84-78 (.519); 4th place in AL West
3B Phil Nevin, RHP Kevin Appier, SP Woody Williams, OF Matt Lawton, OF Jeff Conine
OF Darin Erstad, C Sandy Alomar Jr., OF Paul ONeill, OF David Justice
Despite a very solid 84-win season, Brooklyn ended up in last place of the extremely competitive AL West. Although its pitching staff was second in the AL with a 3.98 ERA, its downfall was an anemic offense. In 2001 the Bulldogs batters played more like poodles, scoring only 719 runs (last in the AL by over 100 runs).
Leading the teams pitching staff were ace RHP Greg Maddux (20-10, 2.30 ERA, 180 K), LHP Andy Pettitte (16-8, 3.83 ERA, 107 K) and an exceptional bullpen headed by closer RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki (54 IP, 2.33 ERA, 32 SV). The teams top batters were OF Darin Erstad (.330, 16 HR, 20 SB) and 2B Roberto Alomar (.310, 15 HR, 22 SB).
The already dominant Brooklyn Bulldogs pitching staff should be even stronger in 2002. Joining Maddux and Pettitte in the rotation are free agent RHP Kevin Appier and RHP Woody Williams, acquired via an off-season trade with Plaza. If just one of these veteran arms can bounce back, the rotation will be solid. Meanwhile the bullpen returns nearly complete, losing only RHP Esteban Yan (114 IP, 3.95 ERA, 81 K). That means Sasaki, LHP Gabe White (80 IP, 2.25 ERA, 69 K) and Jose Paniagua (79 IP, 3.78 ERA, 7 SV) are all on hand to menace BRASSball batters once again.
Recognizing the need to shake up their offense, however, Brooklyn overhauled much of its lineup during free agency. Gone are aging OFs Paul ONeill and David Justice. Now in are 3B Phil Nevin (.345, 30 HR, 82 RBI) and OF Matt Lawton (.312, 104 BB, 28 SB).
Unfortunately, the team also lost OF Erstad and C Sandy Alomar (.299, 8 HR, 35 RBI) in free agency so much of these gains may be lost. What the team will need to count on, then, are improvements from disappointing players like 1B Tino Martinez (.256, 23 HR, 76 RBI) and 3B/DH Dean Palmer (.243, 23 HR, 73 RBI). They also may need to find another replacement for Sandy Alomar, as many experts question whether young C Ben Petrick is ready to be an everyday catcher at the major league level.
With their strong pitching, Brooklyn may be the favorite to win the deep AL West this season. To do so, though, the Bulldogs will need to score a lot more runs than last year. Whether they can do so remains to be seen.
CF Marvin Benard
2B Roberto Alomar
RF Matt Lawton
3B Phil Nevin
1B Tino Martinez
LF Jeff Conine
DH Dean Palmer
C Ben Petrick
SS Alex Gonzalez