September 22, 2008 September 22, 2008Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
Atlantic League Divisional Series Preview: More or less, this is what you’ll be reading in the Democrat on Thursday. The issue with that concept, of course, is that the playoffs start tomorrow and my paper comes out two days later.
So, I’d might as well just post it here so it’s at least somewhat timely. I was a little squeezed for space, so it’s not particularly good or in-depth…but feel free to add your predictions and so on.
The Atlantic League postseason recently got underway, with the Freedom and Liberty Division series kicking off on Tuesday.
The Freedom Division’s first-half winners, the Somerset Patriots, were set to take on the second-half winners, the York Revolution.
In the Liberty Division, Camden and Long Island won the first and second halves, respectively, and they’d be playing in the other series.
At The Plate: Somerset is led by the dynamic duo of designated hitter Josh Pressley and third baseman Brandon Larson. Pressley is likely to win league MVP honors after winning the batting title and establishing a new single-season team record with 30 home runs, a record he shares with Larson.
For York, the old saying goes that if you can’t beat em’, join em’. Well, six former Patriots were no longer welcome to join em’, so now they’re trying to beat em’. Matt Dryer, George Sandel, Saul Solveson, Edgard Clemente, Byron Batson and Jason Olson played in a combined 616 games and won 4 championship rings while wearing the red, white and blue of Somerset. They now find themselves playing for York and trying to prevent the Patriots from become the league’s first four-time champions.
But the player to watch will be first baseman Chris Ashby, who came out of nowhere to shatter the league’s hitting streak record.
On The Mound: Somerset has a problem with their pitching, but it’s a good problem to have. Too many quality pitchers and not enough spots in a shortened playoff rotation. Kip Bouknight and Brian Adams appear to be locks to pitch in the postseason, but the last spot could go to a number of deserving candidates.
York will likely counter with former big leaguers Corey Thurman and Aaron Rakers, but they’re not too deep beyond those two.
Regular Season: Somerset won the regular season series between the two clubs, 11 games to nine.
Prediction: Somerset in 3. The Revolution are better than a lot of people think, but my preseason pick to win the championship won’t be able to get it done in Commerce Bank Ballpark.
At The Plate: Long Island’s lineup is as loaded as it gets in independent baseball, with former Major League All-Star Carl Everett and all-around solid players like Ray Navarrete and Pete Rose, Jr. in the mix.
Defensively, the Ducks have also been spoiled by the play of Nook Logan, another former big leaguer.
Camden’s lineup has been decimated by affiliated teams picking players up and injuries. There’s not a whole lot left for the Riversharks, but L.J. Biernbaum could be a sleeper candidate to carry the team on his back this September.
On The Mound: Long Island hopes to get another quality start out of Randy Leek to give them an edge in the series, and also made a key pickup late in the season by signing ex-Major Leaguer Julio Manon, who had just finished pitching for the Baltimore Orioles Double-A affiliate.
Does Jose Lima have one more good start left in him? The charismatic former 20-game winner in the big leagues was a key addition to a depleted pitching staff late in the season, and could make this series interesting.
Regular Season: The teams split the regular season series, with each club winning 10 games a piece.
Prediction: Long Island in 2. Camden just doesn’t have anything left to compete with the Ducks lineup. The team the Riversharks put out when they clinched their playoff berth compared to what they have out there now is completely different. Considering the team with the best overall record didn’t earn a playoff berth, perhaps it’s time for the league to take a look at the playoff format. – MA