FORMER MET KEVIN BAEZ NAMED ROCKLAND MANAGER

Photo/Release courtesy Rockland Boulders

Rockland County, N.Y. — The Rockland Boulders have named Kevin Baez as the team’s new manager for the 2019 season. Baez brings a wealth of experience as both a manager and a player to Rockland along with many personal and professional ties to the New York metropolitan area.

Baez managed 1,087 games with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League over the last eight seasons, posting a 571-516 record with two league titles (2012 and 2013) and six trips to the championship series, including each of the past the three seasons.

He attended nearby Dominican College and was a 7th round pick in 1988 draft by the New York Mets. He appeared in 63 games over the course of three Major League seasons for the Mets. He continued his playing career primarily at the AAA level over the next decade before joining Long Island in 2002 where he helped the Ducks capture the Atlantic League Championship in 2004.

The Boulders new manager resides on Long Island with his wife, Marianne, and children, Kevin and Vincent. He was born and raised in Brooklyn and made his Major League debut for the Mets at Shea Stadium on September 3, 1990.

Baez, 51, becomes the third manager in the Boulders history, following Dave LaPoint (2011-12) and Jamie Keefe (2013-18). Keefe spent six seasons at the helm in Rockland with a 344-260 record in Rockland, highlighted by the team’s lone Can-Am League Championship in 2014.

“Managers with the pedigree and success of Kevin Baez do not become available very often,” noted team president Shawn Reilly. “We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to being him to Rockland. From our very first day, the Boulders have been not only committed to winning, but the expectation is also to compete annually for the championship.  And an organization we are always striving to reach the next level of success and I am confident that Kevin is the person who will take us there. Our time with Jamie has been wonderful with many great memories for our fans. I know he has great opportunities ahead of him and we wish him and his family the best.”

“From everything I’ve heard over the years, this is a great organization to be a part of,” stated Baez, “but seeing how beautiful (Palisades Credit Union Park) is and meeting the staff, it just seems like a perfect fit. Management wants a franchise that sets the standard for independent pro baseball and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Several familiar faces on the Boulders staff will help ease Baez’s transition as the team has announced the return of Director of Player Development Kevin Tuve, Bench Coach Andrew Romanella, and Trainer Lori Rahaim, though the organization is currently in search of a pitching coach for the upcoming season.

CARDINALS ADD MINERS’ ROOKIE OF THE YEAR FIGUEROA

Photo: Sussex County Miners / Torri Koppenaal

Durham, N.C. — The Can-Am League announced on Tuesday that the contract of Sussex County Miners 3B Martin Figueroa, the league’s 2018 Rookie of the Year, has been purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Figueroa led the league with a .444 on-base percentage, tied for the league lead with six triples and finished fifth with a .328 average to go along with 50 RBI, five home runs and 20 doubles. He was also named the league’s June Player of the Month after hitting .422 with 23 RBI in 27 games.

The Elizabeth, N.J., native cemented the Miners’ first championship with a walk-off three-run home run in Game 4 of the Can-Am League finals.

2018 marked Figueroa’s second professional season, having spent 2017 in the Houston Astros organization with rookie-level Greeneville of the Appalachian League. He was a 32nd-round choice of the Astros in the 2017 draft out of the University of Rhode Island.

Figueroa is the fourth Miners player to have his contract purchased by a major-league organization since August, following LHP David Rollins (Seattle), LHP Alex Demchak (Boston) and RHP Kenny Koplove (Colorado).

SUSSEX RIGHTY SWINGMAN KOPLOVE JOINS ROCKIES

Photo: Sussex County Miners / Sara Schaarschmidt

Durham, N.C. — The contract of Sussex County Miners RHP Kenny Koplove has been purchased by the Colorado Rockies organization, the Can-Am League announced on Wednesday.

In his first season with the Miners, Koplove was superb both as a starter and reliever, going 7-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 31 appearances, 22 of them out of the bullpen. In 86.1 innings of work, the Philadelphia native fanned 78 hitters, limited opposing hitters to a .201 average, and picked up a pair of saves.

He was also a key cog in Sussex County’s title run, tossing a complete-game shutout against Trois-Rivieres in Game 2 of the semifinals, earning the save in the series-clinching Game 5, and pitching 6.2 strong innings to earn the win over Quebec in Game 1 of the league championship series.

Prior to Sussex County, Koplove, 25, spent 2015 through 2017 in the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins organizations, reaching as high as Single-A. He was a 17th-round choice by the Phillies out of Duke University in the 2015 draft.

Koplove is the third Miners pitcher since August to have his contract purchased by a major-league organization, following LHP David Rollins (Seattle) and LHP Alex Demchak (Boston).

