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The 2005 Mid-season Review


We’ve reached the all-star break at the end of June, and with that the mid-point of the season.  81 of 162 games have been played, and if anything the league is packed even closer together.  At the end of May, three teams were playing in the .200s, far away from contention.  Now, all teams are at least above .300, and only two teams, the .765 Daly City Montis and the .630 Canon Image-Stabilizers have commanding, >.600 records. 

After an incredible 24-4, .857 start, the still-dominant Daly City Montis have cooled down a bit, with a current record of 62-19, .765 that still leads the division by 15 games.  They had a nearly disastrous May however, losing a series of games and going 19-8, .700, with 6 of those losses being crushing 1-run defeats.   The rest of the division is falling further and further behind – all seems hopeless for the slugging Microsoft Longhorns and the small-market Mozilla Firefoxes.  The Apple Septic Tanks are hanging on to what looks like a sure wildcard slot – at 47-34, .580, they’re the second-best team in the Universe League and 6 games in the wildcard lead, despite being pummeled by Daly City (2-9) and arch-rival Microsoft (4-8). 

Elsewhere in the Universe League, the Terran Division has become a two-team race between the Caribbean Pirates and the surprisingly competitive Europe Cricketeers.  The Cricketeers, not expected to be competitive this year in baseball-starved Europe, have played at a fairly ordinary level, going 42-39, .519, which is good enough for a division that’s otherwise entirely below average.  The Caribbean Pirates, barely functioning as a team, have willed their way to a game behind Europe with their few superstars, 1B Luis Devitt (.282-.341-.541, with 61 RBIs and 47 Runs) and 2B Mike Friedel (.281-.409-.577 with 54 RBIs and 55 Runs) and David Barnett, who at 11-3 is tied for 2nd in the league for Wins. 

The biggest waste of talent might just go to Asia’s duo of hitters, Alex Quiros (.306-.380-.625, including a league-leading 24 HR and 67 RBI) and Tony Clark (.307-.391-.588), arguably the two best hitters in the Universe League.  Despite this huge production, the rest of the team has been abysmal, 13th (of 16) in runs scored, and 15th in the number of runs allowed, resulting in a .333 record, the worst of any team in the majors.  Both players are just entering their primes, Quiros at 27 and Clark at 28, and with the 3rd ranked minor-league system in the baseball world, Asia could be coming on strong in future years.

In the other league, the Shinto-World league, Canon and Tokyo have begun to pull away as powerhouses in their respective divisions.  In the World Cities division, the Tokyo Samurai have a commanding 8-game lead with a 48-33, .593 record.  Despite leading the league in homeruns, they’ve got one of the worst offenses in the league, but they’ve been put ahead by a dominating pitching staff that is second only to Canon in the Shinto-World league.  In terms of hitting, star hitter (and homerun leader) Richard Peterson has provided all of it, going .332-.417-.671 which puts him at #2 in terms of OPS.  Tokyo’s dominant pitching has been their trump card, however.  They’ve got four starters with sub-4.00 ERAs, and solid although not dominant aces in Willard Weiler (3.31 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 8.15 K/9), and Michael Contreras (3.32 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 5.27 K/9). 

Good as Tokyo has been, they haven’t been nearly as dominating as the Canon Image Stabilizers, who are tops in both hitting and pitching.  They’ve got two 50-run men in catcher Francis Cote and 3B Celes Lazar, and they’ve got superstar Gates Skywalker (.332-.453-.714) to drive them in, with 64 RBI and 61 Runs of his own.  Their pitching is perhaps even more dominant than Tokyo’s, with leading Triple Crown candidate Justin Ramage (13-1, tops in the league, with a 2.15 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 9.11 K/9) and sub-4.00 ERA on their entire rotation. 

Outside of the two dominating division leaders, the rest of the field has been average, with only the Sony SuperSteady Shots, at 28-53, .346 qualifying as clear losers.  The strong Nikon Vibration Reducers, who were neck-and-neck with Canon at the start of the season, have fallen dramatically to a 41-40 record, due mostly to an utter June collapse, where they went 6-19.  Up to that point, they had been at 35-21, .625, right up with Canon.  What happened to Nikon?  The team’s superstar hitter, CF Richard Eager, played as well as ever, going .400-.495-.656.  Other key hitters completely collapsed however.  Fellow RBI-man catcher Magglio Colunga went from being a .335-.368-.528 type of hitter to hitting .196-.250-.250, driving in a measly 3 runs.  Similarly 2B oseph Harmon plummeted from an OBP of .396 in May to .283 in June, more than having his Runs from 26 to 10.  The pitching staff also imploded – ace Trent Barnes, 9-3 with a 2.69 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, went 0-5 with a horrendous 5.89 ERA and 1.49 WHIP.  A 6-game winner in May, Josue Huerta went 1-4 in June with an 8.49 ERA and 2.01 WHIP. 

As an individual team, Daly City has been up-and-down, and has suffered some devastating losses.  The key culprits have been a suspect bullpen, where closer Zubeda Khan and setup woman Alvina Chu lead the league with 5 blown saves each (Alvina somehow managing a 2.00 ERA and 1.03 WHIP out of all of this, while sniping 7 wins).  It’s been a cause of ire for Josiah Leong, Terrence Zhao, and Miguel Pardo, all of whom have had multiple wins lost because of the bullpen.  The biggest loss of all has been star first baseman Derek Lew however.  On May 22nd Derek was injured with a fractured knee while running the basepaths, putting him out of commission for 7 weeks – he missed the rest of May and all of June, and still has a week on the disabled list to go before making his return.  At the time he was leading the league in RBIs, and Daly City was thought to be at a severe disadvantage without their top slugger.  Surprisingly however, key hitters have stepped in to buoy the team in his absence, including a continued strong season by rookie Rudy Puzon and second-year rightfielder Jason Liu, who has now taken a firm hold on the leftfield position (with Jonathan Chee moving to DH, and Puzon moving to 1st base for the injured Lew). 

Sam Lau, catcher: After starting off decently, but without much power or the high OBP we’ve come to expect, Lau has continually bettered himself each month.  He’s now hitting at a .277-.382-.438 level, well in line with his career numbers, and good enough to get him onto the Universe League all-star team as the backup catcher. 

