2024 Fly-By-Night Team Article Archive


 

 

DEVIL DOODLES - 3-31

Connecticut opened play in its 38th season in the FBN coming off an 85 win season in 2023 good enough to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team. Management is hoping for a better season in 2024 with a couple off season acquisitions and expected improvements from a few players. Veteran lefty Clayton Kershaw was added to the pitching staff to add some solid depth behind top starters Merrill Kelly and Zach Eflin. Improvement is expected from Bobby Witt Jr in his 2nd season and Jeimer Candelario should rebound from a rough 2023. Along with the one-two punch of Freddie Freeman and Corey Seager, the Blue Devils should be a pretty solid team to deal with.

Connecticut has started out at 10-6 with one remaining road series vs. Taxachusetts. The offense, as expected, has been led by the trio of Freeman, Seager and Witt combining for 26 runs, 9 HR's and 32 RBI. Leody Tavares has also started strong batting .395.

Pitching wise - the starting staff has been solid combining for a 2.76 ERA. Jon Gray has allowed just 1 run in 2 starts while Aaron Civale has allowed just 2 runs in 2 starts and they are the 4th and 5th starter. Unfortunately, the bullpen - expected to be very strong has struggled early with high leverage relievers - Clay Holmes (7.36 11 hits in 6 IP), Evan Phillips (8.10) and Raisel Iglesias (12.79 17 hits in 6 IP). Can't imagine those results continuing . . .

Should be a fun season for Connecticut with the main goal of making the playoffs and avoiding the initial Wild Card round.

 

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ADMIRALS ORDERS - 4-15

Thanks to the never-ending weirdness of HAL in the late innings, the Admirals were able to gain a split at Bissel Cove, which appears to have been an accomplishment given BC's start. 19-9 would put most teams in 1st place, but it's only good for 4th at last check of the standings in the tough 2024 FBN American League . . . .

2024 draftee Ernie Clement surprisingly earned the 2B job out of training camp, and he didn't disappoint the first block, winning 2 games in the 9th inning and running up the following numbers in 55 at bats: .436 average, 3-2-4, .446 OBP, 1.055 Slgpct, 1.501 OPS. Unfortunately, in the last game of the block, Clement suffered a broken leg when his cleat got caught trying to turn a DP. He's expected to be out the rest of the season . . . .

Corbin Burnes is 5-1, 3.19 and the 3 headed bullpen monster of Vest-Borucki-Hader has combined for: 45.3 innings, 30 hits, 7 walks, 51 Ks, 0.79 ERA, 3 wins, 2 losses, 7 saves.

The Admirals have several players with good cards, but only about 2/3 of a season of AB or IP. Juggling will begin to be key as Block 2 continues.

 

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BLUE NOTES - 4-22

The first round of games is in the books (+2 of round 3). After 5 years of retooling and recovering this was hoped to be our return to quality baseball. The prognosticators (Ed) agreed, projecting the Blues to be the AL team to beat. We were off to a fast start (11-1) but the wheels fell off against Louisville and Urpaign, going 1-7. Our record now stands at 29-17. The team batting average is .269 with 72 HR and the team ERA is 3.58. Offensively it is no longer the Bichette/Arozarena show. Ha-Seong Kim and Yanier Diaz lead the team -- Kim - .324/.411/.540 -- and leads the team in 5 other categories, Diaz - .321/.367/.607. On the pitching side, Webb, Bradish, and Verlander all have 6-3 records with ERAs around 3.0. Holton and Fairbanks are a combined 2-1 with 9 saves and a WHIP of about 0.9. The AL seems to be a tough league this year, but we hope to end up in the top 5 and get into the playoffs for the second year in a row!

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 5-1

Connecticut finished Block 2 play going 18-6 and now have an overall 31-13 record - its best start in well over 15 years. The Blue Devils have not lost a series yet this season. They have won 8 series so far and split the 3 other series. The team has played well overall getting some explosive offense scoring 5.75 runs/game, strong pitching allowing just 3.73 runs/game and solid defense on pace to make just 77 errors for the season.

Freddie Freeman has been the leader batting .316 with 37 runs, 13 doubles, 11 HR's and 41 RBI with a .407 OB% and .999 OPS. Corey Seager has been productive batting .271 with 10 HR's and 33 RBI. Jeimer Candelario is having a rebound season after a rough go of it in 2023. Candelario is batting .272 with 15 doubles, 8 HR's and 29 RBI.

Pitching has been extremely solid all around with a 3.37 team ERA. Only 1 starting pitcher has an ERA over 4.00 (Clayton Kershaw 4.37 but he is still 5-1). Jon Gray has been outstanding going 7-1 with a 2.47 ERA and Zach Eflin is right behind at 5-1 2.59. The bullpen has been solid in general but a few rough games have skewed some of the stats. The team is allowing just 2.75 walks/game with a 3 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio.

The Blue Devils will now test themselves against the AL in the next block . . .

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 5-30

Connecticut finished recent play against the AL going 13-2 and improving their overall record to 44-15 - the best start in franchise history - even better than the 1995 team that won 116 games. The Blue Devils have yet to lose a series this season. They have won 12 out of 17 series with 5 splits. The team is on pace to win 120 games. Will be difficult to keep up that pace but the Blue Devils have a good chance to reach the 100 win plateau which they haven't done since 2004. (102-60 record)

The overall pitching has been excellent as the team sports a 3.31 ERA - that would be the lowest team ERA in 30 years going back to the 1993 season. Starters Zach Elfin (7-1) and Jon Gray (8-1) have ERA's right around 2.60. Aaron Civale (7-2) isn't too far behind at 3.30. Last year's 20 game winner Merrill Kelly (5-6) has been solid at 3.66. The bullpen has been overall effective going 11-4 with 23 total saves. Evan Phillips has been the main closer at 2.59 2-2 with 18 saves.

Offensively, the Blue Devils are averaging 5.7 runs/game on pace to score 928 for the season. That would be the most runs since 2001 when the team scored 1,001. Freddie Freeman continues to be the MVP leader for the team batting .335 with 42 runs, 57 RBI, 15 doubles and 14 HR's. Corey Seager has been productive as well with 14 HR's and 44 RBI batting .284. A nice surprise has been a bounce back season for Jeimer Candelario. After being relegated to the minors for most of last season, Candelario has locked down the 3B job this year batting .264 with 18 doubles, 11 HR's and 35 RBI.

It will be difficult to maintain the current pace for the remainder of the season but this great start certainly puts Connecticut in a prime position to make the playoffs and possibly secure home field advantage. We'll see . . .

 

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