Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jacksonville Jokers and Turnaround Challenge Update

(thanks to tk21775 for this post)

Season 2 of the Joey Belle Turnaround Challenge between the Jacksonville Jokers and the Pittsburgh Alleghenys is ready to get underway!

The first year of the challenge found the Jokers with a ML record of 71 - 91 that was good enough to finish 2nd in their division, 12 games back from 1st place, although with the sub .500 record they were immediately eliminated from winning the challenge. The total points accumulated from the challenge for the Jokers was 1,162.

Pittsburgh finished up their ML season with a 65 - 97 record, finishing 4th and 60 games back in their division, which also eliminated them from taking the challenge crown. The Alleghenys' total points for the 1st year of the challenge came to 1,117.

Needless to say the challenge carries over for year 2, which will occur with the 14th season in the world of Joey Belle.

To start the season, the Jokers find themselves having the number 10 pick in the draft. Pitching was absolutely horrible in S12 before the challenge, with an era of 6.57. S13 with grabbing a pitcher off of Rule 5 draft, the era dropped significantly to 4.39 and hopes to continue in that direction was the focus of S13 draft, grabbing 3 pitchers with the first 3 picks that should all contribute on the ML level in the next 2 seasons.

The offense finished in the middle, a batting avg. of .265 and an OBP of .321. The farm system is still very depleted so management has decided to put RF Kevin Grabowski on the trading block to begin the season in hopes of landing one of the many young pitching prospects that have shown up on the trading block.

There are still too many large contracts that are not deserved on team but the good news is we start out with a $48.5M payroll, next season it's down to $32.1, and S16 down further to $12.3M. Free agency occured today, with a Type A set-up pitcher allowing to test free agency in hopes of a couple draft picks and the rest all upper 30 players that were asking to much in a rebuilding franchise. The Jokers main goal will be to add to the young core of pitching that was picked up in last year's draft and putting some pieces together to challenge for the division as they were only 12 games out last year.

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