Tina Quach, backup catcher: After a horrible start in April, Quach didn’t fare any better in May – she managed a feeble .172-.351-.207 line for the month.  She started to come around in June, playing 11 games and achieving a .311-.319-.356 record, good enough to make for a decent singles hitter, but not much else.  She’s been quite a disappointment thus far this season, not achieving any of the good OBP numbers her first part-time season promised, and her defense at catcher has been suspect at well. 

Derek Lew, 1st baseman: After winning player of the month in April, Lew bottomed out before eventually getting injured in late May – over the 20 games he played, he went .226-.247-.417, although still somehow managed to drive in 16 RBIs.  The injury also snapped Derek’s continuous streak of 372 consecutive starts.  With a return next week, Lew hopes to jump back into form. 

Rudy Puzon, 1st baseman: Taking over the reins of 1st base and power slugger in the wake of Derek’s injury, the rookie sensation hasn’t failed to disappoint – he hammered in 24 RBI in May, and hasn’t let up with his numbers.  He went .244-.361-.500 in May and then .318-.414-.576 in June, and right now he’s leading the team in both RBI (61) and Runs (58), as well as homeruns (with 20).  He’ll likely go back to being the team’s regular DH once Lew comes back. 

Cristian Ortiz, 2nd baseman: Ortiz started to fall in May, going .237-.330-.392, and continually thwarting the team’s rallies from the bottom of the order.  He picked up the pace in June though, where he went .309-.330-.489.  He’s also been piling up the steals, and is currently #3 in the league with 24. 

Joey Wong, 3rd baseman: Wong seemed to lose his way a little bit in May, when he went “only” .310-.383-.487.  He jumped right back into form, however, in June, going .360-.417-.570, and climbing right back to the top of the leaderboard for AVG.  Despite being the team’s top hitter he still lags behind in run production, with only 53 RBIs to his credit. 

Joanna Maung, backup 3rd basewoman: After a relatively small role in April, Maung picked up the at bats in May and June, after injuries and a minor slump by 3rd baseman Joey Wong.  At the moment she’s batting a solid .318-.393-.430, and for a slow, part-time hitter has picked up a good 19 RBI and 23 Runs in only 107 At Bats.  Maung has also made big strides defensively – she’s now a very competent 61 (of 100) at 3B, and has improved to 46 in rightfield. 

Henry Nghe, Shortstop: Despite his average ratings, the shortstop has continued to impress, and only gets better every month.  Nghe went .340-.387-.505 in May, and turned in an even more impressive .376-.427-.554 June – he’s clipping Joey Wong’s heels in both AVG and OBP, and his slugging numbers are good too.  He leads the team (and league) with 27 doubles, and his 57 RBIs and 55 runs are great as well. 

Jonathan Chee, Designated Hitter: After a horrible April start, Jonathan Chee is really coming along as a hitter.  He batted .324 and .297 in May and June, respectively, but even more impressively has brought his OBP up to .430, the best on the team.  Hitting in the #2 spot, he’s scored his share of runs, and has found his niche on the team by getting on base and keeping rallies going, even if by getting hit by pitches (with 24 hit-by-pitches, he far and away leads the league).  Chee has also piggy-backed 11 steals off of Aubrey Cubilo double-steals, good for 3rd on the team, despite having a 10 running speed and 5 stealing ability rating (out of 100). 

Jason Liu, Leftfielder: After an ambiguous April start, Jason Liu has blossomed as a hitter – he’s continued to hammer in the hits and get on base, bringing him up to .309-.353-.566.  Perhaps most important, he’s been consistently good, without any significant lulls in any aspect of his game.  For April, May, and June respectively, Liu has gone .286-.319-.583, .314-.372-.510, -326-.363-.616. 

Aubrey Cubilo, Centerfielder: Cubilo has continued her strong play throughout the season – she’s currently at .302-.332-.399 as the team’s leadoff hitter.  While her OBP isn’t the strongest on the team, nor her slugging percentage the best, she’s made up by stealing 48 bases, putting her on pace for a record 96 on the season.  Adding in steals to her total bases would give Cubilo 201, which would be tops in the league. 

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: Francis has continued to fail throughout the season.  Despite having numerous chances, he’s failed completely to show any glimmers of his OBP and SLG powers.  His current line is .176-.301-.399, and he’s continued to play abysmally.  It’s a troubling sign, as Chen seems to have stagnated in his development at the young age of 16 – perhaps he’s in need of a trip down to AAA. 

Tiffany Ho, backup Outfielder: Playing in a limited role, Ho hasn’t had much of a notable season – her current line is .248-.280-.327, without any notable improvement.  She had a somewhat promising .290-.324-.387 May, but dipped right back down to a .212-.257-.303 June right after that.  She seems to have road troubles, as her home/road splits are impressive: .304-.339-.411 at home, and .178-.208-.222 on the road. 

Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: After a stellar 5-0 April, Yan had somewhat of a shaky and very mortal May.  He went 3-2 over 5 starts, and despite a 0.63 WHIP had a 2.41 ERA and failed to ever shut out a team.  He rebounded right back with an amazing June however – over 5 starts he went 5-0, completing all 5 games and shutting out 3 of them, all while striking out 79 batters (15.8 K/9) and achieving a 0.36 WHIP and a 0.40 ERA.  He’s far-and-away the league’s triple crown leader, with a 1.34 ERA, 13 wins, and 214 strikeouts, while also leading with 15.0 K/9 and a 0.50 WHIP. 

Josiah Leong, #2 Starting Pitcher: It’s been a rough stretch for #2 pitcher Josiah Leong.  After a shaky April, Leong appeared to be dominating May.  Even with a few managerial slip-ups, he went 3-1 in 5 starts, putting up a 2.52 ERA and impressive 0.86 WHIP, the kind of lights-out Josiah Leong pitching that the team’s been waiting for.  Hit by a whole bunch of blown relief appearances by the bullpen, however, and a strained back injury, Josiah’s June numbers suffered, as he went 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA and 1.58 WHIP.  He starts out July injury-free however, and can hopefully regaini his dominating May form.  For the season Josiah is at a 3.86 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, and is also dominating the league with 11.1 K/9, good for 2nd in the league. 

