Jan 15 2043: 2042 recap: Aiello wins team's first ever Cy Young award - by Eric83 on October 26th, 2019
The Brentwood Bearcats stuck to their familiar formula – strong pitching and defense to offset a mediocre offense – to stick around IV.6 for another year. The Bearcats stumbled out of the gate (losing 9 of their first 10 games) and faced demotion concerns throughout most of the season. But a strong 17-8 finish propelled the team to 3rd place, finishing with a 76-84 record (.475).
The turning point of the season came after the team found a dominating 4-man starting rotation that carried them the rest of the year. Aiello led the league with a 3.10 ERA and won the first Cy Young award in Bearcat history. Mireles made his first All-Star appearance (24/34 quality starts, 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9 POTG). Kong finished with a 3.52 ERA and two complete game shutouts. Finally Miura showed great development and was very strong both in 32 relief appearances and 13 starts. Miura finished with a 10-5 record and 3.78 ERA, and was awarded Rookie Pitcher of the Year award, the 3rd consecutive year a Bearcat has won it (Spangler and Mireles).
Draft update: It was another strong draft year, including 5 players 13 POT or higher. 3rd round pick Nathan Logan, a 19 year old 15 POT OF/3B, appears to be the gem of the class. 2nd round pick Kudou has already made his big league debut. 2B Colley and P Simms are a pair of promising 14 POT players, but also come with some question marks.
Other season notes:
• Best waiver claims: OF Luis Cedeno (.303/.338/.446, All-Star) and SS Marroquin (team high 22 HRs & 87 RBIs)
• Nielsen had his 4th straight 45+ save season and 5th straight All-Star appearance (46/50 save situations, 2.15 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .042 vLHB). He has moved into 2nd all-time on the franchise saves list.
• Prospects Zeller, Kudou, Pascual and Galindo all their first taste of the big leagues. While none excelled, Zeller (.290 AVG) and Galindo (.800 in 57 AB) at least showed some promise.
• Veterans Cormier and Montoyo are expected to retire this offseason. Cormier spent 7 years on the team, mostly as a pinch hitter and DH. Montoyo finishes with 85 wins, a 4.02 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in his time with the Bearcats. His 47 POTG awards are 2nd in team history.
Looking ahead: Overall, the Bearcats improved modestly in their second season in IV.6. Next year they will look to keep the solid pitching rotation intact, while starting to bridge toward a younger generation of offensive players, with a focus on hitting for average.
Jan 15 2042: 2041 recap - by Eric83 on August 11th, 2019
After two straight dominant seasons that ended with division crowns, the Brentwood Bearcats finally succumbed to tougher competition, finishing their first ever season in League IV in 4th place. The team finished with a 67-93 (.419) record, but that includes an 8-25 stretch to close the season after management decided to get some AAA players reps in the big league. The Bearcats’ 59-68 (.465) record in mid-September was probably a better reflection of the team’s success.
As in recent years, the pitching and defense were team strengths that were dragged down by a punchless offense. The team finished with a .246 team average and near the bottom in the league in most offensive categories. The pitching rotation rounded into shape as the season progressed, finishing middle of the pack in the league while the bullpen was very strong.
While the performance on the field wasn’t much to celebrate, there was plenty to cheer about in the GM’s office after a massively successful draft season. For the first time in franchise history, all eight draft picks remained on the roster at the end of the season, including a franchise-best four 14 POT players, as well as two other 13 POT players. Two players from last year’s class (15 POT pitcher Miura, and 2B Toyoda) got their first taste of the big leagues, although both struggled.
Other season highlights:
• Best signing: Salvador Rios, who finished .274 15 HRs 64 RBIs, and solidified the shortstop position.
• Mark Spangler won Rookie Pitcher of the Year. The 25 year old unheralded prospect finished with a 7-4 record, 3.44 ERA, and .188 BAA against lefties in 32 relief appearances.
