Opening Day of the season is great because speculation finally comes to a halt and facts start to take over. With Opening Day of JAL 16 only 8 days away, below are 3 burning preseason questions that are circling the air — and possible answers for them.
1) Which team will do something unexpected?
Last season the answer would have been the Bison. After Three straight winless seasons they shot out of the gate on Opening Day to a 3-0 start. Does any current "bottom-of-the-barrel" team have that in them season? What about the opposite? — Will any "good" team dig themselves into a massive hole in the standings on Opening Day?
Possible answer — Don't be shocked if the Wrecking Crew (who have been a playoff team the last 2 seasons) leave Opening Day 1-2, or even 0-3. They play the Cobras, Bambinos and Sasquatches, and the Crew's roster — at least at this very moment — probably isn't as talented as before.
2) Who will be better, Lawmen or Sasqutches?
Both franchises re-branded themselves this offseason and have completely new faces on the roster — many of whom are rookies. The Lawmen don't play any games on Opening Day, but have 2 the day after, the 1st of which is vs the Sasquatches. By Sunday night, June 18th, we'll know which squad is better and if either can compete for a playoff spot this season in the AC.
Possible answer — This one is a toss up, but if you had to bet money on it, pick the Sasquatches, and here's why... When the two teams meet on Sunday the 18th, the Sasquatches will have 2 games under their belt already whereas it'll be the Lawmen's 1st game of the season. Experience goes a long way in this league with rookie-heavy teams. The other reason to lean Sasquatches is because of their recent signing of veteran Tyler Hudson. His batting will be very impactful right away.
3) Which rookie will emerge as a star?
There are too many rookies to talk about them all, but by the end of Opening Day weekend, the stars of the class will be identifiable.
Possible answer — Typically the rookies that stand out most right away are those who play the biggest roles for their team, not necessarily "the actual best players." Look for Isiah Goodman of the underdogs, Ethan Perdue of the Lynx and Dalton Carter of the Sasquatches to turn some heads on Opening Day. They will be thrust into the limelight for their respective teams immediately. Rookies like Kolt Korpi of the Cobras or Josh Burckhardt of the Express may end up being the "better players" over time, but on Opening Day there will be too many stars on their own teams casting shadows over them to be significantly noticed to the fullest. If rookies like them are studs you'll notice them more as the season wears on.