Terrence Zhao, #3 Starting Pitcher: Terrence Zhao has perhaps been the most hard-lucked of the Daly City pitchers.  Throughout May he had a number of botched wins, with his 7 Runners Left that Scored attest to (that’s 7 runners that subsequent relievers allowed to score).  He also lost a complete game 0-1 to start out June.  Somehow, Zhao has still survived with a 10-2 record and a 2.19 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, and is on the cusp of breaking into the leaderboard with his 125 K’s in 111 innings (that’s 10.1 K/9). 

Samantha Chin, #4 Starting Pitcher: After a shaky shaky 7.33 ERA start to her career, Chin has settled down effectively.  She was dominant in May with a 3-1 record and a 2.57 ERA, and despite an unlucky June with a 4.44 ERA, she managed only a 0.90 WHIP, a sign of good things to come.  For the season she’s 5-1, with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP, not bad at all for a rookie. 

Sean Wade, #5 Starting Pitcher: His dominant 5-0 April was a good indicator of just how good the rookie could be.  Although he doesn’t have the lights-out power dominance of his fellow starters, Wade has quietly worked himself up to a 11-3 record, tied for 2nd in the league, and an 0.81 WHIP and 2.12 ERA which are unmatched outside of Daly City. 

Miguel Pardo, #6 Starting Pitcher: Critics thought the magic had to run out sooner or later for the dominating Pardo.  After an outstanding 1.08 ERA start, Pardo has cooled a bit.  His 4.43 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in May were along the lines of his career numbers, but he still could have won all 3 of his starts if it wasn’t for the bullpen.  He surprised everyone however by coming right back with a 2.93 ERA, 1.04 WHIP June, and for the season his line stands at an impressive 5-0, 2.67 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. 

Alfred Vong, Long Reliever: The talented rookie has continued to perform well.  Over 31 1/3 innings he’s pitched with a 2.30 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, including substituting in and pitching for 7 1/3 innings (giving up only 1 run) in a long appearance that he won.  He’s done outstanding as a reliever, although with the strong play of everyone else it doesn’t look like he’ll have a chance to move into the rotation anytime soon.  Nevertheless, he’ll continue to be a strong presence that’s somewhat sorely needed in the shaky bullpen, having never blown a save and not allowing any of his 8 inherited runners to score (quite a feat). 

Helen Yamamoto, Mopup Reliever: The rookie mopup reliever has had a tumultuous rookie season.  After an abysmal start, where she had a 12.27 ERA and 2.45 WHIP in April, she went on to an even more horrendous 18.00 ERA and 4.00 WHIP in May.  After a stint on the DL though, she came back and has pitched 6 1/3 solid shutout innings so far, with a 0.95 WHIP. 

Katie Clayton, Mopup Reliever: Katie Clayton has been average, without any exceptional moments of brilliance.  She racked up a 6.35 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in 5 2/3 innings in May, and then put up a 4.77 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in June. 

Angel Poon, Middle Reliever: A prime culprit in Daly City’s shady bullpen, Angel Poon has so far allowed 3 of her 9 inherited runners to score and blown 2 saves.  Her ERAs of 3.24 and 1.29 in May and June have been fine, as has her 1.00 WHIP in June.  Her shaky 1.56 WHIP played a big role in several relief meltdowns, something which doesn’t show on her ERA but has hurt the confidence in her as a surefire go-to reliever. 

Alvina Chu, Setup Reliever: Alvina, Alvina.  Despite a glamorous 2.00 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, and an impressive 7-1 record, Chu’s success has come at the cost of 3 of 7 inherited runners scoring, and a league-leading 5 blown saves.  Despite her good numbers, the rotation has been clamoring for a more effective bullpen solution, something which only rookie long reliever Alfred Vong has satisfied. 

Zubeda Khan, Closer: So dominant in April, the once-promising Zubeda Khan has fallen far and hard since then.  Her 6.52 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in May only continued into June, where she had a 7.72 ERA and 1.71 WHIP, and along the way allowed 3 of 9 inherited runners to score and tied the league lead with 5 blown saves.  She’ll finish out the rest of the season as closer, but it appears as if once again Daly City will be in search of a new solution in the off season. 

In minor league news, the AAA Brisbane Warriors are dominating the league with a 75-6, .926 record.  It’s led by dominating sluggers Norman Ho, Desiree Tienturier, and Jean Paredes, all with slugging percentages over 1.000.  Lester Tam is trying to play the AA Panorama Pirates all by himself, hitting .341-.388-.451 and driving the one-man team to a .383 record, tied for last in the league with Mozilla’s AA.  The only likely callups this season seem to be forgotten backup 2B Kelvin Chang and Lester Tam, but promising starting pitcher W. Esguerra, ranked as the #1 prospect in baseball, looks to be only a year away from joining the major league team in 2006…

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Season-so-far: May 1st, 2005


It’s May the 1st, 2005, and the end of the first month of the season.  The league is off to an exhilarating start in its inaugural season.  Only a month in, it’s anybody’s game, but the significant players and trends have begun to establish themselves.

In the Shinto-World League, the race is hot in both of its four-team divisions, the Photomaker and World Cities divisions.  The Canon Image Stabilizers, led by both batter of the month Gates Skywalker and pitcher of the month Justin Ramage, have a tenacious 1-game hold on the division lead with a 16 wins and 12 losses, and a .571 record.  They’ve dropped 7 of their last 11, however, which has allowed the surging Nikon Vibration Reducers, who have won 8 of their last 11, to close in.  The Pentax Shake Reducers, meanwhile, have played steadily and are tied with Nikon for second place.  The biggest loser has been the Sony SuperSteady Shots, who despite a massive budget are at 8-20, .286 have by far the worst record of any team in the league (the next are the Paris Forfeiters at 13-15, .464.

The World Cities division is a tight race, with Tokyo leading by only a game, and Las Vegas, Venice, and Paris all within 3 games of the lead.

Meanwhile in the Universe League, the winners and losers so far have been more easily defined.

