A member of the Staples Legionaires was nice enough to answer my questions about the season for them and i hope you all enjoy.
TT: Briefly can you tell me about 2007 season with your record and how youdid in the playoffs and any special acheivements worth noting.
SL: Our regular season record was 3-21, 3-13 in the Lake & Pine League. We lostboth of our 2 playoff games which was a best of 3 series with the Wolf LakeWolfpack (who I believe ended up winning region 16C and going to state).The '07 season was our 2nd year having a team, this coming season will be our 3rd.
TT: Is there any key additions to the team?
SL: Jeff Johnson, a long time high school varsity and amateur umpire in thearea, will be taking over as our 3rd manager in 3 seasons, but will allowus to have a non-player/manager for the first time. His 2 sons, Zack andGunner Johnson, will be coming over to our team from the Nimrod Gnats. For the past 4 seasons Zack has played as either the starting CF or SS for a good Nimrod team that went to regions each of those years. Zack hit for a .329AVG last season, and is also probably one of the fastest 2 or 3 players in all the L&P League, and the Legionnaires need his speed. Gunner is still a young highschooler, but may earn a starting spot this season
TT: Is there any key losses from the team?
SL: Manager/Backup catcher David Lundberg is leaving the team after moving to a new area
TT: What do you view as the teams strengths this season?
SL:We don't have much for power hitting, but we might be able to more than make up for that with our speed on the bases and at the plate. Our lineup will have a number of guys that will be threats on the bases and that are very capable hitters at the plate that find ways to get on base and move runners over. Our defensive depth in the outfield may have us with more good outfielders than we're able to find playing time for.
TT: What are some things the team needs to work on to be the best it can become playoff time?
SL: Improving our defense will be the biggest issue. We especially will need to find guys to fill holes at catcher and 3rd base. Our pitching depth also looks like it may be shorter than we'd like
TT: What are the expections you have for your team going into the season?
SL: After last season, I think most of us on the team are hoping to be a middle of the pack team in the league, and to be playing good enough come playoff time to just have a shot at winning a few games and making it to regions
TT: If you could say what player is the key to your success or failure and why?
SL: David Anderson is key to our pitching success, he threw more than 30% of our innings last season. Centerfielder Jason Bachman probably had the teams best offensive year last season, batting .333 and scoring 18 runs. It will also be interesting to see how Justin Kolling has recovered from last years season ending injury. A month into the season, Justin was hitting .407 with 7 runs scored before dislocating his shoulder, breaking a collar bone, and needing offseason elbow surgery all due to a play where he ran into the foul pole at full speed while making an amazing catch at the fence
TT: Break down your league for me and where do you see your team fitting into your league.
SL:Each of the last few years, Wolf Lake, Nimrod, and Midway have taken 3 of the 4 region spots from our league. This year I expect the top tier to be made up of Wolf Lake, Midway, and the league newcomer Lakes Area Lightning(from Brainerd). The middle pack will be made up of Nimrod, Red Eye,Sebeka, Verndale, and I believe also Staples, and I expect all these teams to be pretty much equal. I would expect Huntersville to be the only bottom dweller, but after last season the other teams in the league would probably tell you that they think Staples belongs in that group as well.The North Division is made up of Staples, Wolf Lake, Midway, and LakesArea, so at least 1 of those 3 teams that I consider to be the best in ourleague will not make the region tournament. The South Division is made up of Nimrod, Red Eye, Sebeka, Verndale, and Huntersville, and I don't see it being as nearly as top-heavy as the North Division.
TT: Where do you see amateur baseball going in the next 5 years?
SL: Don't really have any thoughts on this
TT: If you could change something about amateur baseball what would it be.
SL:I would move a large number of the top C teams up to class B. It doesn'tmake sense to me that Class C is so large that only about 10% of teams makeit to the state tournament, when at the same time the number of teams inClass B is so small that like 50% of the teams go to state.
Monday, April 14, 2008
I am starting a new facet of my blog im going to have an amateur baseball angle. As some of you know and for people that don't i have a long history with amateur baseball. Growing up going to games when i wasn't old enough to walk got the love of baseball in me long before i got into the Twins. So i have decided to involve Amateur Baseball in my blog and i have chosen the Countryside,Hi-ten,Lakes and Pine, and Resorters leagues to focus on because thats what i am most familiar with. I sent out questionaires to every manager in those leagues and i will do a preview of every team in those leagues. If i missed any of the teams in those leagues it was probably because i couldnt find a contact email or number so email me back and ill get you a questionaire. What this aspect of my blog will entail is teams sending in their scores and ill keep a standings up atleast once a week. It is a good way for people that love baseball to talk about real small town baseball that most of us have experienced one time or another. I hope everyone enjoys it and i hope all the teams take part because i think it can be fun if the teams become actively involved in this angle.
I will be continuing my series on the Twins position by position look into the Twins organization. Today i will be moving onto the Right Field position hope everyone enjoys it and let the comments continue. Im excited about this position because we have some exciting players at this position
- Jason Kubel- I am going to be honest going into the second half of last year i was not too impressed with Jason his average was languising in the .230's and he didn't look impressive at all. But i admit i was wrong about him he has been outstanding since then. Jason was a 12th round pick by the Twins in the 2000 draft. His minor league stats were phenomenal he was a .319 hitter in 4 years in the minor leagues. He came up in 2004 and looked to be on his way to stardom starting in the playoffs for the Twins. Then disaster struck in an Arizona Fall League game he collided with another player and destroyed his knee which caused him to miss the entire 2005 season. It took him a while to get back and the second half of last year was when i saw the Jason Kubel that i remember in 04 with good plate discipline and power for a guy his size. I'm really happy for him and expect a breakout year for Jason and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I see Jason as a cornerstone for the Francise and someone the Twins need to get signed long term for the Twins to go back on their Throne as Central Division Champions.
