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March 23, 2007 March 23, 2007

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Camden Makes Big Signing: After terrorizing the Atlantic League with his bat in 2006, OF Denny Abreu is back in 2007. The team has also signed Dominican SS Cristian Berroa.

In a signing that will likely be announced next week, Abreu hit .323 with 15 home runs and 56 RBI last season for Camden. The move gives Camden two active AL batting champs on their roster, with Abreu leading the league last season and Brad Strauss winning it back in 2003.

Berroa last played in affiliated ball in 2003, and has bounced around between the Padres, Rockies, Expos and Pirates organizations. He doesn’t provide much power, but is a .272 career hitter and has two 25 steal seasons in his career.

Camden has remained remarkably active this off-season, they’re already leaps and bounds ahead of where they were at this point last year.

Teuris Attraction: The Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of former Newark Bears and Road Warriors INF Teuris Olivares.

Olivares, who has also played locally with the Trenton Thunder and has the Yankees equipment bag to prove it, hit .282 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI with the Road Warriors last season. Along with Mike Huggins, he became one of the most coveted players on the club.

The move may signal the end of George Sandel’s run in Somerset, since Olivares played 91 games at second base last season. Sandel may land with one of the Pennsylvania teams. He could also re-sign with the team.

The Handy-Dandy Who’s Signed Where Chart:

Bridgeport: Bucky Jacobsen*, Pat Mahomes*

Camden: Denny Abreu***, Caleb Balbuena, Cristian Berroa***, L.J. Biernbaum, Ryan Costello, Brendon Davis, Matt DeMarco, Bryan Edwards, Chris Fussell***, Dwight Maness, Randy McGarvey, Ramon Nivar, Angel Pena, Greg Powell, Brad Strauss

Lancaster: Clayton Andrews, Lance Burkhart, Derrick DePriest, Brett Evert, Danny Gonzalez, Bo Hart, Justin Hileman, James Lira, Gustavo Martinez, Jason Norderum, Manny Santana, Josh Stevens, Jeremy Todd, Steve Van Note, Chris Van Rossum, Manny Vazquez-Santiago, Clyde Williams, Michael Woods

Long Island: Pat Ahearne, Edgardo Alfonzo, Rob Cafiero, Tim Cain, Kevin Haverbusch, Randy Leek, Travis Wade*

Newark: Edwin Almonte, Erick Almonte**, Josh Arteaga, Jake Brooks, Matt Brunson, Ramon Castro, Jason DiAngelo, Joey Gomes, Jose Herrera, Aaron Ledbetter, Delvis Pacheco, John Pachot, Pat Peavey*

Road Warriors: None

Somerset: Travis Anderson, Elliott Ayala, Todd Leathers***, Tony Mounce, Jeff Nettles, Teuris Olivares

York: Rayner Bautista, Peter Bergeron, Chris Cooper, Nate Espy, Vic Gutierrez, Travis Hake, Charlie Hessletine, Darin Kinsolving, David Maust, Luis Taveras

*Not under contract
**Expected to stick with affiliate
***Not yet official

Breakdown By Position

Italics denotes that a player is being listed in his secondary position

Camden

INF: Cristian Berroa (SS), Matt DeMarco (3B/SS),Ramon Nivar (2B), Brad Strauss (3B/DH)
OF: Denny Abreu, L.J. Biernbaum, Dwight Maness, Ramon Nivar
C: Randy McGarvey, Angel Pena
SP: Ryan Costello, Brendon Davis, Greg Powell
RP: Caleb Balbuena, Brendon Davis, Bryan Edwards, Chris Fussell

(Ashmore’s Notes: Right now, Camden’s strongest position is outfield. Pena likely won’t see too much time behind the plate, instead he’ll probably see a lot of time at DH.)

Lancaster

INF: Danny Gonzalez (SS), Bo Hart (2B), Jeremy Todd (1B), Steve Van Note (3B), Mike Woods (2B)
OF: Jutt Hileman, Jeremy Todd, Chris Van Rossum, Clyde Williams, Mike Woods
C: Lance Burkhart, Manny Santana
SP: Clayton Andrews, Brett Evert, Gustavo Martinez, Jason Norderum, Josh Stevens
RP: Derrick DePriest, James Lira, Jason Norderum, Manny Vazquez-Santiago

(Ashmore’s Notes: As of now, Lancaster has done the best job of putting a team together…on paper, anyway. They’ll probably have the best catching tandem regardless of who signs anywhere else, and they’ll likely upgrade at one or two outfield spots. A lot of people aren’t high on Van Note as the team’s everyday man at the hot corner, but outside of that, it would be hard to complain about the infield.)

