Wednesday, April 25, 2012

L.I. Ducks ~ 2012 Positional Players Preview

From the desk of:   THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

LONG ISLAND DUCKS:  Many New Faces Will Be Wielding a Bat for the Ducks This Season.  But Can the New Members be as Formidable as Last Year's Line-Up?

L.I. Ducks - Gearing Up for Another Run at Title

CATCHER  - J.R. House  .305 AVG  19 HR  81 RBI  ~  GONE.

1) - The Ducks will primarily go with JOSH JOHNSON behind the dish.  He's 29 years old with AAA experience.  He played last season for the Road Warriors.  Last season, his nine home runs and forty-six rbi were career bests.
2) - SHAWN WILLIAMS is a twenty-eight year old switch hitter who played with the Brockton Rox last season where he batted .316 in 69 games.  He has A-level experience.

Analysis:  The Ducks will clearly not be getting the same production out of their backstop they received last season.

FIRST BASE/DH - John Rodriguez  .313 AVG  18 HR  81 RBI  ~  GONE.


1) - Freddie Thon returns from last season and will see action at first base.
2) - BRANDON SING has resoundingly been considered the American Association's top slugger over the last four seasons.  The 31 year old's best season came in A-ball when he batted .270, stroked 32 home runs, and drove in 94 runs.

Analysis:  John Rodriguez wielded a very productive bat last season.  But he was injured far too often.  What better we to replace him than with independent ball's top slugger.

SECOND BASE - Ray Navarrete will be back.  He has been a Long Island Duck for the majority of the last six seasons.  Ray will turn thirty-four years old in May.  Last year he tied his career best with twenty-seven home runs.  However, he posted his lowest career batting average as a Duck.  Last season Ray Navarrete continued to etch his name into Long Island's record books.  During the 2011 season, Ray became the Ducks' all-time hits leader as well as becoming the team's all-time runs scored leader.  He also lays claim to being the team's all-time home run leader and all-time rbi leader.  For a single season, he holds their record for doubles and games played.  And he also holds the Ducks' record for hits in a single game, and rbi in a single game.  The long time Ducks favorite will be a pleasant sight for Duck fans when this new look team takes the field.

SHORTSTOP - Javier Colina  .309 AVG  25 HR  90 RBI  ~  GONE.
THIRD BASE - Matt Padgett   .282 AVG  11 HR  67 RBI  ~  GONE.

Infield Replacements:

1) - BRYANT NELSON is 38 years old and will serve as a middle infielder off the bench.  This will be his third season with the Ducks.  He gained MLB experience with the Red Sox.  With eighteen years of minor league experience, he is a career .285 hitter.
2) - WILBERTO ORTIZ has six years as a pro with AAA experience.  He's 27 years old and comes to the Ducks from the L.A. Dodgers organization.  Signed more for his glove than his bat, he possesses no real power to speak of, and is a .265 career minor league hitter.
3) - RYAN GARKO has six years of MLB experience. He is 31 years old. His best seasons came in 2007 and 2008. He's a .275 career hitter, with 55 home runs, and 250 rbi on his pro resume.

Analysis:  Dan Lyons also will be back for another season.  But the new infielders will be hard pressed to replicate the kind of offense last season's Ducks generated.  Matt Garko may have something to say about that however.

CENTER FIELD - Kraig Binick returns for his second season in the Pond.  He was last season's Atlantic League's batting champion.  Kraig split time leading off, and hitting in the sixth and seventh spots in the order.  Prior to suffering a facial injury in a collision at second base, Kraig was off to a blazing start batting as high as .409 as of June 6th.

LEFT FIELD - Kennard Jones   .292 AVG  8 HR  54 RBI  ~  GONE.
RIGHT FIELD - Matt Esquivel   .328 AVG  15 HR  69 RBI  ~  GONE.

Outfield Replacements:

1) - REID GORECKI is a nine year AAA pro.  He is 32 years old with a career .267 average.  Doubles to the gap is his thing.  But he has no real power to speak of.
2) - PAUL KARMAS is a 22 year old who is fresh out of Rookie ball.  Prior to that, he was a .300 hitter for St. John's.
3) - JAMES McOWEN is 27 years old with AA experience.  If he can keep his strikeouts down, he'll be another doubles machine with occasional home run power.  In five seasons, he's a career .289 minor league hitter.

Analysis:  Most of the Ducks' power last season came from the infield.  But Matt Esquivel's numbers will be hard to make-up.  The spotlight seems to be on James McOwen.  Lew Ford will turn thirty-six in August.  This will be his third season in the Pond.




Somerset Patriots
TD Bank Ballpark
New Jersey



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