Fourth day of these and we’re finally at what are the favoured teams in their quarter final match up. The 4th place, Eagles are our story today – gaining 4th place on account of run differential victory over the Owls (+24 vs. +7). That victor gives them home field advantage so we’ll have to look at how the Eagles do when they have been home amongst a host of other numbers and stats to consider.
The Eagles made a trade to reunite brothers, but beyond that they have largely stuck with the same roster as they drafted.
As mentioned the trade was done from a chemistry perspective to reunite Minaz with his brother Ray Noormohamed. Unfortunately, Minaz has made it to few games only registering 18 ABs for the season.
Please note these stats do not account for any production by any players serving in a reserve capacity and reflect the team member’s output throughout the year, regardless of what team(s) they may have been on.
Team AB: 393
Team AVG: 0.425
LOB: 91 (Runners Left on Base)
LOBi: 194 (Times the individual left runners on Base)
BA/RSP: 0.500 (Batting Average with Runners in Scoring Position)
GB%: 17.3 (% Ground Balls)
LD%: 38.7 (% Line Drives)
PU%: 6.5 (% Pop Ups)
FB%: 37.4 (% Fly Balls)
FPSw: 52.7 (First Pitch Swinging %)
The Eagles had an interesting start to the year, winning most of their games (starting 5-1) and staying in first place or a close second to the Bucks for a while. Ali Manek‘s vacation coincided with their free-fall and until recently, they haven’t really been able to recover.
The Eagles cannot really be understood for what they are without a real look at the number of runs they as a team give up. They have allowed 14 fewer runs (at 87) than the closest second place team in the Bucks who have let in 14 fewer runs (at 101) than their closest second opponent in the Lions (at 115). The interesting thing about this defensive prowess is that it only really helped them in their losses, and not in their wins. They have been generally successful at holding their opponents to 5+ runs less than them in their wins, but their losses are either close or blow outs. It’s telling that this team is usually a few hits/runs away from a much better record.
However, in this analysis we’ll explore that to see whether they are playing below their potential or this is the peak this team can look to expect.
This team’s offence is largely powered by Ali Manek, he was their first overall pick and to his credit he has been playing like or better than could have ever been expected of him. The Eagles have 9 HRs as a team, Manek is responsible for 8 of those. The Eagles have an obscene BA/RSP at 0.500, well above their team average. However, Manek himself holds an out of this world 0.909 batting average with runners in scoring position. For the lay person, it means that if you have Ali Manek up to bat with runners on, in better than 90% of his opportunities he’s able to get on base and score runs for you. With a player of this calibre on the team, it would make sense for the Eagles to drop games and lose without him. If you’re looking at that as an opposing defence and you have him come up to bat, it’s shouldn’t be a hard decision to make on whether walking him or not – but the protected player stipulation allows him to at least see one strike, and that might be all he needs.
So how do the rest of the Eagles fare – a majority of the roster (6 players hit at or above the team average of .500 with runners in scoring position). The 3 that are the most concerning are also seeing the most chances – the trio of Hasnainali Walli (0.333 on 12 chances), Abbas Allidina (0.353 on 18 chances), and Hussein Allidina (0.400 on 17 chances) have left a combined 63 runners on base, let alone when runners on scoring positions.
For this team to be successful, a few things are going to have to happen the Eagles captains and/or leadership core are going to have to decide whether they believe their players are going hit above their season average or they might need to rework the lineup to get their better hitters more opportunities to be score runs.
The pitching side of the question is the best understood and has been consistent all season long. Hussein Allidina has the league’s lowest ERA at 5.85 – he holds batters to a very low 0.375 AVG. He walks batters at a relatively high clip compared to some of the other top pitchers in the league, but those walks seem to be strategic in nature as they’ve managed to not affect his ERA. He has however been the only pitcher that has seen any time this season. This team does have an alternative in Abbas Allidina but he hasn’t had a chance to pitch all season, so we’re not sure how he would do especially given that if called, it would be in a situation where the pressure would be on. Hasnain Kara could also potentially step in, but would be the last option in the totem pole.
The outfield for the Eagles has been playing well consisting of Hasnainali Walli, Hussain Habib, Hussein Champsi, and Aqil Najafi – all are relatively athletic and cover ground – we’ll see how the larger field at Bayview Reservoir changes their positioning. The majority of the outs have come via fly-ball but this team is one that can benefit from ground balls with both Abbasali Kermalli and Ali Manek playing the left side of the infield they can get to a lot of balls. The problem is that the throws aren’t always accurate so it makes getting those outs a little bit harder.
As it stands this team goes and falls as Ali Manek does. He has been playing at levels reserved for the best in the league and has been carrying this team through a lot of games. To be fair, that’s what he was drafted for. If Hussein Allidina is pitching well, which he usually is, and the Eagles are able to get a few runs on the board early – that might make the difference for the entire team. They have historically been a team that plays with momentum and does best when they are in the lead. When they are trailing they start to look around at each for answers and those answers usually come in the form of a yelling match between players.
The best way for this team to be successful is as a unit and by giving their pitcher an early lead to work off. He works best when he can play with batters (as evidenced by the 31 walks) but if that freedom is removed he will press to try and keep runs off the board. As promised, we said we would take a look at the Eagles home record – it unsurprisingly was similar to their overall record at 3-4, when they play the visitor role they are 4-2-1 – likely because it lets them put runs up early.
If you’re playing the Eagles, your tactic will need to be to mercy them in the first run and then have them play from behind. However, the Eagles have showed the heroics of trying to come back from an 8 run deficit against the Bucks and falling just short. So it is possible, but will require a herculean effort and the odds do not favour it. Success will require the same thing failure did – for them to lead off with some runs and that early momentum.