Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Seals outfield gets more crowded

Yesterday, there were six remaining outfielders fighting for four jobs with the Victoria Seals. That picture just got even more crowded after the team announced that they have signed 27-year-old centre fielder Sean Smith. This could end up being bad news for Chris VanRossum.

To the best of my knowledge, Smith is the first player signed through Bret Boone's personal connections. Smith played the last two seasons with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League, but he was signed this past winter by the Washington Nationals. Unfortunately for Smith, he wasn't assigned to any of Washington's minor-league affiliates at the completion of spring training, but he comes to the Seals on a recommendation by Bret Boone's father, Bob Boone. The elder Boone is Assistant GM and VP of Player Development for the Nationals.

Smith is a speedy outfielder who is solid defensively and has a good arm. In the last two seasons, he stole an impressive 80 bases with the Patriots. He also has a bit of pop in his bat and is capable of hitting 10-15 homers. He hit .292 and .262 in the Atlantic League in the last two years, so he would probably hit over .300 in the Golden League. Smith also has good plate discipline and he draws more than his share of walks. He sounds like Bret Boone's kind of ballplayer.

The last round of cuts should be made by the end of the day on Wednesday. The roster currently stands at 29 players, so seven players will need to be let go. As I have said before, the Seals coaching staff will likely be leaning towards guys who can play more than one position to give them maximum flexibility with the small 22-man roster that they have to work with until August 15th. I'm betting on a surprise or two in the list of players that are released, but we'll know for sure in the very near future. Stay tuned.

Seal Blubber Bits
  • Ex-Seal Jamar Hill was involved in an embarrassing incident with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League on Sunday afternoon. The Revolution took a 4-2 lead into the top of the ninth, but things quickly unraveled. After a pair of runs tied the score 4-4, Nook Logan of the Newark Bears hit a fly ball to Hill. Unfortunately, Jamar lost the ball in the sun and it dropped in for a base hit -- but that's not the embarrassing part. His sunglasses were resting on the top of his hat. Scott Spiezio followed with the eventual game-winning RBI and a cascade of boos rained down from the 4,312 in attendance.
  • Seals alumnus Austin Bibens-Dirkx is almost unhittable in 2010. You may remember that Bibens-Dirkx was signed by the Chicago Cubs in July of last year.  He has started the year pitching for the Tennessee Smokies of the (AA) Southern League, but he may not be in AA for much longer.  Bibens-Dirkx pitched another gem on May 15th and he now sports a sparkling 2.19 ERA and a stunning 0.86 WHIP. Opponents are hitting .178 against him, so look for Bibens-Dirkx to be promoted to the AAA Iowa Cubs in the near future.
  • Former Seal Isaac Hess is back in the starting rotation for the Guerreros de Oaxaca of the Mexican (AAA). He now has a respectable 3-1 record and a 3.58 ERA.
  • Outfielder Terrence McClain was seen taking ground balls at first base during a recent visit to Royal Athletic Park.