- Jon Knott- Jon is an interesting player who has good power and a good professional player. Jon came over to the Twins this offseason and brought with him a very professional attitude and a plan at the plate. Jon is a career .280 hitter who had his best seaon in 2006 at Portland where he hit 32 hr and 113 RBI's. I am kind of high on Jon who i think if there is injury's could help the Twins out as a bat off the bench, but i think he will spend the season in Rochester trying to help them make the playoffs.
- Erik Lis- I am really high on Erik he knows how to hit and has good power and his future is pretty good. Erik was a 9th round pick by the Twins in the 2005 draft and has put up good numbers. Last season for Fort Myers he hit .274 with 18Hrs and 97 rbi's. Defensively he has struggled in the outfield but you need to find a way to get his bat in the lineup. He struck out 109 times so he needs to cut down on that but i am high on him and if he continues to develop i could forsee a major league career for him as long as he keeps working on it and keeps getting stronger.
- Whitney Robbins- Whitney has some potential as a hitter its just way to early to tell how good he can be. Whitney was a 4th round draft pick in 2006 so this is only his 2nd full season as a professional. Last year he struggled at Fort Myers hitting only .210 with no homeruns in 64 games. He has a lot to improve on this year and i really dont think there is a lot of future for him, but like i said its too early to tell how he will take the coaching and if he is willing to put in the work to get better so the jury is still out on him.
- Ben Petsch- Ben is an interesting player who has immense talent who is starting to come into his own. Ben was a 19th round pick in the 2007 draft so this is his first full season as a professional. In a shortened season last year he hit .310 in only 27 games. It is way to early to tell how good he is going to be and being a 19th round pick he has to beat out people taken ahead of him but he definatly is someone to keep an eye on this year for the Snappers.
Syracuse 3 Rochester 2
Syracuse 3 Rochester 2
- POG: Mariano Gomez- He pitched 3 solid innings in relief of Heath Totten only giving up 1 hit and 0 runs to lower his era to 1.80. He walked 1 and struck out 3.
- The Red Wings continue with the struggles at the plate only getting 4 hits on the day.
- Heath Totten made a decent spot start going 3 innings and giving up 2 runs with only 1 earned.
- The Red Wings continue to struggle defensively committing 2 more errors to bring their season total to 20 errors in only 10 games. They need t0 tighten that up or its going to be a long season.
- Today the Red Wings conclude their series with Syracuse with a 5:35 game in Rochester. Brian Duensing gets the start for the Red Wings
New Britain Business
Portland 5 New Britain 1
- POG:Trevor Plouffe- Trevor continued his good weekend for the Rock Cats going 1-3 with a triple and an rbi. He also reached on a walk to raise his average to .308 on the young season.
- The Rock Cats struggled with the bats only able to scratch together 2 hits against Portland starter Dustin Richardson.
- Jay Sawatski had a good outing in relief of Oswaldo Sosa going 2 and 2/3 shutout innings giving up 3 hits while striking out 2.
- Oswaldo Sosa had a tough outing for the Rock Cats going 3 and a third innings giving up 5 runs and walking 6. It wont happen very often with Sosa he is too good of a pitcher.
- Tonight the Rock Cats begin a series with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in New Hampshire. Game time is 5:35 with Yohan Pino getting the start for the Rock Cats.
Fort Myers Musings
Dunedin 9 Fort Myers 3
- POG: Danny Valencia- In not a very good game for the Miracle Danny hit his 2nd hr of the season for the Miracle and drove in 2 runs.
- Yancarlos Ortiz had a good game at the plate going 2-3 for the Miracle. He is known for his glove so anything he brings offensively is a plus.
- Cole Devries got the start for the Miracle and struggled giving up 5runs and 8 hits in 5 and 2/3 innings. Walking 3 and striking out 6 for the Miracle. He is too good of a pitcher to pitch like that I look for him to bounce back next time out.
- The Miracle were shut down offensively only scratching out 6 hits against the First place Blue Jays.
- The Miracle take today off before beginning a series with Clearwater on Tuesday.
Beloit 8 Fort Wayne 3 game 1
Beloit 6 Fort Wayne 1 game 2
- POG: Mark Dolenc- Mark had a good couple of games going 5-6 in the 2 games with 2 doubles , 2 runs scored and a RBI in the 2 games as the Snappers swept the doubleheader.
- Chris Parmalee had a good couple of games going 3-6 with 3 rbi's in the 2 games.
- Daniel Berlind struggled a bit in the first game going 3 innings for the snappers and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits but walked 5 batters which is way to much.
- Brian Kirwan pitched his 2nd consecutive strong performance for the snappers going 5 innings and giving up only 1 run on 2 hits. To lower his team leading ERA to 0.84.
- Today the Snappers try to continue their winning streak to 3 games as they play host to Dayton in the first game of a 3 game series. Game time is 6:30 with David Bromberg getting the start for the Snappers