Monday, July 21, 2008

Cal Ripken Sr. League All-Star Game: Local Players

On Tuesday, July 22nd, the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game will commence at Shirley Povich Field. This is a wooden bat league that brings college players from all around the country to play in southern Maryland/northern Virginia. I broadcast for one of their teams, the Bethesda Big Train, and I'm the league's main broadcaster in the All-Star Game and playoffs.

The manager of the Youse's Maryland Orioles, the first place team in the league, is Dean Albany, one of the Orioles most important scouts. Many collegiate players that have played on the Orioles in the league have gotten drafted, notably L.J. Hoes, the Orioles third round pick this season. Here are some local names in this league in the All-Star Game that may become future Orioles.
(Note: All stats are according to the Cal Ripken Sr. League, and most players have played around 30-35 games.

Gerard Hall, shortstop, Youse's Maryland Orioles
--Junior, Old Dominion, Washington D.C.
Hall is everything you'd like in a leadoff man, a pure contact switch hitter with blazing speed. With the first place Orioles, Hall is batting .341, is 27 out of 30 on stolen base attempts, and has 28 walks to only 16 strikeouts. His speed makes him very solid at the six defensively. Though he doesn't have much power, his athleticism could make him a solid prospect at shortstop.

Mike Celenza, third base/DH, College Park Bombers
--Junior, Salisbury, Gaithersburg, MD
Celenza is the best all-around hitter in the league. He's leading the league in batting average for the second straight year with .400 including five home runs and 12 doubles. He's a lefty who crowds the plate, making it very difficult to strike out (only 13 compared to 23 walks), but throws right to be able to play third. Though he's plays at the Division III level, his success with the wooden bat transition should translate to the pros.

Scott Swinson, starting pitcher, Youse's Maryland Orioles
--Junior, Maryland, Ellicott City, MD
The Terps ace has shown great success in the league, compiling a 5-1 record. His ERA is only 1.42 and has a 39-12 K-BB ratio in 44.1 innings pitched. Swinson has a strong fastball and curve, and has shown that he can handle throwing 110 pitches in an outing. He is a composed righty that can locate pitches well. Albany has said that Swinson could be a 8th-10th rounder, but that stock could increase. In Swinson's last game with Maryland, he threw a no-hitter against Delaware.

Oliver Drake, starting pitcher, Youse's Maryland Orioles
--Navy, Gardner, MA (signed with Baltimore Orioles)
Drake signed with the Baltimore Orioles after getting drafted in the 43rd round, and is no longer with the Youse's Orioles, but was still named an All-Star. In Drake's six appearances (five starts) with Youse's, the righty blanked squads with a dominating fastball, earning a 4-1 record with a 1.00 ERA and a 17-4 K-BB ratio. Drake's draft status was originally a national issue since Navy requires graduates to serve for five years, which would have meant he would have had to wait that time to play professionally, but his signing will probably put the issue to rest.

Kevin Brady, pitcher, Youse's Maryland Orioles
-Freshman, Clemson, Montgomery Village, MD
Brady was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 44th round, but as of right now hasn't been signed. Brady is a strikeout machine, fanning 42 and only walking four in 27.2 IP. He has a 3-0 record with a 2.28 ERA and batters are only .171 against him. He probably could be utilized better as a short reliever than a starter. If he doesn't sign with the Orioles, he'll have to spend three years with Clemson before being eligible to be drafted again.

If you'd like to listen to the game, Jeremy Moreland and I will be on the call live from Povich at 7:30 PM on Tuesday on WMUC:

(Photo credits: (Hall), College Park Bombers (Celenza), University of Maryland (Swinson), Naval Academy (Drake), Baltimore Examiner (Brady))


Ortiz said...

For honor or money?

The Baltimore Examiner Newspaper


Congratulations to Oliver Drake, the Navy pitcher drafted by the Orioles in June. He withdrew last week from the Academy after signing a contract that included a $100,000 bonus.

He gets to follow his dream.

Meanwhile, taxpayers get to pick up his school tab of about $70,000 for the two years he attended the Naval Academy. Technically, he can leave the school early without penalty because he would not make a military commitment until the first day of his junior year. But he committed to serve his country when he entered. Shouldn’t that count for something — including repayment for reneging on his promise?

Getting out, a legal option, for a MLB or other professional sports opportunity is different, of course, than getting out for chronic seasickness on the first summer cruise or mutual agreement between the Navy and the midshipman of unsuitability.

Many gifted athletes served their country first before entering the professional leagues. Navy football stars Roger Staubach and Joe Bellino, both Heisman Trophy winners, are just two examples.

The Naval Academy was right in denying Drake’s teammate Mitch Harris the opportunity to play professional baseball by refusing to release him from his five-year military commitment. So was the Army in refusing to let football safety Caleb Campbell play for the Detroit Lions in exchange for serving as an Army recruiter in his free time after first giving him its blessing. Better career opportunities must not trump a promise to serve one’s country. If that were the case, why stop at professional sports — how about high-paying jobs on Wall Street or a movie career?

Drake chose to leave before that military commitment kicked in. But it should not release him from a personal responsibility to his country.

The honorable thing to do would be to use part of his signing bonus to repay the academy for time spent. Doing so would confirm that “Education is very important to me and my family,” as he said, and reflect the patriotism he showed in accepting his commission to the Naval Academy. Even better, the Orioles should donate $70,000 to the Naval Academy too. As recipients of millions in taxpayer subsidies it would only show their gratitude. Besides, the team already committed to pay for five semesters of college so that the economics major can earn a degree. If it wants him that badly, what’s another $70,000 for talent they expect to pay off many times over?

Falco said...

Good article find; It is an interesting issue. Though I don't believe the Orioles should pick up the tab, Navy will sometimes have decent athletes that want pro careers (Roger Staubach, David Robinson). It will be interesting to see if non-graduates from Navy have this situation again.