Long Island

INF: Edgardo Alfonzo (3B), Rob Cafiero (1B), Kevin Haverbusch (1B)
OF: Kevin Haverbusch
C:
SP: Pat Ahearne, Tim Cain, Randy Leek
RP: Rob Cafiero, Tim Cain, Travis Wade*

(Ashmore’s Notes: While Edgardo Alfonzo is the highest profile player signed by anyone to date, the Ducks seem to be a little behind where they’ve been in previous years regarding signing big name players. Hard to really judge what the team has done so far…)

Newark

INF: Erick Almonte** (3B/SS), Josh Arteaga (3B), Matt Brunson (2B), Ramon Castro (SS/3B), Pat Peavey* (3B/1B)
OF: Joey Gomes, Jose Herrera
C: John Pachot
SP: Aaron Ledbetter, Delvis Pacheco
RP: Edwin Almonte, Jake Brooks, Jason DiAngelo, Delvis Pacheco

(Ashmore’s Notes: A few of their moves, I’ve liked. And some, I haven’t. I’ll be curious to see if they sign Pat Peavey. Primarily a third baseman, that’s also where Arteaga plays and where Almonte played primarily in Long Island. However, Almonte isn’t expected to ever put on a Bears uniform, and Arteaga’s numbers didn’t lead me to believe the team envisions him as a starter.)

Somerset

INF: Elliott Ayala (SS), Todd Leathers (1B), Jeff Nettles (3B), Teuris Olivares (2B)
OF: Elliott Ayala
C: Travis Anderson
SP:
RP: Tony Mounce

(Ashmore’s Notes: There are three more pitchers that the team should be announcing within the next week or so, however only one is expected to be a starter. Right now, they have the building blocks for a very solid infield – they just need a shortstop. Like the Ducks, Somerset seems to also be behind where they were in previous seasons.)

York

INF: Rayner Bautista (2B), Nate Espy (1B), Vic Gutierrez (SS), Travis Hake (2B), Darin Kinsolving (1B)
OF: Peter Bergeron, Darin Kinsolving
C: Luis Taveras
SP: David Maust
RP: Chris Cooper, Charlie Hesseltine, David Maust

(Ashmore’s Notes: I’m not really blown away by anything I see here, which is kind of typical for an expansion team. Bergeron will be good, but how long will he last? And while Bautista and Gutierrez are both solid, they’re not spectacular. Hesseltine could be a breakout player for them, but the one player everyone will want to go to the park to see will likely be riding the pine. Hmmm…)

Major Leaguers Who’ve Signed

Camden: Chris Fussell (BAL/KC), Ramon Nivar (BAL/TEX), Angel Pena (LAD)
Lancaster: Clayton Andrews (TOR), Bo Hart (STL)
Long Island: Pat Ahearne (DET), Edgardo Alfonzo (LAA/NYM/SF/TOR)
Newark: Edwin Almonte (NYM), Erick Almonte** (NYY), Ramon Castro (OAK)
Somerset: Tony Mounce (TEX)
York: Peter Bergeron (MON)

(Ashmore’s Notes: ZERO Red Sox? Come on…)

(Ashmore’s Serious Notes: Alfonzo played very briefly with Bridgeport last season, and Almonte gained notoriety for replacing an injured Derek Jeter a few years ago. I still like what Nivar brings to the table, and I loved Clayton Andrews’ attitude when I spoke with him. Hart will be a big fan favorite in Lancaster, he seems like an Eckstein type. With that said, I don’t think we’re close to seeing the biggest names that will suit up in the AL this season.)

Familiar Faces

Camden: Denny Abreu, Caleb Balbuena (AC), L.J. Biernbaum, Ryan Costello, Brendon Davis, Matt DeMarco, Chris Fussell, Dwight Maness, Randy McGarvey, Angel Pena, Greg Powell, Brad Strauss
Lancaster: Lance Burkhart, Brett Evert, Danny Gonzalez, Jutt Hileman, James Lira, Manny Santana, Josh Stevens, Jeremy Todd, Steve Van Note, Chris Van Rossum, Clyde Williams (AC)
Long Island: Pat Ahearne, Edgardo Alfonzo (BPT), Rob Cafiero, Tim Cain, Kevin Haverbusch, Travis Wade* (NWK)
Newark: Erick Almonte** (LI), Jake Brooks, Matt Brunson, Jason DiAngelo (AC), Jose Herrera, Delvis Pacheco (CAM), John Pachot (CAM)
Somerset: Travis Anderson, Elliott Ayala, Todd Leathers*** (AC), Tony Mounce, Jeff Nettles, Teuris Olivares (NWK/RW)
York: Rayner Bautista (AC), Peter Bergeron (NAS), Vic Gutierrez (AC/CAM/LV), Travis Hake (LAN), Charlie Hesseltine (AC)