• Figueroa won his first Gold Glove at catcher, throwing out 47% of would-be base stealers, and a league-low 5 passed balls. He was also one of the most consistent offensive players on the team (18 HRs, .366 OBP, .789 OPS, 48 SBs)
• Nielsen had his 3rd straight 45+ save season, and his 4th consecutive All-Star nomination.
• Former 1st round pick Juan Mireles looked like a potential ace in his first full year as a starter, carrying a sub-4 ERA for most of the year before finishing with a 4.19 ERA with 125 Ks in 169 IP.
The team will look to build on what it learned in the season, but will face some significant challenges in 2042. These include: Overcoming clear signs of aging from some veterans (Rios, Delgado, Evans, and Cormier to name a few), the perpetual hole at 2B, the lack of offense, and integrating an overflowing pool of players in AAA into the big leagues while still remaining competitive.
Nov 04 2040: 2040 Recap: Back-to-back titles lead Bearcats to D4 for first time - by Eric83 on May 24th, 2019
Despite a late season swoon, the Brentwood Bearcats are advancing to D4 for the first time in franchise history after winning 96 games (and a franchise best 17 Cup wins).
A division title seemed all but certain in early September, as the Bearcats held a 7-game division lead over Huntington and a 79-44 record, but they stumbled down the stretch, finishing 17-20. Huntington went on a 23-12 tear to take a half game lead with two left to play. It was the first time all season that the Bearcats didn’t have at least of share of first place. However, Huntington dropped the final two games to last place Wheeling Mountaineers, and finished one game back in the final standings.
The year was a far cry from Brentwood’s only other taste of D5, when they finished with 109 losses in 2036, prompting a full rebuild. That rebuild has paid dividends as the team has developed a strong core and a deep and often dominant pitching rotation. The team’s 3.40 ERA led the league by a wide margin, and all starters posted ERAs below four.
Montoyo (14-7, 3.21 ERA, 176 K, 23/31 QS) and Aello (17-6, 3.31 ERA) earned Cy Young votes for their efforts. 27-year old Damon Nielsen again dominated as the team’s closer. His 2.54 ERA and 46 games saved earned him his third consecutive All-Star nomination, and second straight All-League honor. Former first round pick Juan Mireles won Rookie Pitcher of the Year award after accumulating 13 wins and a 2.39 ERA in relief. Team brass is salivating at the prospects of moving Mireles into a more prominent role over the next decade. With the closer role seemingly locked down for the foreseeable future, that is likely to be a promotion to front-end starter.
The offense was barely middle of the pack, but did enough to support the pitchers. Cormier (53 SBs), Figueroa (.390 OBP, 48 SB) and Evans (.305/.392/.456) set the table while veteran newcomers Campos (.280/.370/.556) and LeBlanc (25 HR, 116 RBI, 13 POTG awards) held down the middle of the lineup. The only disappointments for the team were probably the bottom third of the lineup, and the lack of production of the formerly highly touted prospect Big Dong Ahn, who was relegated to a part-time role for the first time in his career. Heading into the offseason, the team will once again look to improve both their middle infield positions, an area that they have never found a long-term prospect.
Draft update: A pair of 21-year olds out of the Asian League are looking like true keepers, and both will start next season in AAA. 1st round pick Toshiya Miura is the first 15-POT draft pick in franchise history while Akio Toyoda is a 14-POT outfielder that they hope to develop as a second baseman. 5th round pick Anthony Wallace and 8th round pick Claudio Villegas are both 17-year olds currently in Rookie ball and will likely be given a chance to develop over the next couple years as well. [EDIT: since this was originally written Toyoda has been downgraded to a 13-POT, limited his chances of making it as a 2B at higher levels. Villegas has been downgraded to a 12-POT, making him a more likely cut candidate in the near future]
Jan 15 2040: 2039 Recap: Dominant pitching propels division title, best season in franchise history - by Eric83 on March 10th, 2019
Despite falling short in its playoff series, the Brentwood Bearcats are promoting following a historic 110-50 season (+303 run differential), led by a dominant pitching rotation, small-ball offense, and clutch wins. The team won 14 of their first 17 games against the eventual 2nd place team, which turned a tight race into a comfortable 12 game lead by season’s end.
