SWITZERS PROSPECTUS 2000
As August draws to a close, it is time to assess the 1999 real-life performance of the 2000 Oklahoma Switzers. It appears (insert broken-record sound effect here) that the Switzers will be very strong offensively and marginal in the pitching department.
The strength of the pitching staff will again be the relievers, especially short relief. Billy Wagner has really turned the screws on the hitters this year, becoming the dominant reliever in the NL. He'll close games for me. The Switzers' main setup man will be Armando Benitez, also enjoying an outstanding year. Also providing high quality setup work will be Derek Lowe and T.J. Mathews. Starting pitching will be mediocre. Andy Benes has stunk. Wilson Alvarez has pitched extremely well of late, and if he can maintain this pace for the final month of the season, will finish with respectable numbers. Ismael Valdes has been OK, with Dodger Stadium helping him immensely as usual. Sterling Hitchcock has posted fine peripheral numbers, but has been hurt by the gopher ball, and his numbers are also far superior at home. Jose Silva has been a huge disappointment, and Odalis Perez pitched poorly before suffering a major injury.
The offense will score a ton of runs as usual, and the offensive standouts will be plentiful. Catching will be handled by Ivan Rodriguez, enjoying the best offensive season of his career. Tom Lampkin is a capable and versatile backup. First base will be a strength, albeit not as much a strength as anticipated. Frank Thomas continues his two-year slide into mediocrity(!). All that's left is a good on-base percentage. He may bat leadoff. Quality depth will be provided by Kevin Millar and Jeremy Giambi. Second base will be handled by Quilvio Veras, having his usual year, and Tony Phillips, nearing the end but enjoying a fair campaign until the broken leg. Shortstop will be a patchwork-affair platoon of Bill Spiers and Jeff Blauser, with the execrable Abraham Nunez providing backup. Third base will be a definite strength, with Robin Ventura enjoying probably the best season of his career. The outfield and DH spots will be a mix-and-match proposition involving Benny Agbayani, Brian Giles, Juan Gonzalez, Rickey Henderson, Ray Lankford, and Matt Stairs, all enjoying varying degrees of "good" years. A rough lineup looks like:
|lf||Rickey Henderson||1b||Frank Thomas|
|2b||Quilvio Veras||2b||Tony Phillips/Quilvio Veras|
|dh||Juan Gonzalez||3b||Robin Ventura|
|1b||Frank Thomas||lf||Brian Giles|
|cf||Brian Giles||cf||Ray Lankford|
|3b||Robin Ventura||rf||Matt Stairs|
|c||Ivan Rodriguez||c||Ivan Rodriguez|
|rf||Benny Agbayani||dh||Juan Gonzalez|
|ss||Jeff Blauser||ss||Bill Spiers|
2000 should prove to be another successful SWBA campaign for the Oklahoma Switzers, but the team is starting to show some age. Almost without exception, the core players are between 28 and 32, either past-prime or late-prime. The year is fast approaching when a rebuilding project will have to be undertaken.
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