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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:41 am 
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New Faces in Calgary

The Calgary Pioneers didn’t bring in any big names during this off season, but they did acquire several players that the team hopes will play important roles this year or in the future. The team claimed 2 players during the Rule 5 Draft, signed a few free agents and brought some players in through trade. Let’s take a quick look at the new faces.

Rule 5

RP - Hector Perez - Perez was claimed from Yellow Springs and it is a bit of a surprise that he was left unprotected by a team that then turned around and signed bullpen arms during free agency. Perez has been in AAA the past 3 seasons and has put up mediocre numbers and had a problem giving up too many walks. At 26, it is doubtful that he will develop much further, however the Pioneers really like his sinker and he will have a place in the team’s bullpen. He pitched well in the few games he played in this Spring

SP/RP - Michail Nagibin - Not so much drafted but rather stolen from Edmonton, Nagibin has the potential to be a big league starter. He really needs another year, but he can pitch a few games in Calgary’s pen as he continues to develop. The 23 year old put up solid numbers in AAA last season and just needs a little work perfecting his curveball to go along with his other 4 pitches. The team expects him to be in the competition for the rotation next year and could even get some starts this year.

Free Agency

SP - Juan Perez - The move was heralded as a steal by other GM’s during a recent podcast and one of the best free agent signings of the year. Perez didn’t pitch as well last year as he did in 2033, when he went 15-10 for Rockville, which may be why he was allowed go walk. Calgary gets a backend rotation guy for $1 million this year, a team option for next year and he is still team controlled the next. Pretty good acquisition and he is only 25 years old.

OF - Mark Sturdivant - Twin Cities let him go after a rather poor season last year. Sturdivant was a solid .260, 25 homer guy in the past and the Pioneers think he can put up solid numbers again. He is a right handed power hitter in a park that favors righties. The knock on him is that he has a brick for a glove. Calgary expects to use him in a platoon and probably replace him in late innings with a better fielder. The team also looks at him as a good pinch hitter and a backup for Rupert Grant at DH. At $2.8 million this year and slightly more next, he is a bargain for the home run potential he has. Plus the team has plenty of cap room and cash so his contract isn’t a risk. Sturvidant hit .306 with 2 homers this Spring

RP - Paul Farrell - Calgary traded for Farrell in 2033 to put him in the rotation. Last season he moved to the bullpen, but the team let him try free agency by voiding his $4 million team option. The team was always open to bringing him back and giving him a shot in the bullpen if he agreed to be a full time reliever and was willing to earn less money. So they signed him to a 3 year contract at $1 million per year, again a really low risk deal. This Spring he posted a 1.93 ERA and won a spot in the bullpen.

Trades

The team traded away Mario Balderas and Bill Wilkins. Management felt that the team had good enough outfielders in the minor league system to replace Balderas and based on his demands had already made the decision that he was not going to sign and extension. So the decision was made to move him before the season rather than letting him walk before. Wilkens was blocked, there was no place on Calgary’s roster for him and he was wasting his talents in AAA. The trade gives him a chance to play and brings in another arm for Calgary.

SP - Clinton Womack - Womack comes in from California, a team known for developing good pitchers. The team really likes his work effort and what he has done in A and AA ball. He will be in AAA St. Paul’s rotation this year where he finishes developing his pitches and should be ready for Calgary next year.

SP - Dusan Kukcenjac - The 22 year old was one of the keys to the Balderas deal and was expected to compete for a rotation spot next year. However, on his first pitch this Spring he blew out his elbow and will need to undergo Tommy John surgery. He may be ready to pitch at the beginning of next season, but the injury costs him a year of development and the future is murky right now, depending on his recovery from surgery. He has all the intangibles, he is the kind of player that you really hope makes it back.

SP - Kyle Elston - Acquired in the Wilkens deal, Elston gives the team a potential starting pitcher in the future. He still has a lot of work to do if he is to make it up to Calgary. He gives up too many homers and he dogs it too much. The team is hoping Silas Thompson can work with him this year and smooth over some of his rough spots.

1B - Henry Jones III - There have been some doubts reported in the media of late regarding Jones and his potential. Obviously, Calgary has a different view. Jones is a guy that the team scouted when he was in college and hoped to draft in the first place. He has the right BBA pedigree and he was made for Calgary’s park. He is the long term replacement for Rupert Grant. He hit .389 in Spring Training.

SS - Kagehisa Echi - One of the areas the team was looking to upgrade was shortstop. Calgary talked to most of the teams in the league and discussed trading with several of them for a shortstop. Echi is the one they were able to get and he has the potential to replace Bilbo Baggins in Calgary. He is a left handed bat with a great glove. It still needs to be decided whether he will start the year in Calgary or at AAA St.Paul, but he will be at worst a utility infielder for the team this year or in the future.

_________________
Kevin

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Calgary Pioneers 2004- Present
MBWBA Landis Memorial Cup Champs 2018, 2021
FL Champs 2018, 2021
FL Pacific Champs: 2016, 2019, 2021, 2034
FL Wildcard 2018, 2026-29, 2031-32
FL Manager of the Year 2019

Email: khdickson5@gmail.com


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