The Terran Division, consisting of the Caribbean Pirates, Europe Cricketeers, United States Patriots, and Asia Giants, has settled into place with the Caribbean and Europe at the top, the Pirates at 16-12 leading by 1 game.  As expected, Asia sits at the bottom of the league (along with the Mozilla Firefoxes) at 7-21, 2.50.  A disappointing surprise, however, has been the United States, who despite having some huge playmakers (catcher Andrew Amey and third baseman Juan Truex both being five-star hitters) have not delivered on the pitching end, with a 6.04 team ERA that is last in the league.

Things are most interesting on the Galactica Division.  Daly City has once again dominated, with a 24-4, .857 record.  The deep-pocketed Microsoft Longhorns are at 14-14, an even .500, while the Mozilla Firefoxes have plunged to 7-21.  The real story so far has been the Apple Septic Tanks, a team expected to be at the bottom of the standings, but which has somehow managed to achieve an 18-10, .643 record, putting them second-place in the division, and the second-best team in the entire league, all this while in the same division as the Daly City Montis and having lost all four games against them.  They’ve been buoyed by a consistent pitching staff, with a rotation led by Kyle Katarn (4-1, 3.04 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) and Wedge Antilles (5-0, 3.53 ERA, 1.22 WHIP), two solid, though not dominating, aces.

The Daly City team has been cruising along, despite some agonizingly close losses.  Of its four losses on the year, three were by a single run, and the other was by two runs.  In addition, three of those losses were starts by Josiah Leong, in which he left the game in the lead, only to have it blown and then lost by the reliever.

Despite the somewhat shaky bullpen, the team has otherwise been solid, leading the league in both pitching and hitting, and had both pitcher and hitter of the month, Nathan Yan and Derek Lew, respectively.

Sam Lau, Catcher: Lau has been steady at the catcher position, playing 26 of the team’s 28 games so far.  He leads the league in runners thrown out percentage, throwing out 7 of 13 runners, and has been solid on defense.  Where he’s lacking, though, has been of defense – with a .287-.339-.386 line, he’s far below his career numbers for on-base percentage and slugging.  Part of this may have to do with his staggering home and road game splits: At home, he’s hitting .348-.412-.543, while away he’s been an extremely disappointing .236-.274-.255.  Still, he’s doing well, and with backup Tina Quach floundering, looks to be secure at his position.

Tina Quach, Backup Catcher: Despite showing a lot of promise the year before, Quach has been disappointing so far, going .167-.286-.333 in only 5 games, although she’s been coming around recently (all her 3 hits in the past two games).  The rest of the backups have been slightly disappointing however, especially in the outfield, so she’ll find continue to find playing time.

Derek Lew, First Baseman: Derek had an astounding April, and in the wake of the team’s 2004 offseason turnover, has emerged as a dominant power hitter to fill in the voids left by the departures of Ho and Tienturier.  Lew batted .361-.370-.648 in April, setting himself up for a career year.  Most notably, however, Lew has scored 30 runs and driven in 30 RBIs batting in the #5 slot, leading the league in both categories, which was perhaps the largest contributing factor in winning the Batter of the Month award.

Rudy Puzon, Designated Hitter: An extremely pleasant surprise from the rookie designated hitter.  Puzon has played in 27 of the team’s 28 games, and in that span has managed to rack up a .325-.391-.588 line, leading the team with 8 HRs while usually batting in the #3 slot.  He is also second on the team in both runs and RBIs, and has been exceptional in pressure situations – in close/late situations, Puzon has batted .462-.529-1.154, and in scoring situations he’s hit .400-.406-..800.  With an extremely impressive April, Puzon seems to have cemented a hold as the team’s regular designated hitter.

Cristian Ortiz, Second Baseman: Cristian Ortiz, brought in as a Cesar Izturis-type defensive middle infielder, Ortiz has surprised with decent offensive.  His line of .289-.315-.488 is decent, and he is surprisingly tied for second on the team with 7 HRs.  Defensively, Ortiz has been stellar, converting all 111 of his total chances, and might very well win the defensive second baseman of the year.  Ortiz has also been fairly speedy on the basepaths, stealing 10 bases (caught once), which places him at #3 in the league.

Henry Nghe, Shortstop: Although he’s been fading for the past several weeks, Henry Nghe has been one of the better hitters on the team, with a .324-.389-.520 April line, and at one time hitting well over .500 AVG.  Lately however, Nghe hasn’t been doing so well – over the past two weeks he’s been hitting at an anemic .226-.324-.387, but without any other player who as a backup shortstop, Nghe has to weather through his slump and hope he returns to form.  On defense, which was his primary intent, Nghe has been iffy, committing 4 errors.

Joey Wong, Third Baseman: The other remaining member of Daly City’s previous big four hitters, Wong has been hitting at a good clip so far, hitting .382-.440-.600, continuing a steady improvement from year to year.  Along with Lew, he anchors the team at the core of the Daly City lineup.  Where Wong has been disappointing, however, is in his largest role as run producer and scorer.  His overall numbers are nice, but for the entire month Wong has a pedestrian 21 runs and 15 RBIs to show for it.  Hitting behind the unexpected power hitter Rudy Puzon, and surprise RBI numbers from leadoff hitters like Ortiz, Cubilo, and Lau (all of whom have hit more RBIs than Wong), Wong has had his RBI numbers sniped, although the case isn’t so different from when he was hitting in the #5 slot behind huge run-drivers Aubrey Cubilo, Derek Lew, Desireé Tienturier, and Norman Ho in 2003 and 2004, seasons in which he still scored a gaudy 157 and 134 RBIs, respectively.  The problem has been in the clutch, where Wong has slugged only .438 with runners in scoring position, and has hit an atrocious .143-.333-.214 in close/late situations.  While surprise performances from other hitters have maintained the Daly City machine so far, the offense will ultimately come to rely on him as one of its centerpieces, and Wong must pick up the pace in run scoring positions.

