Countdown to 'Opening Day'.
The Grand Opener on May 4th is only a couple of weeks away, and it is time to get serious and get ready for the soon-to-be-legendary 2013 season. It is the time to send your last prayers to your gods and hope for the best. It is the time to face east and feel the strength from your Almighty. A long and hard winter is behind us and the summer has finally taken its first steps towards our city. So let’s get it on!! Who will win? Who will fail? And who will be the new star of the 2013 season?
The Stats Minister is finally back and has yet again presented his predictions for the upcoming season.
- By the Stats Minister, April 19th 2013
Gold and Silver: Oslo Pretenders
The Oslo Pretenders have two equalized first teams in the Outcasts and Rascals and they have shared the NBL title brotherly in the past two seasons. The Oslo Pretenders as a club have been the best club in Norway since day one. Except for the NM in 2003 and the NBL in 2000 and 2009, the Pretenders have won everything on Norwegian soil in the new millennium. But who will win this season? The Outcasts or the Rascals? Both teams have what it takes. The Outcasts are better hitters on paper while the Rascals possess better pitching. The Stats Minister doesn't want to distinguish between the two as both are the Pretenders and we all win as long as one of them does. But we are confident we will get both teams to the NBL finals and anything can happen in the best of 3 Finals. Good luck to both teams and go Pretenders!
We can basically name the whole club. The Pretenders boasts an all-star line-up from top to bottom on both teams. Last season we had 14 players hitting over .300, but eyes will probably be on the two team leaders: Matt and Leif. They both dominated on each team last year and we think they will continue to do so this season.
Both teams have several good arms, although the Stats Minister gives the Rascals the edge here. With Oz-maniac as the late-season whistler in combination with Kaz as the main two starters the Rascals are looking good. In addition they have several good arms in the ‘pen as Alejandro, Luis, and Leif (who will mostly just pitch in the NM, or so he says).
The Outcasts on the other hand have the legendary Glenn as their Ace. As their 2nd starter in the rotation they've got both Dario and Matt. In the ‘pen they have Kevin, Kelly and Efrain.
The Pretenders always get quality players from year to year as some of their players try their luck in other countries. And this year is no exception. They traded away their MVP in 2012 – Mike Penn - in the off-season to Pittsburg for some prospects. With several new kids on the block in 2013, the Stats Minister think Outcasts’ Raul and Anthony will be two of the new bright stars in 2013. For the Rascals, the angry-hitting Rey is another promising rookie for this season. In addition several players are having a comeback season and they might try to capture some of the attention as well as Kelly, Erik the Swede and maybe even Pierre.
Will the Pretenders be able to continue in the same fashion as in the last couple of years or will they collapse? NTNUI almost managed to argue themselves into the NBL Finals in 2012 and can they capture one of the spots in the Finals? And what about the Royals? With their ace Ryo - who can do “anything with a baseball” – are they able to surpass the Pretenders? The Stats Minister doesn’t think the other teams have what it takes in 2013. We believe in the Pretenders and we are sure we will see two great teams this year over all.
Bronze: NTNUI Knickers
The Knickers are entering a new era of their club history this year as they will represent Norway in their first ever E-cup in June. Congratz guys! They look more serious and focused than ever before. But are they ready to step it up a notch and challenge the Pretenders for real in 2013? And by that we mean on the field! Their main problem might be their lack of depth in both the rotation and line-up. If they want to climb up the NBL stairs, they need players who can maintain the level of play on a constant higher level. The Stats Minister doesn’t think they have what it takes to go all the way in 2013, but they will have a great season as the 2nd runner up in NBL.
With a new team leader in Karl, anything is possible for the Knickers. Jarle and Alek led the team’s offense last year while their ace Alek was the big inning eater. They and Yann will surely be key to their team this year as well.
With a team ERA of 5.89 last year, it is evident that they need more arm strength if they want to compete with the Pretenders.
According to our scouts, there are no new promising rookies from Trondheim this year. But we hope they can surprise us.
Will the Knickers be able to beat the Royals, Alna and Alligators to capture the bronze? Or will their lack of depth be too visible and in the end too essential for them to even get on the podium? We think that both Alna and the Royals can easily end up in 3rd, but we believe that the Knickers will prevail in the end as the E-cup experience will boost their confidence and bring the medal to the city of Nidaros Cathedral.
The unlucky 4th: ØHIL Royals
With a great kids program, the Royals will be a tough contender for the throne in the future. Their main man Philip is keeping many balls in the air but will once again present a competitive team with a good mix of young and old. They have what it takes to capture the bronze, but we believe they will focus on stacking up their A-team for NM instead and will use NBL to give all their youngsters their fair share of playing-time.
The Royals’ Ace – Ryo - is the best pitcher in Norway and he will make sure the Royals get their wins when he is on the mound. He will also lead the team in the line-up, together with his brother Yujiro, Philip and Ty.
Ryo is the main man in Bærum and he will send a lot of frustrated batters back to the dugout. He fanned 31 batters in 18 IP in the NBL last year. But when he is not on the mound the situation is not even comparable as the rest of the team had a combined ERA of 13.64!
According to rumor they have a new American hotshot who is supposedly “the real deal”. We are waiting in anticipation and are looking forward to seeing some new blood. But we believe and hope for the most part to see some exiting new youngsters stepping up a notch or two and painting the rainbow over Bærum with some bright colors.
What kind of squad will the Royals show up with in the NBL? If they bring their A-team they will take the bronze for sure, but according to our scouts, they prefer to give their youngsters a lot of playing-time and this means that their shot at the podium will most likely be too far off. They need however to fight to make sure they keep Alna and Alligators behind them.
The newbie ends up in 5th: Alna Baseball Club
As a brand-new team in the league, we welcome them with open arms. It is tough to predict where they will end up as there are many unconfirmed rumors swirling about this team. The only thing we know for certain is that Juan Manuel is the leader of the new gang in town, and we know he has what it takes to present a competitive team for the NBL in 2013.
We honestly do not know for sure who they have and not. According to our scouts they have gathered together a lot of the Latino players from the Oslo community and this should be a good indicator that they could make a big splash. But who is actually on their roster? This is not verified by anyone except for the nomad Aldris (is this his 5th team?) and Yan Carlos from the Alligators. What we do know however is that they have been trying to steal our players - which we do not like at all. At least have the courtesy to talk to us first next time around. OK, guys?
We believe that Alna can end up anywhere in NBL as we do not know their squad. They should have plenty of talented hitters on their team but we do not know if their pitching staff will be good enough to get on the podium this season. With this in mind we place them in the 5th spot and leave them the opportunity to surprise everybody with some great games instead.
The troubled 6th team: Oslo Alligators
Once a powerhouse in Norwegian baseball, the Alligators are no longer more than their own shadow. They recorded 2 wins and 8 losses last year and we are afraid this season could be just as tough for the challenged squad from Oslo East.
As the new President of the Norwegian Baseball Federation, Sven will be even more important for the ‘Gators this season. Together with BC and Erik P, they will try to bring some spark back to the club.
With a team ERA of 16.39 this team really needs to figure something out. Maybe the President can draft some new rules that can go in their favor?
As of now we do not know of any new stars. We have in fact received several indications that they have lost several players to Alna, and Benjamin has moved to Kristiansand.
The Alligators were an excellent team back in the late 90's with great players like Steinar and Trond. But do they have anything to show up with this season? We are hoping for a big surprise. Good Luck!