SOLBACH’S DAZZLING OUTING HIGHLIGHTS ALUMS DOWN UNDER

The eight-team Australian Baseball League began its 2018-09 season this weekend, with a number of current and former Can-Am League players on its clubs’ rosters, highlighted by a season-opening four-game series between Adelaide and Brisbane:

  • Friday saw a pair of former Can-Am hurlers facing off, with RHP Markus Solbach (pictured, Rockland ’16-’17) on the hill for visiting Adelaide against RHP Ryan Searle (Quebec ’18) for Brisbane. Solbach was outstanding in the Bite’s 5-3 win, striking out 11 hitters in eight innings of work to register the victory. He was aided by SS Mikey Reynolds(Sussex County ’18) first-inning RBI double, driving in the first run of the game en route to a 2-for-5 evening.
  • LHP Ryan Bollinger (Trois-Rivieres ’14-’16) was superb out of the bullpen for the Bandits, throwing a scoreless inning Thursday and two perfect innings in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. He has struck out five of the 10 hitters he has faced so far this season.
  • Reynolds has started all four games for Adelaide, going 4-for-15 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored.
  • RHP Kurt Heyer (Trois-Rivieres ’17) was the opening-day starter for Adelaide, taking the loss in Brisbane’s 5-3 win.

Elsewhere in the ABL,

  • LHP Daniel Schmidt (Brockton ’11) offered a solid bullpen outing for Perth on Saturday, allowing a run on two hits in three innings of work, fanning two in Perth’s 11-3 win.
  • RHP Scott Kuzminsky (Trois-Rivieres ’15-’16) is on Melbourne’s roster, but has yet to see action.

 

CAN-AM LEAGUE ANNOUNCES 2019 SCHEDULE

Durham, NC Today the Can-Am League is unveiling the 2019 schedule.

Entering its 15th season since re-forming in 2005, the league will feature the return of all six of its member clubs including the 2018 Champion Sussex County Miners along with the New Jersey Jackals, Rockland Boulders, Ottawa Champions, Quebec Capitales and Trois-Rivieres Aigles.

The 2019 Can-Am League schedule will be comprised of a 95 game schedule that will start on May 16th. In addition, the schedule will include series against two international teams that will be named at a later date.

View the full league schedule.

Individual team schedules: NJ OTT QUE ROC SC TR

“Planning for a new season never gets old. We always challenge ourselves to give our fans the best experience possible when they come to our ballparks, and it starts with our schedule,” Can-Am League Executive Director Kevin Winn said. “The Can-Am League had a fantastic season that ended in dramatic fashion and this year I think our fans will be clamoring for more affordable baseball and family fun. Mark your calendars and stay tuned! Spring will be here before you know it.”

The Can-Am League experienced an excellent 2018 season. The Sussex County Miners struck championship gold with a Cinderella story for the ages. Not only did the Miners rebound from a 45-54 fourth place finish last year by capturing first place with a club best a 63-38 record, they won the Can-Am League Championship against the defending champion Quebec Capitales in Game 4 when Rookie of the Year Martin Figueroa belted a walk off three-run homer to propel the Miners to a 6-5 victory.

Last season, the Can-Am League introduced new pace of play rules. As a result, game times dropped 19 minutes to an average of 2 hours and 49 minutes. Interestingly, no club’s average game time was longer than 2:57.

The Can-Am League also continued its reputation of attracting quality talent, so much so in fact that three players’ contacts were acquired by Major League Baseball organizations. Sussex County Miners pitchers Alex Demchak and David Rollins were picked up by the Boston Red Sox (assigned to the Lowell Spinners, Short Season Single-A New York-Penn League) and Seattle Mariners (assigned to the Tacoma Rainiers, Triple-A Pacific Coast League), respectively. Plus Rockland Boulders pitcher Justin Topa was purchased by the Texas Rangers (assigned to the Frisco RoughRiders, Double-A Texas League).

ABOUT THE CAN-AM LEAGUE:

Established in 1936 and running through 1951, the Can-Am League was re-formed in 2005 and is now the premiere independent baseball league in the Northeastern United States and Canada. Fueled by strong cities, good stadiums and a great brand of baseball, the league has teams in Little Falls, NJ (New Jersey Jackals), Augusta, NJ (Sussex County Miners), Pomona, NY (Rockland Boulders), Ottawa, Ontario (Ottawa Champions), Quebec City, Quebec (Quebec Capitales) and Trois-Rivieres, Quebec (Trois-Rivieres Aigles).

LEAGUE APPOINTS KEVIN WINN AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Durham, NC Today the Can-Am League announces the appointment of Kevin Winn as Executive Director.

In this new role, Winn will oversee baseball operations including player contracts, roster classifications, sales and salary caps and league expansion. In addition, Winn will continue applying his 25 years of professional umpiring experience to spearhead the circuit’s umpire development.

“We’re very lucky to have someone with such incredible acumen in the fold like Kevin Winn,” Can-Am League Chairman of the Board Al Dorso said. “Kevin is a baseball lifer whose commitment to excellence and umpire development is second to none. His limitless passion for the game has the potential to spread throughout the league like a brush fire and we’re eagerly fanning the flames for him.”

Prior to assuming his current position, Winn served as the Director of Umpire Development for the Can-Am League from 2005-2018 along with the American Association of Baseball From 2006-2018. He also has served in similar capacities in the Central Baseball League from 2002-2005 and the Texas-Louisiana League from 2000-2001.