Joanna Maung, Backup Saung-gah-baseman: The career pinch hit extraordinaire has stepped up into a part-time starting role, starting 6 games (she’s yet to pinch hit), taking on starts at third base, right field, and designated hitter.  So far she’s hit .364-.400-.364, and most notably has hit .571-.556-.571 in scoring positions, driving in 5 runs in only 7 at bats.  Defensively, she’s been a liability, so a full-time starting gig at any other position but designated hitter is unlikely barring an injury, but filling in so far she’s been fairly good at getting on base – perhaps with a little more work on defense she could grow into a starting position somewhere.

Jonathan Chee, Leftfielder: Many anxiously awaited to see what form The Cheet of 2005 would take – the starting leftfielder of 2003 with a .278-.363-.366 line, or the part time hitter who only managed .219-.344-.303 in 2004.  The answer so far has been the latter – Chee has managed only 8 games, and in that span has hit .226-.314-.387 (although amusingly his OBP numbers come from not his 1 walk but his 3 hit-by-pitches).  He’s been in-and-out of the starting leftfield position, swapping places with Joanna Maung, Tiffany Ho, Jason Liu, and Francis Chen between left and right field.  Chee looked as if he had really turned a corner in spring training, showing glimpses of the capabilities of a .300+ contact hitter and on-base machine, but at the moment he stands at significant risk of losing the starting job entirely if the other players continue stronger play.

Aubrey Cubilo, Centerfielder: Cubilo has picked up right where she left off in 2004 – she’s hitting for a high average (.311, with a minimal OBP (.336) and SLG (.429), but stealing bases (14 steals and 0 caught stealing) and inexplicably driving in runs (19 runs, many of them from the #9 slot) like crazy.  Defensively she’s been a constant highlight reel, and her 3 assists are second in the league.  She’s been trading places with Ortiz between the #1 and #9 slots, but with more consistency in her hitting, she might more or less solidify herself at #1.

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: An enigma of wanton flailing, unfulfilled on-base potential, and raw power, Francis Chen has somewhat failed expectations.  At .210-.333-.419, he hasn’t been hitting well at all and has failed to even produce the gaudy power numbers that made him so enticing.  His problems mostly seem to be at home – in away games, he’s hit .227-.346-.523, which are exactly the kind of numbers expected.  Chee may be the first outfielder to go, but Chen needs stronger play and consistency, especially on the power end, to achieve his full potential.

Jason Liu, Leftfielder: The power hitter with the enormous potential has found a vacancy in leftfield left by Jonathan Chee’s weak play, and has seized upon it.  Though he’s played in only 20 games this season, Liu has amassed a .286-.319-.583 line, hitting 6 HR and 18 RBIs with 20 Runs in only 84 at bats.  While he hasn’t sealed himself as a starter yet, Liu is increasingly lookingly like the most consistent of all the potential corner outfielders, and may play out the entire or majority of the season as a starting player, as he did in 2004 when he went .323-.409-.702 and hit 39 HR in only 433 at bats.

Tiffany Ho, Backup Rightfielder: The rookie Tiffany, playing sparingly (9 games and 38 plate appearances) over the month, has amassed a meek .243-.263-.297 line, although one not too far away from where the Daly City outfielders have been playing.  She’s been doing well on the road, going .300-.333-.400 – with the continued weak play of Chee and Chen, and spot starts at 2B and SS where she’s the only other available fielder, she could still see significant playing time and get the experience she needs.

Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: The dominating ace Yan has still been dominating in this first month, although he’s seemed a bit more mortal as of late.  He started out the season with an other-worldly 10-inning, 1-hit shutout, going the distance for a 2-0 extra inning complete game.  He’s also had two other shutouts, a complete game 1-hitter and another 2-hiiter.  In between however, Yan has been hit for 3 runs in 7 innings twice, giving up 4 hits and 2 walks in the first and giving up a huge 8 hits and 1 walk in the second.  He’s still 5-0 in 5 starts, and with a league-leading 1.29 ERA, 0.52 WHIP, and 14.4 K’s per 9 Innings won the pitcher of the year award, but with two multi-run games against him, he’s looking a bit more shaky than usual.

Josiah Leong, #2 Starting Pitcher: The forever inconsistent Josiah Leong suffered an agonizing April.  With a 1.26 WHIP, and a 5.12 ERA, Leong managed to escape with a 1-1 record, but has played brilliantly in several games only to lose the lead late with blown leads by relief pitchers, something which happened in all four of his non-wins.  With a little bit more luck, Leong could easily be 5-0 with a 3ish ERA, and as the bullpen settles down he may just achieve that in the following months.

Terrence Zhao, #3 Starting Pitcher: Zhao continues his rapid improvement – he’s been a deceivingly dominant 4-1 with a 1.64 ERA in April, good for 2nd in the league.  His WHIP, however, is a shaky 1.20, and looking at his game logs show cause for concern – low runs, but with a lot of luck given the large number of hits and walks given up.

Samantha Chin, #4 Starting Pitcher: The rookie starter has disappointed immensely in her first month – she’s somehow escaped with a 1-0 record, but her 1.37 WHIP is scary, and her 7.33 ERA is downright frightening.  The number of K’s per inning – a good 29 K’s in only 27 innings show some promise – she might fall back to #6 for now, but has the potential to become very good.

Sean Wade, #5 Starting Pitcher: The other 5-0 pitcher on the team surprisingly doesn’t come from the lights-out stuff of Josiah Leong, Terrence Zhao, or even the promising rookie Chin, but from her fellow rookie starter Wade, he’s been nothing but consistent.  He’s racked up a 2.04 ERA, and an even more surprising 0.63 WHIP, by far the second-best in the league.  With his pinpoint accuracy, Wade as the reserved and deceptively subdued starter could become the second-most dominant pitcher in the league, in exactly the opposite fashion as #1 pitcher Nathan Yan.

Miguel Pardo, #6 Starting Pitcher: With only 3 starts on the season, Miguel Pardo has been surprisingly lights-out – he has the lowest ERA and nearly the lowest WHIP of any pitcher in the league, if only he had enough innings – an ERA of 1.08 and a WHIP of 0.76.  The #6 spot starter has found himself to be one of the most dominant pitchers in the league, something that none of his pitching ratings indicate.  Whether his dominance, or even competent pitching, continues will be seen, but for right now Pardo is showing huge promise to break out and achieve the consistency that his fleetingly brilliant career has lacked so far.

