Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Seals pick up McClain from Amarillo Dillas

The Victoria Seals were blessed with a pretty good outfield in 2009, but there were two big holes to fill as the team began to assemble this year’s spring training roster. Centre fielder Chris VanRossum will be returning, but Sergio Pedroza and Jamar Hill have moved on to greener pastures (the Dodgers organization and the York Revolution, respectively).

The first hole in the outfield was plugged when the Seals made their big trade on April 15th to bring in the dynamic outfielder/first baseman Colin Moro from Calgary. Barring another impact trade or free-agent signing, the other starting outfield position may be filled by Terrence McClain. McClain was recently acquired from the Amarillo Dillas of the United League for a (you guessed it) player to be named later.

McClain is a 30-year-old native of Paris (Tennessee) who played college baseball at Trevecca Nazarene University, an NAIA school. He wasn’t drafted by a major-league organization, so he began his professional career in independent baseball in 2003 with the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League. McClain spent three consecutive years with the team and he improved each season, posting on-base percentages of .336, .343 and .377. His steady progress resulted in a 2005 trade to the Fullerton (now Orange County) Flyers of the fledgling Golden Baseball League. The GBL was obviously a step up for McClain as he only posted a .259 average and a .302 on-base percentage with Fullerton.

McClain went on to spend two seasons with the ill-named Edmonton Cracker-Cats of the Northern League in 2006 and 2007. In his second season in Edmonton, he hit a career-high 11 homers in 91 games. McClain had a break-out season last year in the United League, where he hit an impressive .341 and swiped a dozen bases for the Dillas. He also hit four round-trippers and knocked in 52 runs in only 267 at-bats.

Given that the Golden League is a step up from the United League, it will be interesting to see how McClain performs this year. Spring training begins in just over two weeks, so he’ll have to impress manager Bret Boone to secure that final starting outfield position.