Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Season 35 Wrap Up - Tacoma takes the crown!

Tacoma Jerry Gang (AL)
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Tacoma takes the title in Season 35!  

In one of the most exciting World Series in recent memory, Tacoma edged out Jacksonville with a 1-0 win to take the Season 35 crown in 7 games.   This is Tacoma's second championship, the previous coming in Season 21.  After finishing as the runner-up in Seasons 32 and 34, Tacoma was finally able to bring home another title in Season 35.   The World Series was a battle of the two number one seeds.  Tacoma swept Cleveland in the DCS and then topped Richmond in a hard fought 6-game series in the LCS.  Slugger Ozzie Simon led the offense, posting an OPS over 1.000 in the post season, not an easy feat when playing most of your games in an extreme pitchers' park.  Stud hurler Pat Nakajima led the pitching staff was a 4-1 mark in the playoffs, and Tacoma's bullpen was nearly flawless, helping the team to post an outstanding 2.94 ERA in the post-season.

Jacksonville had an outstanding season as well, coming out on top of a division that had 3 100-game winners, and then beating both of those squads in the playoffs.   They were both tough series that went the maximum number of games, defeating Atlanta in 5 in the DCS, and Chicago in 7 in LCS.  They just ran out of final game magic, and couldn't get the offense going in a tough game 7.  An outstanding season for them, nonetheless.

Let's look at who brought home the hardware this season for the major awards.  For the first time since Season 19, we have four first time winners!  Also interesting that the MVP and Cy Young winners came from the same team in both leagues!

American League - Humberto Mercado, Tacoma - .279 AVG 54 HR 138 RBI
The 24 year-old slugger for the World Champions took home the MVP trophy as well.  Perhaps the most powerful bat in the league and perhaps the best all-around player in Cobb, Mercado didn't have much difficulty still crushing home runs in an extremely difficult park to hit home runs in.   He is one of the truly elite power hitters in Cobb, and should contend for many more MVP's, although playing in such a pitcher-friendly park may be a hurdle for future wins.

National League - Jim Burnett, Chicago - .313 AVG 53 HR 123 RBI
In one of the most closely contested NL MVP races in recent memory, Burnett came out on top by a single vote.   Burnett has shown tremendous power at the plate since hitting the majors, topping the 50 HR mark for the second time in his career in Season 35.  He is also known for a keen batting eye.  At just age 26, there should be several more outstanding seasons ahead for Burnett.  Burnett is the Pitbulls' first MVP since Season 9!

American League - Wilmer Duran, Tacoma - 25-1 2.47 ERA 109 K
Duran, also a member of the World Champions, took home the Cy Young award, being one of the youngest ever to earn the honor at age 21.  His unique role as a tandem starter allowed him to notch an impressive 25-1 record.   His 25 wins ties for second all-time, and his winning percentage is 2nd all-time as well.   If we continues to accumulate wins as a tandem starter, he has a shot to maybe keep contending for future awards.

National League - Ryan Post, Chicago - 21-6 1.91 ERA 146 K
Post, unlikely to be thought of as the best starter on his team coming into the season, stepped his game with 20+ Wins, a sub-2.00 ERA and a sub-1.00 WHIP, which was good enough to take home the NL Cy Young Award.  Post has elite control and pitches and solid splits, and really came into his own in Season 35.   It will be interesting to see if he continues to be amongst the best in the league.

That concludes the Season 35 wrap-up.  See you soon for Season 36!

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