Gerard Fitzgerald and Anthony Bevilacqua (A-Bev) are both coming off disappointing seasons. It was easily both their worst seasons of their Palisades WBL career.
A-Bev, a career .261 hitter with a career 2.43 ERA did not come close to either of those numbers last year. One has to wonder if A-Bev is getting up in years and the skills are diminishing or if it was the scenery in which he played with the Brewers.
The Brewers ended the season with a 7-15 record. They were at the bottom of the league in hits, (57) and HRs (7). It's tough pitching for a team who had less homers than than players (9). It's an incredible amount of pressure to put on any pitcher. A-Bev had to pitch error free to gain his wins.
On the plus side for the Brewers Jason Paraskevas has addressed the hitting problem with the acquisition of Gerard Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald batted .396 in 2015 and .320 in 2016, with 6 and 7 homers respectively. At the time of the Astros to Royals trade Gerard was hitting just below .280. A little low by his standards but he did have 4 homers and was well on his way to his yearly numbers. Gerard's numbers took a nose dive after the trade to the Royals. He hit .195 post-trade and did not seem to get comfortable at the plate.
The reason could be that the Royals started selling playoff tickets as soon as they acquired Fitzgerald via the trade. Fitzgerald was supposed to get the Royals their first Palisades WBL playoff berth and be (the missing piece) of the puzzle. Its possible that Gerard put too much pressure on himself to produce.
Make no mistake, the league pitched Fitzgerald appropriately and at no point did teams take him lightly, the combination of careful pitching and being anxious to contribute was a bad combination.
With new teams both players are looking forward to different results. At the moment no one is expecting the Brewers to take that huge step into the playoffs. The best bet is gradual improvement. With that approach I can see Fitzgerald getting back to his bashing self and getting that batting avg. back over .300 in 2018.
That being said, with the pressure of A-Bev not having to anchor a staff and not having to be the go to guy with the bat he can settle in and get back to his normal yearly numbers. He can also settle into a #2/#3 starter role (along with Frank Kollias 20 innings 1.45 ERA in 2017) and save some innings on his arm.
Considering it’s a year where any player can opt-out it’s a win win for both teams. Losing either one of those players with nothing in return would have surely put the franchise in a hole.