The 2003 JFBL season was extremely exciting. The top three teams battled until the last days of the season. The Reston Roundabouts took home an unprecedented second JFBL championship while the Great Falls Grenades and Oakton Outlaws tied for second 1.5 points behind the Roundabouts.† The Reston Robots and Burke Boomerangs also finished within 20 standing points of the leaders.
As the JFBL establishes itself records are becoming harder to break. Roundabout Eric Gagne tied John Smoltzís save record at 55.† The Grenades scored 934 runs and hit 263 home runs to break single season team records while the Boomerangs had 147 saves to break that record.
The players looked to win rights to a free agency system throughout the season, but no suitable plans were found. The players will continue to toil away at low salaries for the foreseeable future. The owners will up the stakes in the near future as the credibility of the JFBL increases.
The 2004 JFBL season should have as much excitement and as many memories as the previous 3 seasons.
MVP: Javy Lopez
†††††† Javy Lopez became the third consecutive Grenade to win the MVP award. Lopez was not the MVP of his own team, but other organizations felt that he earned the top spot. Maybe because anyone could have had Lopez, he lasted to the 7th round of the off-season draft. Lopez hit .342 with 28 HR, 62 R, and 76 RBI for the second place Grenades. Lopez resurrected his career to earn the MVP award.
CY Young:† Mark Prior
††††††††††††††† Mark Prior filled his potential as the top pick of the 2002 draft to take home the CY Young award. Mark posted 18 wins, 237 K, 2.36 ERA, and a 1.07 WHIP despite an in season injury.† Prior anchored the second place Outlaws and should be one of the leagues top pitchers for years to come.
††††††††††††††† Webb was able to step up for the Herndon Heroes in a big way. Webb was signed as a free agent early in the season and ended up with 8 wins, 130 K, 3.16 ERA, and a 1.21 WHIP. Webb will team with the other young Herndon pitchers to try to bring the team back to glory.
GM: Dan Hausman
††††††††††††††† Hausman was able to steer his team to a second consecutive championship. Hausman has had success mostly through trading and player evaluation. He has not picked up many key players through the draft or as free agents; he has just managed to play for the title without much regard for the future.
††††††††††††††† The Roundabouts were able to win their second consecutive JFBL championship. The Roundabouts were able to win on the backs of their aging stars, even though Mike Piazza and Randy Johnson battled injuries much of the season. Marcus Giles finally established himself as an effective JFBL second baseman after 3 years in the Roundabouts system.† The Roundabouts must stay injury free and keep playing at their established level to bring a third championship home.
††††††††††††††† For the second straight year, the grenades came up just short. Injuries really hurt this team as† Sammy Sosa and Curt Schilling both missed considerable time. The Grenades were extremely active in the season, making moves to acquire Roger Clemens, Brian Giles, and Eric Hinske after getting Larry Walker
Oakton Outlaws: 3rd (98.5 points; 50.5 hitting, 48 pitching)
††††††††††††††† This season was played in honor of Barry and his father, two great† baseball men and two great men away from the game. It was wonderful to place so high in the league this year to honor Bobby in some way. The Outlaws feel as though they had the talent and the opportunity to win it all this year, but not so much so that they are disappointed to have not. Next year, the team will try to add one more huge bat and
perhaps a young speedster in the hopes of improving the team enough for a championship while continuing along the organization's philosophical lines of competing now without mortgaging the future. The key will of course be the continued dominance and health of Barry Bonds, as well the a maintenance of production from many of the surprises in the lineup, such as Scott Podsednik and Geoff Jenkins. The window is
closing fast before Barry will leave the game, and the Outlaws are determined to get him a ring before that time.
Burke Boomerangs: 4th (88 points; 33.5 hitting, 54.5 pitching)
††††††††††††††† The 2003 campaign was a disappointing but promising year. GM Bertman feels that the Boomerangs made great strides, even though they fell short of the money, they improved from 8th place last year to claim 4th this past year. The year started off well with a draft day trade to obtain Javier Vazquez, and then solid picks in later rounds of Aubrey Huff, Tony Batista and Trot Nixon who all played a vital part in Burke's success. During the year, acquisitions of Frank Thomas, Estaban Loaiza, and
David Ortiz all also were major contributors. With an offseason trade of Keith Foulke for Andruw Jones, the Boomerangs will be able to finally add a real power hitter into the lineup, while losing a great contributor to Burke's success in all 5 pitching categories. If the Boomerangs' pitching staff can repeat last year's performance, and either Burroughs or Hudson emerges to complete the Burke infield, then Burke could easily contend for the championship. With few older players playing unplaceable roles, the Boomerangs feel no rush to win now.
