Based on this opening day roster for Oklahoma City, I feel pretty confident in saying that they will be better than their 2011 counterparts, but how much better may be a little more difficult for me to predict.
If I tell you that the five pitchers representing the most starts at OKC in 2011 were Sergio Perez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Andy Van Hekken, Nelson Figueroa and Jordan Lyles, and I go on to tell you that the 2012 starters are projected to be Paul Clemens, Aneury Rodriguez, Henry Sosa, Dallas Keuchel and Jordan Lyles, would you agree that 2012 is an upgrade? Yeah, I thought so.
Not only did your starting rotation go from an average age of 28.4 years to 23.8 years, three of those pitchers received significant MLB experience in 2011. In addition, Keuchel and Clemens got their feet wet in AAA last season which should help them adjust to the level.
If you projected wins and losses for the entire 2012 OKC pitching staff based on their 2011 numbers with zero improvement, they would emerge at the end of the season with roughly the same number of wins and losses. But I absolutely expect improvement with this group.
In looking at the offense, the 2012 roster projects to be an upgrade in terms of batting average and slugging percentage over the 2011 group. I think that projection will hold because there are a number of individuals with significant experience at the level on the roster who have a history of success at that level.
In 2011, Oklahoma had a record of 68 wins and 75 losses, a .476 win percentage, and that was with Ryan Rowland-Smith going 2-10. I know this group can do better than that. The wild card on this is that the PCL looks to be a stronger league this season than last season with some of the talent that didn't quite make the cut on the big league rosters. But with that said, I think the worst case scenario for the season is 76 wins and 68 losses, a .527 win percentage.