Alving Vong, Long Reliever: Vong has pitched three games and 8 1/3 innings so far, amassing a decent 3.24 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.  He’s showing good promise, and with a 70 endurance rating is the team’s best solution at long relief.  With Pardo’s surprising performances, Vong looks to stay in the bullpen, at least for this season.

Katie Clayton, Mopup Reliever: Used sparingly, Clayton has done decently in her 5 2/3 innings, pitching with a better-than-average 4.77 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, and as always managing to not lose a game.

Helen Yamamoto, Mopup Reliever: The rookie Yamamoto has been horrible so far, pitching only 3 2/3 innings with a 12.27 ERA and 2.45 WHIP.  In her 4th appearance she went out with an injury, a strained rotator cuff muscle that will sideline her for 2-3 weeks.

Angel Poon, Middle Reliever: In 4 games so far, Poon has pitched 9 1/3 innings with a 4.82 ERA and an impressive 0.86 WHIP.  She’s still one of the more reliable relievers in the bullpen, and is splitting the time fairly evenly with setup reliever Alvina Chu.

Alvina Chu, Setup Reliever: The workhorse of the Daly City bullpen, Chu has pitched 13 innings in 6 appearances.  She’s also been at the center of the biggest Daly City drama – she’s blown two saves and has been behind a large number of the starters’, particularly Josiah Leong’s, no-decisions.  While her ERA, at 2.77, is decent, her 1.38 WHIP and general inconsistency, has been cause for worry.

Zubeda Khan, Closer: The rookie closer has been consistently good in her first month – through 9 appearances she’s recorded 5 saves and 1 win, blowing a save.  Her numbers have been stellar however – 0.87 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP, with her only blown save going to the only run she’s given up, in a game in which she went on to later win.  She’s the most consistent closer Daly City has had in awhile, and might finally be the regular closer that the team’s been looking for.

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The 2005 Season Preview


The great return of Monti Bizzaro Baseball.

It’s April 1st, 2005, the start of a brand new season, the third in proffesional baseball by the home-grown team of the Daly City Montis. A sense of deja vu pervades the warming spring air.

No it’s not really deja vu – I inadvertently corrupted the original league file, but thankfully had a backup in hand from the start of the season. Unfortunately, all the stats and games were lost, but starting from scratch gives us a whole new ballgame with regards to the players involved.

As my apathy and lack of time has caused this league to now fall 2 years behind, the 2005 season will be sped through, followed by a slightly accelerated 2006 season. By 2007, we should be back on track, and running games in real-time.

So what’s in store this season for the venerable Daly City Montis?

Gone are some of the older stalwarts – aces like Fong and the heavy hitters like Tienturier and Ho have been retired to AAA, making room for a whole slew of new rookies.

Catcher: Sam Lau The old stalwart at the catcher position, Sam Lau will be the primary catcher coming into this season. He played almost full-time in the inaugural 2003 season, starting 155 of 162 games at catcher, while he was spelled by backup catcher Tina Quach for a significant amount of time last season, playing in only 110 games. He’s put up fairly typical batting averages (.264 career average) and slugging percentages (.444 career), but provides a very decent on-base percentage (.372), especially at his position. His real assett, however, has always been his defense – he’s the top-rated catcher in both fielding and throwing arm, and is significantly more capable defensively than any other player on the team.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2003 155 548 146 19 3 24 104 97 62 98 5 .266 .378 .443
2004 110 387 191 17 0 18 74 63 38 63 5 .261 .364 .444

Backup Catcher: Tina Quach Serving as the primary backup catcher, Quach joined the team in 2004, filling in a utility role at catcher and various other positions, mostly in the outfield. Although lacking in power (just 3 homeruns in 281 at bats), she hit for a .299-.373-.409 AVG-OBP-SLG in 78 games last year. Playing a wide range of positions at catcher, 1st base, and all three outfield positions, she looks to get even more playing time this year.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2004 78 281 84 18 2 3 33 42 19 33 0 .299 .373 .409

1st Baseman: Derek Lew After the departures of Ho and Tienturier, 2005 may be Lew’s chance to shine as the #1 power hitter on the Daly City team. His 204 combined Gap+Power rating is far and away the highest on the team (Jason Liu, a backup outfielder, is second at 159), and with Ho and Tienturier retired, he is the career leader in homeruns with 65 over the last two seasons. Lew has become the epitomy of a pure Vladimir Guerrero-type hitter, although he doesn’t exactly have the same build – his walks are absolutely minimal – a total of 19 bases on balls in 2004 on 754! at-bats. At the same time, he whiffed in only 24 trips to the plate, by far the lowest in the league. His gargantuan RBI (160 and 133 in 2003 and 2004, respectively) and run (141 and 138) totals look to decline a bit with a weaker supporting cast, and while no one doubts his amazing gap power, the ability to maintain his .310 average and 33 HR’s per 162 games might not continue with his middle-of-the-road contact (63 overall on a 100-point scale) and pure power (70) ratings.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2003 162 729 219 67 6 37 160 141 35 32 6 .300 .330 .561
2004 162 754 241 74 1 28 133 138 24 19 7 .320 .336 .532

Backup 1st Baseman/Designated Hitter: Rudy Puzon A rookie to the team, Puzon is a bit underdeveloped overall as a hitter, but has the potential to become a solid all around hitter. He’s defensively below average, and given primary 1B Derek Lew’s amazing durability (playing all 162 games each of the past two seasons), Puzon may find himself in the role of the primary designated hitter, a position which he may contest with several of the other backup players until a consistent hitter emerges.