††††††††††††††† A disappointing season for the Robots as they were in 2nd place more than halfway through the season and surprisingly collapsed following the acquisition of Carlos Delgado that they thought would put them over the top. This was the first season in JFBL history where the Robots were eliminated from postseason play before the final day of the season. They finished 5th for the second year in a row, and have finished 4th or 5th every season, beginning to take on a reputation of always competing but never seeming to make the playoffs. The Robots' goal for 2004 is to win the JFBL championship. They believe they have the proper people in place for the first time in order to make a run at the title, and there is finally a vulnerability in the aging powerhouse Roundabouts. Once they acquire a shortstop, they should be in business for next year.
Sterling Starfish 6th (69.5 points; 38 hitting, 31.5 pitching)
†††††††††††††† Last year's strength, pitching (52.5 points) was
this year's weakness. Burnett and Nen getting injured were the big blows.
Herndon Heroes 7th (60.5 points; 29 hitting, 31.5 pitching)
††††††††††††††† The Heroes had a disappointing season, as they were not able to finish in the top 3 for a third consecutive season.† The Heroes will look to rebound behind a very talented and young starting rotation. They are not rebuilding.
Fairfax Faithfuls 8th (55 points; 31 hitting, 24 pitching)
Reston Roosters 9th (41 points; 19 hitting, 22 pitching)
††††††††††††††† The Rooster's major deal last
season occurred before the season started, as the team acquired Brett Myers,
Eric Milton and Jeremy Giambi in exchange for John Smoltz. Myers is just the
kind of pitcher the team was looking for to top off the youth movement in
players should provide a high level of excellence for fellow young teammates Mark Teixiera, Michael Restovich and a handful of others to follow by. Jeremy Giambi never impacted the team many thought he would during last year's offseason. Same goes for Jose Contreras. The Roosters obtained Nomar Garciaparra, and will continue to look to improve the team.
†Annandale Ants 10th (33.5 points; 20.5 hitting, 13 pitching)
††††††††††††††† 2003 was not a year to remember for Ants fans. Even before the season started, the team was clearly doomed for failure after trading away Javier Vazquez for Jesse (Floppert) Foppert and Mike Hampton. After enduring a tough first half and a miserable start to the second half, GM Michael Durgala was found guilty of tanking and was punished with a $6 fine. Other disappointments include 2B Ray Durham who endured an injury riddled campaign, OF Lance Berkman who struggled badly out of the gates, and P Jeff Weaver who continued to mystify teammates with his atrocious on-field performance. Despite a disappointing year, the Ants finished the season strong and gave fans a glimpse into what could be a very bright future. SP Dontrelle Willis and SS Jose Reyes burst onto the scene and provided a major spark. Reyes and Willis, along with C Victor Martinez, OF Brad Wilkerson, SPs Jacob Peavy, and Adam Eaton, and RP Rafael Soriano are expected to contribute big in 2004. Look for the Ants to move up the standings in 2004 and challenge for a top spot in the next few years.
Fairfax Firemen 11th (31.5 points; 18 hitting, 13.5 pitching)
††††††††††††††††††† The Firemen struggled through a long season in 2003, though this did not come as much of a surprise to GM Mike Keenan or other league GMs for that matter. The veteran talent-shedding part of the rebuilding process was completed in 2003 as the Firemen unloaded such aging stars as Larry Walker, Ivan Rodriguez, and Frank Thomas, all long-time Firemen. Now, the Firemen must continue to build around a core group of young major league talent and exciting young prospects. Pat Burrell ranks as the biggest disappointment of 2003 for the Firemen. Surprises of 2003 included the emergence of Edgar Renteria as a premiere young SS, the recovery of Aramis Ramirez, and the promise shown by several young players, most notably Carlos Lee. In 2004, the Firemen anticapte improvement over their 2003 finish. A young
pitching staff that includes C.C. Sabathia, Freddy Garcia, Oliver Perez, Kip Wells, Ben Sheets, and Sidney Ponson should improve as all of these pitchers enter the age range where major league pitchers begin to reach their potential.† The Firemen also have one of the strongest farm systems in the JFBL, with can't miss-prospects spilling out of the lower levels. B.J. Upton, Prince Fielder, Casey Kotchman, Edwin Jackson, Scott Kazmir, and Delmon Young to name a few will continue to advance and prepare to make an impact in the next few years. The rebuilding process is not over, and the Firemen have holes to fill, but with 14 of the first 56 picks in the upcoming offseason draft, GM Mike Keenan should have no trouble keeping this team on a path towards victory in several seasons.
Clifton Clams 12th (24 points, 12 hitting, 12 pitching)
††††††††††††††† The Clams will look to compete in the near future around young hitters they already have and a killer pitching staff. The Clams will look to promote prospects that will make a big impact for the team.