Mar 02 2048: Season 2047 recap: Bearcats win 2nd straight title, punch ticket to III.3 for first time - by Eric83 on November 20th, 2020
The Brentwood Bearcats’ return to League IV.6 was short and sweet, as they punched their ticket to a III.3 for the first time. It wasn't easy, as Los Angeles Isotopes were nipping at their heals all season, and they had to play a tough 106-win Florissant Falcons in the playoffs for the second straight year.
The Bearcats had previously spent four seasons in IV.6 from 2041-2044 but only finished with a winning record once. Since then the team completely revamped its lineup, with a new young core of position players that are just hitting their prime. And while the future of the team’s lineup seems bright, it was once again the veteran pitching staff that led the team to prominence.
Toshiya Miura (3.22 ERA, 262 IP) earned his 3rd straight All-Star appearance to lead the league’s best pitching staff (combined 92 quality starts). Miura, Carrick (3.30 ERA, league-leading 1.08 WHIP) and Harmon (3.14 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) all finished in the top 6 in the league in ERA and POTG. Along with Mireles (3.82 ERA), they formed a dominant four-man rotation.
Other notes from the season:
• In Mireles’s 7th season as a full-time starter, the former Rookie of the Year finally had his first winning record.
• Top-ranked pitching prospect Herrera struggled with control throughout his rookie season with only 1 quality start in 15 tries. Management remained encouraged, however, with his dominance against lefties (3/35 .086 VLHB) and a reasonable 4.84 ERA.
• Nichols finished with a career high 46 saves. His 129 career saves is 4th highest in franchise history despite only 3 seasons as a full-time closer.
• Cushman earned his first All-Star appearance, finishing with career highs in most categories and a .311/.358/.511 slash line.
• The team’s top two RBI leaders were players that were nearly cut two years ago because of their low batting averages but have carved out key roles. Allen led the team with 25 HR, 43 2B, 89 RBI, and 99 runs. Pascual had 17 HR, 80 RBI and 26 SB.
• The scouting department wasn’t quite as successful as the big league squad. The team held the rights to their first four draft picks at year end, but no one with a POT higher than 13. 1st round pitcher Wendell Fuller has the most promise, but at only 18 years old still has a lot to prove.
Jan 15 2047: 2046 Recap: Bearcats return to IV.6 after 2-year hiatus - by Eric83 on August 29th, 2020
The Brentwood Bearcats were off to one of their characteristic slow starts despite high expectations going into the season. The team’s new generation of position players was bringing youth and excitement to the team. The bullpen was lights out. But the starting rotation – typically the strength of the franchise – appeared to be in shambles. By mid-June, the team fell to 28-33 and a season-high 8 games out of first place. That’s when the team moved to desperation mode.
Head skipper Omar Becerra tried every option he could think of as a starter – 11 players in all got a start during those first few months. “The water boy was next in line if things didn’t work out,” Becerra quipped. But fortunately help was on the way, as owner Eric83 opened his purse strings and signed three pricey veteran pitchers. Finally the team found a combination that worked. And that’s when the season turned around.
Waiver pickups Pugh (8-3, 2.65 ERA, 10/15 quality starts) and Garza (8-5, 3.01 ERA, 13/22 QS) helped bolster the rotation as former starters Sims and Ly got demoted to the bullpen. Paul Carrick (13-9, 3.58 ERA, .223 BAA, 1.08 WHIP, 15/24 QS) finally found his footing. And Miura earned his 2nd consecutive All-Star nod in another dominant season (19-8, 2.98 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 24/35 QS).
From that point on, the team went 66-33 to win the division by 5 games, culminating in the team’s first ever league championship.
Other notes from the season:
• Greco (22 HR, 87 RBI, .883 OPS) and Colley (21 HR, 92 RBI, .817 OPS) had the best seasons of the new young core of position players
• Becerra shifted from his typical strategy and opted to add more power to the lineup at the expense of batting average and defense. It seemed to work as Allen (20 HR, 71 RBI, .481 SLG) and Calderon (17 HR, .817 OPS) added much needed pop to the middle of the order in part-time work
• 9-year veteran Ahn had arguably the most productive season of his career offensively and added great defense in center field with 14 outfield assists
• Middle relief was a strength, led by Nielsen (2.95 ERA in 125 IP), Jorgensen (2.73 ERA), Becerra (1.13 ERA, 10 saves, .180 BAA, 0.98 WHIP). Nichols struggled late, but had a career high 41 saves.
• The draft netted 5 players who made the roster at the end of the year, including 15 POT pitcher Versalles, 15 POT OF Ridgeway, and 14 POT OF Arevalo.
Jan 15 2046: Season 2045 recap: Next gen stars lead Bearcats to 2nd place - by Eric83 on June 13th, 2020
After four seasons in League IV, the Bearcats didn’t let their demotion to League V bring them down. The team played well and remained in 2nd place throughout the year, ultimately finishing with a 89-71 record. The Bearcats closed within 4.5 games of first late in the season, but ended 11 games out.
The real story of the season was the encouraging play of the team’s next generation position players. Aside from shortstop Randy Watson, who enjoyed a stellar season at 34 years old, every other regular starter was 26 years or younger. Galindo, Colley, Logan, and Villarreal seem locked in as everyday starters for the foreseeable future. Cushman, Consuegra and Greco will at least have permanent platoon positions, and will battle for expanded roles. And even the fringe players like Pascual and Allen had bounce back seasons that show they should stick around.
