Prediction Time Again, 2012 Edition

Posted April 27, 2012

Prediction Time Again, 2012 Edition
It’s time to dust off the magic eight ball and try and
predict how the 2012 season will unfold. 
After last year’s shocking second place finish by the rebooted
Roadrunners and Ryley’s epic  near
collapse, only to be redeemed by a furious finishing kick and a come from
behind victory against their arch rivals in a one game playoff, it’s anyone’s
guess how the regular season will shake out this year, but here’s my take on





After a dominating season last year that
saw the team score runs at a near record clip and virtually wrap up first place
by the All-Star break, the team returns all the main cogs that propelled them
to their third straight championship.  It
might be a tall order to try and score that many runs again, but the pitching
staff was bolstered by the acquisition of Millet product Drew Boyer who will
take over closing duties and allow flame thrower Jon Anstey to move into the
rotation to give the Milleteers the number two starter they searched for all
last year.  The team has also added some
youth in the outfield as newcomers Kirk Smith and Mark Walker provide range and
good arms.  Their record gets inflated a
little bit as historically teams often don’t throw their best pitchers at the
Milleteers in the regular season as they use them against the teams that they
are battling with for the remaining playoff spots.  If this trend continues, and with the added
pitching depth and athleticism, the Milleteers will be a good bet to coast home
in first.







The Rebels charged out of the gates last
season, then endured commitment problems that nearly caused them to miss the
playoffs last season.   The Rebels then
had to endure the tragic loss of their ace Curt Stensrud.  Will the tough year break the Rebels or
galvanize them?  I bet they rally
together and have a rebound year.  They
will also get some help as PBL legend Donny Oslund is returning where his
historic career began to team up with Craig Koughan to form a potent one-two
punch at the top of the rotation.  The
Rebels offense is still the most powerful, if not a little one dimensional,
offense in the league, so they should score enough.  The big questions will be if the defense can
hold together and the pitching depth behind their top two is effective.  That and commitment.  The big wild card could be the health of
Dylan Solberg’s shoulder, as he is one of the most dominant hurlers around when
he is able to go, but he has pitched sparingly the last two years.  







After coming within two innings of their
first championship, the young Blue Jays had to sit around the whole off season
wondering what if.  While the playoff
experience will be invaluable, the Jays have had trouble winning on the road
since the rejoined the league.  Until the
figure out how to win away from the mosquito filled diamond in Holden they will
struggle to win enough games for home field advantage in the playoffs.  Another year of added strength might help as
the young offense lacks power beyond veteran slugger Pat Kawaliuk.  With a deep young pitching staff anchored by
ace lefty Kyle Muzechka and athleticism on the bases and in the field the Jays
can keep the pressure up, which serves them well in the close games and







The Athleitics failed to make the playoffs
for the first time in seven years, despite a busy offseason that saw the team
make some additions, both young and old. 
The Athletics failed to find pitchers to step up and team with Ray
Lehman on the mound, and the offense seemed out of sync all year.  With many of the holdovers from the
championship years retiring or getting on in years the team is trying to
rebuild on the fly.  They have added some
good young talent, but that has yet to translate into wins.  With the alleged retirement of all time great
Ray Lehman and Donny Oslund returning to the Rebels, there will be a lot of
innings up for grabs.  The team still has
All-Star hurler Ryan Olsen and left handed slugger Craig Neufield, but will
need big time contributions from some new faces if they want to get back to the
dance this year.







The feel good story from last year
definitely put the other teams in the league on notice.  With a team comprised mostly of old Tofield
Lakers, many of whom have toiled in the league for a decade without a playoff
appearance the rebooted Roadrunners took the league by surprise as they
continued to win close game after close game. 
Lead by All-Star pitchers Alex Roth and Josh Banack, and a bend but
don’t break defense the Roadrunners scratched out a second place finish,
despite a -26 run differential.  It will
be interesting to see if the taste of playoff ball was enough to satisfy them,
or if it will just make them hungrier. 
With the element of surprise gone and the pending retirement of slugger
Warren Boychuck the Roadrunners could be in tough this year, but their used to
that.   If their pitching is as good as
last year and they get a few bounces and win some more tight ball games, they
can make another playoff run.






For the last two preseasons I picked the
Royals to climb out of the basement. 
Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.   Until they
prove otherwise I’m not getting burned again. 
Like the Oilers this year, the 2011 version of the Armena Royals showed
some improvement as they were more competitive, but the end result was the
same, a last place finish.  They have
some young talent, but it must seem like an eternity for coaches Jason Buzzell
and Clark Banack as they wait for all that promise to start producing.  Barring any big time signings the team should
look a lot like last year, only a year older. 
The only significant move so far this off season was unloading young
hard throwing enigma Mark Walker to the Milleteers for a six pack of
Brewhouse.  Time will tell who wins that
Posted on April 27, 2012 by Steven Pahl
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