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Preseason Team Snapshots: Texas Bison

Management

Trevor Goforth (Owner)

Gage Metzger (GM)


Depth Charts

Lineup (S = Constant Starter)

S. Gage Metzger

2. Krister Embree

3. Joey Hayes


Pitchers

1. Gage Metzger

2. Krister Embree

3. Joey Hayes


Fielders

1. Krister Embree

2. Joey Hayes

3. Gage Metzger


Strengths

The new-look, rebuilding Bison are hungry, ready to prove themselves and appear to have some unexpected depth at every position. Leading the way is GM/player Gage Metzger who decided to leave the Bambinos this offseason and finally blaze his own trail in this league. Despite having been a backup arm his entire career to date, Metzger has demonstrated his pitching talents are worthy to be an ace in his own right. The lefty primarily throws a fast, sweeping slider that when controlled is one of the hardest pitches to hit in the JAL. Offensively, Metzger's not an elite batter, but is definitely underrated (.355 and .360 last two seasons as non-constant starter) and will at least anchor the lineup with efficient AB's. After Metzger, the team fills out with two rookies — Krister Embree and Joey Hayes, both high school seniors. Each conducted a "Rookie Pro Day" prior to being signed and a little over a week ago had a public practice together with Metzger, so we've been able to see and get a good idea what they will bring to the table. Embree has looked particularly impressive and should be considered the preseason favorite to win Outstanding Rookie right now. Embree will likely be an aggressive batter who swings with power — but that's not all. It appears the kid will also be a strong pitching option. In bullpen practice sessions he already seems to be developing good control of a 70+ mph fastball and slider. His pitching looks and feels similar to how Chase Johnson's did when he was a rookie a couple season's ago. As for Hayes, development will take longer but he has a smooth, long swing and solid eye. For a rookie, his pitching is raw but there's definite talent present that can be refined. He does not have great velocity, but has a nice sinker and slider when thrown accurately. The Bison, more than any other team, have the most room to grow this season and could even make the playoffs while doing it.


Concerns

No experience, period. Sure, Metzger is a 5-season veteran with two championships, but he's never carried the weight of being a team's ace and best player. Nor has he ever played a leadership role like he is now or developed rookies as a manager. Additionally, Metzger's pitching has a history of being erratic and last season he (due to a shoulder injury) did not have good stamina beyond throwing one game at a time. As for Embree and Hayes, we can get as excited as we want about their potenital, but at the end of the day they are both ROOKIES and that will matter in a negative way at some point this season. This team will have growing pains and moments when they don't handle pressure situations very well because they lack experience. It's not a concern they can "fix" until they go through it.


Grades

Batting: B

Pitching: B+

Fielding: B

Roster Sturdiness: A

Management: A-


Overall: B


Plan (probably)

Start Metzger at pitcher early in the season, but give Embree as many innings in the circle as possible, including via substitution when Metzger struggles. In those situations, an inexperienced Embree pitches a style that's likely going to result in more stikes thrown than when Metzger can't locate the slider. Hope that midway through the season Embree has developed into a legitimate ace-level pitcher and that by season's end he's able to compete as a starter with playoff-level teams. This would give the Bison a rare commodity of two rotational aces and the bonus treat that one's a lefty and the other a righty.


Opponents

Waves x2

Cobras x2

underdogs

Fog

Rapids

Lawmen


Projected Wins

4.3

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