New To The League

Camden: Cristian Berroa, Bryan Edwards, Ramon Nivar,
Lancaster: Clayton Andrews, Derrick DePriest, Bo Hart, Gustavo Martinez, Jason Norderum, Manny Vazquez-Santiago, Mike Woods
Long Island: Randy Leek
Newark: Edwin Almonte, Josh Arteaga, Ramon Castro, Joey Gomes, Aaron Ledbetter, Pat Peavey*
Somerset:
York: Chris Cooper, Nate Espy, Darin Kinsolving, David Maust, Luis Taveras

– Mike Ashmore, mashmore@atlanticleaguebaseball.com

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Comments»

1. Sumosid - March 24, 2007

Re: Gustavo Martinez

I have a 2004 Tacoma Rainiers program & scorecard that lists his birthdate as 11/9/1975. That would make him 31. But http://www.thebaseballcube.com lists his birthdate as 11/9/1975. Just thought I point that out.

2. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 24, 2007

The Cube (and thank God for that site, by the way) lists him as being born on 11/9/1980, which what I think you meant to put as your second date.

Either way, the fact that the guy went from the youngest player ever signed to perhaps the oldest guy on the team could be an interesting story.

3. Amy - March 24, 2007

Mike…jeremy Todd will see time behind the plate as well In Lancaster!

4. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 24, 2007

I saw somewhere that he’d mentioned he’d be catching this year.

However, to be honest, I highly doubt that happens.

With Burkhart and a highly capable backup in Santana, I really wouldn’t see a need for him to be behind the plate.

5. Scott Stanchak - March 24, 2007

Unbelievably well put together man.

6. Amy - March 24, 2007

Words straight from his mouth…he will be catching and outfielding more. He wants to and has been told he will be.
Also great work on the previes and updates here…very helpful!

7. Amy - March 24, 2007

He’s pretty competant behind the plate by the way.!

8. Amy - March 24, 2007

And Santana can be used at first as well so there’s some versitility going on there too. a few different options and looks for the team.

9. Mike Ashmore - March 24, 2007

Thanks for the kind words. It’s frustrating to do something like this and get no comments, so I’m glad that wasn’t the case this time around.

And thanks to Jason for the plug as well. You might want to check out his update on the Gustavo Martinez age issue that was commented on here earlier…

On Todd behind the plate, I’ll believe it when I see it.

If Todd’s behind the plate, then you probably have Burkhart at DH and Santana at 1B. And you really don’t necessarily want either player at either position.

I will say this, though. If he’s even remotely decent at calling a game, he’d instantly become the best catcher in the league.

10. Sharks52 - March 25, 2007

Thanks for the information Mike. The Atlantic League should be paying you as you do a much better job getting people excited about the league than they seem to be able to. The Riversharks are looking much better now than they were at this time last year when everybody wondered what they were doing with their signings. Why all of a sudden such an upgrade to the team? The same group’s doing the signings but they’re much better this year.

11. Mike Ashmore - March 25, 2007

Glad you enjoy the work, it’s fun putting this stuff together while I still have time. The Eastern League starts up on April 5th, and I’m probably going to be fairly consumed with that for a while…nothing here will change, but I don’t know if I’d have the hour or so it takes to do a list like that.

As for Camden not sucking anymore, I’ll have to wait for Bridgeport to announce their moves before I can honestly answer that.

If last year is an indication, then there’s going to be one BASA team that’s not as good as the others on paper to start the season.

12. Mike Ashmore - March 25, 2007

I’m in the middle of day two in “The Great Phone Number Search” for all my Opening Day stuff, so I don’t mind the break.

As of right now, Lancaster would be the team I’d want to watch every day.

When I think back to the 1999 Trenton Thunder team (which is the reason I’m a Red Sox fan, by the way) I can vividly remember this little second baseman sprinting out of the dugout to second base before the game started.

He was all hustle, and he was also half of a pretty sweet double play combo with Adam Everett. Both David Eckstein and Everett have gone on to play in a World Series or two.

My point is, is that Bo Hart really sounds like the kind of player I’d pay to see play.

He’s probably not going to get you the most highlight reel plays or tape measure blasts or anything, but it’s a guy who’s busted his ass to get to the show, and now he has to do it all over again to get back.

Really looking forward to seeing some of the new blood in the league this year…

13. Amy - March 25, 2007

Agree with Mike about Bo hart. From all indications i have heard he is really going to be a fun player to watch. A friend of mine is a season ticket holder for the Memphis Redbirds and she has already told me great things about Bo. She’s pretty astute on the game and players so i imagine a fun time watching him play. Having an “Ecksteinish” player is never a bad thing in my eyes. Sure am glad I AM paying to watch lancaster everyday.
another point…I was actually thinking pretty much the same about one BASA team being left out in the cold…haha.


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