Slowly, yet surely, the 2010 season is creeping up on us. Time to get ready for what should be a very entertaining season at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. With the season in mind – here are my TOP 5 THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE IN THE PRESEASON….
1) The Shorebirds have won 994 games over the last 14 years and will undoubtedly reach the milestone 1,000 victory early in the season. There is a good chance the achievement happens during the first homestand too.
2) The Shorebirds could have a roster filled with high draft guys. Baseball America just came out with the organizational depth chart for the O’s system and quite a few high picks from a year ago are slated to be here. Matthew Hobgood, the Orioles first overal selection (#5 overall), will be the headliner if he lands here. He had a decent debut in Bluefield last year, posting a 1-2 with a 4.73 ERA in eight starts. Look at what he did in his last two starts though. Just two runs allowed in 9.2 combined innings. Shows improvement as the season wore on. We also could see the Orioles second pick, infielder Mychal Givens. According to Baseball America, he is the ninth best prospect in the entire Orioles chain. Oh, and they also put out a projected 2012 ORIOLES starting lineup and Givens is in there. Not a bad guy to have here. The Shorebirds are also projected to get the third pick from last years draft, first baseman Tyler Townsend. He struggled in his first pro season in Aberdeen (.143 batting average in 31 games) but give him some time. We are also expected to get the fifth (Randy Henry) and sixth (Ashur Toliver) picks from last years draft.
3) The Shorebirds will be led by three guys with big league experience. In fact, a total of 17 years worth of big league experience. How will that help the ‘Birds in their quest for a SAL title? Minor played four big league seasons, Devereaux played 12 season in the bigs and Mattes played one season in the big leagues. Look at Ryne Sandberg – he led the Tennessee Smokies to a title last year.
4) Will there be more power in the lineup on this years version of the Delmarva Shorebirds? Last years team hit only 49 home runs all year, which was dead last in the SAL. A quick look at Aberdeen’s team from last year might tell you no. The Ironbirds hit just 25 home runs (short-season), which was tied for 10th in the New York-Penn League. The leading home run hitter was Garabez Rosa (6).
5) How big of a crowd will opening night draw? I’m hoping huge. Last year, 3,847 fans packed Perdue Stadium for a Thursday night opening. This year, opening night falls on a Friday. On the Friday following opening night last year, we had 8,936 fans flood the ballpark. We also opened, by the way, on a Thursday two years ago (April 3). Tell your friends and family. This really is going to be an exciting year.