Are The Bison In Position To Carry On Last Season's Success?
JAL 16 is approaching in just about a month and a half, and although the Columbia Bison have all-star Erik Titus leading them forward, the rest of the roster (at this moment) carries heavy skepticism.
Besides Erik, Columbia's other two players on the roster are McKinley Franklin and rookie Adam Luoto. If those three are the team that the Bison put on the field in games 1-3 of the season on June 11, it's pretty arguable that their squad from last season was better... Which would be a horrible misstep for the franchise that just began to finally start trending upward.
Besides Erik and McKinley, last season's Bison playing roster employed majority and minority owners James French and Ty Franklin. Franklin though, was cut midway through the season and Mikel Skreen was acquired right after. Skreen was the best batter of the three, but the fact that he moved outside the region this offseason forced the team to have to let him go. Though Skreen didn't have a great season, the loss was big because his best skill set (batting) is where the Bison need the most help.
French is more likely (and expected) to eventually re-sign himself before JAL 16 begins than Franklin, but even if he does you have to wonder if the Bison would still have enough to stay in the playoff mix. French is a solid backup pitcher, but batting has never really been a claim to fame in his career. So what then if Luoto doesn't pan out? The Bison could be in trouble...
There's a reason why Columbia is a trendy pick right now by many to not make the playoffs again. Their offseason moves have been less than spectacular, but hey, maybe management is completely sold on Luoto becoming that "Robin" piece to Titus as "Batman?" If they are, expect to see nothing more with the Bison's roster change in the next 44 days. If they're not, you'll know because they'll make another acquisition between now and then.
The Bison have a solid foundation in Erik Titus, we've known that since day 1 of last season, but we also know the project isn't complete yet. This team is on the rise, but it's building toward the top seems to be stalling a bit presently. So what do you think, given what they've done in the offseason thus far, are the Bison in position to keep moving upward, or are you concerned about a plateau or downward dip in JAL 16?