BCL Champion: LeBronto Blue James
Anybody surprised to see the LeBronto Blue James back in the League Championship? Didn’t think so. Regular season schmegular shmeason, the LeBronto Blue James have found some sort of secret sauce that produces a formidable Playoff contender year-in and year-out. Across the three consecutive League Championship appearances, the Blue James have been 1st, 6th and 3rd in final Regular Season standings and have only won their Division once. The 2022 LeBronto squad collected Kyle Tucker, Zac Gallen and Carlos Correa via two separate trades with the Florida Squeeze and those guys have certainly produced a Return On Investment to this point. Since the postseason began on August 29th, Correa (101 pts), Tucker (98.5 pts) and Gallen (90.92 pts) lead LBJ in points produced, followed by a recent Free Agency acquisition, Oscar Gonzalez (83 pts).
The usual LeBronto suspects, Jose Ramirez and Bryce Harper, have been in this scenario before and look to take advantage of their early week match-ups against the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays respectively. Byron Buxton hasn’t played a HumBabe Postseason game yet, but should come off the Injured Reserve just in time to make an impact here.
On the mound, the Blue James don’t have an arm scheduled to throw Monday but will toss four out there on Tuesday: Carlos Carrasco @ Milwaukee, Luis Castillo @ Oakland, Nestor Cortes vs Pittsburgh and Cristian Javier @ Tampa Bay. Sandy Alcantara led the staff during their Semi-Final Match-Up with 59.25 points, but with 28.5 of those points coming on Sunday, he won’t take the ball again until Saturday 9/24 when he squares off against the favorable Washington Nationals.
All in, the LeBronto Blue James have stuck to their word and stand in position to add their third HumBabe Dynasty League Championship banner to the rafters in three consecutive seasons. Standing in their way, the Orlando Splitters – again.
SCL Champion: Orlando Splitters
Knocking on the door of a HumBabe Dynasty Title once again, do the Orlando Splitters finally have what it takes to claim the ultimate prize? If we’re learning from failed attempts in year’s past, the 2020 Championship Splitters fell to the LeBronto Blue James by 27.24 points mainly due to an inferior group of backend hitters. Follow that up with a 2021 Championship loss that, in part, resulted from the Splitters having a group of Starting Pitchers that was too good for their own good. Corbin Burnes took an early exit after two innings pitched in prep for MLB Postseason, Brandon Woodruff got pulled after four innings for the same and Shane Bieber got hook after three innings pitched, all while the LeBronto staff was able to toss Ranger Suarez, Steven Matz and Tyler Alexander for more than 7 IP an 20+pts a piece. Have the Splitters been able to address those previous weaknesses? Not sure…
The heart of the Splitters lineup still features the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Paul Goldschmidt and Juan Soto – but Goldy and Soto have been on bit of a cold spell as of late, making the supporting cast even more important than in year’s past. Max Muncy claimed a League Championship ring in 2020 after being traded by the Splitters to LeBronto, but now hopes to bring a ring to Orlando for his redemption tour. Daulton Varsho has been a critical piece of this lineup all season, posting the League’s third best season-long Catching performance, thanks to his multi-position eligibility. Perhaps the most exciting contributor to watch over these next two weeks, Corbin Carroll has averaged 3.84 points per game since getting the call up but unfortunately seems to be riding the pine for the DBacks against left-handed starting pitchers. When it’s all said and done for 2022, the Splitters success may in fact be determined by the bats they acquired via trade – DJ LeMahieu (expected off the IR soon), Nick Castellanos (expected off the IR soon) and Kris Bryant (may not return off the IR this season) – did those transactions pay off, or did paying the price tag for those veterans (Jonathan India, Randy Arozarena and Jeffrey Springs) shoot Orlando in the foot?
Thankfully, the woes on the mound from prior League Championships will benefit in part due to outside circumstances; in this case, minor schedule changes. HumBabe’s 2021 schedule gave the Championship Match-Up just one calendar week – this year, it’s two plus weeks. Additionally, the MLB has expanded their postseason format and allowed the top two seeds in each League a Round One BYE – meaning aces like Gerrit Cole may not need to make early exits from their last Regular Season starts in order to be rested for their first MLB Postseason outings. Orlando’s General Manager, when talking with the media this weekend, wasn’t as concerned with his top-end arms getting cut short on innings as he was with his newest phenom – Spencer Strider. “Strider is up to 130 innings, and while the Braves don’t believe in Innings Limits, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if they give him extra rest or take him into a high-leverage bullpen role ahead of their Postseason run. That certainly isn’t what we want to see here in the Splitters organization, we’d like a few more Quality Starts with 10+ K’s each if we are making requests – but we can only control what we can control, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’ve done what we can in the front office to put a Championship team together and have the utmost confidence in this group guys to get ‘er done over the next couple weeks.”