2005 started off as a year of uncertainty for the Daly City Motnis. The team lost their two best hitters, Norman Ho and Desireé Tienturier, who in 2004 combined for 328 RBIs and 325 Runs, as well as starting shortstop Sean Mok. On the pitching staff, they also lost half of thei pitching staff with Willis Fong, Michelle Lin, Sarah Jimenez, and Erica Lum all retiring down into the AAA affiliate. A big chunk of the bullpen, including Tirta and Absalon, were gone too.
With all of the huge losses, the team entered into the 2005 season, a fresh start in a new league of players, with big question marks. Big hitters Derek Lew and Joey Wong remained on the team, but there hardly seemed anyone on the team, the entire league even, who could duplicate the 3-4 slot numbers of Ho and Tienturier. Daly City needed to field three new starting positions players: The starting LF position went to the feeble Jonathan Chee, who the previous yea had barely even reached 200 plate appearances and provided a weak .219-.344-.303 line. Cristian Ortiz, while a slick defender, hardly seemed a proficient hitter, putting up a .230-.296-.392 line over only 81 plate appearances in 2004. At shortstop, the rookie Henry “Mr.” Nghe, who had all of 12 plate appearances in the previous year, would be taking over the reins. Meanwhile, the pitching staff saw two fresh pitchers straight out of high school – Sean Wade and Samantha Chin, who had not even gotten the benefit of being eased in through the farm system. Josiah Leong also had to be pulled back from the bullpen to fill in a rotation spot, leaving another rookie, Zubeda Khan, in the closer role straight out of high school.
Despite all of these uncertainties, and the stigma of being the youngest, most inexperienced, and lowest-salaried team in the majors, Daly City exploded out the gate, putting up a 24-4 record in their first month (a .857 winning percentage!) and outscoring their opponents 198 to 92. By midseason almost all of the early season doubts had been erased – after a torrid first month, Jonathan Chee as the leftfielder had began picking up steam, and would end up leading the league in OBP and scoring 93 runs on only 550 plate appearances. SS Mr. Nghe was already having a fine rookie season, although he wouldn’t turn on the afterburners until the 2nd half. Cristian Ortiz, meanwhile, was proving a stellar defender as well as a high-contact hitter and a demon on the basepaths. On the pitching staff, rookie Sean Wade had turned projections of cool consistency and control into flat out domination – his ERA was in the low 2’s, and his 11 wins were 2nd on the team.
The team would end atop the leaderboard, placing a 125-37, .772 record, 29 games in 1st, while placing 1st with runs scored (1085) and 1st in team ERA (2.94 in the league). Coordinated team effort, rather than flash-bang power numbers, were the name of the game for the 2005 squad – there were no 40 HR hitters or 160 RBI/Run players to be found on this year’s squad – instead the team had 6 of its 9 starters with an OBP over .380, and four players with an OPS over .900, though none over 1.000. Despite losing lights-out players in Fong, Lin, and Jimenez on the pitching staff, the pitching staff found new life with a consistent shutdown starter in rookie Sean Wade, a 2nd breakout season for 3rd-year starter Terrence Zhao, and some first-half razzle dazzle from longtime player Miguel Pardo. Many players showed huge promise and growth, and the year 2006 looks to be an even better one for the Daly City Montis, now the reigning three-peat champions of the baseball world.
Recap of stats:
Games: How many games the player played (there are 162 games in a season)
At bats: How many times a player went up to bat – roughly a measure of how many chances a player got to hit
Hits: The total number of hits (runs are the “points” of the game, and hits generally are needed to achieve runs)
2B: A type of hit where the batter gets 2 bases instead of the usual 1.
3B: An even better type of hit where the batter gets 3 bases instead of the usual 1.
HR: The best type of hit, where the batter gets 4 bases (and thus scores 1 run).
RBI: A measure of how many runs by other player the player has driven in
Runs: A measure of how many runs the player himself has scored
K: A strikeout, where the batter fails to hit the ball at all
Walk: An alternative to a hit, where the pitcher throws badly and the batter gets to advance a base for free
Hit-by-pitch: Similar to a walk, except instead of the pitcher throwing multiple bad balls, the batter just gets hit by the ball once
Steals: When a player runs to get an extra base – this is usually an indicator of good speed
CS: Caught stealing, when a player tries to get an extra base but gets out instead
AVG: The percentage of at bats that the player gets a hit – this indicates good contact ability and is a more traditional, although outdated method of measuring a player’s value.