2nd Baseman: Cristian Ortiz A defense-minded second-baseman, Ortiz was a part of the original team in 2003, splitting time between the 2B and shortstop positions. Never a fantastic hitter, Ortiz’s .251-.318-.415 AVG-OBP-SLG rate near the lowest for anyone to play significant time. With Tienturier retired to AAA however, Ortiz finally gets his chance to start full-time at second base, and will likely serve a role as a second leadoff hitter in the #9 slot to utilize his speed.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2003 73 261 67 7 3 19 38 33 39 26 2 .257 .324 .421
2004 25 74 17 0 0 4 17 6 13 7 1 .230 .296 .392

Shorstop: Henry Nghe At 27 years old, a past-his-prime grandfather in the organization, Nghe is primed to begin his season as the starting shorstop. He played in only three games during the 2004 season, amassing 3 hits out of 11 at bats. Nghe has, or had, good potential with regards to contact and gap power (75 and 80 potential talent ratings, respectively) – time will tell whether he’s too old to develop anymore as a hitter.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2004 38 11 3 0 0 0 1 2 4 1 0 .273 .333 .273

3rd Baseman: Joey Wong Another member of the original cast, Wong has been one of the premeire hitters of the game, with good power numbers and some of the best contact ability anywhere. His career line of .370-.430-.588 shouldn’t need anymore explanation, and with a 129 contact rating (with 145 as a potential talent), Wong looks to be the main run-driver in the cleanup position at #4, as well as a threat to hit .400 on the season.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2003 161 642 236 49 5 28 157 131 73 68 20 .368 .428 .590
2004 162 665 248 40 1 33 134 141 67 68 3 .373 .431 .585

Backup 3rd Baseman: Joanna Maung Playing backup to possibly the best third baseman in the game doesn’t afford many opportunities – Maung has played in 89 games over the past two seasons, in a variety of odd-job positions, mostly at designated hitter becuase of her defensive liabilities but occasionally in the outfield or even catcher when there has been a very desperate need. More often that not, though, she’s called in as a pinch-hit specialist, and she’s exceedingly excelled in that role. Despite ratings that would indicate an abysmal hitter (Contact: 57, Gap Power: 37, Pure Power: 31, Batting Eye: 70, Avoiding K’s: 60), her career line is a very respectable .275-.372-.356, with top numbers where it counts the most for a PH: OBP. Until her batting abilities develop, she’ll likely take a backup/utility role for most of this season and serve mostly as a pinch hit specialist when the most dire games are on the line.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2003 39 135 37 9 0 0 20 25 23 20 0 .274 .368 .341
2004 50 160 44 6 0 3 31 30 25 26 0 .275 .376 .369

Leftfielder: Jonathan Chee An all-around utility player, Jonathan “The Cheet” Chee looks to settle this year in his position in leftfield, possibly with the occasional stint as emergency backup catcher. Chee’s numbers haven’t been spectacular – for the msot part he’s a decent hitter with a knack for getting on base, a fact helped by the fact that Chee has led the league in hit-by-pitch ratio for both of the past two seasons. Almost single-handedly, The Cheet has turned this obscure phenomenon into something worthy of stat-tracking, and 2005 will be the first year that hit-by-pitches are actually counted.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2003 144 525 146 18 2 8 68 68 112 70 3 .278 .363 .366
2004 54 178 39 3 0 4 17 28 40 34 1 .219 .344 .303

Centerfielder: Aubrey Cubilo The all-star centerfielder, Cubilo can do it all, from being one of the best defensive centerfielders in the game, to swiping bases at an amazing rate as the speediest woman on the basepaths. Her rookie year was cut short by a season-ending injury, but she came back with a vengeance in 2004, racking up 123 runs (and 83 RBIs on her own) at the top of a powerful lineup, while leading the league with 67 steals. Although she hits for average extremely well, her .299 career average is followed by a disappointing .319 OBP for a leadoff hitter. Nevertheless, her speed alone makes her the ideal candidate, and her defense makes her indispensable in centerfield, so she’ll start the season as the leadoff hitter for Daly City.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2003 46 229 73 20 6 0 20 42 30 5 26 .319 .333 .459
2004 153 698 204 58 15 0 83 123 78 23 67 .292 .315 .418

Rightfielder: Francis Chen Coming in strong at the end of the 2004 season, Francis Chen put out tantalizing totals for the third of a season: 42 games, 162 at-bats, with 13 HR’s – a .241-.268-.537 final line. With the potential to become perhaps the best power hitter on the team, Chen has to overcome his struggles with making contact with the ball. Chen is perhaps the starter with the most precarius hold on his job – although tougher than left field, several backup outfielders are on the roster and waiting in his wings to take the job, and Chen will need to make a strong, or even explosive start, if he’s to avoid getting benched early on.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2004 42 162 39 7 1 13 41 29 41 6 0 .241 .268 .537

Backup Outfielder: Tiffany Ho Little is known about the young 15-year-old rookie, except that she has no relation to the massive power slugger Norman. Early reports have evaluated a good conact potential, but with no experience at any level (not even in the minor leagues), it looks as if her role will be limited until she establishes herself on the field.

Backup Outfielder: Jason Liu Liu played a strong season in 2004, playing 118 games and putting up very good numbers, especially in the power categories – 39 doubles and 39 homeruns in 433 at bats, for a .323-.409-.702 final line. Despite his performance, he’s been relegated back to a backup role, with Francis Chen getting the nod in rightfield in hopes that he’s able to achieve his enormous power potential and develop his other abilities.

Year Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K’s Walks Steals AVG OBP SLG
2004 118 433 140 39 4 39 126 104 109 63 2 .323 .409 .702

While not nearly as strong as the old Lew-Tienturier-Ho-Wong combo that dominated the league over the past two years, the new lineup looks extremely competitive, with power hitters Derek Lew and Joey Wong anchoring the lineup, and front end support coming from a very speedy Aubrey Cubilo, and potentially very good on-base numbers coming from Sam Lau, Tina Quach, and Jonathan Chee. Rather than being able to hammer away at opponents though, this season Daly City looks to manufacture what runs it can, and rely on perhaps the strongest pitching staff ever assembled to keep the scores low.

#1 Starting Pitcher: Nathan Yan The ace that’s anchored the team, Yan looks to improve even further on his gaudy pitching numbers. He’s led the league in nearly every meaningful category each of the past two seasons, with astounding numbers like a career 1.33 ERA and 0.72 WHIP, and an out-of-this-era 43 complete games (and 21 shutouts) in 54 starts. He’s won 30 games each of the past two seasons, and has amassed huge strikeout numbers – the 2005 season against a fresh league of hitters looks to be a record-setting year.

