Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sneak peek at the Seals roster for 2010

While an official announcement has not yet been made, an unnamed source has divulged a number of key details that gives us a pretty good idea of how the Seals’ 2010 roster will shape up.

Although the Times-Colonist reported on March 4th that Caonabo Cosme was to play third base for the Seals this year, it appears that Brian Rios will return to the team and Cosme will play in the middle infield instead.  Rios hit .319 in 2009 and was solid defensively at the hot corner. Wilver Perez will bring his hustling style of play back to RAP for another summer and will likely play shortstop, with Cosme taking Perez’s old spot at second base. Perez, one of the more exciting players in the Golden League, hit .330 for the Seals with 24 stolen bases before being traded to the Calgary Vipers on August 27th. Brett Flowers (.302 average and 49 RBIs in 291 at-bats in 2009) will also be back as the team’s first baseman and his presence can only help the Seals’ offense.

As was reported on this blog on March 9th, Josh Arhart will be back behind the plate for the Seals in 2010. Arhart, a fan favourite in the Garden City, hit .325 with 11 homers and 52 RBIs before being traded to York Revolution of the Atlantic League on August 29th. In addition to giving Seals fans an excuse to wear an eye patch to the games, this signing also ensures that the familiar chants of “Arrrrrrrhart” will be heard at RAP this summer. Backing up Arhart at catcher once again will be Matt Kavanaugh.

The outfield situation is still up in the air, but the good news is that Chris VanRossum (a.k.a. Chris VanAwesome) will be back patrolling centre field. VanRossum provided the Seals with outstanding defence last year before he was lost to a season-ending injury on July 18th.

The pitching staff remains the biggest question mark heading into the season, as Javier Garcia is perhaps the most effective pitcher to return to the squad. Garcia started 2009 as the team’s closer and was lights-out early in the season until he ran into difficulty in early July. He finished the season with a 4.63 ERA and 9 saves. Although Isaac Hess is currently playing for the Diablos Rojos del Mexico, there is a possibility is that he could re-join the Seals in time for a stretch run for the playoffs. The Mexican League season ends in late July, so there is a chance that Zack could make another few appearances at Royal Athletic.

Of course, a lot can change between now and opening day on May 21st. Major-league teams are in the process of making their final cuts and putting together the rosters for their affiliated minor-league teams. A huge number of difficult decisions will have to be made and some excellent ballplayers will be released in the next few weeks. You can be sure that the Seals front-office, Bret Boone and all of Boonie’s contacts will be on the lookout for players who can still “bring it” and are worthy of a second chance. Last year, the Seattle Mariners made a foolish decision to release Austin Bibens-Dirkx and the Seals were smart enough to quickly sign him. Let’s hope our team can capitalize on these types of mistakes in the coming weeks.

Seal Blubber Bits
  • Isaac Hess raised his record to 2-0 on Thursday night for the first-place Diablos Rojos del Mexico. He now sports a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings of work, but a closer look at his numbers points to some warning signs. While Hess led the Golden League in strikeouts, he only has three K’s in his two starts and has walked four. Also, his WHIP (Walks + Hits per innings pitched) is an unimpressive 1.45. It’s too early to use these stats to predict anything, but Hess will have to improve on these numbers if he is going to see long-term success at the higher levels of professional baseball.