Monday, May 19, 2008

Rapidz roster set

The Rapids have finalized their roster ahead of Thursday's opener vs. the New Jersey Jackals (7 p.m., at The Zip). Duty calls for providing the Opening Day roster, with a link to each player's Baseball Cube page. 

It seems like a very young club. Ed Nottle and Mike Kusiewicz had to work double-time to get a roster formed. The bottom line is as long as the players put forth a winning effort and it's a welcoming environment at the ballpark, the win-loss record should be of secondary concern.

Catchers — Kyle Geiger (LS-4), Maxime Bouchard (rookie).

Half-witted analysis: As a former pitcher, Nottle might have been thinking of his hurlers first when he picked up Geiger. He's 6-foot-3, 215 lbs. and got as high as Double-A, presumably mostly on his receiving and his throwing. Bouchard had a RBI double in the exhibition game vs. Québec; Nottle was pretty impressed by him, but he's also young.

Infielders — Jabe Bergeron (LS-3), Jose de los Santos (LS-4), Juan Infante (LS-1), Scotty McKnight (LS-1), Nick Trainor (rookie).

Half-witted analysis: Bergeron gets on base at a pretty good clip but hasn't had great power numbers in the Can-Am League. It is unfortunate that Mark Charrette didn't stick, but with nine rookies (five more than the league-mandated minimum), they probably felt a need to opt for more experience in the form of McKnight and Trainor.

Outfielders — Jared Lemieux (rookie), Jereme Milons (LS-4), Sambu Ndungidi (rookie), Pete Pirman (LS-4), Jeremy Ware (veteran, inactive list).

Half-witted analysis: Pirman tore up the Frontier League three summers ago (.973 OPS, league-record 100 RBI in 96 games, 35-of-42 stealing bases). Nottle told the Ottawa Sun that he's going to go with Lemieux as his starting centrefielder, so that likely leaves Milons, Ndungidi and Pirman for the middle of the order and the corner outfield/DH slots.

It might have been by design that the Rapidz are carrying more rookies and are two veterans under the minimum. In the long run, it gives them more flexibility beyond this season.

Left-handed pitchers Mike Kusiewicz (veteran), Fraser Robinson (rookie), Jason Pilkington (rookie).

Half-witted analysis: Fun story about Jason Pilkington, who's done the tour of indie ball in Canada (Québec, Winnipeg, even the Canadian League, which folded in a trice). He's not a natural left-hander; Dad forced him to go left. He also forsook baseball for a while to focus on high jump; he cleared seven feet in high school.

Right-handed pitchers — Noel Baca III (rookie), Cibney Bello (LS-4), Greg Bunn (LS-3), Angelo Burrows (LS-2), Adam Hawes (LS-2), Karl Mejlholm (rookie), Orlando Trias (LS-4), Dallas Strankman (rookie).

Half-witted analysis: Bello, Bunn and Trias have the most established track records among the candidates for the starting rotation. For the bullpen, Angelo Burrows has had a good strikeout rate in affiliated ball since he converted from the outfield a few years ago; how does "Bello and Jello" sound to everyone?


Rob Pettapiece said...

The only one I've heard of is Trias, who spent some time in the Blue Jays' system. If memory serves, he didn't rise above double-A. I guess that's par for the course for independent league baseball.

sager said...

Kusiewicz got as high as Triple-A and has been on the national team; Jeremy Ware played for Team Canada at the Olympic qualifier. There's a whole subgroup of very good ballplayers who aren't good enough to be among the 800 privileged few in the majors.

It varies from league to league; the Atlantic and Northern leagues have some ex-major leaguers. Sandy Madera, who was with New Jersey last year, is now playing for the Red Sox' top farm club.

Anonymous said...

Damn shame that they cut the recently fired Don Charrette's boy, Mark. Good looking SS and nice kid from a great local baseball family. Hopefully Ed can land him somewhere else in the indy leagues.

Rob Pettapiece said...

There's a whole subgroup of very good ballplayers who aren't good enough to be among the 800 privileged few in the majors.

Oh, for sure. (I missed Ware's name the first time around. Any Canadian baseball fan worth his salt knows Ware.) I'm definitely going to a Rapid{s,es,z} game or two if I make it back to Ottawa--you're talking to the IBL fan here, after all.

Just curious how far these guys got in the minors. And that's why we have the Baseball Cube! A few other players whose history caught my eye:

Jabe Bergeron: used to this CanAm stuff. He played for Elmira in 2005, Nashua and Worcester in 2006, and Sussex last year, his best year in the minors/indie leagues.

Jose de los Santos: second baseman or third baseman, depending. Hit .300 or nearly .300 each of his three years in the White Sox system. Intriguing player.

Pete Pirman: Has been playing independent ball since 2002. Collected 100 RBI in 96 games in 2005, if that means anything. Career .295 hitter, has some pop.

Angelo Burrows: reasonably successful righty reliever, given that he was an outfielder until 2003. Live arm: walks and strikeouts come easily. Once traded in part for Todd Hollandsworth.

As for Kusiewicz, it looks like he never quite made that last leap to the majors, even though the 2001 Red Sox weren't winning anything and probably could have passed on The End of Willie Banks' Career.