Preceding his serving in professional umpire management, Winn umpired in the Big South, Texas-Louisiana League and Northern Leagues prior to taking over the Umpire Development Program. Under his tutelage, not only have 135 umpires have been hired by Minor League Baseball, two of his umpires — Adam Hamari (Can-Am League, 2006) and Will Little (Can-Am League 2007) are currently umpiring in Major League Baseball. Before going into professional baseball, Winn attended the Joe Brinkman Umpire School in 1985.

A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, Winn resides in Dayton, Ohio with his wife, Colonel Lori Winn, USAF and their two daughters, Kendall and Reagan.

ABOUT THE CAN-AM LEAGUE:

Established in 1936 and running through 1951, the Can-Am League was re-formed in 2005 and is now the premiere independent baseball league in the Northeastern United States and Canada. Fueled by strong cities, good stadiums and a great brand of baseball, the league has teams in Little Falls, NJ (New Jersey Jackals), Augusta, NJ (Sussex County Miners), Rockland, NY (Rockland Boulders), Ottawa, Ontario (Ottawa Champions), Quebec City, Quebec (Quebec Capitales) and Trois-Rivieres, Quebec (Trois-Rivieres Aigles).

CAN-AM LEAGUERS SPEND WINTER IN CUBAN LEAGUE

Durham, N.C. — As the tour around various winter leagues continues, several current and former Can-Am League players are spending their off-seasons playing in the Cuban professional league:

  • SS Alexander Ayala (Trois-Rivières ’17) is leading Camaguey with a .373 average and 10 doubles to go along with four home runs and 27 RBI.
  • INF Yordan Manduley (pictured, Québec 2015-18) is hitting .281 with one home run after joining Holguin late in its season.
  • 1B Alexander Malleta (Trois-Rivières ’16) is hitting .306 with five round-trippers and 26 RBI for the Industriales.
  • OF Roel Santos (Québec ’16) has seen regular action for Granma, hitting .239 with 3 RBI in 67 at-bats for Granma.

HURLERS HEADLINE ALUMS IN DOMINICAN LEAGUE

Winter Baseball Update – Dominican League

2018 Can-Am League strikeouts leader David Rollins is one of four alumni spending their winter in the Dominican League.

Este Toros

  • LHP David Rollins (Sussex County ’18) has made a pair of relief appearances, allowing one run in each.
  • RHP Raul Valdes (Nashua ’06, New Jersey ’06) threw a complete-game two-hitter Friday against Cibaenas, striking out six.

Escogido Leones

  • LHP Tyler Alexander (Sussex County ’17) has had two outstanding starts, allowing no runs on four hits in 11.1 innings of work, fanning 11.

Orientes Estrellas

  • RHP Ivan Pineyro (Sussex County ’16) has yet to appear in a game.

JACKALS’ HARRIS AMONG CAN-AM PLAYERS IN MEXICO

Winter Baseball Update – Mexican Pacific League

Durham, N.C. — Can-Am League 2018 all-star outfielder David Harris, who led the league with a .590 slugging percentage and was among the league leaders in most offensive categories, is one of several current and former league players spending the winter in the Mexican Pacific League.

Mexicali Aguilas

  • OF David Harris (New Jersey ’18) is hitting .323 with two home runs and five RBI through eight games.
  • 1B C.J. Retherford (Sussex County ’17) has at least one hit in each of the eight games he has played in so far, assembling a .333 average with three RBI.

Navojoa Mayos

  • 2B Alonzo Harris (New Jersey ’14) is leading the league with a .472 average and 11 runs scored.

Los Mochis Caneros

  • OF Leandro Castro (New Jersey ’15, Rockland ’16) has a .273 average to go along with a double, a triple, a home run and five RBI.

SIKULA HIGHLIGHTS CAN-AM ALUMS IN VENEZUELA

Winter Baseball Update – Venezuelan League

Photo: Quebec Capitales/Martin Bouchard

Durham, N.C. — Several current and former Can-Am League players are on rosters in the eight-team Venezuelan Winter League, whose season started this week.

Margarita Bravos

  • RHP Arik Sikula (pictured, Quebec ’17-’18) has pitched 3.2 relief innings over two games, allowing one run.
  • OF Olmo Rosario (Nashua ’07) leads the league in hitting with a .500 average, going 14-for-28 with two home runs.

Anzoategui Caribes

  • LHP Liarvis Breto (Rockland ’16-’17) has yet to allow a run in three outings.
  • RHP Mayckol Guaipe (Rockland ’17) has thrown two scoreless relief innings.

Magalles Navegantes

  • LHP Michael Antonini (New Jersey ’14) has allowed one run over three relief outings.

La Guaira Tiburones

  • OF Ozney Guillen (Ottawa ’18) has two doubles and three RBI in 16 at-bats.
  • 2B Alex Nunez (Worcester ’05, ’11-12, Brockton ’07, Quebec ’08-’10, Ottawa ’16) has scored one run in five at-bats.