2013 Preseason Predictions

Posted April 2, 2013


2013 Preseason Predictions
Despite the snow on the ground the season is just around the corner and its time to see how wrong my predictions will be this year.  I would have been perfect last year, but Armena had to finally become respectable and bust my bracket.  Of course this year another wrench is thrown into the process as an expansion team out of Beaumont is possibly entering the league, which will make this all total speculation.  So of course I made some original picks by basically repeating the standings from last year:  The Milleteers comfortably on top with the Rebels also securing a home playoff series, then a dog fight of mediocrity for the last two playoff spots with everyone 0.500 or below having a shot at the playoffs.  Without further adue, here is how I see the regular season going.
 


     11-3

 

 

 

For the fifth year in a row the Milleteers are favored going into the season to take the pennant.  The defending champs have retained there core for another campaign, but injuries to the Doyle brothers will mean some other players will need to step up if the Milleteers are to stay at the top.  The Milleteers have the depth however, and have added a few new faces to try and fill the void.  The pitching staff will still be the deepest in the league, lead by hard throwing Jon Anstey, and the defense should be solid as well to take keep the scoring down.  Last year the offense averaged almost 7.5 runs a game, which is good, but was down significantly from the year before.  Also steals were down quite a bit as well as the Milleteers look to be slowing a bit, probably due to their off season conditioning.  If they want to secure their fourth straight pennant they will have win a least a few slug fests, where the loss of the Doyles might hurt the most.
 
 
 
 
Not So Captain Obvious Prediction:
 
After visiting a buddhist temple on his holiday to the far east before the season Ryan Walker learns the lesson of humility and becomes the most respected and well liked player in the league.
 
 
 

 

 


8-6

 

 

 As usual the talented Rebels showed promise at times last year, and then were completely frustrating at others.  First they stumbled out of the gates with a loss and the first forfeit the league has seen in some time, then in the matter of days they righted the ship, whipped the first place Milleteers and then crushed the then second place Roadrunners in back to back games by a combined 33 runs.  The Rebels were firing on all cylinders and looked poised to take over the top of the standings.  Then as quick as they turned it around, it went south on them again.  In an early first place showdown with a Leduc team that was short on pitching they were shutout and their first place aspirations were gone.  Then the committment issues cropped up again as they were often forced to play with just eight players many nights.  They looked to turn it around in the playoffs against the inexperienced underdog Royals, but were embarrased 9-0 in the first game and then blew a seven run lead late in game two to quickly get bounced.
 
The Rebels return the most powerful lineup in the league and will get a boost from massive slugger Kyle Reinholt.  On the mound they still have All Star Craig Koughan, but are still looking for someone else to step up and provide some quality innings.  PBL Hall of Famer Donny Oslund can still shut down teams when healthy, but after that cupboard is a little bare as veteran Corey Epp has had control issues and Kushnerrick has seen a decline in velocity.  Until the Rebels consistently can get a committed unit out to the diamond on time and find another quality arm or two they are going to find it tough to compete for home advantage in the playoffs.
 
Not So Captain Obvious Prediction:
 
The Rebels will win a game with just 8 players this season as they have won numerous times in the past with the bare minimum.  Then there will be a story on the website about how the Rebels will be forming their own 8 on 8 league as they are the best 8 man baseball team in the world.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 


7-7

The young Blue Jays suffered through a trying year last season as they took a step back 
as they failed to make the playoffs after being very successful their first two years in the league.  Then they suffered another blow in the offseason as veteran slugger and team leader Pat Kawaliuk passed away.  The loss will be felt both on the field and in the dugout.

To right the ship the Blue Jays will have to get more committment out of their youngsters and ace lefty Kyle Muzechka, who was absent much of the year.  The Blue Jays often had to dip into their farm system from Vegerville last year, which could actually help them this year as some of those graduating midgets could make their way onto the full time roster.  

