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2020 Season Wrap-Up

T Ball'er
T Ball'er

Posts : 324
Join date : 2012-10-12
Age : 40
Location : Maine, USA

2020 Season Wrap-Up

Post by KMcBride on March 11th 2013, 2:06 pm

Portland Press Herald
October 15, 2020

The Patriot Division Champion Maine Shipwrights were bested in the Big East Championship by Asheville, 4 games to 2, bringing an end to their 2020 season. By almost any measure, their first season with a new owner, new GM and new Scouting Director (not to mention a group of players cobbled together following the Talent Dispersal Draft) was a success. The team put up the best record in Shipwright's history, finishing with 98 wins. So, as you could imagine, overall attitudes toward the team from the fans are overwhelmingly positive, despite not reaching the World Series.

But, as the team enters the post-season, is there room for improvement? General Manager Keith McBride thinks so. "There's got to be improvement. You don't get better in this league by keeping the status quo. Every team improves each off-season, so you can either try to keep pace, or do nothing and fall behind."

Here is the PPH's evaluation of the 2020 team, position by position:

Starting Pitching
Grade: B-

Raul Avila emerged as a dominant starter, finishing the season with the lowest ERA in the Big East, but collapsed in epic fashion in the post-season. The rest of the rotation was marred by injury. Gianni Potier, the franchise's first-overall selection in the Talent Dispersal Draft, suffered injuries that kept him out of the rotation for 4 months of the season and all of the post-season. Orlando Cedeno put in some outstanding starts in May and June, but missed 4 months (including the postseason) due to a shoulder injury. Surprisingly, 38 year-old Stu Weston was one of the most reliable starters, making 30 starts during the regular season, before ultimately breaking down in late September and missing a few weeks in the playoffs. He went 13-9 with a 1.28 WHIP on the season.
A revolving door to fill the spots in the rotation saw veterans like Gordon Chandler, Adam Brushett and Mark Larson, as well as rookies like Jason Willerton and Stephane Boutet called upon to start games throughout the season. Some saw better results than others. Jason Willerton started 19 games and finished with 8 wins and a 1.25 WHIP. Chandler, Brushett and Larson did not fare equally well. Brushett finished the year with an 8.45 ERA after 20 appearances, including some bullpen outings late in the year that helped improve his overall season numbers. Chandler was released after 8 starts and 46 innings with a 7.63 ERA. (He was picked up by Charming in June and finished the season stronger than he had started it.)
Ultimately, it was starting pitching that cost Maine a spot in the World Series, as it failed the team severely in the LCS. While the bunch was steady enough to get through the marathon of the regular season, it could not keep up with the sprinter's pace of the post-season. Still, the emergence of young talent (Boutet, Avila, Cedeno, Willerton) bodes well for the future, while hopefully, a healthy Potier will find his spot as the ace at the top of the team's rotation.

Grade: C-

Mike Cartier and Jose Hernandez alternated to fill catching duties. Cartier showed flashes of brilliance, including a week in late July where hot-hitting and solid defense earned him BE player of the week honors. But switch-hitting Cartier struggled against left-handed pitching, and Hernandez was called upon to be the lefty-specialist. He did only slightly better than Cartier. In the end, their defensive and offensive statistics were merely sufficient. Extra medium, if you will. Expectations were higher for 5th round pick Cartier, and the team's need to rely on Hernandez was a bad omen. Still, Cartier (age 25) has room and time for improvement, but it remains to be seen whether or not the team will bring back Hernandez, or let him test free agency this off-season.

First Base
Grade: A

Jose Villa played 154 games at first, and tied a Shipwrights record by appearing in 160 games this season. On a team that thrived on offensive production, he was a center-piece, batting in the cleanup spot and hitting .289 with 22 HR. Despite pre-season concerns about his defense (in his previous ML experience he was primarily a DH), he played better than average and well beyond expectations. He also batted .435 in the post-season, including celebrating his 25th birthday by going 2-5 with a HR in a win against Asheville on October 7.

Second Base
Grade: A+

Arguably Maine's 2020 MVP, there isn't much that Mark Hopewell didn't do for the team. He hit for average (.317) and power (22 HR, SLG .487) and handled lead-off duties exceptionally well, stealing 35 bases and scoring a league-leading 131 runs. He is also a gold-glove candidate at second base. At times, he was just ridiculous to watch.

Grade: A

Maybe Mark Hopewell was the "A+" everyone expected when the season began. Curt Brushett was the "A" that no one saw coming. He was on the bench as a utility infielder on opening day, but quickly won the starting role and never relinquished it. He finished the season with the highest batting average in the Big East (.356), as well as the highest single-season batting average in Shipwright history. His defense, however, needs some improvement. His .970 fielding percentage is the lowest of his career as a shortstop. Otherwise, it could have been an A+ season, for sure.

Third Base
Grade: C+

Otis Brown's inability to stay healthy resulted in a variety of characters manning the "hot corner" throughout the season. Cristian Lopez started 53 games, and Caleb Lord started 10 games (before being released in July). Lopez put up excellent offensive numbers all season, mostly as a DH, but defensively, no one could match Brown. He made only 4 errors in almost 300 opportunities. Offensively, Brown had an up-and-down year, but was certainly up during the playoffs, where he batted .353 and had an OPS of 1.054. But with the offensive production provided by others around him, are the flashes of brilliance at the plate and consistent play in the field enough to persuade the team to give the 35 year-old another contract?

Left Field
Grade: A

Jason Canning started 141 of 162 games in left field, and every day he wasn't there, he was missed. He was consistently the strongest part of the middle of the batting order, maintaining a .340 batting average and an .897 OPS. His defense was also rock solid. He only loses a few points for being absent in the post-season. Despite having a blistering September (.351, .938 OPS), he batted .179 in the playoffs. It was a repeat of his poor performance in the 2019 playoffs with Las Vegas, where despite batting .295 during the season, he batted .184 with a .589 OPS in the 2019 post-season. Hopefully, this trend can be reversed.

Center Field
Grade: B+

Edmund Sanford started 100 games in center field, but missed 9 weeks of the season due to injury. Defensively, he had a decent year, but the 30 year-old clearly lost a step in the outfield, and his range suffered. Still, when he had a play on the ball, he was near perfect, making only one error in 221 chances. Offensively, he batter .346 with .851 OPS and had his best year since 2016, where he won the WW Batting Title for the Detroit Mustangs. During his nine-week absence, the team relied on prospects including King Wilbur, Kyle McIver and Michael Arnaud. Of these, Arnaud showed the greatest potential, but the team is apparently not ready to hand him the keys quite yet; Sanford has signed a 2-year contract extention to stay with Maine.

Right Field
Grade: C+

Competition for the starting spot in right was strong in spring training, with veterans Larry Curron, Victor Guerra and Cristian Lopez in the running with newcomers Dan Vogler, Kyle McIver and King Wilbur. Ultimately, Guerra emerged, but in what was a familiar story for the Shipwrights this season, injuries kept Guerra off the field for 10 weeks of the season, and many of the other competitors had their chance. Guerra made 71 starts in right, and batted .314 with .806 OPS on the season. Defensively, the team saw small improvements when McIver, Wilbur or Arnaud stepped in in Guerra's absence, but it missed Guerra's offensive production.

    Current date/time is March 22nd 2019, 11:11 am