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 Post subject: The Daily Jumper - 2028
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:38 pm 
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San Juan Re-signs Drew; Shores up Shortstop Position


The Coqui brought back a familiar face last week with some surprise he was still on the market.

Last October, outfielder Michael Drew wanted out of San Juan, determined to test the free agent market after several years of settling for deals less than $1 million. No interested parties stepped up, however, and the 33-year old returned on a one-year deal for $1.1 million.

Not flashy by any means, Drew is a singles hitting backup by most standards but, like his low contract asks, he has been consistent at it. His batting average has ranged between .260 and .280 the past three years. He is reliable in the outfield with a rocket of an arm. And since 2025 he has stolen 32 bases in 37 attempts.

“He hits righties and lefties equally and can aptly play either corner of the outfield,” says General Manager Mike Best. “He’s smart and he works hard. I’m not sure why a team wouldn’t want a roster spot for him. Thankfully he changed his mind about coming back to San Juan.”

San Juan also signed two aging shortstops to fill a gaping hole and there is question whether either will do that. Veteran Phil Anderson drew some headlines that might help the sagging ticket sales but he is coming off a season where he hit .182. Lonnie Dixon, meanwhile, played his way out of the major leagues a year ago despite respectable .250, .318, .397 numbers over his career. The two are likely to platoon and at ages 35 and 33 respectively the team only made a one year commitment to them. Joining the mix will be 26-year old Rafael Vega, who has hit .270 and .288 his last couple years in AAA.

What all three possess is elite defense. That was the biggest complaint with Gil Sterling last season and, at the moment, the team has no plans to bring back three-time all-star whose range noticeably deteriorated. The team would rather maximize Shigekazu Shimizu’s skills by keeping him primarily at second base and take its chances with a glove man at short for the moment.

Defensively the Coqui should indeed be solid but whether that will keep them from losing 100 games again is in debate.

“We might not be able to hit or pitch but at least we’ll be able to catch and throw,” joked one front office employee.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:13 pm 
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Catching and throwing are important, too. Good luck on staying at double digits in the loss column! That’s my goal with the Claymores, too.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:35 am 
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No one pays to see you catch and throw! That said, the pitchers will appreciate it... if they're going to struggle, at least having some decent fielders behind them will make it a bit more likely they'll catch the lucky end of some breaks. I think you should hold a fan contest on guessing how many walks Vega will draw in a full season.

I just saw last year's Trans-Atlantic standings and it was something to behold! Havana had 97 wins and the other three teams all had more losses than that. Just wow.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:55 pm 
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Six Rookies Make Opening Day Roster


It’s the time of the year for hope, when, until that opening pitch, losses equal wins, and all dreams are alive. Nothing feeds optimism easier than a rookie and for San Juan fans, six give fans new blood to talk about.

Once again for their entire history in Puerto Rico, the Coqui will not open the season with a bonafide cleanup-hitting slugger. This year, the consensus among coaches is that rookie outfielder Mike Rose should open in that fourth spot. The 26-year old Rose, a former third round pick of Duluth, is a six-time all-star in the minors and won a job after being the team’s most consistent hitter in spring training (.326, .396, .419).

Two other rookie hitters made the roster. In a surprise, Rafael Vega beat out veteran Phil Anderson for a middle infield spot. Anderson, who drew the most notice among free agent signees, was was one of nine players waived by the Coqui. Word is that Anderson, who hasn’t played in the minors since 2014, might refuse to report to Santa Domingo (AAA) should he clear.

“It’s a tough decision,” said General Manager Mike Best. “Obviously we’d like to keep our options open but Vega showed he might be able to handle the bat and he is every bit the elite fielder Anderson is and comes a lot cheaper. We thought we’d give him a shot and see what we have.”

Not the most patient hitter, Vega walked just 15 times in four AAA seasons but showed he could hit for respectable average and is a threat on the basepaths, which Anderson is not.

The third rookie will be rule-5 draft pick Ron Copeland, a .335 hitter with punch last year in AA. Copeland hit .308 in spring training and will likely see time at DH and first base.

