It’s been a busy week in the Atlantic League and at ALPB Roundup so, for the sake of the content currently being worked on, this weeks ALPB Roundup is essentially a collection of all of our news/transaction briefings from the past week. For up-to-date information between Weekly Roundups during the offseason, follow us on Instagram (@alpb_roundup) and (@ALPBroundup) Twitter!
Atlantic League Expansion and Schedule
West Virginia Power joining the Atlantic League and filling out the league’s 2021 membership at 8 teams, we also received schedules for the league this week. Here’s some key things to know about the 120-game schedule:
May 27th, 6:50 PM: Season Opener, Barnstormers @ Gastonia
May 28th: Atlantic League Opening Day
October 10th: Final Day of Regular Season
Below is a block chart of the number of home and away games each team is scheduled to play against the rest of the league. The 2nd chart shows the estimated mileage that teams are expected to travel during the 2021 regular season.
As we did before the 2020 season was cancelled, we’ll release a full preview of the 2021 schedule including team projections as the season approaches.
Transaction News and Analysis
Johnny Hellweg is a Duck! Hellweg performed very well between Japan’s Western and Central Leagues from 2018-2019, with his 5.6 H/9 being nothing short of incredible. Hellweg’s 5.3 BB/9 is absolutely a source of concern, but if his rate was league-average, he would have dropped his WHIP from 1.214 to around 0.990. The reason that is worth mentioning is this: If Hellweg can use his veteran savvy to work the corners and make the most of the league’s robo-zone, his BB/9 will deflate, in turn, inflating his K/9. Look for him as a solid 8th/9th inning arm in 2021 for Long Island. Josh Judy
Josh Judy has completed his move from the Revs to the Rockers after first signing with High Point in 2020 before the season was cancelled. Josh projects as a consistent arm at the back-end of the Rockers bullpen. At age 35, we’re open to the possibility of decline but aren’t ready to project any issues at this point. His K/9 could see a dip, but it shouldn’t affect his results in a noticeable way. Duke von Schamann
Duke von Schamann (voted Most Likely To Share His Name With A Vampire) is a very good re-signing by the Revolutiom. We project him as the club’s #2 starter in 2021. Duke’s 2019 season saw his control of the zone looking better than ever while his 3.53 FIP and .335 BABIP suggest his 3.51 ERA was in no way an illusion. Jared Lakind
Jared Lakind has re-signed with Lancaster. It’ll be interesting to see what Lakind brings into 2021. He seemed to improve during a small-sample 2021 season in Sugar Land’s CEL, but his 4.96 FIP and 1.516 WHIP raise eyebrows. We project a 24% probability of a sub-4.00 ERA for Lancaster’s likely 3rd/4th starter, but that’s only attainable if he can keep the ball in the zone and in the yard. Scott Shuman
Lancaster has re-signed Scott Shuman, whose 8.10 ERA in 10 IP with the Chicago Dogs in 2020 looks bad. But all 9 of Scott’s ER came in just 2 outings and he posted a 14.4 K/9. We’re going to talk about Scott Shuman a lot as the season approaches, as is career is easily one of the most fascinating that we’ve seen. He strikes out everyone, but sometimes, he walks everyone. He usually maintains a sub-7 H/9, but sometimes his H/9 goes above 10. To summarize – for now – Scott Shuman’s career is an extremely interesting story to follow, and he’s a protagonist we’ll continue to root for. Garrett Granitz
Our projection model gives Garrett Granitz a 59% chance of improving on his 4.07 career Atlantic League ERA. Garrett is heading into his 3rd season with the Barnstormers and, if he can keep his motion consistent, is expected to be a solid mid-to-late relief option out of Lancaster’s bullpen. Henry Owens
We’ll be re-releasing projections for Henry Owens when we have a better idea of his usage. For now, it’s safe to say Owens’ success relies on his control. His K/9 and H/9, historically, have been tremendous, but 5+ BB/9 has constantly created trouble and put Henry in bad spots. If Henry can get his walks under control, even somewhat, he’ll be a big contributor to the Legends ‘pen or rotation. Our projections feel like this is the year Henry Owens stops the slide, but might not begin a full comeback quite yet. Look for Owens as a likely middle/long-reliever and an emergency/6th starter option depending on how manager PJ Phillips likes to deploy him. Robert Carson
Robert Carson is back for his 6th season in the Atlantic League. While his 5.0 K/9, 4.60 FIP, and .269 BABIP ask some questions of Carson’s 3.91 ERA in 2019, his 1.7 BB/9 was a career-best and he seemed to have a good, consistent feel for the zone while pitching to weak-contact. As his career has gone on, Carson seems to have gotten a very nice feel for his stuff on the mound and we don’t expect much decline from this consistent relief arm in his age-32 campaign. Liam O’Sullivan
Liam O’Sullivan‘s highest level season was in 2019 and it was also his best. He showed 6-inning-per-outing potential with consistent command of the zone. Liam projects as a great pickup by Lexington and he should fit nicely in the top half of the Legends rotation. Derek Self
Derek Self had a rough season in 2019, but so did basically every PCL pitcher. He pitched well in a small-sample vs good competition in the CEL, and we expect to see more of the same from him out of the Lexington bullpen in 2021. Jake Romanski
Our projections don’t see Jake Romanski matching the .288/.389/.375 line he posted last season in the CEL, but we are buying the idea that those numbers weren’t an illusion. We expect league-average-to-above-average offensive production and some of the best defense of all the league’s catchers from Romanski in 2021. Daniel Gibson
Daniel Gibson has thrown 44 innings in 48 Atlantic League appearances between High Point and Sugar Land. He enters the Lexington bullpen with a 0.955 WHIP, 6.3 H/9, 9.2 K/9, with a 2.66 ERA and a very impressive 2.49 FIP against Atlantic League batters. We fully expect Daniel Gibson to be a very reliable arm coming out of the Lexington bullpen in 2021, with our projections giving him about a 25% chance of a sub-3.00 ERA. Ben Aklinski
Lexington took a flyer on outfielder Ben Aklinski, who is expected to fill in across the outfield as needed by PJ Phillips. The former Kentucky Wildcat is definitely coming up on a show-me year after struggling in the Phillies organization and with the Adelaide Giants in 2019. Kevin McGowan
Kevin McGowan has struggled with inconsistency during his career, culminating with a very difficult 2021 in the Constellation Energy League. However, Kevin had a very solid stretch of 4 starts in his previous trip to the Atlantic League that earned him a contract from the Washington Nationals. If Kevin can consistently find the strike zone and replicate his positive results outing after outing, he’ll be a valuable contributor for Lexington either in the rotation or from the bullpen. All-Time Top 100 Atlantic League Players Update
Members of our All-Time Top 100 Atlantic League Players that we revealed this as we countdown to Opening Day: