St. Petersburg, FL (AP) -- The St. Petersburg Apostles bow out in the first round of the playoffs, thus ending the franchise's two (or one) year hold on the coveted prize. Once again the season began with lofty expectations, only to barely make their way in to the playoffs where a quick exit was in hand for them. Gary Sheffield was the big gun for this team all year, as he hit 56 HR, and finished in the top 3 in most offensive categories. In another season that may have been MVP numbers, but this year was also a tremendous year for Bond, and Belle, and Sheffield didn't quite make it.
We pretty much committed ourselves to having an offensive team, as our first 5 picks were non-pitchers. The next 3 were starters, but it was probably too little too late. I felt that Macfarlane(11th), Eisenreich(13th), and Edmonds(14th) were steals at that point in the draft, but in picking them I sacrificed my bullpen, as I had only Guthrie (a 17*) going into the 17th round, and as my starters weren't real good, I obviously needed more. Here was my probable starting lineup.
1. Knoblauch 2B
2. Bagwell 1B
3. Sheffield DH
4. Edmonds CF
5. Gonzalez LF
6. Finley RF
7. Cirillo 3B
8. MacFarlane C
9. Vizquel SS
I felt I had a lot of flexibility as I could switch Bagwell and Sheffield, move Edmonds down (or sit him) vs. lefties.
With a rotation and bullpen like this:
My bench consisted of .360 OF Eisenreich, .350 IF Martin, pinch-walk specialists Boggs and Raines, and a good-hitting (Valle) and a good defensive (Manwaring) catchers, and a free agent pickup-pinch-runner Pat Listach. This was a great offensive team that could also play defense. They had a more than capable bench, and the only thing they lacked was pitching. But that was a huge problem, as they needed both starting and relief pitching, to become a dominant team in this league.
There wern't a lot of highlights for the team this season. Gary Sheffield had three 3-homer games, and Juan Gonzalez had one of his own. Gonzalez was huge in the first half, non-existent in the second. Sheffield was big in the first half, bigger in the second. Mark Guthrie was the only pitcher of note, getting 11 wins, 9 saves, and a 2.77 ERA in 130 innings of work. No starter had an ERA under 4.70, and in the end, that spelled the demise of this team.