OBP: The percentage of times a player gets on base, or rather, not out. This is a more modern metric that is a good indicator of a player’s run-scoring ability.
SLG: The average number of bases per at bat – this is an indicator of a player’s power and ability to drive in other players’ runs.
OPS: This is a combination of OBP and SLG, yielding an overall performance metric.
RC: Runs Created, this is a cumulative statistic of how many runs (points) the player was worth – this is a standard metric for total, cumulative achievement.
RC/27: Runs Created per 27 outs, this is the cumulative achievement represented by RC divided by the number of chances, yielding a very advanced overall value metric for the batter.
Sam Lau, Catcher: The team’s longtime catcher returned to full-time duty in 2005, after a 2004 season split with then-rookie Tina Quach, and Lau came back with fury, posting career highs in almost every category – his .304-.397-.498 line completely obliterated his career averages, as Lau also put up 161 hits, 26 doubles, and 25 homeruns in 530 at bats. Lau also hit 113 RBI and scored 105 runs, one of four 100-100 players on the team, and made it to the all-star game for the first time in his career. On top of consistently hitting well, Lau also came through in the clutch when it counted – his line bumped up to a .352-.430-.582 with runners in scoring position, and an even greater .356-.456-.733 in close/late situations. Unfortunately, 2005 will go down as the final year for Sam Lau, who moves on to Daly City’s AAA affiliate, but not before posting his .278-.381-.463 line and going down in history as high OBP, power- hitting first catcher of the Daly City Montis.
Tina “Experimental Error” Quach, Utility Catcher/Outfielder: Backup catcher Tina Quach found herself in much the same role she had last season, seeing significant playing time both at catcher and in the outfield. Quach started out the season abysmally, posting a .167-.286-.333 line in April, and following it up with a .172-.351-.207 May. She began to come to life after that, however, and exploded through June-July-August, eventually ending up with a .303-.386-.433 season in 290 plate appearances, similar to the .299-.386-.409 line she posted in 2004. With a second solid, albeit once again part time season, the Experimental Error seems to have established herself as a passable hitter – good average with a high OBP, although not quite much in the power department. Her abilities will be tested, especially on defense, when she moves in to become the team’s starting catcher in 2006.
Derek Lew, 1st Baseman: Expected to be a cornerstone of the young, new squad, unlike the previous two seasons Lew was anything but a measure of consistency in 2005. He started out the season with a huge April – .361-.370-.648, with 30 RBIs and 30 Runs, along with 17 doubles. At that point Lew had seemed all but set to go onto a career year. Instead, Lew plummeted, going .226-.247-.417 in May (yet somehow still driving in 16 RBI) before getting injured for 7 weeks with a fractured knee, a devastating loss that sidelined him until mid-July. Lew returned, but didn’t seem to be the same – he posted an impressive .282-.301-.615 July, but dipped down to .254-.269-.509 in August, and bottomed out at .176-.211-.308 in September. The postseason, however, seemed to hint at a resurgence for the powerhouse hitter – in 80 at bats (and 84 plate appearances), Lew went .325-.357-.637, driving in 17 RBIs and scoring 14 runs. He ended the season at .266-.285-.507, a mark which seems to indicate that his power-hitting prowess is all there, but he’s not making consistently good contact, despite posting a career-low 6 strikeouts. Overall, an extremely disappointing season for Lew, with an offseason spent hoping he can recover from his fractured knee and return to the form that helped him hit a league-leading 74 doubles and last 764 at bats in 2004.
Rudy Puzon, Designated Hitter/Backup 1st Baseman: The rookie Puzon entered into the season as a player straight out of high school. Projected initially as a decent hitter with both low ceiling and high floor, Puzon shocked many when he posted a .325-.391-.588 line in his first month, while leading the team with 8 HR. Thereafter, Puzon settled into a consistent groove, and went on to post 116.8 Runs Created, 3rd on the team behind Batter of the Year Joey Wong and Rookie of the Year Henry Nghe, and hit .301-.383-.522, an extremely impressive performance that bodes well for the rookie. With Lew going down in late May, Puzon stepped up and filled in most of the games at designated hitter, and was one of the biggest additions in terms of replacing the output void left by the departures of sluggers Ho and Tienturier.
Cristian Ortiz, 2nd Baseman: Signed on back in 2003 as a defensive wizard, Ortiz had big shoes to fill as he moved into the starting 2nd base job. No one expected him to hit for power, get on base consistently, or score runs – Ortiz’s role was purely as a defensive specialist who could hopefully pass as a decent hitter in the lineup. Ortiz started the season at the #8 slot, usually reserved for the worst hitter in the lineup. Having gone .257-.324-.421 in 2003 when he played half a season, and a .230-.296-.392 in only 25 games, the expectations weren’t very high. Ortiz, however, surprised all of his critics when he went .289-.315-.488 in his first month, a line he would more or less stick to. Throughout the rest of the season, Ortiz would draw comparisons to a “Jeter with speed”, as he hit a .284-.342-.460 line while knocking in a surprising 23 homeruns and stealing 58 bases. Like the real-life Jeter, however, Ortiz would really come to life once in the postseason, where he hit .422-.458-.688 in 64 at bats and hit 16 RBI and scored 12 runs, something which seemed to directly contradict his .173-.205-.212 line in close/late situations during the regular season. We’ll have to see next season if his newfound hitting abilities are the real deal or some one-season fluke.
Kelvin Huang, Backup 2nd Baseman: Without a backup middle infielder for much of the first half of the season, newcomers Ortiz and Nghe manned the middle infielder positions for most all of the first half. Meanwhile, Kelvin Huang, a 60-rated second baseman and 40-rated shortstop, bashed away in the minor leagues, where he had gone 340 at bats with a .353-.437-.588 line. By July the club decided he was major-league ready, and was brought up to the bigs, where he served as a spot starter to give the starting middle infielders some much needed rest. Rather than being a simple fill-in starter, however, Chang exploded in his first two starts, going a combined 4-9 with 4 runs and 4 RBI. He went on to a .333-.359-.617 line in 60 at bats and 16 games, although he sank somewhat with a .217-.217-.261 August and saw a resurgence in limited duty with a .600-.588-.667 line in 4 September games. Overall, the rookie backup showed some strong flair, going .347-.365-.541 in 26 games, although the limited playing time and more standard scouting reports cast some doubt as to whether those numbers are truly representative of his ability. In any case, Daly City has seemed to have found a solid middle infielder from the bench, putting some confidence behind SS and 2B should Nghe or Ortiz ever go down with an injury.
Joey Wong, Third Baseman: With the big losses of Ho and Tienturier, much of the burden fell on Wong as the primary run producer, especially after Lew’s injury and subsequent troubles. Wong didn’t disappoint, and in this, his final year, finally captured the batter of the year award in which he had long been overshadowed by five tool players Ho and Tienturier. Wong finished .001 behind batting champion Nghe, and was #3 in OPS in the league, #8 overall in the entire Monti league, and finished 2nd with 148.5 runs created. The overall season was fairly on par with Wong’s career numbers he finished with a .361-.421-.567 line, and 130 RBIs and 124 Runs, to lead the team. For his career, he finished with 1924 at bats in 474 games, accumulating 707 hits, 115 doubles, 10 triples, and 92 HR, along with 421 RBI, 396 Runs, 220 K’s to 203 walks, and 31 stolen bases, for a .367-.427-.581 line, making him the team’s all-time leader in HR, RBI, Runs, Hits, and Batting Average.
Joanna Maung, Backup saung-gah-basewoman: It was another year of slight improvement for the young third basewoman. Playing sparingly again (56 games, 186 AB), Maung put up some fairly good numbers – a .306-.378-.435 line, marking a good increase in her contact abilities, although this was somewhat negated by a decreased ability to garner walks – 21 in 207 plate appearances, compared to 26 in 186 the year. Nevertheless, she saw a second consecutive increase in her OPS. Whether she likes it or not, however, Maung seems set to be cast into the frying pan come next season – with the imminent departure of Joey Wong, Maung is left as the only player with significant experience fielding 3rd base, where she carries a 61-rating defense. Maung will have to demonstrate her ability to both field 3rd and improve her performance against lefties, against whom she batted .206-.325-.441 this season.
Henry “Mr.” Nghe, Shortstop: The “rookie”, if a 28-year old can be called that, was a huge question mark entering the season. He seemed to have mediocre skills, and few believed he could jump in and begin replicating the OBP ability of the prior year’s Sean Mok to set the table. Instead, Nghe surprised many with his first .324-.389-.520 month, where he began a precipitous rise until the climactic month of August, where he posted a gaudy .414-.439-.638 line that solidified him as one of the premiere players of the game. Instead of being a bottom-of-the-order player, or even a top of the order table setter, by mid-season Nghe had found himself hitting in the #5 spot behind Joey Wong, with his league-leading .362 AVG and propensity for hitting big (49 doubles, 13 triples, and 74 extra base hits to lead the team) that would eventually lead to his winning the Rookie of the Year award. Barring a sophomore slump, Nghe looks poised to become one of the best shortstops in the league, and take on a role as one of the primary run producers of the team, especially with star 3B Joey Wong retiring.
