should remain competitive. But it will take better performances from a swing-and-miss lineup (only 1 batter has a CH better than 73, and half the lineup is in the 60s) and plugs for the holes at left field, right field, and catcher to finish in first. Should the team falter or injuries strike, this team will be selling faster than a New Orleans car dealership after Hurricane Katrina.
Grade: B-

10. Dublin Daredevils
The core of shortstop Robin Yount, first baseman Elmer Hershey, and center fielder Shinji Hiraoka dug the Daredevils out of the cellar and into third place. However, speedy outfielders Robbie Billups, Brock Muncie, and Earl Reynolds need to improve at the plate if Dublin hopes to climb any higher. With a windswept minor league system, what is on the field is all there is. After starters Art Danforth and Kyle Howard, the pitching staff looks shaky. Brickyard Bancker, Greg Valenti, and Tom Maloney have terrible secondary pitches, Franklin Ritz doesn’t have a good first pitch, while Ed Ryan and Bert Sage have trouble keeping their quality offerings in the strike zone.
Grade: C+

11. Panama City Locks
Nobody hit 20 home runs, drove in or scored more than 50, and only two batters hit better than .225 last year. The starters performed better than expected, with Billy Brye delivering a career best performance. With a bevy of two-pitch hard throwers, it will be interesting to see how Panama City assembles its staff going forward. Several young guns like Hank Kelly, Fred Layne, Stathis Dafopoulou, Tom Darragh, and Keith Henshaw are only 25 years old. A slew of sophomore hitters hope to continue improving and pull the Locks further up the standings.
Grade: C+-

12. Argentina Archers
Ranked 22 last season, Argentina outperformed expectations and finished above .500, only 6 games back of second place. While that was still 30 behind the Polanski division winner, the Archers are taking aim at the banner. A quality defensive lineup boasting the best defensive catcher in the game Stuart Blum could use a shot of youth in left field and second base. This team is old though, with the average position player age of 35 and only one player under thirty (28) and the arc of competing is near the end. Another liability is having only 7 pitchers on the roster and winning games is next to impossible with a bullpen of 2 players.
Grade: C+

13. Havana Cigars
The Cigars are the poster team for average. Twelfth best record in all of baseball, batting average, walks, and runs. Eleventh in ERA, home runs, pitcher strikeouts, and saves. Pitching is the strength of the team with a solid rotation and quality arms in the bullpen. However, starter Rudy Cunningham will be hard pressed to repeat his sub 2 ERA season. On the other side of the ball, All-Timer Rod Carew must feel lonely in the lineup. Only one other player, right fielder Harry Davis, hit more than 20 long balls and no one else had more than 56 RBIs. Expect more of the same from this middle of the road ball club.
Grade: C

14. Oakland Lumberjacks
The Lumberjacks fell way short of their playoff goal and dipped below .500 for the first time in seven years. An anemic offense that was riddled with injures is partly to blame. Having only four proven starters and an overworked bullpen is the other part of this losing equation. Closer Vincenzo Cassano, who led Weaverball with 33 saves, was a shiny bright spot on the season. The additions of free agent Bob Peek and rookie outfielder Mike Garvin will bolster the lineup, but more work needs to be done as 11 of the 14 position players are 32 to 39 years old. Help from the minors is several seasons away, so without some key trades, expect Oakland to continue to slide.
Grade: C

15. Milan Marauders
Injuries and inexperience derailed the Marauders last season. Catcher Noberto Gurgel struck out 214 times while hitting a buck-eighty. Hopefully backstop Bill Bergman will improve on those numbers, along with fellow second year players Barry Downing, Dane Loftus, and Oswald Tackett. Another bad year from the bats might make All-Time pitchers Bert Blyleven and Tim Lincecum coveted trade pieces for a playoff team. Yet, Milan has a crop of good young pitchers who should shore up the worst bullpen in the Inferno League. If that happens, .500 is within reach. Trading for a big stick could charge the team further up the standings.
Grade: C

16. Rio de Janerio Capybaras
After back to back 104 win seasons and Roehm Division pennants, the Capybaras plummeted in the standings and finished below .500 for the first time in two decades. The starting pitching was still strong with Babe Adams, Akira Hattori, Bud Pirtle, and Chad Wong all winning 13+ games and posting ERAs under 2.90. But a fifth starter needs to be found and the bullpen could use some organizing as all in the closer-by-committee of Stephen Ayer, Spike Brown, and Frank Hawley had double digit saves. The hitters were AWOL last season as no one hit above the Mendoza line, which isn’t surprising as the entire 40 man roster only has 2 batters with a contact rating in the 70s.
Grade: C-

