80-82 (.494); 3rd place in AL Central
RHP Jason Schmidt, RHP Hideo Nomo, 3B Mark McLemore
2B/DH Chuck Knoblauch, RHP Kris Benson (arm injury), RHP Jamey Wright
Despite finishing with its best record since 1998, Iowas 80-win season still left them far behind division rivals Cook County and Plaza. The team finished just nine games behind Santa Barbara for the American Leagues final Wild Card berth, however, giving Iowas fans reason for optimism in the upcoming 2002 season.
Iowas best players in 2001 were OF Magglio Ordonez (.311, 27 HR, 113 RBI), 2B Eric Young (.298, 108 R, 55 SB) and RHP Jose Mercedes (14-4, 4.23 ERA, 73 K).
Nearly all of its 2001 lineup will return this season, so once again the offense will be in the capable hands of Ordonez and Young. If talented players like OF Cliff Floyd (.283, 16 HR, 83 RBI) and 1B Tony Clark (.260, 12 HR, 35 RBI) can rebound from their disappointing 2001 seasons, the Iowa offense might see a significant improvement.
In an effort to bolster its shaky 2001 rotation, Iowa signed two free agent pitchers with upside potential, RHPs Jason Schmidt (1-6, 4.68 ERA, 50 K) and Hideo Nomo (13-7, 4.85 ERA, 172 K). While neither was dominant in 2001, Schmidt battled injuries much of the season and Nomo showed flashes of brilliance with Fleetwood. If these two can pitch up to their potential in 2001, they will be major assets for the Rubes.
While a divisional championship is not realistic with Cook County still running strong, Iowa does have an outside chance at a Wild Card berth in 2002. To do so, though, it will need to stay healthy and to have pitchers like Schmidt and Nomo lead the way.
3B Mark McLemore
LF Cliff Floyd
RF Magglio Ordonez
1B Tony Clark
DH Carlos Lee
C Jason Varitek
CF Jose Cruz Jr.
SS Cristian Guzman
2B Eric Young