Aiello led the charge with a 2.69 ERA and 23 quality starts in 29 games, but the pitching staff really excelled from top to bottom. The starting rotation featured four 14-game winners and four starters with ERAs below 3.50. Nielsen didn’t start the season as the closer, but finished with 48 saves (2nd highest in franchise history) to go with his 1.37 ERA. The team’s overall ERA of 3.07 was the best in team history.
The team’s offense improved from a below-average team to one that was middle of the pack overall, which was enough to support the great pitching. Despite lackluster power numbers, the team’s “small ball” strategy helped them lead the league in walks, OBP and stolen bases, while also striking out the fewest times. Instrumental in this was a major improvement from 3rd year third baseman Li (.313, 17 HR, 95 RBI, .864 OPS). More prominent roles for Evans (.319/.415/.480) and Figueroa (.311/.401/.483 with 30 SB) were also key.
The Bearcats now return to V.11, where they had a disastrous 51-109 campaign 4 seasons ago. That was the team’s only experience outside of League VI, and is what prompted the complete tear-down rebuild that has netted a few of the team’s current starters. The road gets much tougher from here, but team management believes the Bearcats are in much better position to stick this time around.
Mar 18 2039: 2038 Recap: Bearcats improve across the board and are ready for 2039 - by Eric83 on January 5th, 2019
After consecutive losing seasons amid a rebuilding effort, the Brentwood Bearcats returned to their winning ways in 2038, finishing with an 89-71 record, good enough for a 2nd place division finish. The team had the best run differential in the four years under the current management regime, with improvements across the board. The offense continued to emphasize speed over power, but was much more balanced from top to bottom and averaged more than a full run better than in 2037. The pitching staff was the area of most improvement, with the lowest ERA in Bearcat history.
Despite success from the start of the season the Bearcats were never seriously in contention for a division title or promotion. The Kansas City Colts got off to a hot start and ran away with the division crown finishing with 108 wins. After falling 17 games behind first place in early August, the Bearcats knew it wasn’t their year for promotion and decided to focus more on developing younger players and selling a couple veterans who had just been added a few months earlier. Youngsters Perrin and Abel both moved from the minors into the starting lineup, and unproven pitchers Sanu and Kong were added to the pitching rotation. The team ended up improving their winning percentage from that point on, finishing the year 35-26. It seemed to be a strong testament that both the core and the future of the team seems bright.
Looking ahead to 2039, the team will take a similar approach but have a few changes to their starting lineup. No surprise is that the team will introduce their third Opening Day second baseman in 3 years (29-year old slugger Benito Andujar, who was picked up on waivers in the off-season). What may be more surprising is that Feliciano and Ferraro will start the season on the bench, as coaches have been frustrated with their slow progress and production on the offensive end. Free agent Julio Delgado will get the first crack at shortstop, and is almost a polar opposite to Feliciano, with strong contact ability but little-to-no power. 28-year old Luis Figueroa was a midseason waiver acquisition last year and was extremely productive in limited at bats as Ferraro’s backup (.404/.485/.570 splits with 2 HRs and 6 SB). Feliciano (130 Ks, .216 AVG) and Ferraro (.189 AVG, .513 OPS) will have to earn their way back into the lineup.
Only three players from the 2038 draft class remains with the team. High school draftees Jason Allen and Ron Rust are in single-A and years away from the majors. The true gem though was lefty Lahn Ly, who was drafted in the 1st round out of the Asian League. “Lightning Ly” made an immediate impact in the majors, finishing 7-4 with a 3.41 ERA and is expected to be a rotation fixture for years to come.