Questionable Outfit, Led by Bob, Dominate First Half of 2014 EWL Regular Season

9 Jun
2013 Wiffler of the Year, Bob, and Questionable Outfit have cast a long shadow over the EWL in 2014 and are the clear favorites heading into the second half of the season

2013 Wiffler of the Year, Bob, and Questionable Outfit have cast a long shadow over the EWL in 2014 and are the team to beat heading into the second half of the season

One half of the 2014 EWL regular season is in the books, and Questionable Outfit are the clear favorites at the turn. Despite their dominance, all four seeds are up for grabs coming down the homestretch, and multiple single-season individual and team records will be threatened in the second half. Here is a recap of the first half action:

All-EWL Team and Wiffler of the Year

– In his third year in the EWL, Steve D of the Ham Slams has erupted as an unstoppable force both at the plate and in the field. His defensive range may be the best in the league, and coupled with his massive hands, it is tough to get a ball past him in left field. His bat has exploded over the past 5 games, and he has moved to the top of the pack in most offensive categories. He is carrying the Ham Slams on his back, and if he can put together a full squad, the Slams could contend in the second half leading into the playoffs.

– The 2013 EWL Wiffler of the Year, Bob of Questionable Outfit has been even more dominant in 2014. His offensive production through the first 8 games may be the best stretch any EWL player has put together in league history. He slowed down a bit in week 5, but he is on pace to break multiple single-season records, and he will be a serious threat to be the first EWL player to repeat as Wiffler of the Year. He continues to be a top fielder, and he is one of the league’s best pitchers as well.

– After a year off in 2013, Blose of Cookies & Cream has returned to top form in 2014. Despite the hiatus, the 2011 Wiffler of the Year hasn’t missed a step and is one of the most dangerous hitters in the league. He is likely the most feared bat in the league, and he is capable of taking any pitch deep or off the fence. He pulled up lame midway through week 5, and it will be interesting to see how this potential injury impacts his second half performance. Even if he can’t field, he is a Wiffler of the Year candidate strictly as a DH.

Morrison, the 2012 Wiffler of the Year, switched to his third EWL team this season and got off to a hot start, as usual, for Questionable Outfit. His bat is as potent as ever, and he remains one of the most difficult outs in the league. He continues to be one of the league’s most consistent fielders, and he has even seen success hitting from the left side of the plate. Plans for a wedding and honeymoon could cut into his time on the field, but if anyone can make a dramatic impact over 6 or 8 games, it’s Morrison.

– Reilly was the only member of Questionable Outfit to not make the All-EWL team in 2013, and it looks like he has taken it personally. He has improved his performance at the plate combining power and on-base percentage, and he was likely the league’s most dominant pitcher during the first half of the season. He is near the top of almost every offensive category, and he is a reliable fielder under the tree in left field.

Pitch King

– Dinger has been a steady component of the Fish Sticks/Cookies & Cream rotation since 2011, but the first half of 2014 is by far his best performance to date. He is 5-0 and has won all 5 of his starts, all of which were also complete games. He has allowed only 6 home runs in over 30 innings pitched, and he has allowed more than 5 runs only one time. He has avoided big innings, and his variable delivery has kept hitters fooled in 2014. He has struggled with inconsistency in the past, but if he can continue the pace he is on, it may be a record-breaking year on the mound for one of the league’s most experienced players.

Reilly, for whatever reason, only pitched 7 innings in 2013, all of which were impressive and included a complete game victory. With the loss of Mike, Questionable Outfit’s #2 starter, Reilly joined the rotation behind Bob and has become the team’s ace. He, along with Cookies & Cream’s Dinger, is also 5-0 with all of his starts complete game wins. Amazingly, he has only allowed more than a single earned run in one start, and he has already notched two complete game shutouts. At less than 40 career innings pitched, he is still somewhat unproven and may regress in the second half, but the Questionable Outfit defense is the best in the league and could provide the support he needs to have a season worthy of EWL Pitch King.