Jonathan “The Cheet” Chee, leftfielder: After a dreadful 2004 spent in and out of a starting role, Chee returned to the Leftfield position he held in 2003, and in the two years since, has shown some dramatic development as a hitter. Chee started out slowly, with a .226-.314-.387 line, causing him to only play 8 games all of April (and allowing players like Tiffany Ho and Jason Liu a chance in the outfield). Chee bounced back in May, however, with a .324-.472-.471 line, buoyed by a monthly high 12 hit-by-pitches, despite only 88 plate appearances overall. Fully up to speed now, Chee found himself firmly in a starting role, and put up a solid and surprisingly consistent performance throughout the rest of the season, coming on fire in September when he belted out a .383-.495-.580 month, combined with a 12 hit-by-pitch surge that brought his total to a league-leading 49. For the season, Chee went .312-.436-.424, 3rd, 1st, and 8th on the team, respectively. Chee also piggy-backed a league-high 20 steals on double steals with Cubilo and Ortiz, a dramatic feat considering his 10 (out of 100) running speed and 5 stealing ability.
Jason Liu, Leftfielder: Liu exploded onto the scene out of nowhere in 2004, getting a callup two months into the season and shocking all with a 39-39 double/HR performance in 433 AB, for a .323-.409-.702 season. Though projected in scouting reports as a raw power hitter, Liu’s overall line seemed to indicate a complete player, who had good contact and basewalking ability in addition to his propensity for extra base hits. Liu was up for a second season, and despite shocking numbers in 2004, once again started the season from the bench, with Jonathan Chee and Francis Chen seated at the corner outfield positions. With early struggles by both Chee and Chen, however, Liu came onto a starting role quickly, and mashed his way as a starter to succesively more impressive months in the first half. Liu hit some struggles in the second half, however, and with Jonathan Chee catching a groove, Liu found himself in a part time position as he continued some second-half struggles. Liu ended the season with a still impressive .298-.348-.579 line, cashing in on 28 homeruns, 3rd behind Puzon and Wong, despite having only 399 at bats.
Aubrey Cubilo, Centerfielder: Another of the soon-to-be-departed, Daly City’s longtime leadoff hitter would go off with a humble last season. After hitting at a torrid .319-.333-.459 pace, and stealing 26 bases in 46 games, before going down with a season-ending injury in 2003, Cubilo came back in 2004, asserting her proficiency at the leadoff position with 58 doubles and 15 triples, along with 123 runs and a team-leading 67 steals. This year, Cubilo provided more of the same, though sacrificing some power for improved on-base ability, and blazing the basepaths for a new league-record 77 steals to 9 caught stealing, for a 89.5% SB%. Aubrey retires with a .296-.322-.409 line, and 170 steals, far and away the all-time team leader.
Francis Chen, Rightfielder: It was a maddening year for Francis Chen. After breaking onto the scene with a .241-.268-.537 season that showed as many gaping flaws as huge promises, Chen’s sophomore season proved to be all disappointment. Out of the gate, Chen stumbled with a .210-.333-.419 line, although his OBP and relative SLG showed some glimmer of hope if Chen could find the ability to make consistent contact. However, Chen only plunged to further depths of atrocity, going .125-.263-.250 in May and never getting better, eventually ending his season with a quite pitiful .179-.307-.417 line. While analysts and scouts everywhere knew Chen would be an inconsistent enigma, even his most pessimistic critics didn’t expect him to flame out this early. The future holds great uncertainty for the once promising Chen, although his ending line for the 2005 postseason run to the world series may yet leave a lingering bit of hope: .244-.400-.805 in 12 games, with a team-leading 7 homeruns.
Tiffany Ho, Backup SS, Outfielder: The spirited Ho, like fellow rookie Alfred Vong a fresh player out of high school (and the two youngest players on the team), turned out a decent performance in her rookie season, in which she went .279-.305-.361 with 10 steals in 64 games. Ho started off slowly, with a .243-.263-.297 April, but began to become progressively better, with strong contact numbers in the second half. She also seemed to be a much more confident player at home, where she hit .333-.365-.433. Given the ever-tumultuous outfield situation, especially with Chen’s flame-out and the retirement of Cubilo, Daly City fans chance to see a lot more of the spunky rookie outfielder in 2006.
