2026 K-Zoo Preview

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Updated: October 19, 2017

Reginald Tarquin

K-Zoo beat writer

 

Today the Kalamazoo Badgers announced their 25-man roster for the start of the 2026 season which they begin with four games in Canton before returning home for their opening series against Duluth.

Rotation

  1. Erwin Callahan – 31-yrs-old FA signing, Last year 29 starts in Canton 9-9, 4.30 ERA
  2. Kazuo Ishihara – 29-yrs-old 6th season in K-Zoo, last year 33 starts 12-13, 3.96 ERA
  3. Seu Tong – 32-yrs-old 7th season in K-Zoo, last year 32 starts 13-11, 4.69 ERA
  4. Charles Kennedy – 33-yrs-old 7th season in K-Zoo, last year 32 starts 13-8, 3.03 ERA
  5. Simon Jones – 30-yr-old 7th season in K-Zoo, last year 32 starts 10-16, 3.97 ERA

Bullpen

Ángelo Morales – 32-yr-old 4th season in K-Zoo, last year 42 G 2-1, 5, 4.13 ERA

Hou Hao – 27-yrs-old minor league FA signing, last year 52 G (13 GS) in Duluth 12-6, 3, 3.34 ERA

Kichibei Kamuta – 31-yrs-old 3rd season in K-Zoo, last year 35 G 2-2, 4.46 ERA

David López – 30-yr-old 4th season in K-Zoo, last year 67 G 5-7, 34, 3.20 ERA

Robert Vincent – 28-yrs-old 7th season in K-Zoo, last year 69 G 1-4, 8, 4.38 ERA

Javier Jiménez – 29-yrs-old 7th season in K-Zoo, last year 71 G 2-0, 4, 3.72 ERA

 

Lineup

CF Rubén Jiménez – 26-yrs-old 3rd season in K-Zoo, last year 154 G .246/.322/.336 3.5 WAR

SS Juan Hernández – 29-yrs-old Trade with Duluth, last year (Duluth) 142 G .268/.349/.328 3.1 WAR

RF José Guillén – 28-yrs-old 7th season in K-Zoo, last year 117 G .271/.359/.500 3.8 WAR

1B Austin McKee – 35-yrs-old 3rd season in K-Zoo, last year 160 G .202/.266/.428 0.5 WAR

DH Héctor García – 33-yrs-old 11th season in K-Zoo, last year 124 G .245/.353/.397 1.4 WAR

LF Scott Wiggins – 30-yrs-old 7th season in K-Zoo, last year 107 G .260/.331/.440 2.1 WAR

3B José González – 31-yrs-old FA signing, last year (Havana) 70 G .260/.329/.391 0.7 WAR

António Ayala – 30-yrs-old minor league FA, last year (Amsterdam) 79 G .253/.287/.325 -1.9 WAR

2B John Foster – 32-yrs-old FA signing, last year (Crystal Lake/Canton) 60 G .195/.264/.411 -0.1 WAR

 

Bench

Jeff Richard – 35-yrs-old 2nd year in K-Zoo, last year 129 G .197/.253/.290 0.3 WAR

CI Yakamochi Kobayashi – 25-yrs-old Trade with Duluth, last year (AAA Racine) 130 G .244/.284/.381

MI Chris Holmes – 38-yrs-old FA signing, Last year (PS/Shin Seiki) 100 G .227/.295/.418 1.5 WAR

OF Jeremiah Henderson – 28-yrs-old Rookie season, last year (Grand Rapids AAA) 113 G .237/.271/.428

OF Jake Owens – 28-yrs-old 4th year in K-Zoo, last year 95 G .293/.325/.511 2.0 WAR

 

So there it is, still an aging team and one we feel will continue Badgers recent trend of one good year, one bad year. The changes will not in our opinion get close to last year’s 86-win total and generally the analysts agree with predicted totals ranging from 82 wins right down to 65 wins. We realise that new GM Nigel Laverick hasn’t had the time to reconstruct K-Zoo, arriving as he did on the eve of Spring Training, and we believe being further hampered by several veterans refusing demotion to Triple-A leaving him unable to add some of the younger players he wanted on the roster. The one thing in K-Zoo’s favour is that a lot of the long-term contracts run out at the end of 2026 allowing Laverick to dispense with these veterans and allow the rebuilding to start in earnest. The trade with Duluth has brought an infield general in Hernandez and we are at least looking forward to seeing how the reshaped infield performs. Kobyashi impressed in Spring and it could be only a matter of time before he forces his way into the starting lineup, whether it is at second or third is open to debate.  Callahan looks a good replacement for Kazuhiko Nishiyama if not quite #1 material but a lot of the rotation will be having their last hurrah in K-Zoo colours. The bullpen too needs to be completely gutted and rebuilt from scratch, it could be the weakest link in the team this season. Hope to see some of you in Canton on Monday !