1965: 80-74, 3rd Place
The Whale Killers are back, folks. In case you were wondering. Despite their third straight 3rd place finish in the CL, the 'Pooners made great strides in the off-season to ensure that this year is their year.
Their pitching staff boasts 3/5ths of the former rotation of the now departed St. Louis club that won five straight RL titles and two FOOL Classics. Benny Myers (13-9, 2.43 ERA) is the new arrival, inked to a 4-year/$69.4 million deal this past off-season, "Blinky" becomes the ace of the staff in Hartford.
Add to him former and now new teammates Gabriel Prado (15-8, 3.22 ERA) and Rob Roberts (16-7, 3.87 ERA) and four-time all-star closer Peter McKeane (4-7, 41 SV, 3.86 ERA) and you think that Hartford ought to be called St. Louis East and be done with it.
Offensively is where they might struggle. Their cleanup hitter is outfielder Jeremy O'Herlihy, who hit 21 HRs and 66 RBI last year on .292 average. They are also a bit clogged at first base, with both Andy Nolan (.291/2 HR/26 RBI in 203 ABs) and Joel Beach (.311/11 HR/88 RBI) seeming to both want to play the position. (I bet they miss the DH now!)
If Hartford's pitching is any indication, St. Louis proved that you can with a lot of pitching and not a lot of hitting. Hartford might be a bit thinner than those historic teams of Terrier Past, but...it seems they might have the chops this year to get over the top in the CL.
Prediction: 1st Place