The newly formed ‘Super League’ has the South Australian baseball community in a tizzy. It will reach a whole new level on Wednesday 26 September at the Highway in Glenelg when the first ever 17-round draft gets underway.
There are so many questions to answer. How will the GMs attack the draft in a new and unfamiliar format? Do you chase after that big arm or big bat early? Which positions are in need? Will there be a reach? Will a good player fall into a later round?
This is going to be fun. By the way, the whole BSA community is invited to the draft on Wednesday. It’s free to go, there will be presentations and jersey revelations. There’s no better way to start the season.
But back to it. If you’re a bit behind, let’s catch you up. Then we’ll get into looking at some of the big name arms that could go early in the draft.
Back in June we announced four dynamic General Manager and Coaching combinations to run the teams – the Wasps, Clippers, Crushers and Carp. Each team was left to sign four marquee players from BaseballSA community to build their team around.
They could choose anyone – import, local, pitcher, batter – and each team presented their own style of business and building. You’d have to choose carefully because this format is only 7 innings, or a two-hour timed game, and pitchers can have a pitch count of 40 and an inning count of two.
Now they have to fill out the rest of their rosters. That’s where the draft comes in.
Over 120 players have nominated for the draft but only 68 players will be selected in Wednesday night’s 17-round draft. Teams will have to fill positional needs, have a strategy, put together a roster and then bring that squad to life on the playing field for an October 10 first game.
It’s like a fantasy baseball league in South Australia – but in real life.
Before we get into the pitchers, let’s take a look at each team’s marquee players. This is important because just by looking at the teams you can probably guess what positions they’ll be looking at early in the draft.
Please note there have been a couple changes:
1. The Carp announced pitcher Tyler Thompson as their fourth marquee
2. The Crushers added 3x Capps Medalist Nick Talbot to their roster after it was revealed Gary Owens would not be in Australia until mid-season
3. With Catcher Bas Nooij set to miss a significant portion of the season, the Wasps added pitcher Tom Fitzgerald (Kensington) to the squad.
CARP – GM Mark Haylock, Coach Paul Green
CLIPPERS – GM Chris Lawson, Coach Paul Mildren
CRUSHERS – GM Michael Dunn, Coach Scott Gladstone
WASPS – GM Scott Pratt, Coach Adrian Chenoweth
Last week the draft order was randomly selected. It will be a 17-round “snake draft”. If you pick first in one round, you will pick last in the next. Check it out below:
Pitching is going to be crucial in this competition and there are plenty of quality players who nominated. Each team needs a minimum of four pitchers to get through a game. You’d think that the team with the best rotation has a serious advantage.
While there are 120 players who have registered, and many of them will bring big benefits to each team, we narrowed it down to 10 pitchers based on performance in the SABL and Australian Baseball League in recent time. We realise this is just a subjective list – on draft day anything could happen!
– Chris Burkholder (Glenelg): He had a dominating season as an import for Glenelg on the mound in 17/18. Burkholder a dumbfounding 1.05 ERA with 50 strikeouts and also had a scoreless relief appearance with the Bite.
– Dushan Ruzic (Port Adelaide): A mainstay of the Australian national team for nearly a decade. Loads of ABL experience and a match-up nightmare.
– Taylor Travess (West Torrens): West Torrens’ import out of Oregon University can pitch and hit. Seems to be ‘Taylor-made’ for this format
– Anthony Herrera (Port Adelaide): Port Adelaide’s import is a dual threat as well. With a history for bringing over Capps-Medalists what does this Port import have in store for us this year?
– Ryan Duncan (East Torrens): Experience with the Bite and a solid season at East Torrens will make him a useful arm on any team
– Tim Day (Glenelg): A 3.41 ERA for Glenelg last season and regular time with the Bite has Day as a marked commodity in the eyes of GMs.
– Tyler Chappell (Sturt): Side-armer with ABL experience with the Adelaide Bite the past two seasons. Had a sub 3.50 ERA with Sturt last season and works well in a bullpen role.
– Will Korteekas (Woodville): The 17-year-old got a game with the Bite last year but has come up clutch for South Australia at the Senior League, U18 and U16 level.
– Tyson McKee (Port Adelaide): 17-year-old McKee had a 2.73 ERA in his first season with major responsibility in the SABL before an injury cut his time short.
– Nathan Vanderlinden (West Torrens): You could put him as a hitter but he had a 7-1 record with a 2.64 ERA in the SABL in 2017/18. He’s also won the Grand Final MVP in 2016/17 for West Torrens.
There are a few more pretty intriguing options. Who would you take in the draft?
Would you take a pitcher or batter with your first pick? What is your strategy. Let us know in the comments below.
We’ll take a look at the big bats later in the week.
See you on Draft Night!