The 2020 Season is about to celebrate Opening Day.
Spring Training has been completed and the results are in. But, do they actually mean anything? There may be more questions than answers right now. Let’s take a peek into Season #6 of the Great Lakes Baseball League and preview some of the anticipated action.
Question #1: Will the Chicago Architects three peat?
If the spring results are a harbinger of things to come then it’s hoist the pennant flag time in the windy city as Chicago put up an impressive 13-5 record. Twenty three year old Jimmy Preston hit .342 and dazzled the team with his speed and defense. Thirty year old Chris Anderson was used primarily in relief last year turned in three perfect 4 inning stints this spring not allowing any runs and yielding but 6 hits. With Cardy and Northeast the team has ‘nasty’ starting pitching and look out for 25 year old Foster Broun who did not allow a run in his 3 starts in spring to make things even more miserable for opposing batters. With a full season under his belt this kid is getting stronger and once he masters the change up he will spell trouble for opposing hitters. Actually, he is already trouble.
Runner up MVP in the American League Lake Superior Award, C Bill Durand
Question #2: Will Windsor take the final step and win a championship?
In their history the worst record they have posted is 69-71. Three times they have been to the post-season including an improbably come back against the Maples in the 2019 first round before giving up a 3-0 lead to Chicago and falling 3-4. How close can you get? Jerry Barker has been added but he’s not a high impact guy. Luca Carlier may be ready to wrestle the catching job from vet Kenny Shaw but either way will production rise from the catching position? Still, the Vigilantes remain a threat to advance to the Championship Series based on what they bring forward from 2019.
Question #3: What about that new guy in Owen Sound?
The Waveriders have been the most active team in the off-season inking star power to Owen Sound contract dotted lines in the form of Longchamps, Berger, Alvarez, Trudel, Ralph, and none more significant than Kevin Thomas former mainstay of the Toronto Maples. With Dave Corbin falling off last year the decision was made to allow him to enter the free agent market and he is now a Duluth Sea Gull. Ronnie Peyton purportedly has made huge steps forward while playing for the Herons in AAA as his athleticism could be boost to Owen Sound if not breaking spring training then later in the season. The same could be said for SS Erik Howell. This is a team to watch moving forward.
Question #4: Can Toronto keep moving forward?
Could a team have been any more on the cusp of a date with the League Championship in 2019 than the Maples? No need to relive the heartbreak and angst the Maples move forward and this season without 3b Kevin Thomas. While Thomas signed for $14M with Owen Sound 3b Roberson signed for $20M with Toronto. Roberson will mean more big flies than Thomas but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will bring more to the table. Yet, the Maples are in good hands with Roberson at the hot corner. His superior range should also help the Maples pitching, too.
Question #5: Will the additions in Duluth be enough?
Next to Owen Sound the Sea Gulls have been very busy, too, landing Silas Carvalo and Dave Corbin. Gone are John Freake (no small loss), Bill Starr, and Daniel Pepys. Key to the pitching staff might be just how well AAA SP Jeff Munson performs as the 24 year old had a fine 2.72 ERA at Green Bay last season. 23 year old Stinson was even better with his 2.31 ERA and throw in 23 year old emerging star Charles Colle and you have the makings of a very revamped Sea Gull squad for 2020. AA Catcher Jim Danton has a shot at being the team’s catcher this season and probably is the leading candidate to replace Freake.
Question #6: They won the inaugural GLBL championship, so what about this years Caribou squad, can they get back to the big dance?
Inaugural champs Thunder Bay quietly improved to 76-64 last season good for 3rd place. But, they lost a ton of star power in Lefebre, Ramos, Li, and Trudel. Bringing Derek Savary on board will help but it’s going to take more unless the Caribou can get some WAR from the minor leagues. Both Corrigan and Harris may need more seasoning in AAA Pointe Pelee.
Question #7: Does the Comets first place spring finish mean anything?
It’s hard to argue that the Comets will not be a better team on the field in 2020. Coming off their 12-6 spring they have some new pieces in Dennis Picard and Mooney who will help the pitching. This is a team that builds from the inside out (think Cardinals and Dodgers) and we’re close to seeing the likes of SP’s Palma and Estrada along with outfields Graham and Rogers. 23 year old All Star and GG winner Nabhan Ubadah has a full 2 seasons under his belt and is likely to begin building on his consistent 3.9 WAR contribution each of the past two years. Brown, Torres, and Joyner form a capable outfield so one of the biggest question mark franchises will be interesting to watch. I can see them going either way.
Nabhan ‘Wacky’ Ubadah
The GLBL is ready for Opening Day!