17. Entebbe Zealots
A disappointing season for the true believers as the team failed to reach the .500 mark. Defensive shortstop Bob Peek hit as many home runs (27) as slugger outfielder Dave Woods, with only two other players hitting more than 20 dingers. Peek left via free agency, opening the way for rookie phenome Paul Blaisdell. He could be joined by fellow rookie Emre Keklikler if the third baseman has a good Spring Training. All-Timer Jose Fernandez and Fransisco Matthei anchor the rotation, but faith and prayers will be needed to help the rest of the staff, half of which are soft tossing two pitch pitchers with little control and the other half are mired in mediocrity.
Grade: C-

18. Cairo Scorpions
The worst team in the league lost 132 games while sporting the worst team ERA last season (5.17) and offensive offensive numbers (3rd worst .198 Avg, 2nd worst 130 HRs, and worst 310 RBIs). Fortunately for the Scorpions, the only direction for them is up. On paper, Cairo has some quality players like catcher Herb Alston, first baseman John Mercer, and left fielder Len Glaser. Developing youngsters like second baseman Wes Menon and catcher Joel Mogorosi, as well as outfielders Paul Moran and Hal Williams should put some sting into the lineup if they make it to the big league club level. Pitching will be the key, though. Improved control could result in a stellar pitching rotation featuring George Basinski, Rube Hamner, John Hutchison, Georgi Krastev, and Walter Marshall, which is just the beginning of a quality young pitching pipeline.
Grade: C-

19. Sydney Rebels
The Rebels took a big step backwards, finishing fifth after their championship season. The only bright spot was All-Timer third baseman Eddie Mathews. No other batter hit above .230, clubbed more than 20 home runs, scored more than 55 runs, or drove in more than 50 RBIs. Retirements of Hernan Cueto, Rob Steiner, and Craig Whyte, along with Andres Albin filing for free agency, leaves the team with just 9 active position players and no immediate help in their Minor League system. Sydney’s pitching remains strong, however. Ace Andy Sommerville managed to win 23 games with a 1.50 ERA and a 0.815 WHIP. After him, though, it is a mixed bag of arms, half of which are 35 years or older. A depleted minor leagues means a long road ahead without much fighting.
Grade: D+

20. Sapporo Snow Monkeys
A rebuilding franchise, the Snow Monkeys may finally see some of the fruits of its labor this coming season. Rookie Grant Glenn hopes to join fellow speedsters Ferenc Kalemen and Tuan Linville at the top of the lineup in front of slugging All-Timer Duke Snider. After that though, Sapporo is scrambling for quality position players. Control issues continue to plague a pitching staff that walked the most batters (445) in the Inferno League and have less than a 2:1 K/BB ratio. However, some hand-picked pitching stars are incubating in the Low Minors, like future closer Gino Butler, innings eater Bob Dunbar, and change-up specialist Eddie Gore. Damaso Lovelace will become the Ace of this staff in short order, and 22 year-old rookies Brent Karjalainen and Herb Kelly should fall in right behind him.
Grade: D+

21. New York Nukes
Even All-Timer Mike Schmidt couldn’t escape the black hole of batting dearth. Though he led the team with a .279 average, the next best hitter was 68 points behind him. Hopefully free agent signee Juan Scarritt will help the team pull away from the vortex. The Nukes are young, and with youth, hardship and growth are both expected. Catcher Jamie Crishman, shortstop Dock Buckeye, and left fielder Matt Carlisle will all make their major league debuts this season and instantly help an evaporated offense. While most of New York’s best arms are still a season or two away from helping, expect significant improvement from starters John Hilly, Alan Jackson, Brian Nutter, and Don Saberhagen. Add Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Hugh Freeman to that mix, and a future dominant five is born.
Grade: D

22. Warsaw White Eagles
Veteran hitters Henry Long and Mel Morton are gone like the wind. First Baseman George Edmonds flew to north to Dublin. While free agent Adam Davies should fill Morton’s shoes, there are still major gaps in the lineup. The entire infield, save first base, needs major upgrades. Warsaw has a well-stocked minor league roster, but none of them are ready to make the leap to the majors. As for the pitching, All-Timer Max Scherzer and Isamu Nishiyama are razor sharp at the top of the rotation. But the others who toed the rubber had ERAs above 3.90. Hopefully youngsters Augustin Garber and Yuto Kiyotake can become solid contibuters sooner than later. Two other concerns are that six different relievers combined to save 31 games, making clear roles hard to determine; and, nine pitchers are 33 years or older.
Grade: D

23. Vancouver Mounties
For a team that batted under .200, had the least home runs in the league, and carried an ERA above 4.50, almost winning 40 games seems like an achievement. Developing good young talent upon which to build a franchise actually is an accomplishment, and the Mounties have done that. Core rookies like shortstop Nico Rinderknecht and left fielder Frank Barlow will anchor an up-and-coming lineup for years to come. Solid Spring Trainings for catcher Irv Brashear, second baseman Hiroki Yonemoto, third baseman Todd Little, and first baseman Chris Nen, could saddle six rookies into starting roles. Unfortunately, hitting develops quicker than pitching. So it will be another year or so before Jack Blair, Shohei Matsuo, Sap Pfeffer, and Vince Scurry join the rotation.
Grade: D

