5/23/20

Kings 2020 Preview




The County Line Kings enter 2020 with a new logo & lineup and project to be one of the most improved squads from last season. Signing the trio of Kadin Abegg. Colton Boren, and Kody Webb will do wonders for a team desperate for depth and experience. The raw talent is there, as County Line offers the athletes and skill to play with anybody. Time will tell, however, if they’re able to put it all together. 


ICYMI

2019 was County Line’s inaugural ORWBL season, and it showed. Like many first-year teams the Kings struggled at times to put together consistent stretches. County Line started the season 6-0, sweeping both the Goon Squad and Godfathers. After their hot start, however, the Kings finished just 5-13 to close out the season. Despite a series victory over Hudson Lake, County Line was swept against both Olive Township and Maple City. In the playoffs County Line once again defeated the Heat, this time in the wildcard, before being swept by the ‘Goats in the best-of-three divisional series. Manager Mike Forrester and outfielder Bryce Bloode were named All-Stars in their rookie seasons, with Forrester winning the AL Rookie of the Year.


THREE STRIKES

1.  New-look Kings.
When the Mechanics bowed out of ORWBL play following the 2019 playoffs, County Line’s front office was eager to snatch their available free agents. Adding the reigning Gold Glove winner in Kody Webb will sure up the Kings’ outfield, giving them a black-hole in left. Signing 2019’s most improved player in Colton Boren gives the team the steady presence they lacked behind the plate last season. Finally, adding former ‘Goat pitcher Kadin Abegg adds depth to the County Line rotation behind presumptive starter Mike Forrester. These three project to play a pivotal role in their 2020 success. 

2. A real field.
As with most first-year teams, County Line’s field in their inaugural season was not the best. It was cramped and drifted downhill, leading to a number of unjust homeruns. This season, County Line has moved into a new venue in downtown Hudson Lake. The multi-dollar field features well-kept grass and a scenic overview which screams “ORWBL”. Just watch out for those rednecks. 

3. Is Bloode ready to take the leap?
Despite their familiarity swinging the bat, it oftentimes takes some time for baseball standouts to adjust to the slow-pitch, plastic game. When it clicks, however, it is a sight to see. Bloode had an up-and-down rookie season for the Kings which featured both hot streaks and cold stretches. He seemed to flip a switch toward the end of the season, though, and has reportedly carried that over into spring ball. If things click, Bloode could follow in reigning AL MVP Mark Richards’ footsteps in making a huge sophomore leap. 


KEY CONTRIBUTORS 

P - Abegg | 0.346 AVG, 16 HR, 21 RBI | 5-3, 13 SO, 4.09 ERA
OF- Bloode
C - Boren | 0.410 AVG, 23 HR, 35 RBI
P - Forrester | 0.516 AVG, 24 HR, 31 RBI | 3-2, 13 SO, 6.29 ERA
OF - J.P
OF - M. Ryans
LF - K. Webb | 0.484 AVG, 23 HR, 33 RBI

BOTTOM LINE

The Kings have high expectations for 2020, and rightfully so. Forrester and Abegg provide County Line with a solid 1-2 punch on the mound. Having Webb in left is a game-changer, but there are still some question marks about the rest of the outfield. Boren’s best behind the plate, but he may be called into action in center or right depending on the circumstances. They have a lot of solid hitters, but are still looking for that go-to HR guy. If Bloode can take the leap at the plate and get enough from his teammates on offense, watch out. 

2020 PREDICTION

15-9