The 2005 Batter Composite (sorted by Runs Created per 27 outs):
Recap of stats:
Games: The number of games a pitcher has played – although this is out of 162 games, pitchers are not expected to play all games
Starts: This is the number of times a starter has started the game. A full-time starter in a 5-man rotation can be expected to throw 32 starts. In a 6-man rotation, which the Daly City Montis use, a full-time starter can be expected to throw 27 starts.
Record: The win-loss record of the pitcher. Wins are how many times a pitcher has won a game, and a loss is the number of times the pitcher has lost, both calculated using complicated methods. These stats are largely irrelevant.
Saves: The number of times a pitcher has finished out a game and protected the team’s narrow lead. This stat is largely irrelevant.
Holds: The number of times a pitcher preserved a lead. This stat is largely irrelevant.
Blown saves: The number of times a pitcher has given up a narrow lead – low numbers are irrelevant, but high numbers indicate a bad reliever.
QS/CG/SHO: Quality Starts are how many times a starter has thrown 6 innings while giving up less than 3 runs, which is a standard of consistency. Complete games are how many times a starter has thrown the entire game, which is a standard of endurance. Shutouts are how many times a starter has thrown an entire game without giving up a run, which is a standard of dominance.
Innings: How many innings (baseball’s time unit) a player has thrown
K’s: Strikeouts (the batter fails to hit the ball at all) – strikeouts indicate a dominating pitcher
Walks: The number of times a pitcher allows a batter a free advance because the pitches are not thrown accurately – this is a rough indicator of a pitcher’s control and throwing accuracy.
HBP: Hit-batter-with-pitch, the number of times a batter has been hit with a pitch.
WP: Wild Pitch, in which the ball is thrown so far off target that not even the catcher can catch it.
RS/G: Runs Scored per Game, counting how many runs the offense scores per start by the pitcher.
AVG: The opposing batters’ AVG, indicating how often batters achieve hits
OBP: The opposing batters’ OBP, indicating how much the pitcher allows batters to reach base
SLG: The opposing batters’ SLG, indicating how much the pitcher allows batters to hit for power
K/9: The rate at which the pitcher throws strikeouts – roughly a metric of dominance
ERA: The number of runs a pitcher allowed on average – this is a measurement of the pitcher’s real performance.
CERA: A metric on the same scale as ERA, but which is an overall performance metric.
WHIP: Another overall performance metric, more crude than CERA.
Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: The starting ace was dominant yet again this year, as Yan brought his lights-out pitching to an entirely new level. Once again finished 30-2 (he’s been 30-2 in 32 starts in all three seasons), Yan finished with an astounding 0.98 ERA and 0.48 WHIP, not to mention a godly 0.19 Component ERA. Padding his power numbers, Yan also struck out 469 batters in 276 innings this year, obliterating his previous career record of 444 K’s in 276 2/3 innings in 2003 and setting a 15.3 K’s per 9 innings mark. Yan also set career highs with 31 quality starts, 25 complete games, and 14 shutouts, and highlighted the season with astounding performances, including his 10-inning 1 hit shutout on opening day, FOUR 1-hitters and a no-hitter (1 on-base-by-ERROR short of a perfect game). Yan also pitched five consecutive shutouts in September, and currently holds a 28-game winning streak.
Josiah Leong, #2 Starting Pitcher: The ever on-the-cusp Leong threw in yet another almost there season. Making 30 starts, Leong switched back and forth between brilliance and abysmality – he made nine starts with 1 run or less, third most behind Yan and Zhao, yet ended up with the highest ERA of the five main starters and the highest WHIP of anyone on the entire team. Despite this, Leong continued to flash great potential – he struck out 227 batters, good for #12 in the league and #6 in the UL. In addition, his 11.1 K’s per 9 innings was second most in the league, only behind Yan. Leong’s Achilles Heel still seems to be his control – while his opponent’s AVG and SLG numbers seem to be a good .217 AVG and .392 SLG, his OBP was a high .324, especially considering his low initial AVG. He gave up 87 walks in only 183 2/3 innings, in addition to hitting 23 batters to lead the Universal League, although his 4.26 walks per 9 innings mark is dramatically improved from his 6.69 mark when he was a starter two years ago. With the starter’s pool getting crowded, with Zhao emerging as a dominant ace and rookies Wade and Chin proving their worth, and possibly a young Vong waiting in the wings, Leong’s hold on the #2 starter position, and even a guaranteed spot in the rotation, seems uncertain, as he’s currently the worst starter on the team.
