by Eric Tellez
In preparation for the 2013 Pecos League baseball season the staff and administrators of Warning Track Baseball predicted the order of finish for teams in the league and named who we believe to be our champion. A team predicted to win its division was given 4-total points while the team predicted to finish last received only 1-point. The following is the results of all predicted scores added together.
Former Las Cruces Vaqueros field manager Casey Dill brings his brand of high scoring baseball to Las Vegas, New Mexico and is on paper the strongest team in its division. All-time single season hits leader Randy Wells returns with All-Star catcher Ryan Lauer to lead Dill’s next dangerous line-up that include the additions of OF Matt Grosso, 3b Chris Wilson, and 1B David Casey. Pitcher’s Edilson Alvarez, Ryan Flores, and Richard Suniga help provide Dill with the best pitching staff he’s ever managed.
Fan favorite manager Bill Moore returns for his second season in Santa Fe and the sky is the limit for the Fuego. Last season the Fuego took advantage of a small home field to create some very gaudy power statistics living-and-dying with the long ball. This season, Moore is creating a team that will be a lot faster, smarter, fundamentally sound and able to win more of the close games that killed this team last season. OF Brennan May, C Effrain Garcia, and 1B Adam McCormick lead the offense while All-Star pitcher Jeremiah Steinert returns for his second season with the Fuego.
Manager JD Droddy finally gets a well-deserved opportunity to run his own ball club from start to finish and has not disappointed creating a roster that is a fantastic mix of Pecos League veterans and new comers that dominated the Pecos Spring League this March in Houston. The pitching staff will have ace pitcher Anthony Smith returning for his second season and will also have the benefit of closer Evan Ellison for an entire season. Frank Florio, a rookie from Tulane, is expected to be one of the league’s premier power hitters while OF Jacob Fabry is on everyone’s watch list for an early promotion.
Ray Hancock takes over an expansion team that has some of the highest hopes for long term success in the Pecos League. Hancock is well known as a teacher and believer of sound, baseball fundamentals and has developed a trademark style of teams that if beaten, will not beat themselves. At the time of this writing, he was still acquiring talent for his roster with his pitching staff shaping-up well behind two solid right-handers; Steve Taft and Cameron Powers. A forth place finish is expected for a team playing in one of the toughest divisions in all of independent league baseball.
The defending Pecos League Champions return to 2013 with an exciting mix of first year players and championship contributers giving Ryan Stevens one of the leagues deepest benches and balanced rosters. 3B Chris Davis and 1B Kevin Hennessey, both big name Pecos League players, look to lead the offense with a pitching staff anchored by veterans Bryce Weidman, Scott Hartling, and Shane Youngdale. With Roswell rebuilding and Taos spending a lot of time on the road, the Cowboys have the easiest path to the playoffs than any defending champion in recent Pecos League memory.
If the Alpine Cowboys lose the division it’s going to come at the hands of Ernie Munoz’ White Sands Pupfish. The Pecos League’s biggest disappointment in 2012, the Pupfish return in 2013 with a new manager, new look, and new attitude that has fans in Tularosa Basin thinking championship run. Former Roswell Invader AJ Morris joins 1B Case Rigby, C Joey Freidman, and OF Joe Hicks to give the Pupfish the most dangerous offense in the division with James Coon leading a pitching staff comprised of mostly new talent. On another note, fan favorite closer Steve Lemmon is expected to return after a season out of the league.
The Roswell Invaders are a team that is high on speed and pitching but very low on professional experience. At the time of this writing, 30 of the 31 players on the roster have never played for a salary. After last season’s struggles, a massive overhaul of the Roswell Invaders by the Pecos League was expected although the current state of the team’s roster has many surprised. Manager Chris Ebright has a legacy of taking over troubled teams and turning them into winners but with White Sands loaded and Alpine re-loaded it’s not likely this year.
Matt Leahy takes over a team that is playing for first time despite years of being mentioned. The Taos Blizzard will be an expansion team run by legendary general manager Jay Acton and controlled by the the New York State League. Acton, who has been responsible for helping numerous major league players on their road to success, is a strong believer in roster secrecy this far away from the season and as a result we can not pick them based on what we do not know. What we DO know is they will spend most their time on the road while playing against 3 teams that have strong traditions in the Pecos League. That alone should make for a difficult initiation season for the boys in blue.
and the winner is………………………
Las Vegas Train Robbers over the Alpine Cowboys.
Last season, the Cowboys’ won the championship series over a Casey Dill led team 2 games to 1, in 2013 Dill does not run out of pitching and takes the trophy north.
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