Post All-Star Musings: AL West1. Salmonbellies
Here we have the other true AL power, the Salmonbellies. Despite their current .704 winning %, they're only on pace for their fourth straight winning season, & they didn't even make the playoffs last year! Keep that in mind everyone! So, how'd they go from an 83 win team to one that's already sitting at 76? Well, offensively they average > 6 runs/game despite have 0 regulars with an OPS > .900. 25 year old Todd Pritchett is close, sporting an OPS of .897. Pitching is really good. Staff WHIP of 1.26 & an ERA < 4 goes a long way towards success. Rookie Harold Bristow
is pitching like it's Fernando Mania all over again & closer Clint Wojciechowski , who is just 24, is about as automatic as it gets. There's a lot of young talent here, so I don't see them going away any time soon.
The long dominate Wildcats are still playing well and have a great shot at the playoffs, currently sitting as the #1 WC team, but they have taken a step back this season. Now that was a drop from .679 ball to .578, so they're still pretty dang good, but the 8 time defending division champs have some work to do to make it 9 in a row. They're scoring just over 5 runs/game & can thank Tripp Rasmus
& Jim Hartley for that. Their pitching is still outstanding. A sub 4 ERA & a team WHIP of just 1.24 shows that the Wildcats will be a force to be reckoned with, no matter how they get into the playoffs. Vet Cesar Limon & Ned Coleman form a nasty 1 2 punch.
The Lazerbeams aren't out of the WC race yet, but if they're to make a run, it better happen soon. They don't score a whole lot of runs, placing lots of pressure onto their pitchers. While solid, their pitchers do struggle with keeping runs off the board. All this leads to their current sub .500 record. Jeimer Cruz is only 23 years old has been terrific, piling up 141 innings and sub 4 ERA. 24 year old Jiovanni Stokes is that rare DITR that has been an excellent find. Those two could be a couple of solid pitchers to build on for the Lazerbeams.
4. Sun Dogs
Mikeyboy785 took on a tough task of rebuilding the franchise. They had a great run in the not too distant past, but have struggled to find any traction since. They're solid offensively and are being led by a trio of players. In addition to vet Dock Timmons , younger bats Quilvio Johnson & Everth Crespo give the Sun Dogs some players to build around. Their pitching is what's really holding them back. Benji "I wear my sunglasses at night games" Torres has been his usual stellar self on the mound , but he's about the only one giving them any shot at a win on a consistent basis.
Now onto the NL...