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.
In 2006 TOULOUSE reached the French Finals and lost to ROUEN. One year later they dropped to fifth place in the standings with twelve wins in 24 games. In 2008 a young team again had to settle with the runner up position for the playoffs with a 10-18 record during the regular season and 18 victories in 40 games overall.
A few game days before the end of the first round they still were in the race for the top four. However a nine-game losing streak right at the end of the regular season stopped all hopes for a postseason spot. In the play-down round STADE had not much problems with CLERMONT-FERRAND, LA GUERCHE and PARIS to secure fifth place.
What the stats say
You can see the drop off below .500 in the box scores. In comparison to 2007 the team batting average by TOULOUSE shrunk from .280 to .247 (OBP .384/SLG .325), good for fifth place in the Elite League. In addition the ERA of the pitching staff jumped to 4.86 (2007: 4.15). They scored 290 runs and allowed 278. 184 of them were earned, because of 80 errors by the defense.
Euri and Edisson Garcia-Martinez led the pitching staff with appearances. Euri had an 8-5 record with seven complete games in 15 starts. He had an ERA of 4.04 with 59 strikeouts (68 walks) in 107 innings. Edisson was 3-1 in 13 games (two starts) with an ERA of 6.80 and 27 K’s (30 walks) in 46.1 innings pitched. Player/head coach Jamal Boutagra (50 IP, ERA 5.40, 1-3), Quentin Pourcel (43 IP, ERA 5.02, 2-5) and Steven Vesque (43 IP, ERA 5.02, 1-5) were the other main starters. Overall eight players from TOULOUSE got the starting nod in 2008. Thomas Medina (3-1) had the best ERA (1.50) on the staff with at least ten innings pitched. He struck out 15 (seven walks) in 18 innings.
The most known name in the lineup was probably MINNESOTA TWINS prospect Frederic Hanvi, who batted .333 (.527/.530) with two homeruns, two triples, three doubles, 22 runs scored and 16 RBIs in 19 games. Brieuc Mallet (.267/.433/.400) was the other threat for power in the batting order with eight doubles, a triple and two homeruns, scoring 22 runs and driving in 22. Maxime Gigout (.220/.367/.247) led the team with 37 RBIs. Sebastien Morgavi (.258/.377/.344) scored the most runs with 41. He also had 25 RBIs. Boutagra had the highest batting average among the regulars with .369 (.500/.538) along with one homerun, a triple, six doubles, 16 runs scored and 19 RBIs in 22 games.
The squad, which had seven teenagers on the roster at the beginning of the year, did a nice job to hold their ground in the 2008 Elite League. The experience they could collect during the course of the season will help them to get back towards the upper positions in the standings. Especially as they didn’t had an impact player, either on the pitching staff or the offense, which would have helped during the tough stretch at the end of the regular season.