24. Edmonton Orcas
The youth movement acquired and exclamation point with the Rule 5 drafting of left fielder Jim Olwine from the Calabria Godfathers. He will join fellow rookies Ian Arida, Calvin Blass, and Jim Swartwood as they make their debuts for this season in the Orcas lineup. However, it is probably another season of growth as a few key position players need another year in the minors before they are ready. On the pitching side, expect a bevy of different combinations as the search for starters continues. Though, it could be possible to see a starting rotation with five knuckleballers. If Juan Derrick has a tremendous Spring Training, he would join Earl Barnes, Charlie Connell, Mirko Fabecic, and Dalton Granacos on Edmonton’s staff.
Grade: D-

Weaver Champions: 2033

Roehm Division Champions: 2017
Roehm Division Champions: 2016
(This post was last modified: 07-01-2018 07:13 AM by Edmonton.)
06-30-2018 11:33 PM
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nynukes Offline
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RE: 2055 Pre-Season Rankings
Nukes will not finish last in the Lockwood. Bold prediction: Nukes win 90+ and finish top two in division. I’m not ready to make a BOLD bold prediction of 100+ and division title yet, but I do think we will be vastly improved this year.

Jim

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07-01-2018 08:00 AM
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strac Offline
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RE: 2055 Pre-Season Rankings
(07-01-2018 08:00 AM)nynukes Wrote:  Nukes will not finish last in the Lockwood. Bold prediction: Nukes win 90+ and finish top two in division. I’m not ready to make a BOLD bold prediction of 100+ and division title yet, but I do think we will be vastly improved this year.

Jim

..ibf_unsure....i hope not....but if you do look good early, look for Cozumel to sell...ibf_blink

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07-01-2018 06:59 PM
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havana Offline
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RE: 2055 Pre-Season Rankings
thanks for the writeup, JJ!

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07-03-2018 06:03 PM
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Edmonton Offline
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RE: 2055 Pre-Season Rankings
After doing this for several seasons, I think I've only really missed on a few teams (either doing really well or really bad) so far. Obviously the hard part is predicting what rookies will improve and make starting lineups. Jim could be absolutely correct depending on who he calls up to the majors. Same for my squad or the Vancouver Mounties.

I know it is a bold call picking the Godfathers first, but on paper, they look like the best team going into 2055. Oddly, three of the top five teams are in the Barnes. Teams fighting for the division should be:
Polanksi - Amity or Dublin
Lockwood - London or Cozumel
Barnes - Calabria, Hong Kong, or Stockholm
Roehm - Jamaica or Long Beach

-J.J.

Weaver Champions: 2033

Roehm Division Champions: 2017
Roehm Division Champions: 2016
07-03-2018 07:24 PM
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Max Offline
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RE: 2055 Pre-Season Rankings
(07-03-2018 07:24 PM)Edmonton Wrote:  Teams fighting for the division should be:
Polanksi - Amity or Dublin

Nice to see a little love for the Sharks.... I'll be very surprised if we are able to compete with HON this year, but we are working toward something! 2nd place should be possible, and if we can manage to make a trade or two, maybe we can get into position to give HON a bit of trouble..

Of course, that would require people actually responding to my trade inquiries.... but you know, baby steps.

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07-03-2018 08:45 PM
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nynukes Offline
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RE: 2055 Pre-Season Rankings
(07-03-2018 08:45 PM)Max Wrote:  Of course, that would require people actually responding to my trade inquiries.... but you know, baby steps.

I’m having trouble with that too.

Jim

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07-03-2018 09:04 PM
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Executor_Ryno Offline
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RE: 2055 Pre-Season Rankings
Speculation: Stockholm decides it’s time to kick off the rebuild and makes a headliner trade with New York.

Also, I think you’re underestimating the Zealots by a fair margin. I chalk a fair number of our losses last year to sharing a division with that 3-headed monster. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us win 85-90 games this year. Of course, as things stand that’s good for 4th place in the Barnes so maybe we deserve our bottom half ranking.

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07-03-2018 09:57 PM
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rastasquad Offline
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RE: 2055 Pre-Season Rankings
thanks for the write up jj! rastas definitely have an upward battle with this lineup.

I think I slightly have long beach edged out in the pitciting department but long beach bats are pretty nasty.

hard part is their isnt a lot of CF out there for trade. and I only have draft picks and shitty prospects to deal.

well we're tied for first for now and I'll take it!

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(This post was last modified: 07-03-2018 11:39 PM by rastasquad.)
07-03-2018 11:37 PM
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halpa32 Offline
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RE: 2055 Pre-Season Rankings
JJ
Super work on the writeup

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07-04-2018 12:28 AM
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