Terrence Zhao, #3 Starting Pitcher: Zhao had a break-out year in 2004, where he was a surprise sleeper as the #3 starter, with a 2.94 ERA and 0.99 WHIP, a dramatic improvement over his 4.14 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in the inaugural 2003 seasons. With a dominating 3-hit shutout in his 1st start of the season, Zhao set the tone early, going 4-1 with a 1.64 ERA in the first month. From there, Zhao continued to dominate, and really began to shine when he hit August, where he pitched five consecutive shutouts. For the first time, Zhao also threw more K’s than innings, for a 9.3 K’s per 9 innings mark, and he asserted his dominance with a 2nd-place 27 quality starts, 2nd-place 9 shutouts, and 11th-place 11 complete games. Zhao also finished 2nd place in opponent’s AVG, OBP, and SLG. All in all, the past three seasons have seen tremendous growth for Zhao from a middling #5 starter to solid ace, and now to a lights-out legend, the undisputed second best pitcher in the league.
Sean Wade, #4 Starting Pitcher: One of three rookie starters on the team, Sean Wade came in projected as the #5 starter – a kid with good control and a decent floor who projected to be consistent, though not spectacular. Compared to fellow rookie Samantha Chin, Wade was to be the thunder to Chin’s lightning. Instead, Wade took off in the first half of the season, going 5-0 in five starts in the first month with a 2.04 ERA and an amazing 0.63 WHIP, bested only by Nathan Yan. Wade continued to dominate into May and June, and for a time even led the team in wins. By his fourth game, Wade would already have his first complete game shutout. He began to cool off once he hit the second half, however, with a bad 5.60 ERA July (although he still managed a decent 1.24 WHIP), and at the end of September finished the season at 20-8 in 29 starts, with a 3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 201 innings. To top it all off, Wade would go 4-0 in the postseason with a 1.72 ERA as the team’s second-best postseason starter. All in all, a huge rookie season for Wade, who also finished #2 in Rookie of the Year balloting behind teammate Henry Nghe, and a promising sign of huge things to come for the slow-throwing Wade.
Samantha Chin, #5 Starting Pitcher: The other half of the team’s rookie starter duo, Chin flashed on and off all season like a strobe-light – she was slammed with a horrific 7.33 ERA, 1.37 WHIP month in April, then proceeded with a promising 2.57 ERA, 1.09 May (where she went 3-1 with her only loss, a 9-inning 2-run outing). The following month would see her fall back to a more average 4.44 ERA, but the next July Chin jumped back with a 2.21 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. She would fail to keep her success going on, however, and met with a 5.76 ERA, 1.44 August, before showing her explosive side yet again with a 2.70 ERA, 0.98 WHIP September. The most amazing aspect of this is that through it all, Samantha finished with a 13-1 record, the second W-L ratio on the team, luckily aided by her league-best 7.7 run support per game. Overall, an extremely promising rookie year for Chin, who showed flashes of being one of the league’s best starters every other month. Whether she can harness that into season-long consistency remains to be seen.
Miguel Pardo, #6 Starting Pitcher: The old stalwart, with magic soaking his spine – no one could read Pardo’s mind in April, when he went a phenomenal 3-0 in 3 starts, throwing 25 innings with 2 complete games and 1 shutout, posting a 1.08 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. Pardo, who had been with the team as a starter since way back in the 2003 season, had always showed flashes of brilliance that were often drowned out by his other starts that were often so bad that sports writers didn’t know whether they could still call him a ‘starting pitcher’ or if the simple ‘thrower’ was a more appropriate term. Pardo’s start, however, amazed all, and many wondered if Pardo had finally gotten it all together. After all, Pardo’s 1.08 ERA was even lower than the great Nathan Yan’s! The doubts were all back with his 4.43 ERA follow up month, but a 2.93 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in June once again sparked intense interest in the #6 starter. The magic would run out eventually for Pardo, however, as he settled into his old-self numbers – a 6.38 second-half ERA. Pardo would end the year with a 9-2 record and 4.19 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, showing significant improvement over his previous two years, although his second-half numbers cast serious doubt over exactly how much Pardo developed. Like Leong, Pardo, who’s on the borderline as one of the worse pitchers on the team, faces stiff competition in the rotation, where several new pitchers have emerged to crowd the rotation
Alfred Vong, Long Reliever: Another newcomer this year, Alfred, who projected as a starter, figured to spend most of his time in the bullpen, especially with the packed rotation. There Vong pitched as the team’s long reliever all season, accumulating 63 2/3 innings in 24 games, including 1 start late in the season. Overall, Vong’s 4.24 ERA was slightly under the league’s average, but this statistic partly masks Vong’s fine season-long performance that was peppered with huge meltdowns. Vong started out very well, maintaining a sub-3.00 ERA at the half-season point, but saw his July ERA balloon up to 8.18, and got hit hard again in September with an ERA of 21.60. Discounting the months of July and September, Vong’s ERA would be a scant 2.01. The prospects look good for the young rookie, although it may yet be a while longer until Vong finally gets a shot at a full rotation spot.
