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Preseason Team Snapshots: Castle Rock Rapids

Management

Julie Johnson (Owner)

Ty Johnson (GM)


Depth Charts

Lineup (S = Constant Starter)

S. Ty Johnson

S. Jared Shagool

3. Troy Flanagan


Pitchers

1. Jared Shagool

2. Ty Johnson


Fielders

1. Ty Johnson

2. Troy Flanagan


Strengths

The Rapids are a well-rounded team on an upward ascension. In JAL 22 the team began a rebuilding phase with ace pitcher and batter Jared Shagool. Following a nice a rookie season, Shagool became an All-Star last season and helped lead them into the playoffs. Primarily a strong fastball pitcher, Shagool still has lots of room to grow at the position and is now a very comfortable veteran. Shagool's development is largely a testament to GM and teammate Ty Johnson who's arguably the best in-game manager in the league. Ty and Shagool are the primary two batters and Troy Flanagan (who's been something of a part-time player for the team the last couple seasons) mixes into the lineup occasionally. Together they form an explosive lineup that at least does an effective job with OBP when not connecting for big hits. Finally, Ty is an exceptional outfielder, Shagool as good as they come fielding from the pitcher position and Flanagan is a former Fielding Crown winner. This team wins with defense and has enough power offensively to keep opposing pitchers on their toes.


Concerns

Despite the league batting average jumping from .243 in JAL 22 to .314 in JAL 23, the Rapids team average slipped from .284 to .238. Castle Rock was forced to play a lot of small ball last season and got fairly good at it, but that's not their preferred offensive identity. It also proved too challenging of a way to beat other playoff level teams — for example, they lost all three matchups vs the underdogs last season by scores of 3-6, 4-8, and 3-5. In each of those games the underdogs were able to pull away late with bigs hits that the Rapids failed to match. Conversely, the Rapids were able to beat two playoff teams last season in the Wrecking Crew (11-10) and Fog (14-13) when they scored double digits. Lastly, Shagool is capable and willing to throw every game for the Rapids, but his stamina often takes a dip near the end of doubleheaders. Ty Johnson is an ok backup to provide relief innings against lower caliber teams, but when faced with the challenge of playing two good teams back-to-back, Shagool is on his own and gets vulnerably tired down the stretch of those second games.


Grades

Batting: C+

Pitching: B+

Fielding: A

Management: A

Roster Sturdiness: A


Overall: B+


Plan (probably)

Shagool has yet to become a dominant pitcher, but he is reliably strong and rarely has "bad" games, plus Castle Rock proved they can succeed without great offensive statistics — so the Rapids should at least be able to replicate what they did last season if nothing improves. If, however, Shagool can develop another quality pitch to compliment his fastball (either improving his slider, or adding a sinker), we could be talking about him as a Pitching Crown or possibly MVP candidate by season's end. Offensively the Rapids need to commit to swinging the bat more and harder, especially against good teams. Too often last season, when they struggled to produce big hits, the lineup got really conservative and diligently tried to draw walks or hit for contact. Given the batting skill sets of Shagool, but especially Ty and Flanagan, the Rapids would probably be better off swinging for more home runs, even if it means striking out more as a result.


Opponents

underdogs x2

Fog x2

Cobras

Waves

Bison

Lynx


Projected Wins

5.0

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