Albany Dutchmen coach Nick Davey will be keeping an eye on the NCAA baseball tournament’s Vanderbilt regional, which starts today.
Between the No. 1 Commodores, No. 2 Radford, No. 3 Indiana and No. 4 Lipscomb, there are 10 former or current Dutchmen on the teams’ rosters.
Albany’s roster for the 2015 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season includes a pair of players whose squads made the 64-team Division I tournament. The Dutchmen also have four local players Davey is excited to coach.
“I feel like it’s the best amateur baseball in the Capital Region, so for me to be able to spend two months out of the summer to really develop some guys from great schools, hopefully future draft picks and major league guys, it’s an honor,” Davey said.
The league has three current alumni playing in the majors (Hunter Pence, San Francisco; Shae Simmons, Altanta; Caleb Thielbar, Minnesota), another nine in Triple-A and dozens in lower minor leagues.
The PGCBL schedule starts on Tuesday with the Dutchmen hosting Elmira and Glens Falls hosting Amsterdam, along with a couple out-of-area matchups.
Albany brings in a pair of University at Albany athletes — Bethlehem graduate Eric Mueller in the outfield and pitcher JT Genovese. Pitcher Jesse Winters, a Saratoga Central Catholic grad and SUNY Cortland hurler, also joins the Dutchmen.
Schalmont grad Chris Amorosi, a lefty pitcher for Siena, returns to the Dutchmen after appearing in five games with them last summer. Amorosi had been snake-bit with injuries last spring and through a portion of the summer, but has been healthy since the fall.
With Siena this spring, he went 3-3 through 14 appearances and six starts, posting a 3.51 ERA through 48 2⁄3 innings.
“When he’s healthy, I think he can be as good as anyone,” Davey said. “He really just wants to continue to work on his out pitches to be able to put guys away a little bit more.”
Amorosi has a mid-80s fastball, a reliable curve and changeup, and good location with each of them.
The Glens Falls Dragons have a pair of locals in Ballston Spa grad Chris Bradt and Fort Ann grad Joe Foran, who plays his college ball for Schenectady County Community College.
Through his five-year varsity career with Fort Ann, Foran holds the New York state high school records for career hits (212), career RBI (205), and career runs scored (235). He is third on the career doubles list (56), fourth in stolen bases (113), tied for eighth in home runs (25), ninth in RBIs in a game (nine).
A freshman infielder with SCCC this spring, Foran hit .420 through 24 games with 26 RBIs and 26 runs.
“He’s taken BP and has a lot of pop. We’re looking forward to seeing him in action. We’re just kind of waiting to see, with him, but I’m pretty excited about him being here,” Dragons coach Johnston Hobbs said.
“Chris Bradt, he’s got plus-action on his fastball. We’re working on a couple things we’ve noticed we can work on, but he’s real consistent and has a lot of command with his curve ball.”
Another local product who could have an impact this summer is Shen grad Justin Yurchak, who finished his freshman season at Wake Forest hitting .313 with five homers and 33 RBIs, playing in 49 games. He’ll grace the roster of the Amsterdam Mohawks, along with Johnstown grad Joe Nellis, a pitcher for Herkimer CC who will be transferring to St. John’s for next season.
“Yurchak, putting up the numbers he did as a freshman in the ACC is impressive,” Mohawks President and General Manager Brian Spagnola said. “We’re definitely looking forward to having him, especially with the short porches we have. I think he’ll have a good summer, and it’ll be good for local fans to see a local kid who’s a great college baseball player. Nellis, I know he’s going to St. John’s next year, and they’re really excited to have him. His velocity has really spiked, from what I’ve been told by people, to the low 90s. So I’m excited for both those guys.”
Spagnola also brings in Notre Dame pitcher Evy Ruibal, who played high school ball in New Jersey, but has family ties in Amsterdam.
The Mohawks have 14 players who will be a bit late reporting to Amsterdam, as they’re busy with the NCAA regionals.
It happens every year to the Mohawks, and it puts them in an early hole in the standings. Last year, they started 2-6, but finished 36-11.
Two of those 14, though, may not even make it to Amsterdam. Pitchers Austin Bain (LSU) and Drew Carlton (Florida State) could be shut down for the summer if they see too many innings in a run deep into the tournament. Bain, whose fastball has touched 96 mph this spring, is likely the Mohawks’ top prospect.
They also have infielder Grayson Byrd, though, son of pitcher Paul Byrd who played parts of 14 seasons in the majors. With all of LSU’s starting infield expected to be drafted, Grayson Byrd will be fighting for a starting spot as a sophomore.
“He’s going to try to play second and third, and they expect him to start there next year, at one of those two spots,” Spagnola said. “He just needs to get some at-bats.”