After looking at the German Baseball-Bundesliga a few weeks ago, we would like to continue in our review series with the French Elite League.
The 2008 French Elite League season is probably considered a down year for SAVIGNY, when you are comparing their performance to 2007. Last year, they were in second place in the regular season standings with a 19-5 record, just a game out of first place. In the semis they were eliminated by SENART in four games. In addition to their good win-loss record, they also led the league in offense (AVG .331/OBP .431/SLG .462) and defense (ERA 2.27).
This season they again had 19 victories during the regular season, but in 28 games, which was good for third place in the standings and a spot in the postseason. There they had to overcome a two-game deficit to reach the French Finals. However they only picked up six more wins in the semi-final round and stayed in third place.
What the stats say
As we mentioned before, the LIONS led the league in team batting average and ERA in 2007. They couldn’t repeat their performance one year later. The earned run average for the pitching staff jumped about two runs to 4.34, ranked fourth in the Elite League behind ROUEN, MONTPELLIER and SENART. The offensive numbers also saw a major drop off against last season. They batted .277 (.376/.387), which still was good enough for second place behind the HUSKIES. This all, plus the 50 more errors (although in more games, 2008: GP 40, 90 E, 2007: GP 28: 40 E), led to a run differential of 290 runs scored to 262 (173 ER) allowed.
To strengthen the offense the team brought in UCLA alumni Nolan Rouse (.333/.444/.468), who was one of five players, scoring at least 30 runs on the squad. Sebastien Boyer batted .358 (.443/.500) with one homerun, three triples, twelve doubles, 35 runs scored and 24 RBIs. He led the team in batting average, runs scored and was second in RBIs. Pierrick Lemestre (.342/.409/.541) drove in 28 in 30 games. Jerome Rousseau (.316/.373/.507) had three homeruns, three triples, eleven doubles, 31 runs scored, 23 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 34 games. Florian Peyrichou (.336/.444/.468) was the fifth player on the club with an average over .300. He scored 32 times in just 28 games.
Jeffrys Blanco and Thomas Salado joined the pitching staff at the beginning of the year and were supposed to replace Guilla Gisbert (ERA 1.02, 34 SO, 53 IP) and Matt Wilpert (ERA 2.95, 41 SO, 64 IP). But both couldn’t deliver. Blanco finished the season with a 2-2 record and an ERA of 5.44 and 50 strikeouts (38 walks) in 43 innings. Salado appeared in eight games (four starts) and had a horrible 16.05 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched at the end of the year. However good for SAVIGNY that Carlos Jiminian and Jerome Dussart extended their work load this season. Both did already a nice job in limited time one year ago, pitching in ten-plus innings of relief. Jiminian was slotted into the second starter role in 2008 and finished with a 7-4 record in 16 games (nine starts). He had an ERA of 3.38 and struck out 27 (40 walks) in 74 2/3 innings. Dussart had a perfect 4-0 record and a 2.20 ERA as a spot starter in 45 innings. The staff leader, like last year, was Pierrick Lemestre with nine wins and six losses in 18 games (eight starts). He finished with a 2.51 ERA and 76 strikeouts (19 walks) in 107.2 innings pitched.
Like said before, SAVIGNY for sure isn’t satisfied with the 2008 season. They remained right behind ROUEN and SENART in the standings and were never in danger to drop out of the playoff spots. But this could change, if they cannot improve their pitching over the winter.