JFBL 2002 Winter Report

By Dan Hausman, Reston Roundabouts

 

            The 2002 JFBL season was a very memorable one. The league proved that it has the staying power  to last for many years. The novelty of a new baseball league wore off, but fans continued to fill the JFBL seats from Sterling to Clifton.

           

            The Reston Roundabouts moved from 10th to 1st in the standings to capture their first JFBL trophy. It is great for the Reston fans to have a winner, but more importantly,  the league has shown that there is a certain level of parity  that ensures that every team has a chance to compete in the JFBL. The final standings also show that management and player skill is also very important for success in the JFBL as the Great Falls Grenades and Herndon Heroes finished in the top 3 for the second consecutive year.

           

            The very young league saw some individual and team records break at the end of the season. John Smoltz recorded 55 saves for the Reston Roosters to break the saves record. Randy Johnson had 24 wins for the Reston Roundabouts to break the wins record. The Burke Boomerangs broke the SB record with 167. The Sterling Starfish broke two team records with 102 W and a 3.18 ERA.  The Roundabouts broke three team records with 138 SV, 1188 K, and a 1.11 WHIP.

           

            The JFBL established a working farm system for the 2003 season that will incorporate AAA, AA, and A ball. The new design to the farm system will allow teams to build from within with young players. The impact of the new system will surely be felt throughout the league.

           

            The JFBL owners and players were both against a strike, but the possibility to ruin the 2002 season still existed for a great majority of the year. Both sides were able to squash their dispute and set up a new CBA in time for the season to go on without any missed games. Hopefully, financial concerns will never cause a missed JFBL game.

             

            The 2003 season is shaping up as a very interesting and exciting season. We can only hope that the overwhelming success of the JFBL can continue. The tradition and love for the JFBL will surely grow as the league ages.

 

 

 

Awards

 

MVP : Alfonso Soriano

            Alfonso Soriano put up outstanding numbers for the second place Great Falls Grenades and also proved to be a very entertaining player to watch. . Soriano finished the season with 128 R, 39 HR, 108 RBI, 41 SB, and a .300 BA. Soriano overcame a poor bb/k ratio, the pressure of handling a tough defensive position, and high expectations to capture the MVP award. Soriano established himself as the top JFBL second baseman for many years to come at the young age of 24

 

CY Young: Randy Johnson

            Randy Johnson led the Reston Roundabouts to a JFBL title and claimed the CY Young award. Randy Johnson ended the season with 24 W, 334 K, 2.32 ERA, and a 1.03 WHIP. Johnson was able to avoid physical break downs and performance declines although he is already well into his late 30’s. Johnson will again be asked to carry the Roundabouts to a title in the 2003 season.

 

ROY: Eric Hinske

            Eric Hinske was drafted in the later rounds of the 2002 off season draft. It was not even clear that the young 3rd baseman would move past AAA until he broke training camp with the big league club. Hinske emerged as a powerful offensive force by posting 87 R, 22 HR, 75 RBI, 12 SB, and a .266 BA for the Fairfax Faithfuls. Hinske will look to secure his position as one of the best young players in the JFBL season by adding to his ROY season next year.

 

GM of the year: Dan Hausman

            Dan Hausman engineered the Roundabouts rise from 10th to 1st to claim the award for the JFBL’s top GM. Hausman showed his faith in his team’s talent by adding to a 10th place team instead of blowing up his nucleus and starting over again. Hausman may have had the worst collection of talent after the initial JFBL draft, but he has “wheeled and dealed” his way to the top through big name acquisitions, smart drafting, and free agent singings. Dan Hausman is poised to compete for another JFBL title.

 

 

Team Outlook

 

Reston Roundabouts: 1st (101 points; 44.5 hitting, 56.5 pitching)

            The Reston Roundabouts were able to make a big leap in the standings to win their first JFBL trophy. The Roundabouts acquired Jeff Kent, Randy Johnson, Ichiro Suzuki, Luis Gonzalez, Eric Gagne, and other starts to propel them to victory. The Roundabouts were fortunate to have overall good team health. Young players like Toby Hall and Marcus Giles disappointed, but they were later replaced. The Roundabouts look better at the start of 2003 then they did in 2002, but they have traded away many top draft picks, they have no locked players, and they are an old team. The Roundabouts look like as good a bet as any to finish well in 2003.

 

Great Falls Grenades: 2nd (90.5 points; 50.5 hitting, 40 pitching)

            The Grenades slipped to second place in 2002 and G.M. J.D. Moss is obviously not happy. He says “anything less then second place will be disappointing” for 2003. The Grenades have a few of the brightest stars in the game, in Sammy Sosa, Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, and Curt Schilling, but their supporting cast did not do enough to win, especially the highly touted Jimmy Rollins, Paul LoDuca and Juan Gonzalez. The Grenades must battle aging and possible defensive shifts for some of their young stars in 2003, but they look like they will contend.