Angel Poon, Middle Reliever: As the team’s middle reliever, a supersized rotation meant that the bullpen saw little work this year, and having been displaced as the team’s top reliever by now-setup reliever Alvina Chu, Poon worked only 50 innings, compared to 65 the past two seasons. Poon’s ERA also saw a bump from a 2.88 ERA 2004, although this was somewhat expected given the rather high 1.14 WHIP last year. Overall, Poon was very effective during the three-month middle summer stretch from May-July, but she got slammed in the other months, resulting in a fairly average overall season.
Katie Clayton, Mopup Reliever: The often down Katie Clayton finally came around to putting up a decent season this year – after hitting the 9.00 ERA mark each of the past two seasons (on 43 and 12 innings), with WHIPs well into the 1.90’s, Clayton turned in a 4.50 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, and a 3.70 Components ERA. With the rotation getting ever more crowded, however, and showing no signs of letting up their dominant, complete-game throwing performances, Katie Clayton, the league-average bullpen pitcher, may be a part of a dying breed that won’t remain very much longer with the team.
Helen Yamamoto, Mopup Reliever: Taking over the title from Katie Clayton as worst pitcher ever, Yamamoto set record-worsts in pitching for the Daly City team – she packed a 9.35 ERA and 2.54 WHIP, and even worse, had a components ERA of 12.05. Despite this, she still pitched a substantial 26 innings of work, raising the team’s ERA from 2.83 to 2.94 all on her own.
Alvina Chu, Setup Reliever: After breaking onto the scene with a stunning 2.58 ERA, 1.04 WHIP part season in 2004, Chu impressed even further in 2005, although not without controversy. Chu became the team’s primary reliever, appearing in 35 games and 63 2/3 innings with a 1.70 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Chu, however, was not the most consistent of relievers, especially early on. While she pitched astoundingly well on her own, she made life a nightmare for many of the starters, inheriting 28 runners and allowing a team-high 11 (39.3%) to score, making her the 7th worst pitcher in the league. Chu also finished 3rd with 7 blown saves in 19 opportunities, robbing many a starter of a hard earned win while padding her league-leading 9 wins as a reliever.
Zubeda Khan: The rookie reliever came in at the beginning of the year hoping to be the team’s next new savior at the closer role, which has now seen a tumultuous 3 closers in 3 years. Would she be the one to finally establish security at the position? Khan seemed to have the right make for a closer – unlike last year’s flamethrower Josiah Leong, Khan was projected as a crafty, control-driven pitcher who’d be able to finish out games with consistency. Khan astounded in April when she jumped out to an 0.87 ERA and 0.68 WHIP in 10 1/3 innings of work, working 9 games, saving 5 games, and winning one in the process, quickly drawing comparisons to 2003’s closer Michelle Absalon (she had finished that year with an 0.83 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 46 saves in 64 2/3 innings). The magic wouldn’t last very long, however, as Khan got hit badly in May and June, before throwing 7 shutout innings in July and also having a good September. Overall, the rookie managed to save 29 games in 34 opportunities, marking a second straight year of decline after Josiah’s 40 edge-of-your-seat saves in 2004 and Absalon’s 46 saves in 2003. Perhaps Khan’s consistency will begin to develop later on in her career, but for now, it’s back to the drawing board to find a consistent closer for Daly City.
