Welcome to the Season 17 of the USMLB.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tacoma Saints Season Preview

The Saints took a step backwards last season finishing in last place with a 75-87 record. The final year of a three year rebuilding project is under way this season. The Saints' only goal last season was getting a winning record, but they fell short. It was really no surprise that the Saints didn’t make the playoffs like they did the previous year, but winning the season series against the Monterrey Stars surely made up for it. The team's season got off to a horrible start, however they were able to play very well during the second half. The team is hoping to have a complete season this year.

This season will begin the third phase of the Tacoma Rebuilding Project. Last year, the team focused on pitching once again and was a big success. The team had the fourth best pitching staff in the league, a 3.72 ERA, and the fewest walks in the league. The starting staff pitched really well, especially during the second half. The starters went 54-58, with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP during the season. The bullpen pitched even better with 48-59 in saves chances, 3.36 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, and allowing 41 out of the 166 inherited runners to score. With only four pitchers over the age of 27 and two over the age of 30, it looks like the pitching staff of the Saints will be even tougher to score on this season.

It was no surprise for the Saints that the offensive really struggled. The offensive never seemed to get on track and were lacking the big hits with runners in scoring position like they had the previous year. The team finished the year with the 30th best offensive and their lowest production in the team's history. The power production of the Saints was dismal-only hitting 226 extra base hits, counting for 17% of the team’s total hits. The .313 SLG was lower then the .315 OBP the team had last season. The bright spot for the offensive was that they led the league in stolen bases once again with 335 and were second with the fewest strikeouts at 986. Out of the team's 6185 plate appearances they hit the ball into play an amazing 75% of the time but were only able to get a hit 29% of the times that the ball went into play. The team would like to see a lot of those outs turn into hits this season.

Once again the biggest weakness from the team last season was the defense. The team had over 100 again, giving up 59 unearned runs to the pitching staff. The team had the 15th best fielding team last season, landing right in the middle of the league. They could never find the shortstop or centerfielder they were looking for last season, hurting the defense. This season the team really went out of their way to find defensive players that would limit the chances of other teams scoring this year. The bright spot for the defensive was that they had 75 plus plays making them the second best in the league, although the 30 negative plays didn’t help.

Additions: Ruben Diaz, Carl Clemens, Mikey Frey, Che Yamamoto, Manny Hasegawa

Departed: Edwin Saipe, Anthony Bolling, Tommie Romero, Jon Harper, Manny Krivda, Rickey Williams

Let’s introduce the Season 11 Tacoma Saints:


Leading off will be Right Fielder

(.308Ave, 70R, 61SB, .379OBP)
The league leader in stolen bases doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. The team is going to play him more everyday this year, but will give him a couple days off each week so they can keep his fast legs fresh during the second half.

Batting second will be Left Fielder

(.217Ave, 62R, 43SB, .334OBP)
Donnelly really struggled during his sophomore season and saw his playing greatly reduced as the season went along. The organization is still high on him with his great speed and eye, but he will need to show them something if he is to remain in the future plans for the team.

Batting Third will be Shortstop

(.300Ave, 17RBI, 29R, 5HR)
Yamamoto's play time in Monterrey was limited last season, but became a top priority for the Saints this season. The team is looking for some solid offensive numbers to go with his outstanding defense.

Batting Fourth will be Catcher

(.167Ave, 4H, 2R, .286OBP) &
(.197Ave, 14HR, 57RBI, 29R)
Clemens was signed during the off-season to provide a nice right-handed batter. This will be his first time playing in the big leagues for the whole season. Vic Franco, a great defensive catcher, is one of the hardest catchers to steal against, but he has really struggled at the plate.

Batting Fifth will be Third Baseman

(.258Ave, 62RBI, 54SB, 64R)
Durbin will be moving from shortstop, where he commited over 30 errors last season, to third base. The offensive production was a surprise for the team, and they are hoping for similar numbers from him this season.

Batting Sixth will be Second Baseman

(.191Ave, 9H, 11R, 5SB)
Hasegawa was another top priority for the team during the off-season to improve the defense. With him and Yamamoto in the middle of the infield, the team is expecting some nice plays from the both of them.

Batting Seventh will be Centerfielder

(.247Ave, 3HR. 14RBI, 19R)
A late waive wire pick up, Diaz will take over the Centerfield job for the team, who is just hoping for a little offensive.

Batting Eighth will be First Baseman

(.252Ave, .387OBP, 86R, 30SB)
Another off-season pick-up by the team, Frey will see most of the season at first base. The team would like Frey to be another lead-off type hitter at the back of the lineup. Frey may bat second if Donnelly struggles again.

Coming off the bench will be First Baseman Fernando Domingo, Outfielder Brian Wolf, Infielder Kennie Sexson and Outfielder Matt Corey.


The opening day starter and the staff ace once again will be

(14-10, 3.15ERA, 242.2IP, 185SO)
Like most of the team, last season Hill struggled during the first half, but really dominated during the second half. Hill set career highs in every category his sophomore year; the team is expecting a big jump into one of the elite pitchers in the league this season.

Starting pitcher number two will be

(13-9, 3.57ERA, 229.1IP, 164SO)
Barajas almost put up the same numbers as the previous year, really only improving his win totals and innings pitched. During the off-season, the team signed him to a long-term contract, and they are also expecting him to improve and become a dangerous number two pitcher.

Starting pitcher number three

(8-14, 5.07ERA, 183IP, 142SO)
Quevedo really struggled during the first half of the year, with his ERA ballooning over 7 at one point. He pitched well during the second half, but will need to get off to a good start this season if he is to remain in the future plans for the team.

Starting pitcher number four

(0-5, 6.32ERA, 31.1IP, 21SO)
This first call-up into the majors for Villarreal was a struggle. The team didn’t want to call him up last year, but injuries and poor play forced them to make the move. Villarreal will have every chance this season to stay in the starting rotation, but the team will send him down into the minors once again if he struggles enough.

Starting pitcher number five

(5-8, 3.31ERA, 117IP, 79SO) (DL)
Seguignol pitched very well during this rookie season, but his injuries hurt any chances of his being in the running for rookie of the year. This season Seguignol will start on the DL.
(11-7, 3.92ERA, 137.2IP, 108SO)
Lee will take Seguignol's spot in the rotation until he is ready to come back.

Setup men Kip Burke (0-0, 0.00ERA, 1.2IP, 2SO), Pete Ramsey (2-6, 3.47ERA, 1SV, 31SO), Josh Rhodes (1-3, 4.74ERA, 25SV, 26SO) and Sal Yeats (3-2, 4.33ERA, 3SV, 57SO) will be at the back end of the bullpen. If any one of these players struggle, they will take a trip back to the minors and another young arm will be ther to take their place.

Setup men Mariano Belliard (5-6, 2.68ERA, 1SV, 82SO) and Gerald Nakamura (3-1, 1.86ERA, 1SV, 29SO) will be used in the seventh and eight innings mostly. Belliard should be himself once again ,and Nakamura will be a nice surprise for the team this season as well.


(1-1, 2.16ERA, 39SV, 45SO)
The team has been looking for a closer for many years, and Pena look like he just might be the one. The team has signed him to a long-term contract as well, so you can expect Pena to be the first pitcher in Tacoma history to have more then 100 or more save markers.

Last season Record Breakers

Steven Hill broke the team's all-time "Game Started" record in a single season with 37 last season.