Thread: The Magpies
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:24 PM   #231
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12 March 2048

Preview: Part two of our Des Moines Magpies pre-season preview. Dave Cameroon evaluates the pitching staff.

The Magpies have a young and talented pitching staff, who have benefitted hugely from the support of the exceptional defense behind them.

Leading the rotation will be 28-year-old Philip Givens (19-6, 2.45), the surprise winner of the Western League Outstanding Pitcher award for 2047. Givens has a 29-7 record since joining from Nashville a season and a half ago. Kevin Cantrell (10-15, 3.28) faded after an impressive first half of the year, while #3 starter Robinson Ortíz (13-6, 2.44) just got better and better and won the wildcard game. Jeremy Williams (16-10, 2.93) had a very solid year, as did righty Wesley Weaver (6-0, 2.25), the club’s first round draft pick in 2046, who steps up from the bullpen.

Júlio Martínez (5-6, 3.00, 38 SV), the closer, is unhittable when on form, but showed periods of inconsistency last term. Talented lefty Jorge Cruz (6-5, 2.55) and veteran right-hander Don Rich (1-4, 3.40) will bridge the gap between the starters and Martínez. In middle relief, 2047 draft picks Ken James (3-5, 4.50) and Gabe Copeland (0-0, 3.00) are as lethal as they come, and both made it to the big leagues within weeks of being drafted. They will be looking to establish themselves as full-time major leaguers this year. Experienced former starters P.J. Hendrickson (11-5, 3.34) and 2046 Cup Final Series hero Tommaso Chigi (1-1, 1.35) consistently outperform their scouting assessments and are capable of throwing multiple innings if required.

The bullpen has several arms capable of stepping into a rotation role if needed, and promotees from the club’s minor league roster are likely to move into the bullpen rather than the rotation. Free agent signing Scott Harris and 2047 2nd round draft pick Rhys Nunn are at the front of the queue.

Like the offense, the Magpies pitching staff are young, dynamic and extremely competent. There are few outright superstars, but consistent quality throughout the roster. The real action, however, is off the field, with the club operating to a reduced payroll budget this season. And, if recent leaks and insider rumours are to be believed, the prospect of further reductions to come next year. The team look well-placed for another run at the playoffs this coming season, but the big question is, will they be able to keep their star players into next year and beyond, or will they have to break up the roster to cut costs? It could well be a case of ‘now or never’ for this group.
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