Rookie of the Year

– Steve C of Eastbound & Dahn started his EWL career with a bang, hitting for the cycle in his first ever game. He hasn’t been as dominant since, and he has struggled putting up back-to-back solid games, but he is the best new power bat in the game. If he can string together multiple good games or even multiple good weeks, he will be the clear frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. It shouldn’t take much to keep his bat operating regularly; he has hit safely in every game of his career and has averaged over an RBI per game.

– Christian, also of Eastbound & Dahn, is the only other viable Rookie of the Year candidate thus far in 2014. He has only went deep once in 10 games, but he has found an uncanny ability to reach base safely and is among the league leaders in singles and hits. His pitching has ranged from brilliant to essentially batting practice and pairs a league worst (among qualified pitchers) ERA of 8.52 with 3 wins, good for second best in the league. As with any EWL rookie, he has struggled in the field, but his skills have improved game-by-game and he is poised for a strong second half of the season.

Team Grades

Questionable Outfit (A-)
– Last year’s runners up got off to the hottest start in the history of the EWL, winning their first 7 games by an unheard of and unprecedented run differential. They lost 2 of 3 to finish the first half when they were forced to play without their full squad for the first time this season. With a complete roster, they are the undoubted favorites to reach the EWL Wiffle Series and are difficult to beat period. They are hands down the best fielding team in the league, they boast a stellar rotation consisting of 2013 Pitch King runner-up Bob and the league’s top pitcher in 2014 Reilly, and 1-through-4 their lineup is without a weak spot. They were the league’s #1 seed in the playoffs last year and breezed through the first round before getting stunned in the Wiffle Series. They seem to be on a mission in 2014 and ready to blast through any team in their way.

Cookies & Cream (B)
– Cookies & Cream won the 2013 EWL Wiffle Series in shocking fashion after barely surviving the first round of the playoffs. In the offseason they lost what may have been their best player, Morrison, who joined their rivals, but they gained Blose, a stalwart from their 2011 and 2012 teams. Aside from Blose, who has been excellent, and Dinger, who may be having a career year, their other veteran players, Joey, Guthrie, and Vassallo, have been mired in inconsistency. If Dinger can continue to have success on the mound, and Guthrie, considered to be the greatest pitcher in league history, can return to form, their rotation and defense should keep them in any game. The conclusion of their 2014 season will come down to the consistency of their bats. When they are on, Cookies & Cream are as good as any team in the league. When they are off, they are below average and can be easily beat.

Eastbound & Dahn (C)
– Eastbound & Dahn have yet to play with their full roster through 10 games. Ideally, their rotation would consist of Christian and Helal with an everyday lineup of those two as well as Steve C, Ivan, and Hartley. Eastbound has struggled immensely on defense, but if the above mentioned squad is on the field week-to-week, their defense will be up-to-par come playoff time. Ivan has won a championship with the Fish Sticks in 2012 and almost led Eastbound to an improbable first round upset in 2013, and he can lead this team down the stretch. Hartley is a solid bat and one of the game’s top fielders, and Helal has 3+ years of experience to draw from at the plate and on the mound. This team can contend with anyone in the league when everyone is healthy and present, but they haven’t played a single game as a full squad in 2014, and it’s not clear that they will.

Ham Slams (C)
– The Ham Slams have been the league’s youngest team since joining the EWL in 2012, and they have yet to finish higher than 3rd in the season standings or win a playoff series. If 2014 is going to be the year the Ham Slams take the next step, they will need more to get more consistent attendance from their role players. Steve D is having a career year and is a top contender for EWL Wiffler of the Year. Charlie’s statistics aren’t eye catching on the mound or in the field, but his pitching stats have been tainted by a terrible defense behind him and he has more confidence at the plate and in the field than any other time in his career. Anthony is as good as ever, but he hasn’t been a consistent presence on the field. And no team exudes more Wiffle spirit than the Slams, particularly when they have a full roster. Steve has been electric, but without more production from players other than him, this team will struggle to contend. If they can round up the troops, a fulL Ham Slams squad is very capable of engineering a first round upset.

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