 

Herndon Heroes: 3rd (87.5 points; 43.5 hitting, 44 pitching)

            The Heroes final standing was decided on the last day for the second season in a row in 2002. The Heroes must have players play above their previous standards in 2003 to breakthrough for a championship, something that did not happen in 2002. The Heroes window of opportunity is closing as age will start to effect the performance of some of their stars. Players like Johan Santana, Carlos Beltran, and Preston Wilson can be expected to take huge steps forward to help the Heroes overcome any losses. The Heroes should be in the thick of things to the final day in 2003.

 

Sterling Starfish: 4th (86.5 points; 34 hitting, 52.5 pitching)

            The late season collapse of the Starfish can be attributed to lack of experience, or can it? While it is true that the Starfish offense suffered as young Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, and their 3rd baseman struggled late in the JFBL season, it is also true that the Starfish probably encountered more bad luck then lack of experience. The Starfish are a truly dangerous team that must keep their young pitchers healthy to win a JFBL title. The Starfish have already started to rebuild their outfield with the addition of Gary Sheffield and they are just looking for the speed to put them over the top.

 

Reston Robots: 5th (85.5 points; 42.5 hitting, 43 pitching)

            The Reston Robots made a late run for the second season in a row, but again fell short of a top 3 finish. The Robots ‘believe that they have a legitimate shot for second place in 2003”. The Robots offense was powered by Vladimir Gurrero, who is perhaps the best hitter in the league, Manny Ramirez, Maggilio Ordonez, and the suprising play of free agent catcher Scott Hatteberg. The pitching staff is young enough that it may improve without a major acquisition. The Robots will look to address their team speed and bullpen in the off-season, but will a good enough deal come along for their thus far hesitant GM? The robots will certainly be a factor in next year’s title hunt weather they think so or not.

 

Fairfax Faithfuls 6th (70.5 points; 35 hitting, 35.5 pitching)

            There are so many questions regarding the direction of the Faithfuls franchise that it is impossible to focus on the young talent that they put on the field every night. Will the Faithfuls ownership sell the franchise and relocate? Will the Faithfuls have management in place that will make deals and attend meetings? Will the Faithful fans keep attending Faithful games? We will have to wait to find the answers to these questions in 2003.

 

Oakton Outlaws 7th (65.5 points; 38.5 hitting, 27 pitching)

            The Outlaws will be “disappointed if they do not reach 3rd place next year”. Although it does not seem like the Outlaws are that close to their goal, they are a very talented team. With an extremely young and talented pitching staff, and stars like Barry Bonds, Nomar Garciaparra, and Eric Chavez on offense the Outlaws could move up considerably in next years final standings. G.M. Mike Elias must overhaul his bullpen and replace offensive sinkholes for success in 2003, but I wouldn’t bet against a team with Bonds. 

 

Burke Boomerangs 8th (59.5 points; 26 hitting, 33.5 points)

            The Burke Boomerangs will look to start fast in 2003, they just plan on staying in first for more then the first few months of the season. GM Josh Bertman was able to draft many of the Boomerangs best players, such as Torii Hunter, Jorge Julio, and Arron Boone, in the 2002 drafts, and he will need to continue his success in 2003 to reach his long term goals of contention. Mike Mussina, Keith Foulke, and Josh Beckett will all need to pitch better in 2003 to move towards the top of the standings. The Boomerangs certainly look better this year then they did last and they should get some strong results. The Boomerangs are going in the right direction in 2003.

 

Annandale Ants 9th (46 points; 29 hitting, 17 pitching)

            The Annandale Ants could not repeat their 2001 success in 2002 and they are now in a rebuilding mode. Veterans have been dumped for prospects in an attempt to gear up for the future. The collapse of top Ants starters, such as Chan Ho Park and Brad Radke, led to the Ants tumble in the standings. The Ants could rebound in 2003 but they look like they will attempt to contend a few years down the road.

 

 Clifton Clams 10th (32 points; 22 hitting, 10 pitching)

            Surprisingly, the new name for the Clifton team did not change their fortunes. The Clams are confident that they can compete in 2 to 3 years and it appears that G.M. Jon Lasken is getting better with hands on experience. The Clams need some pitchers to step up and help Pedro Astacio and Joel Piniero turn around the worst pitching staff in the league. The Clams will surely look to add young impact players in 2003 to help them contend in future years.

 

Fairfax Firemen 11th (30.5 points; 12.5 hitting, 18 pitching)

            The Firemen are having a tough time. Their most talented player, Ivan Rodriguez, may follow 2002 starting first baseman Steve Cox to Japan. Their best pitchers, Freddy Garcia and C.C. Sabathia have serious workload concerns.. The Firemen’s best offensive performers are aging. The Firemen may actually get worse before they get better, but at least they pick high in the draft. G.M. Mike Keenan has a lot of work to do, but I am confident that he will lead the Firemen to victory someday.

 

Reston Roosters 12th (25 points, 12 hitting, 13 pitching)

            The Rooster fans are a loyal bunch. They continue to attend games all though they could easily hop the Roundabouts and Robots bandwagons. The fans will have to remain patient as G.M. Dan Fleeter continues to rebuild his team. The Roosters have good young players such as Mark Redman, Josh Phelps, and Mark Teixiera that could lead them to the top of the standings.

 

 

JLB