Monday, August 2, 2010

Seals add bullpen depth; Strandlund odd man out

The Victoria Seals proved again that they are serious about making the playoffs in their second season, as they continued to improve their roster on Monday. The Seals acquired All-Star relief pitcher Mike Koons in a trade with the Orange County Flyers and they also signed utility infielder Jerry Madueno.

Koons was acquired as the player-to-be-named-later in the deal that sent Sergio Pedroza to the Flyers prior to the start of the regular season. Koons is a 25-year-old right-handed reliever who currently sports a 4-1 record and a 3.50 ERA. He has struck out 36 hitters in his 36 innings pitched, but his 21 walks has raised his WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) to a less impressive 1.42 mark. Koons was dominant in 2009 for Orange County, posting a 3.03 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.

It's likely that manager Kip Gross will use Koons in late-inning situations to spell the reliable workhorse Aaron Easton. Easton (3-4, 3.58 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) has appeared in 31 of the Seals' 62 games this season. Gross has also been forced to use Brandon Villafuerte in situations a closer wouldn't normally be used and Koons will go a long way towards solidifying the bullpen.

Madueno has played for the Chico Outlaws and Tijuana Cimarrones this season and he batted .211 with no homers and 2 RBIs in 57 at-bats. He played college ball while at Ventura College and he was recently playing amateur baseball in the California Adult Baseball Organization. Gross gave Madueno the start at second base today over Dale Swinford, but I wouldn't expect that to continue.

The bad news is that Charlie Strandlund was moved to the temporary inactive list and Kyle Orr was released in order to make room on the roster for Koons and Madueno. The fact that Strandlund wasn't given his outright release tells me that there is a chance that we'll see him again before the end of the season. Strandlund hit .189 with 1 homer and 10 RBIs in only 37 at-bats with the Seals. Based on Madueno's credentials, it's unclear if he's an upgrade over our boy Charlie. Time will tell.

Kyle Orr struggled with the Seals, hitting only .136 with no homers and 1 RBI in 22 at-bats. Orr was clearly over-matched in the GBL, a fact that comes as no surprise given his age (21) and lack of experience. In his four seasons in the Rookie Leagues (well below the GBL), Orr could only muster a .225 career batting average with a strikeout every three at-bats. After striking out in 12 of his 22 at-bats with the Seals, his release likely marks the end of a baseball career that started with great promise.

Seal Blubber Bits
  • With their 6-3 win over the Flyers today, the Seals pulled to within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Calgary Vipers.
  • Wilver Perez stole his 50th base of the season on Monday to move within one of the GBL record for steals in a season (51 by Jonny Kaplan in 2007). If he doesn't tie or break the record in Tuesday's double-header in Orange County, you'll have an opportunity to see Wilver make history on Thursday night at Royal Athletic Park when the Seals take on the Tucson Toros.