Saturday, August 30, 2008

gdfan Interview

gdfan is manager of another one of Alexander's most successful franchises, the Pawtucket Patriots. Another original owner, gdfan has guided the Patriots to 7 playoff appearances, including a World Series appearance. The Patriots are the 5-time defending AL East champions, and with a 6-game lead on the Vampires, they look to repeat.

Q: How are you feeling about your team's performance so far this season?

Tough to be disappointed playing .650+ baseball. I only wonder how good this team would have been if Orlando Perez did not have a season ending(career changing) injury. While his replacements, Luis DeLeon and Neil Taylor, have been adequate defensively, the .270 OBP really hurts.

Q: Who on your team has been underachieving, and who has been overachieving?

Alfonso Borges, CF, has been the biggest underachiever on the team. After winning the AAA MVP, and the silver slugger last season in AAA, I expected much more from him offensively.

Catcher Mark Bell, a career .320 hitter, is batting .386. I guess he is the closest to an overachiever on this team. Hard to believe I try to trade him every season with no takers.

Q: What do you think your team's biggest strengths and weaknesses are? Have you made or do you plan on making any moves to alleviate those weaknesses?

The strength of the team is pitching and defense. We rank first in both categories. 5 very good starters and a very deep bullpen is the key to the team's success. Having Gold Glove-caliber fielders in the IF and CF makes the pitching even better.

The biggest weakness this season is the bench. The biggest factor was the injury to Perez. Now I have a great role player the last few seasons(Taylor) starting half the games. It really hurts when resting a starter. The bottom third of the order has a hard time getting on base.

There are some bats in the minors that will be called up for the stretch run.

Q: How does the Patriots' long-term future look? Is the future bright or are you in win-now-and-sacrifice-the-future mode?

The future looks great. Felix Duran, 3B, 32, and Mark Bell, 28, are the only starters over 27. The 4 top starters are 29, 28, 27 and 25. The minor league system has a quality prospect at every position.

We will continue to try and win now by trading prospects and signing type A FA. We will also look to the future by finding quality late in the draft.

Q: Who do you pick to win the AL this year, and why?

Well, if pitching and defense win championships I pick the Patriots. However, in HBD that isn't the case. The Montgomery Maulers have a great offense, so they are my pick.

Q: Who do you pick to win it all this year, and why?

I'll go out on a limb and pick Rochester. That is as good a team from top to bottom that you will find in all the worlds of HBD.

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