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Preseason Team Snapshots: Los Angeles underdogs

Management

Cathy "Grannie" Woodruff (Owner)

Brock Johnson (GM)


Depth Charts

Lineup (S = Constant Starter)

S. Brock Johnson

2. Evan Bates?

Co-3. Ronnie Bernhardt

Co-3. Owen Dirks


Pitchers

1. Evan Bates


Fielders

1. Brock Johnson

Co-2. Ronnie Bernhardt

Co-2. Owen Dirks


Strengths

At the present moment, the underdogs are a complicated team.. When Evan Bates is active, they are loaded both offensively and defensively. But as we all know by now, his status is going to be "questionable" for (probably) the entire season. When/if Bates IS active, he's one of the best pitchers in the league and broke out as a "superstar" hitter last season with a league-high .536 average and 15 HR. Regardless of Bates, the lineup is still strong with Brock Johnson taking every other at-bat. Brock has hit over .300 three straight seasons and over .400 in two of the last three seasons. Brock is also a very underrated fielder for the team. Due to the Bates situation, the u-dogs have (so far) added two new rookies to in Ronnie Bernhardt and Owen Dirks to deepen the roster and build toward an expected future without Bates. Both Bernhardt and Dirks are very young players (16, sophomores in HS) and from Brush Prairie. Each are supposedly good baseball batters and while Bates is absent, will get plenty of opportunities to transition those skills to the JAL.


Concerns

Obviously, pitching is a MAJOR concern for the underdogs. Who's going to throw when Bates is out? Right now there is not an answer to that question. The team is reportedly "actively searching" for a new rookie prospect to sign and try developing, but nothing has manifested yet. Bernhardt and Owens could theoretically be tested out as pitchers, but neither of them pitch as baseball players and don't regard themselves as potential pitchers in the JAL. Last season when Bates missed the team's first two games, Brock stepped in and threw, but him pitching is accurately labeled an "emergency" situation and it did not go well. So, how many games will Bates miss? He's living in Ellensburg (3.5 hour drive) attending grad school and working a job that consumes almost all his weekend time. Come summer his schedule is expected to ease up a lot more, but should still be considered "questionable" from June onward. It's probably safe to assume he'll miss at-least half the season, maybe more. Best-case scenario the underdogs are developing a new ace for half their season.. Worst case, they're laboring through the entire season without a true pitcher. The first scenario is probably more likely, but dependable, decent pitching is going to be a serious concern for this team (probably) all season long.


Grades

Batting: B

Pitching: C-

Fielding: A-

Roster Sturdiness: D

Management: B+


Overall: C-


Plan (probably)

GM Brock Johnson "reportedly" wants to just cut bait with Evan Bates as the underdogs centerpiece given his unreliability moving forward and the fact that his contract expires at the end of this season — meaning there's no guarantee he'd even re-sign with them for JAL 25. Brock is said to prefer trading Bates and that even if he's is active for a few games this season, would only want him to bat — thus giving a new pitcher more development opportunity. Of course, when this report was made public, Brock denied it.. But anyone looking at the situation can surely acknowledge there's sense in those ideas and they're probably at least somewhat true. If Bates is active for the team for at least one of their first two gamedays in the spring (likely 2/4 games), then they should try to finish the season hoping to get as much out of him as they can in a part-time role. If Bates has not been active for any games by midpoint of the season, they should just fully embrace the "move on" idea. In the meantime, GM Brock obviously needs to sign a new rookie that can potentially be a pitcher, or sign two if he wants to experiment with multiple guys. Brock is known to be very picky when it comes to signing rookies and that's probably why he's still "actively searching" for a new arm despite the season starting within a month.. But he shouldn't wait too much longer or he'll run the risk of having a non-pitcher in the circle starting their first gameday.


Opponents

Fog x2

Rapids x2

Cobras

Waves

Bison

Wrecking Crew


Projected Wins

3.0

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