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Monday, January 15
Stanley Sioux

2001 record:
103-59 (.636); 1st place in NL Central
Won NL Divisional Series over Fleetwood in 6 games; Lost NL Championship Series to Ocala in 4 games

Major additions:
RHP Kevin Brown, DH Ryan Klesko, 3B Jeff Cirillo, 2B Jeff Kent, RHP John Burkett

Major loses:
1B Mark McGwire, RHP Cal Eldred, RHP Kevin Appier, OF Bubba Trammell, LHP Ted Lilly

2001 Review:
With a tremendous 103-win season, Stanley won its second NL Central Division title in as many years in 2001. The team had no real weakness, as its pitching staff led the National League with a 4.16 ERA while its offense was third in the NL with 975 runs scored. In the NL playoffs, Stanley beat division rival Fleetwood in 6 games before being swept by Ocala in the NLCS.

Stanley's top offensive contributors were 1B Rafael Palmeiro (.303, 41 HR, 127 RBI), OF Moises Alou (.343, 25 HR, 88 RBI) and DH Mark McGwire (.283, 24 HR, 56 RBI, 233 AB, 91 BB). Its top pitchers were NL Cy Young Award winner LHP Randy Johnson (24-8, 2.93 ERA, 300 K), RHP Rick Helling (21-6, 4.01 ERA) and RHP Cal Eldred (10-6, 4.35 ERA).

2002 Outlook:
After falling to Ocala in the NLCS, Stanley entered the off-season with a vengeance. The team's ownership showed a fierce determination to plug its holes and make another championship run in 2002.

For example, perhaps no other team played free agency as well as Stanley. First, the Sioux inked RHP Kevin Brown (16-5, 3.16 ERA) to a 4-year deal. He and Randy Johnson will provide Stanley with perhaps the most powerful 1-2 punch of any pitching staff in BRASSball.

Then, the team bolstered its already strong lineup by signing 2B Jeff Kent (.351, 39 HR, 140 RBI), DH Ryan Klesko (.297, 23 HR, 83 RBI) and 3B Jeff Cirillo (.343, 10 HR, 74 RBI) to fill its holes. This leaves only rookie C Paul Loduca and streaky SS Neifi Perez as question marks in the Stanley lineup.

Returning to the team are closer Antonio Alfonseca (54 IP, 5.03 ERA, 39 SV) and veteran RHPs Rick Helling and Pat Hentgen (10-8, 4.52 ERA), who add further depth to the pitching squad. Unfortunately, RHP Cal Eldred has been lost to a possibly career-ending injury. The team has since traded for the aging John Burkett (7-10, 6.88 ERA) to replace him in the rotation, although his chances of doing so with any success are likely minimal at best.

With a thunderous lineup and a talented pitching staff in place, Stanley will once again be a major force in the NL. In fact, another 100-win season and playoff appearance are nearly predestined. In the 2002 playoffs, with the powerful combination of Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown able to pitch nearly every game, a BRASSball Championship is a definite possibility.

Projected lineup
CF Bernie Williams
3B Jeff Cirillo
LF Moises Alou
1B Rafael Palmeiro
2B Jeff Kent
RF Jermaine Dye
DH Ryan Klesko
C Paul Loduca
SS Neifi Perez

Rotation
Randy Johnson
Kevin Brown
Rick Helling
Pat Hentgen
John Burkett

Closer
Antonio Alfonseca

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