As far as pitching goes, the best show was put on by 27-year old Juan Santana, who last year came one day (44 days) or six innings short (44 1/3) of qualifying as a rookie. In four games this spring, three of them starts, Santana was 2-0 with a 0.60 e.r.a.

Twenty-four year old Fernando Castro will join Santana in the starting rotation. Castro, whose meteoric rise in the minors hit a road block last year, seemed to bounce back in spring training allowing just five hits, one walk and no runs in nine-plus innings.

Santana and Castro are former San Juan Minor League Pitchers of the Year.

Other rookie hurlers making the team include 27-year old Jon Dalton, a longtime competent minor league reliever who had a 2.57 e.r.a. this spring and 32-year old James Jordan, a longtime standout AAA starter whose lone big league action came in one inning five years ago.

Equally inexperienced is 25-year old reliever Jorge Valentin who made his PEBA debut at age 19 and no longer qualifies as a rookie due to time on a roster (although he didn’t pitch much). Batters in AAA failed to hit .200 on him for three years running now and he posted a 1.13 e.r.a. this spring.

“There’s likely to be a lot of fluidity on the roster early in the season but we having nothing to lose in seeing what some of these guys who’ve been respectable or better in the minors can do,” said Best.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:01 pm 
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And so begins the youth movement! Vega walking just 15 times in four seasons is pretty amazing. Maybe the Coqui batting coach can help develop some patience at the plate ...

Good luck on opening day!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:54 am 
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Rookies can surprise and often do in this league. San Juan should be interesting to watch this year. Nice article!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:48 am 
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Vega was always a difficult one to keep in AAA. His defense and speed were elite and if he could have just somewhat figured out how to hit/get on base he would've been a decent player. Here's hoping he can step up with the chance he is getting this year.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:42 pm 
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Coqui Jump Out to Good Start

Off and running pretty much describes San Juan’s 8-5 start to the season. The Coqui have swiped 21 of 22 on the basepaths but in a more unexpected surprise, also slugged 18 home runs, both numbers that place second in the Imperial League. The aggressive baserunning has been a team effort with ten players having swiped at least one base and only Jack Speed having more than three (5).

True to management’s promise of being sound defensively, the Coqui are first in the league in defensive efficiency. That undoubtedly has assisted the starting pitching staff in posting the top e.r.a in the IL thus far (2.77). No one has been more impressive than rookie Fernando Castro, who followed up his no-hit debut with a four-hit shutout. It wasn’t until the 12th inning of his PEBA career before Kaoru Morimoto eeked out an infield hit against him.

Castro believed he should have been pitching in the big leagues a year ago and is proving his case. Instead, sent to Santo Domingo (AAA) to start last year, the righty sulked and wound up putting up below par numbers. Neither him or management are complaining now though.

“It’s always good to get a Castro born in Havana to feed our rivalry,” said Coqui General Manager Mike Best. The Leones had Castro in their system before releasing him in 2022.

Starter Hou Hao, a 29-year old signed in the offseason to a minor league contract, is also a surprising 3-0. Out of the bullpen, the mercurial José Gómez is four-for-four in save attempts after management decided to challenge him with the closer role this year.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:02 pm 
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You’ve got some nice balance between offense, defense and pitching. Assuming you sustain that, the Coqui can go a long way. My team, on the other hand, is all offense - we lead the league in runs scored, but have let in almost as many. We’re dead last in a bunch of the pitching categories. We need to pursue some of the balance you’ve achieved here.

Nice starts by Castro and Hao!

