Formula for a Premier League Team

Each and every team in the Premier League has gotten there a different way. Consider Dallas, who has been finishing first or second every season. Chicago, who won the inaugural season but appears to be headed to demotion this season. Arizona, who has always been seemingly on the brink of relegation, only to stay in the Premier League for their entire tenure. Miami, who has found the right person at the right time to carry their team. DC, whose rebuild has yielded fruit and blossomed into a current third place spot.

They all, however, follow a simple formula.

Today, we take a look at the formula (and, we take a look at potential up comers for the next season – those in the SL who have a chance to be promoted) and find those teams who have what it takes both now and in the future for a long Premier League run.

1. Have a Premier League Worthy Ace

Sounds simple enough – have a pitcher who is good enough to be tops in the Premier League and you should be set, right? Well, let’s run down the list:

  • Arizona – Chris Abbott
  • Chicago – Currently None, but was Paul Kman
  • Cincinnati –¬†¬†Tony Varela
  • Dallas – Chris House
  • DC – Aaron Hannah
  • Detroit – Jose Guzman/Scott Golden
  • Florida – Craig Meister
  • Miami – Seth Paddock
  • Portland – Brad Limbach
  • Sacramento – Chase Lewis

All of these guys can win games at the Premier League level. They range from guys with the best stuff in the league (Aaron Hannah) to guys with the best movement in the league (Jose Guzman) and guys with the best control in the league (Craig Meister) and everywhere in between. Chicago dealt away both of their true aces, but they were with them long enough for a successful PL run (and who knows, maybe they’ll stick around another season as well).

2. Have a Back End Bullpen Ace

All the Premier League teams have a guy who a manager can rely on in a pinch and get outs.

  • Arizona – Shawn Martin
  • Chicago – Was Alberto Fernandez
  • Cincinnati – Now Alberto Fernandez
  • Dallas – Jeremy Harbaugh
  • DC – Jared DeMartino
  • Detroit – Chris Cote
  • Florida – Brian Bigham
  • Miami – Justin Wright
  • Portland – Vince Buckley
  • Sacramento – Alex Valdivia

Most of these guys, however, are starting to age – the average age on the list here is 32.5 years young – so some guys will have to step up to take those spots. However, there isn’t much need to panic – there are also some bright young relievers in the PL. All of these guys are 28 or younger:

  • Alberto Fernandez, 28, Cincinnati
  • Luis Guerra, 25, DC
  • Sean Avery, 27, Florida
  • Billy Kearns, 24, DC
  • Manny Rodriguez, 27, Arizona
  • William Wille, 28, DC
  • Justin Wright, 27, Miami

All seven of those guys are rated at 55 overall or higher by OSA relative to the Premier League.

3. Have Another Guy at the Back End

Yes, most (not all) of the Premier League teams have a second guy in their bullpen.

  • Arizona – Manny Rodriguez
  • Chicago – None (Did I mention Fernandez threw 160 innings a season?)
  • Cincinnati – Alex Guzman
  • Dallas – Cesar Barrientos (Harbaugh is on pace for 150 innings)
  • DC – Mac Woolfrey
  • Detroit – Felipe Gutierrez
  • Florida – Arturo Altamirano
  • Miami – Henry Gonzalez
  • Portland – Neil Kack
  • Sacramento – Nigel Berry

Their average age is an even older 32.8 years old – so, potentially, we won’t be seeing as many dominant relievers in the near future.

4. Have a Legit Speed Threat

You know, a guy who, as soon as they reach first base, could get to second base on any pitch. (Almost) All Premier League teams have a guy like this on their roster, but how much they utilize him is dependent on the manager. Perhaps you’re like DC, who have 45 more stolen bases than second place in the league (but also have been caught 14 more times than second place). Maybe you’re like Arizona, who rarely steal at all (through 80 games they’ve only attempted 27 stolen bases, and been successful about half the time). Still, we have this list of base path blazers:

  • Arizona – Mark Hawkins
  • Chicago – Jeremy Munroe
  • Cincinnati – David Perez
  • Dallas – Danny Crews
  • DC – Ernie Horton
  • Detroit – Chris Cochran
  • Florida – Jonathan Broyles
  • Miami – Remember I said “Almost”?
  • Portland – Soong-Yong Kim
  • Sacramento – Jose Rodriguez