Year Games Starts Win-Loss Saves Innings Walks K CG SHO ERA WHIP
2003 32 32 30-2 0 276 2/3 18 444 21 10 1.46 0.73
2004 32 32 30-2 0 277 1/3 30 366 22 11 1.20 0.70

#2 Starting Pitcher: Josiah Leong Having pulled an Eric Gagne starter-to-closer transitioin the past two years, the inconsistent Josiah Leong returns to the rotation and pulls a return-to-starter John Smoltz. Josiah has been plagued by a lack of control the past two seasons – he has 112 walks in 167 1/3 innings, and because of that he’s been a bit of a loose cannon – in 2003 he had a 4.21 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP and pitched only 109 innings, getting the quick hook in a lot of games. He did slightly better in his second year as the team’s closer, racking up a precarious 40 saves, but actually underutilized at the end of the season as he was moved to a setup role, with the more dependable and former closer Absalon filling in at season’s end. His return to the rotation should be one to watch – Leong certainly has the stuff to become an ace, if his control problems ever get solved.

Year Games Starts Win-Loss Saves Innings Walks K CG SHO ERA WHIP
2003 18 17 7-6 0 109 81 90 0 0 4.21 1.45
2004 47 0 1-2 40 58 1/3 31 58 0 0 3.70 1.20

#3 Starting Pitcher: Terrence Zhao After a decent campaign in the first 2003 season – 4.14 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, but with a consistency that won 14 games (losing 7) in only 24 starts, Zhao had a breakout year in 2004, attaining a 2.94 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP in becoming one of the top starters in the game. A solid starter at the #3 position, his continued development would give Daly City two bona-fide aces, and potentially a third if Leong gets a handle on his control problems.

Year Games Starts Win-Loss Saves Innings Walks K CG SHO ERA WHIP
2003 28 24 14-7 0 163 91 120 2 1 4.14 1.37
2004 28 28 15-4 0 186 2/3 68 143 7 4 2.94 0.99

#4 Starting Pitcher: Samantha Chin The first of the rookie starter duo in the rotation, Chin is a decently-developed starter with quite a high ceiling – she can throw high 99mph heat, and with time could potentially become an ace pitcher.

#5 Starting Pitcher: Sean Wade The second of the rookie starters, Wade is a bit more of a conservative pitcher – he throws in the low 90’s, doesn’t have too much dazzle, but prides himself in control and consistency. WIth a 79 control rating (and 100 potential talent), he’s already got the second-best control on the team behind ace Nathan Yan, and should provide quality starts at the back end of the rotation.

#6 Starting Pitcher: Miguel Pardo Pardo the enigma has been up and down over the last two seasons. In his first season, over 19 starts he amassed a horrendous 4.79 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP, yet somehow eeked out a 10-3 win-loss record. His 2004 season, with 9 starts, took a nosedive, further deepening to a horrendous 6.65 ERA and 1.98 WHIP, although he somehow managed to survive with a 3-4 record. While consistently horrible, Pardo seems to magically pull out blazing performances out of nowhere, only to revert back to his softball-tossing form the very next start. He’s on the very back end of the rotation, and might end up sharing the spot with long reliever Alfred Vong.

Year Games Starts Win-Loss Saves Innings Walks K CG SHO ERA WHIP
2003 21 19 10-3 0 126 90 79 1 0 4.79 1.61
2004 9 9 3-4 0 46 34 25 1 1 6.65 1.98

Mopup Reliever: Helen Yamamoto A rookie to the team, Yamamoto comes in with barely above minor league statistics. She takes on the role of mopup, a safety role for large leads or heavy deficits, which might give her time to gain experience and develop.

Middle Reliever: Angel Poon The biggest workhorse of the bullpen, Poon has racked up 130 2/3 innings over the past two years, which shows approxamitely the maximum extent of use of the bullpen with a rotation as strong as Daly City’s. Poon had a decent year in her rookie 2003 season, with a 4.15 ERA, but played very well in the setup role the next year, achieving a 2.88 ERA in 2004 and notching 4 long saves of her own. The numbers might be a bit deceiving however – in the 2004 season her WHIP remained at the same relatively high 1.14 level as her 2003 season, indicating there may have been more than a little bit of luck involved. She finds herself as the primary middle reliever this season, although with a possibly even more talented rotation and more crowded bullpen, appearances may be hard to come by.

Year Games Starts Win-Loss Saves Innings Walks K CG SHO ERA WHIP
2003 41 0 3-2 1 65 11 51 0 0 4.15 1.14
2004 28 0 4-1 4 65 2/3 13 46 0 0 2.88 1.14

Middle Reliever: Katie Clayton One of the most underdeveloped pitchers, and possibly the worst pitcher in Daly City’s short history, Clayton is still with the club in hopes of her enormous (although unfulfilled) potential. She’s amassed ERA’s of 9.00 both of the past two seasons (pitching 43 and 12 innings), with a career ERA of 1.96, although has amazing not recorded a loss in her 40 appearances. She plays a secondary middle relief role, but may come in for mopup more often.

Year Games Starts Win-Loss Saves Innings Walks K CG SHO ERA WHIP
2003 30 0 0-0 0 43 31 26 0 0 9.00 1.98
2004 10 0 0-0 0 12 13 8 0 0 9.00 1.92

Long Reliever: Alred Vong A newcomer to the team, Alfred Vong has the makings of a very solid starter, but with the 6th rotation spot filled by Miguel Pardo, will likely take his appearances in long relief of an ailing starting pitcher to establish himself.

Setup reliever: Alvina Chu Coming in late in the 2004 season, Alvina Chu dazzled with a 2.58 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, along with 41 K’s in her 38 1/3 innings. She ascends to the setup role this year, possibly rated as the best reliever that Daly City has.

Year Games Starts Win-Loss Saves Innings Walks K CG SHO ERA WHIP
2004 20 0 5-0 2 38 1/3 13 41 0 0 2.58 1.04

Closer: Zubeda Khan The Young Khan, a rookie, takes on the tumultuous Daly City closer role, which has shifted hands constantly over the past two seasons – she’ll be the team’s 3rd closer in as many years. The knuckleball-throwing rookie brings with her good control and decent stuff, but time will tell if she has the poise to become a true closer.

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