Good job with your blog, by the way. Enjoy reading about the Coqui!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:44 pm 
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Keep up the good work, I wish I could start a youth movement :lol: Most of my guys are nearer picking up their pension cheques than their diapers. I think it'll be a good few years before I will have any number of guys anywhere near stepping on a PEBA field

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:34 pm 
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Flint Igniting San Juan Offense


The Coqui may still be without a cleanup hitter but they do have a leadoff guy. Flint Butler, one of the few free agents that ever has panned out for the team in San Juan, is off to a .344, .396 start and is third in the league in doubles (9). He earned Imperial League Player of the Week honors last week after pushing his hitting streak to 12 games, including five straight with two hits. And while the rest of the team struggles to hit (.234 overall), it is getting on base. Francisco Torres (.269, .379), Michael Drew (.232, .340), Jack Speed (.241, .327) and Kwan-cheol Kang (.208, .318) have been deceptively productive. Team speed has been helping run production as well. Eleven players have now stolen a base and only two players have been caught this season. Speed is 10-for-10 and Torres and Butler are five-for-five.

From the Minors
ARMED FOR THE FUTURE
When it comes to pitchers, the future is looking bright for San Juan. Twenty-year old Jorge Pagán, fresh from winter ball and winning the franchise’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year honor, is 2-1, 1.83 with six of six quality starts in his AA debut with Santurce.

In the 2027 draft, San Juan took three pitchers in the first round. Supplemental first rounder Robby Parker has risen to the top of that class, emerging as an early force in the Great Northern League at 5-1, 2.97. His Santurce teammate, Ray Medrano, has hit tougher times however. After being dominant with Kingston last year (8-2, 1.16), he is just 2-3, 4.46. The other pitcher, Keith Dupree, was hurt during the draft and missed all of last season, but he is now paying off at Kingston (A) where he is 2-1, 1.82 so far. Teammate Troy Hall, the second rounder in that draft, is 1-0, 2.31 in three starts while 2026 1st rounder Marcel Osterhout, is 3-0, 1.16.

One of the more surprising arms in Kingston has been 20-year old Andrés Cruz, a former fifth rounder that San Juan snagged off waivers in 2026. Cruz emerged as the closer for Homer (SA) last year, posting 13 saves to go with a 0.96 e.r.a. A-ball hitters thus far haven’t figured him out either. He is 1-0 with six saves and a 0.77 e.r.a. this year.

As for other standout relievers, former supplemental 1st rounder Gary Walker, who was obtained in a trade with Shin Seiki, has a 1.77 e.r.a. in relief at Santa Domingo (AAA).

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:49 pm 
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Those stolen base figures are impressive. San Juan is definitely a solid ball club, and it looks like you’ve at least got some pitching talent in your minor league system!

Nice roundup!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:30 pm 
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Jorge Pagán looks like a future force to be reckoned with. Walker's numbers look solid too. If he can get back to the sort of pitch counts he had before 2027 and maintain his level of performance he should be fine. Nice to see so much talent coming up through the farm system.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:55 pm 
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Coqui Continue Strong Start; Fans Not Noticing Yet

Maybe the key for San Juan is to keep finding a rookie other teams haven’t seen before.

Two starters on the disabled list, and an otherwise tired staff, forced a call-up of relatively unheralded Jose Garcia, a 28-year old who has posted a 3.18 e.r.a. over five seasons in AAA. Garcia went seven innings, allowing just two runs, against division leading Havana, to get a win in his debut.

The Coqui also found themselves in an unusual position, having their waiver claim of familiar face Atilio Gaivo rejected due to a team with a worse record so for the moment it’s Garcia’s job to lose.

Meanwhile, the Coqui have won five straight. But the glass half empty version of sweeping Amsterdam is that the matchup drew below average crowds to PRTC Stadium and San Juan’s attendance is down 2.3% and merchandise 6% from last year despite the strong start and a cut in ticket prices. And last season the team lost a million fans from 2026. Despite holding an early edge in the wild card race, interest in the team continues to dwindle.

It’s hoped the three game matchup with Caribbean rival Havana that begins today will draw better crowds. Garcia and Hou Hao, who defeated the Leones last week for his league-leading seventh win, are expected to start the first two games of the series,

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:15 pm 
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Yeah, the Arlington and San Antonio series (combined with a four-game losing streak) depressed the Claymores' attendance, too. We need some of our division rivals to come to town!

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