5. Have a Star Outfielder

This outfielder doesn’t necessarily need to be putting up huge numbers with the bat – for example, Chicago has Jeremy Munroe making unbelievable plays out in center – but every team has a guy in the outfield who can sell jerseys (and some teams have multiple guys out there):

  • Arizona – Abel Kennedy
  • Chicago – Jeremy Munroe
  • Cincinnati – Andy Baca
  • Dallas – Danny Crews
  • DC – Orlando Burgueno
  • Detroit – Angelo Underhill
  • Florida – Nelson Santana (RIP)
  • Miami – Miguel Gallegos (He’s having a bad season, but he did win the MVP a year ago)
  • Portland – Miguel Gutierrez
  • Sacramento – Bill Santos

6. Have Two Remaining Stars – One at SS/2B, the Other at 1B/3B/C

Now, some teams will feature more than two remaining stars, some less, but for the most part you’ll find that teams have these two positions covered nicely. Once again, we’re looking at you, Chicago, for the no-bats-but-great-fielding part of the equation:

  • Arizona – Jurickson Profar (SS)/Carlos Rodriguez (1B)
  • Chicago – Troy Weber (SS)/Brian Woodard (3B)
  • Cincinnati – Ramon Millan (SS)/Matt Anderson (1B)
  • Dallas – Andy Mobley (2B)/Franklin Trevino (3B)
  • DC – Ernie Horton (SS)/Ricky Cardenas (3B)
  • Detroit – Edwin Nadal (SS)/Brian Moore (1B)
  • Florida – Nick Pankow (SS)/Leo Navarro (3B)
  • Miami – Angel Cruz (2B)/Carlos Juarez (3B)
  • Portland – Antonio Ramirez (2B)/Luis Campos (1B)
  • Sacramento – Jose Rodriguez (2B)/Matt Haley (1B)

7. Have a Big Bopper at DH

Lastly, look to get a person who can hit the longball at DH. We’re looking for somebody who can drive in runs, and be an all around productive hitter. This is ultimately the last spot to be filled on most teams – after all, finding a guy in the field who can hit is a bigger priority than finding a guy with equal hitting skills who can’t get a ground ball a foot beside him – but top teams find a way to fill in the spot:

  • Arizona – Cesar Hernandez/Carlos Negrete
  • Chicago – None
  • Cincinnati – Brent Savage
  • Dallas – Adam Borne
  • DC – Francisco Ramirez
  • Detroit – Bill Ryan
  • Florida – Mario Cernas
  • Miami – Brad Desroches
  • Portland – Matt Breen
  • Sacramento – Victor Delgado

Now that we have a simple seven step process, let’s take a look at some potential teams who fit the bill well both now and in the future. These teams can come from the SL and the BL, and we’ll be judging them based on the above guidelines:

Team Ace Shutdown Setup Speed Outfield Two Infield DH
Bay Area Pandas Tyler Shinkle Chris Allen Mike Vasquez Cameron Brasted Mike Todoroff X/Chad Collins (3B) Edgar Arreoloa
LA Chilis X Dave Conklin X Noah Hicks Abe Caputo Brendan Evans (2B)/Jordan Olguin {C} X
Denver Wolves X Francisco Pico Oscar Martinez Matt Hutchins Jordan Gutierrez X/Kevin Rayos (3B) X
Mexico City Chupacabras X Tony Carreon X Mike Frantz Josh Johnson Andy Popour (SS)/Ryan Wright (1B) Nestor Gonzalez
Atlanta Swarm Mike Quinn Jesus Gaytan X Rocky Harris X X/X Shen Qi
Midwest Plainsmen X Jason Peterson X X X Jamie Malchow (2B)/Matt Laferty (1B) Billy Wetz
Brooklyn Bulldogs X Reynaldo Lepe X Tom Bridges X Mike Watson (2B)/Luis Trevino (3B) Ivan Quijije
Houston Moondogs X X X Jesse Robison X Jesse Robison (2B)/X X
Philadelphia Liberty X X X Hector Diaz Hector Diaz X/Jason Surface {C} Chris Greenwell
Iowa Predators X X Carlos Rodriguez Zack Sweeney X Zack Sweeney (SS)/X X
Indianapolis Hawks X Wesley Rollings X Curro Najera Jose Sanchez X/Warren Easter (3B) Aaron Schneider


One thought on “Formula for a Premier League Team

  • March 29, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Great read. It’s interesting to compare and contrast different teams’ approach.


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