Friday, March 19, 2010

Very Brief Season Preview: Elephants

Last season: Taiwan Series Finalists.

Number of players banned during off-season: 17 (9 pitchers,  2 catchers, 2 infielders, 4 outfielders) 

The Good:  The infield. With the rest of the team collapsing around them, the Elephants infield core of Peng Cheng-Min, Chen Jiang-He, Wang Chin-Yong, and Wang Sheng-Wei kept their noses clean and will assume leadership roles with the club. Two other important returnees are OF Zhou Si-Qi and closer Ryan Cullen.

The Bad: Pitching. Only four of the ten pitchers on this season's staff pitched in the CPBL in 2009, throwing a combined total of 100 1/3 innings (in contrast, Bears workhorse Aaron Rakers pitched 159 1/3 innings last year). The Elephants will be forced to rely heavily on their starting pitching, which will be made up of imports and the injury prone Lin En-Yu, to protect their suspect bullpen.

The Unknown: The Elephants have added 17 new faces to the roster in the off-season. That makes for a whole lot of 'unknown'.

End of Season Prediction: A distant fourth.

Bonus: The Elephants have finally announced which imports will start the season. They are Jim Magrane (Opening Day starter), Tracy Thorpe, Ryan Murphy and Ryan Cullen. Orlando Ramon will remain with the team and step in should anything happen to the first four. Read more about these players here.

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