The one negative of the season was the inability to develop any young pitchers. Sims and Piper split time as the 5th starter, but combined for just 7 quality starts in 34 tries (and a 7-20 record with a 5.75+ ERA). Management may have been able to squeeze out a few more wins this year with Kong in that role, but instead left him as a long reliever where he excelled (7-3, 2.26 ERA, 1.23 WHIP).
A few highlights from the season:
• Muira finally lived up to his potential as the highest SI player on the team, earning All-League and All-Star nominations for the first time. He had career highs in most major categories (18-8, 3.38 ERA, .228 BAA, 1.15 WHIP).
• Galindo (.311 AVG, .847 OPS, 70 RBI, 34 SB) made his 2nd career All-Star game
• Watson was the season’s only significant waiver pickup, and he led the team with 20 HR, 111 RBI and 56 SB, while also contributing a .297/.336/.468 slash line and strong defense at shortstop.
• Nichols dominated in his first year as a closer (36/39 saves, 1.96 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, .199 BAA in 41.3 innings), after replacing a struggling Nielsen early in the year.
• The biggest highlight of all may have happened off the diamond. 2nd round pick Billy Ray Crum appears to be (at least on paper) the best draft pick in franchise history. Not only is he the team’s first ever 16 POT draft pick, but he also has the makings of becoming the team’s first long-term solution at shortstop.
Nov 01 2044: 2044 Recap: Bearcats demote after four seasons in IV.6 - by Eric83 on March 25th, 2020
The Brentwood Bearcats began the season with an eye on a division title after falling just four games short in 2043. But a slow start caused management to drastically shift their plans toward developing younger players, leading to a 53-107 record, which narrowly outpaced the worst record in franchise history. The Bearcats leave IV.6 having finished with losing records in 3 of 4 years.
The massive rebuild began in earnest in early May after the team stumbled to a 9-16 start in league play and 6-10 record in the Cup. The Bearcats cut six players on the day including longtime cornerstone veterans Figueroa, Leblanc and Aiello.
None of the rookies broke out offensively, but 21 year olds 3B Logan and 2B Colley as well as 22yo OF Greco showed enough promise to remain part of the future. 25yo C/OF Villareal was a strong defensive force at both positions, and led the team with 58 RBIs. Other 2nd year players Galindo and Cushman took a step back as the talent around them diminished, but will also appear to be part of the team’s long-term plan. Tougher decisions will need to be main on the glut of young outfielders, including Calderon, Consuegra, Allen, Pascual, and Zeller.
A few highlights from the season:
• 30yo OF Sonny Wall (.305/.370/.587, 14 HR) finished with the best offensive year of any player, despite almost exclusively coming off the bench against right-handed pitchers.
• Juan Mireles remains the ace of the staff (3.91 ERA, 141Ks in 182 IP, and 19/30 QS%), but hasn’t had a winning record in 4 seasons.
• Brad Sims (3.77 ERA, .229 BAA through his first 23 starts) was the only new pitcher to show promise, but he struggled with control (72 BB in 99 IP, 1.64 WHIP) and an inability to last long into games (only 2 QS in 25 starts)
Draft update: It was a second straight lackluster draft class, although there is more hope for long-term potential than last year. The team focused on high school players, and will try to develop three very raw 17 year olds, including two 14POT pitchers (1st and 2nd round picks Stockton and Worthington).
Jan 15 2044: 2043 Recap: Title push falls short during 3rd season in D4 - by Eric83 on January 11th, 2020
The Bearcats flirted with promotion for most of the season before ultimately finishing 4 games out of 1st place, with a 86-74 record. The team’s offense showed more life that it has in many years, and the team’s pitching was a bit more mixed than usual. All 5 starters were solid although rarely dominant. The backend of the bullpen was lights out though, led by veterans Damon Nielsen (2.29 ERA, .180 BAA) and Spangler (3.23 ERA) and 23-year olds Greg Nichols (13-8, 3.01 ERA) and Becerra (3.22 ERA).
A few highlights from the season:
• Comeback Player of the Year: After nearly being removed from the rotation after 2 straight seasons above a 5.50 ERA, Lahn Ly bounced back to become the team’s ace, finishing with a 10-3 record, a 3.31 ERA and 21 quality starts. Ly was one of the Bearcat’s 4 All-Stars.
• Most Dominant Player: Damon Nielsen had another dominant season. His 51 saves (in 55 opportunities) were a career high. He made his 6th straight All-Star appearance and received his 1st All-Pro honor at the D4 level.
• Waiver Pickup of the Year: Mark Pack (.279/.3.49/.512, 28 HR, 112 RBI) gave the team a slugger in the middle of the lineup that the team has lacked in recent years, elevating the play of others at the top of the order.
• Rookie of the Year: Rene Galindo earned an All-Star appearance in his first full season after a torrid start. He slowed as the year went on, but still finished with a team high 38 SB and respectable .270 batting average, while playing strong defense both at 1B and OF.
After two straight seasons of outstanding draft classes, the 2043 class was very disappointing. It seems unlikely that any of the players will become impact players. The team does have a very strong AAA class right now, and will need to make tough decisions on how to get playing time for some of them while still competing at the D4 level.