For the 2020 season, sponsor Mark Carucci decided to move the team up to the AA division. Some of the guys he added in the off season and during season included John Williams, Flip Washington, David Johnson, Orlando Castillo, Brian McBryde, and he also brought back Sean Ulmer. Although they did not win any conference events, they still had an incredible season going 39-25 overall, 9-5 vs AA and 7-14 vs Major teams. The highlight of the year was undoubtedly their second place run in the Major World Series. They lost a 32-31 heartbreaker to Resmondo in the winners bracket final, then beat Dan Smith 29-28 in the losers bracket final. Momentum was once again stopped by Resmondo though as they would win the final game 38-8.
Now lets fast forward back to 2021. Juno Athletics isn't Mark Carucci's only shiny new toy, he also added quite a bit of talent and depth to that roster. Entering the season with 17 big time talents we all have to be wondering the same thing, which is who will start and how do you keep everyone happy? After breaking down the numbers, here is what I think it should be.
P- Mike Nino (111-155, .716)
C- Ryan Harvey (327-423, .773)
C/1B- Joe Dorton (187-254, .736)
C/1B- David Johnson (181-266, .680)
2B- Emilson Marquez (146-201, .726)
3B- John Williams (173-239, .724)
SS- Orlando Castillo (151-227, .665)
MI- AJ Montano (159-224, .710)
OF- Donald Hollingsworth (137-179, .765)
OF- Flip Washington (164-236, .695)
OF- Brad Lunda (162-220, .736)
OF- Woodrow Darling (78-162, .481)
P- Jon Dombrowski (110-186, .591)
OF/1B- Brock Frentzel (53-86, .616)
C/1B- JD Genter (153-228, .671)
C- Chris Greinert (161-243, .663)
IF- Zach Messer (98-155, .632)
There are a million different ways you could put this team together and with so much talent every combination could work. For me the hardest guys to sit were Chris Greinert and Brock Frentzel. Greinert's numbers may not look like they used to, but this guy is a professional hitter. He is one of the biggest advocates of "playing the game", and his stats suffer for it. He was also on fire at the MWS and a big reason for their success. Brock Frentzel also had a coming out party while showing off how clutch he is with 7 home runs and 21 rbi's at the MWS. This kid hasn't quite put up the numbers to start on this team yet but its obvious he has mountains of talent and his development should be fun to watch. If I were to make one adjustment though, it would be to move Castillo to the bench, Montano to SS, Marquez to MI, Johnson to 2B, Dorton to 1B, and Greinert into C/DH.
That is just my interpretation on what he should do. One place I think Mark Carucci's line up will be different than mine is at pitcher. Jon Dombrowski, like some others, has not done anything that should cost him his starting gig. His pitching was great and his defense was even better. When Nino is on though he can be very special out there. If he were to move back to the rubber full time, I think there is potential for him to be the next generations Purcell and Clark.
Still the ultimate question for this team though is who will start and how will everyone be kept happy? Feel free to share what your starting line up would be and other opinions in the comments.