2005 Pitcher Composite (sorted by Components ERA)
|Alvina Chu||35||0||9-3||1||12||7||0/0/0||63 2/3||54||16||0||1||.191||.239||.309||7.6||1.70||1.72||0.91|
|Terrence Zhao||31||31||23||4||0||0||27/11/9||237 1/3||245||75||4||0||6.9||.192||.258||.278||9.3||1.74||1.74||1.01|
|Samantha Chin||26||26||13-1||0||0||0||14/2/1||168 1/3||163||37||16||13||7.7||.234||.290||.402||8.7||4.06||3.23||1.11|
|Zubeda Khan||42||0||2-3||29||0||5||0/0/0||46 2/3||38||11||0||1||.241||.283||.408||7.3||3.47||3.28||1.14|
|Alfred Vong||24||1||4-2||2||3||0||1/0/0||63 2/3||53||15||1||1||12.4||.245||.289||.469||7.5||4.24||3.83||1.18|
|Josiah Leong||30||30||13-9||0||0||0||16/1/0||183 2/3||227||87||23||7||6.8||.217||.324||.392||11.1||4.07||3.84||1.27|
|Angel Poon||27||0||2-2||2||4||2||0/0/0||50 1/3||45||11||3||3||.262||.310||.449||8.0||3.75||3.96||1.19|
A look at the team awards for the 2005 season:
Team Defensive Player of the Year: Sam Lau
Despite starting only 139 games, the stout catcher actually led the league in starts, defensive innings, and total chances. Most importantly, however, Lau also led the league by a huge margin with 48.3% of would-be basestealers thrown out, which was probably the biggest factor in earning him the league’s Golden Glove award at catcher, as well as the team’s defensive player of the year.
Rookie of the Year: Henry “Mr.” Nghe
It’s rare for a player to perform so well in his first year, but the 28-year old “rookie” performed better than any rookie in recent memory since Ichiro Suzuki made his first appearance in the Major League Baseball league and won both Rookie of the Year and MVP. Nghe didn’t do quite so well, but did win the league’s Rookie of the Year award and made a strong showing in the Batter of the Year awards. The shortstop exceeded all expectations and developed into a polished, middle-of-the-lineup hitter. Nghe emerged as the best among a strong class of rookies – Rudy Puzon himself developed into another strong, middle-of-the-lineup hitter, and also led the league in homeruns. Sean Wade also developed into one of the best and most consistent pitchers in the league, and Samantha Chin showed strong promise as she put together a very decent rookie season. The younger rookies, Alfred Vong and Tiffany Ho, also performed decently in limited time, and should see even bigger roles next season.
Comeback Player of the Year: Jonathan “The Cheet” Chee
There weren’t many candidates to choose from this year – for such a young team, not many players have really had time enough to be great, fall from glory, and become great once again. While not the epitomic Comeback Kid, “The Cheet”, the RF starter way back in the 2003 season, had put up a decent .278-.363-.366 line in 525 at bats in 2003 – average in the average department, decent in the OBP department, and downright atrocious in the SLG department. With the sudden surge of RF power potential in newcomers Francis Chen and Jason Liu in the 2004 season, Chee took a backseat, playing only 54 games (178 at bats) and putting up a .219-.344-.303 line. With Norman Ho gone this year, however, Chee found a berth at LF, and after a slow start, became the starting LF and put up his best season yet – .312-.436-.424 in 446 at bats, with career highs in virtually every hitting category, including a dramatic cutting down of K’s from 112 in 525 at bats to a 65 in 446.
Breakout Player of the Year: Cristian Ortiz
Although this award could have also gone to Chee, who developed from league-average obscurity + OBP ability to become an AVG and OBP machine, Ortiz, the team’s second base defensive wizard, who had been a below-average Pokey Reese type hitter each of his past two seasons, displayed solid hitting and tremendous speed for the first time ever – Ortiz far more than doubled his numbers from his 2003 half-season, hitting 28 doubles to his previous 7, 88 to 38 RBI, 105 to 33 Runs, and most importantly 58 to only 2 steals.
Performance of the Year: 5-peat shutouts by Zhao and Yan
This year’s Performance of the Year award goes to Zhao and Yan, who in consecutive months accomplished a streak of 5 consecutive shutouts – from July 30 through August 22, Zhao made 5 complete game shutouts in 5 games, including a one-hitter in which he also struck out a career-high 17 batters. During this time, Zhao gave up 23 hits, 16 walks, and got 44 strikeouts, for a WHIP of 0.87 and an 8.8 K/9. Picking up right where Zhao left off, the following month Yan embarked on his own 5 shutout streak, although one of these games was marred by an unearned run on an error. Nonetheless, Yan threw 5 complete games without an earned run, including two 2-hitters and another near-perfect game (imperfect because of an error) and 18- and 19-K games. Overall, Yan gave up 13 hits, 2 walks, and got 81 K’s, for a WHIP of 0.33 and a 16.2 K/9.