This story will be updated!
The Lions are coming off a bittersweet playoff run which saw them complete a dramatic comeback in the Patriot League Championship Series. After trailing 3-1 to North Carolina, Steve Boone led the charge to win three straight and clinch the Patriot League Championship at home.
After the adrenaline died down, it seems the Lions momentum did as well. The New Mexico Danger obliterated Kentucky with a clean 5-0 series sweep.
Kentucky’s young lineup and trio of starting pitchers helped the team win the division for the first time in 6 years. The re-tooling period concluded a year earlier than management expected, and now the Lions will look to add to last seasons success with more talented reinforcements from Louisville.
Here’s a look at the team’s offensive stats. Jose Salinas paced the team with 4.6 WAR, and Ademar Bouvery and Mauro Ruedos each topped 30 home runs.
Raul Arvelos had a breakout season at age 22, winning 15 games with a sparkling 3.16 ERA. Lou Best was the team’s bullpen ace, but he landed on the injured list before the playoffs began. He’ll miss the first part of the season while rehabbing from his injury.
There is plenty of optimism in the Lions fan base prior to the season. The front office is expecting to not only compete for the division championship, but has their sights set on returning to the Federation Cup.
Let’s get to the roster breakdown, starting with the pitching staff.
Raul Arvelos is an anchor at the top of the rotation, but one thing to keep an eye on is his inability to go deep into ballgames. The Lions bullpen will need to be sharp on his start days. Arvelos is starting his 4th full big league season
Ichiro Koyama has underperformed his ability the past few seasons. The 27 year old fan favorite will hope to regain his success from the 2054 season, his only with a sub-4 ERA to this point. The key to a resurgence for Koyama will be limiting the deep ball.
Ivan Morales is as talented as they come but will try to maximize his potential after a down 2056 season. The 25 year old was a victim of some bad luck and finished with a 5-16 win-loss record and a 5.24 ERA despite strong peripheral numbers. He has led the league in BB/9 each of the past two seasons.
Jesus Oliva will make his full season rotation debut this year after spending time between AAA Louisville and ML Kentucky last year. At just 23 years old, Oliva has a little bit of talent yet to develop, but he should be a solid option near the back of the rotation all year long.
John Dupuis is a “steady Eddy” at the back of the rotation, providing consistent innings and keeping his team in the ballgame.
To be continued!
Jon Harris spent 2056 in AAA after a horrendous start to his 2055 season. Declan Fountains departure opens the door for Harris to take over the starting role. He’s known for his ability to work with a pitching staff and has a bit of home run power when he makes contact.
Hector Mota will play the backup role for the Lions. He’s a defense first backstop who’s a great clubhouse presence.
To be continued!