If one looks at Mahoning Valley’s record over the last 15 years, you would not think the Scrappers would be in rebuilding mode. Unbeknownst to many in the league, when Jacob Wallace stepped in to manage MV, the team was actually in disarray. At first glance, the Scrappers looked ready to win it all. However, the budget was in crisis and several of its top players were declining. The veterans held a huge part of the budget which restricted any moves Jacob could take. In his first season, MV won only 89 games and barely made the playoffs. Many around the league knew there was more to what was going on behind the lines when the General Manager left abruptly in 2031 after making an appearance in the CBL Premier Cup Series. Jacob Wallace was brought in and told, this team is ready to win now.
In 2032, the Scrappers started on a decline. Former manager of the Austin Bats, Steven Miller, recently gave us his thoughts on Mahoning Valley. “The Scrappers were at the top of the league for many seasons. Not many teams have a history full of success as MV. For years, they were the model of how to succeed in this league. They drafted the right players and kept a very strong farm.” However, in 2031 everything changed. The talented farm was traded for the right to win now. The Scrappers nearly won it all, but came up short. Their General Manager suddenly left and not many people understood how far they had actually fallen. Jacob was brought in, but had a lot of work to do. By 2033, the new GM had enough. Jacob decided to take some risks and opened up Mahoning Valley to the trading block. Once the smoke had settled, the most championed player in the entire league was no longer a Scrapper. Michael Jordan was traded to Philadelphia Liberty. This was a blockbuster trade, but few knew if it was wise to trade not only the best player on the team, but arguably one of the best in the league.
Steven Miller did not agree with Jacob’s moves. “Jacob is way over his head. He needs to head down to AA or even the rookie league to gain experience. Then maybe he will know how to properly manage a CBL team.” That year, Steven was proven correct. Mahoning Valley struggled without Jordan and did not make the playoffs. The Scrappers posted its worse season in 14 years.
Turns out, Jacob was on to something. In the Jordan blockbuster trade, Mahoning Valley added a few keys pieces to the team, all of which are starting as we move into the 2035 season. For Jordan, Jacob received Aaron Leasher, Charlie Szymkowicz, Randy Perry, Alex Brantley, and T.J. Beaudreau. To put this into perspective, in 2034, these additions posted a +17.2 in Wins Above Replacement (W.A.R.). Compared to Jordan who posted a 5.5 W.A.R. before being traded to San Diego, where he posted a low 3.9 W.A.R. Jacob shifted its LF, Artie Waters, into CF. Artie has posted a W.A.R of +6.9 in two seasons after moving to CF. In LF Szymkowicz, continues to dazzle. With Szymkowicz hitting 29 home runs last season and Artie adding 24 of his on, I do not believe the Scrappers are missing Jordan.
In 2034, Mahoning Valley turned heads. They lead their division for most of the season, only giving it up to Austin Bats by one game in the last few of the season. The Scrappers showed its namesake and made it to the CBL Championship series, only to lose it to the eventual Premier Cup Champion, Austin Bats. “Jacob proved me wrong,” commented Miller. “He proved everyone wrong. He had an insight for what his team needed. Jerry Trostel made the right decision to bring him in. Personally I do not plan to sign another contract with Austin Bats. If Jacob needs a new manger, he should contact me.”
In 2035, Mahoning Valley is taking a BIG Step Forward. The only way to go is the Premier Championship Series and Jacob Wallace believes he has the team that can do it. This off-season, saw a huge change though for MV. Patrick Mahomes started showing his age as the season progressed last year. At the end of the season, Mahomes announced his retirement. The all time career percentage winner for MV was now ready to enjoy his time in the dugout. Jacob hopes there is a future as a manger for him. With Mahomes retiring, Jacob used free agency to fill the gap.
Greg Boyle was brought in after one season with the Millers. Boyle posted a 10 win season and a 3.19 ERA.
Jacob surprised everyone with the signing of Sam Tewes. He too was brought in from the Millers after posting a 14 win season and a 4.14 ERA. Maybe MV is hoping to echo Minneapolis who won 128 games last year, but came up short in the final games. “Greg and Tewes fill a few gaps for us, but more importantly their experience should take us to the next level. Tewes has aged well. He is 39 and continued to improve his throwing arm this off-season. He is fit and ready to step into a starting role. Though he has been in the league for 18 years, he knows he will have to prove he still has the stuff if he wants to remain a starter. His contract reflects this where the team has the option to keep him around after this season. Now Booger, we call Greg Booger, is a special player. He reminds me a lot of Mahomes. He has the ability to reach 100 mph and to strike players out at will. He is a 3-time CBL Champion that can teach me a thing or two about leading a team forward.”
This should be an exciting year for Mahoning Valley. Expectations are high. If Jacob can find the cap room to keep players around, he may just show everyone the Scrappers are here to win again.