So after an exciting first season, a look ahead at the 2008 Haymakers. The 2007 starters posted a combined ERA of 5.18 and minus two bright spots 2008 does not look to fare better. Chris Carpenter the 2007 ace is out with an arm injury and will be unavailable in 2008. Kevin Millwood, a 14 game winner in 2007, looks to get worse next season because of too much control (213 hits in 173 innings). Scott Olsen, the firey young left-hander, let his emotions get the best of him and should look interesting with a 1.76 WHIP. Clay Hensley was hurt much of the season and looks to make the same contribution as Carpenter (if he even makes the team). It's not all bad...Brad Penny seems to have been able to solve his 2nd half collapse issues and turned out a nice season and should be sharp for the Haymakers in 2008, while the sleeper pick of the 2007 draft Fausto Carmona should anchor the rotation next season.
The 2008 bull-pen will have a hard time repeating the success from 2007 where they lead the league with a combined 2.84 ERA. Closer BJ Ryan (1.52 ERA with 35 saves in 2007) will be out all of 2008 with an injury. Set-up men Brian Fuentes (9-2 with a 1.01 ERA) and Huston Street (6-5 with a 2.44 ERA) look solid for next season, but should not be as lights out as last season. Young reliever Matt Capps (2-3 with a 4.64 ERA in 2007) has looked great in winter ball, posting 2.28 ERA in 78 innings.
As for the hitters, Vernon Wells (.247 BA, 28 HR, 106 RBI in 2007) hitting woes will continue in 2008. The other 3 hitters in the top of the lineup should continue to carry the team; Crawford (.315 BA, 110 Runs, 54 stolen bases), Suzuki (.352 BA, 90 RBI, 39 stolen bases) and Utley (.294 BA, 35 doubles, 78 RBI's) all look great for the 2008 season. "They are going to be great for us," GM Ken Anderson said, "It's the rest of the lineup I'm worried about." The supporting cast looks suspect, and will have a hard time helping the team in 2008. "The only other player with over 500 AB's on our team last season was Conor, and his production should be on-par with that in 2008. We need a lot of help from our part-time players and it's going to be important that they step up." the GM said. Other supporting players like Chad Tracy (.319 BA, 18 HR, 67 RBI in 404 AB) was out over half the season with an injury, and does not look good for 2008.
Overall, there are some bright young stars on this team, but it's going to be hard for the Haymakers to match their 87-76 record from last season without a strong draft and/or some trades.
"We can't win with only two starters," said GM Ken Anderson, "If anyone wants to trade us their first round pick next season for a can of beans, let me know."