The biggest reason the Blue Jays failed to make the post season last year however was their terrible record at home as they only mustered two victories in Holden, which was the second hardest diamond the previous two years for visiting teams to earn a win.  If the young roster can find some consitency on offense and find a way to win at home the Blue Jays should bounce back, and could challenge for a home playoff series, if not then they will be on the outside looking in again.

 

Not So Captain Obvious Prediction:

Art Micklich will say “Who wants it out there”?  Someone will reply:  “Not me”!

 

Beaumont 
                               6-8

Total guess, seeing as they aren’t officially even in the league yet, but might as well put them in the playoff mix as the last three expansion teams made the playoffs (Milleteers, Rebels, Blue Jays).  By all accounts they will be comprised of mostly graduating midget players, not unlike Holden was in 2010.  

Not So Captain Obvious Prediction:

The team will be a no show at the league meeting and will have secretly entered the NCABL, causing all the PBL die hards to put on their tin foil hats and take to their lap tops so they can start posting about the Axemen Conspiracy.

  Armena Royals    6-8

 
 
After years of disappointment in the basement the Royals finally turned the corner, much 
to the elation and relief of long time Royals Clark Banack and Jason Buzzell.  Now the question will be whether there is a feeling of contentment and achievement in the tiny hamlet, or if the team is hungry for greater success.  The road map out of the cellar was always simpe.  The youngsters needed to become solid ball players and Boettger had to commit full time and pile up some wins, which is what got them into the playoffs.  Then something happened once they got there as all of a sudden the defense tightened up, the hitting became more consistent against the league’s best pitching, and hurlers other than Boettger provided quality innings against the league’s best lineups.
 
The road back to the playoffs got a little tougher as the Royals will have to do without the services of finesse righty Cody Sroka and wild thing closer and center fielder Kyle Ellis.  If the squad can find a few arms to pick up those lost innings and the bats and the defense play the way they did at the end of  last year they should be fine, otherwise it will be a return to mediocrity.
 
 
 
Not So Captain Obvious Prediction:
 
Who will wear their sun glasses at night now that Kyle Ellis is not on the squad this year?  Who will be Buzzell’s tag team partner vs the Walker brothers?
 
 
 
 
 
 


     6-8

 

 

 

Last year the Athletics struggled a bit as they continue to try and rebuild on the fly.  The problem is  that the team still relies heavily on its aging veterans, many whom are nearing retirement.  It does help that some of these veterans are future hall of famers, but still I’m sure they would appreciate it if the young guys could start to pull the load a little more.  Another issue that has cropped up is pitching depth as after All Star Ryan Oleson and PBL legend Ray Lehman there is a steep drop off as the youngsters have failed to step up to the top of the rotation.  Of course the A’s are still a handfull in the playoffs with all their championship experience, the problem might be getting there.  Another big effort from their veterans could get them over the hump, anything less and the Bardo Field could be empty come late July.
 

Not So Captain Obvious Prediction:

PBL Hall of Famer Ray Lehman contemplates retirement, then misses the game so much that he can’t stay away and suits up for another year.  Then for the first time in  57 years of pitching in the PBL, umpires finally start calling the Lehman quick pitch a balk.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 


      5-9

 

 

 

The Roadrunners came back to earth last season as they landed in the basement after a surprise second place finish in 2011.  They were in it until the last game of the season though, and if not for an injury early in the year to ace Alex Roth, they might have been able to claw their way back into the playoffs.  They also came within a couple of outs from sweeping the season series with the Milleteers, something no one has ever been able to do.  The crew from Camrose also got destroyed by the Rebels in a home and home series as well in the up and down year.  The recipe for success will be the same this year, hang around and try to win some tight games and get Roth on the mound as much as possible.  If they get some bounces they could be back in the big show come late July.
 

    

Not So Captain Obvious Prediction:
 
Pam Fox will face off against Tara Sliwkanich on the mound in a game this year depsite protests about how women are now taking starting jobs away from men.
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