(AP) - Most people dont consider a three year record
of 193- 293 a sign of progress, or for that matter a sign
of anything positive happening. With this season starting
out with the Rebels holding
a record of 15-21 due to their struggling offense and generally
inconsistent and unreliable bullpen it wouldnt appear
as if theres that much to be happy about.
people look at Sydney and see a team that isnt good
this year, probably wont be good next year and may not
be good for at least two more years after that, when the teams
top level prospects are expected to be ready for the Majors.
With offensive prospects like Right Fielder Mookie Sabo, Shortstop
John DiNapoli and Center Fielder Henry Nagle the team is excited
by what the lineup and defensive alignment should look like
in a few seasons. In terms of the rotation the team has already
gotten a small shot in the arm from rookie Long Reliever and
spot Starter Roy Rock, who has notched two wins in his two
starts and has been very effective as the teams primary
Long Reliever. The Rebels hadnt intended on calling
Rock up until next season, but injuries to both Bunny Triandos
and Horace Scherbarth and both in the same week forced the
asked about it Manager Jim Edmonds was very forthcoming in
honestly had no intention of calling Roy up this season; we
would have preferred to leave him in Canberra to work on his
pitches a little more. Unfortunately for us losing Trio and
Horace both in the same week forced our hand and we had to
do something. We looked in Triple A and then in Canberra and
we decided that Roy had the best chance of helping us out.
As it turns out it seems thus far that we were right. We see
no reason why that wont continue.
asked for his opinion Pitching Coach Dave Righetti was a little
less talkative, but no less positive.
think Rocky has a long and successful career ahead of him
and pitching with guys like Trio, Horace and Bobby Barton
can only help him be better. Im excited to see what
the kid can do and Ill be working with him a lot.
addition to Rock the Rebels also have three other righties
in the system who excite Management and the Big Team. The
newest addition to the farm is twenty-two year old Philip
Mars. Mars was taken early in the first round of last years
Amateur Draft, a pick that was met with some surprise at the
time. While Mars (4-1, 3.13) has shown that his control still
needs some work after walking 15 in forty innings of work
while hitting three batters he has also displayed what many
on the team refer to as the nastiest Curveball in the
entire system from top to bottom. When asked about it
Mars shrugged and said I was blessed with a great curve,
but I still have a very long way to go before Im ready
to help the big team.
addition to Mars the team also has the recently acquired Paul
Rowen and the youngster whose team mates call Thunder,
twenty four year old Mark Thormodsgard. Rowen, a twenty two
year old right hander, was acquired from Argentina along with
Pitcher Sam Drudge and current Second Baseman Kelvin Thomas.
While Rowen is a little further away from major league service,
the team expects him to come up in the next two to three seasons.
The teams Pitching Coaches in Canberra are already very
high on his arm, his incredible poise and what they refer
to as a great fastball. Rowen, like Mars, has
to work on his control a little but the youngster has thus
far managed to accrue a record of 3-2 with an ERA of 3.48
and 51 strikeouts in 49.3 innings pitched. Rowen is known
to be a young man of few words and when asked how he felt
about his season he said; Its had its ups and
downs, but Im pretty happy with where I am. If
I listen to our coaches I think Ill be in the show in
no time and that really excites me.
as he is known by his teammates is the nickname of 24 year
old righty Mark Thormodsgard. He teammates refer to him as
Thunder for two reasons. The first of them is
because of his last name, which is not only Norwegian but
also sounds like Thor, which is the name of the
Viking God of Thunder. The second reason is because of his
booming voice, which most people can hear in the clubhouse
or on the field after he records a big out. Thunder
has good stuff, although he doesnt have the developing
heat of Rowen or the knee buckling hook of Mars to his advantage.
All three of Thormodsgards pitches are considered to
be strong, although none overpowering. His main issue right
now is the same as the other two, his somewhat erratic control.
His control is about equal with Rowens, but where Rowens
manifests itself in walks Thormodsgard uses it to his advantage
by pitching really tight on hitters and somewhat frequently
hitting them. Thus far he hasnt been thrown out of any
games for it, but many Minor League hitters think the man
is nuts and dont like to bat against him. Due to that
his ERA is a little higher than Rowen or Mars, but he has
two more wins than the other two because hes become
so good at intimidating hitters with his erratic control and
equally erratic behavior. Thor even walks to the
Bullpen to begin warming up with a realistic looking likeness
of the Norse Thunder Gods mystical warhammer, Mjolnir
and a billowing cloak. His teammates take it in stride. Said
Shortstop prospect John Dinapoli;
Thors a little goofy, but we love the guy. He keeps
the clubhouse and bullpen loose when hes around us because
you just never know what the guy is planning on doing. He
drives our Coach insane with some of the pranks that he pulls,
but he always seems to know just when to do them in order
to lighten the team up when it needs to relax. We couldnt
imagine the clubhouse without him. Besides, you have to give
props to a guy whos willing to walk around in public
with a red cape and a war hammer
are those within the organization who are calling for at least
Mookie Sabo to be called up, but team owner Ad Costa keeps
have Mookie called up with we all feel that the time is right.
At the moment hes doing exceptionally well at Canberra
and he definitely will warrant a look at the major League
level soon, especially if our outfield continues to struggle
as it has been. I dont want to rush him though and I
think another season or two in Canberra will be good for him.
Its not like were going to challenge for the division
this or even next season. Why rush the kid ? Id prefer
to let him mature at his own pace.
the meantime the team continues to struggle offensively, hitting
just .225 as a team. The teams one bright spot has been
the Starting Pitching. After a rough start for Bob Barton,
last seasons staff ace with 15 wins and an ERA of 3.05,
hes settled down and posted an ERA of 2.95 with 20 strikeouts
in 39.2 innings pitched. In addition to him the teams
unsung ace and most consistent Starter, Bunny Triandos has
gotten off to another strong start. Although his record is
only 1-3 due to his constant nemesis of no run support when
he pitches he has a team low ERA of 2.70 and opponents are
only hitting .217 against him. Rounding out the rotation are
the #1 Starter and staff horse Horace Scherbarth who led the
team in complete games last season with 7. This season Scherbarth
already has two complete games, has posted a record of 2-3,
an ERA of 3.28 and leads the team in innings pitched with
57.2. The three men give the team an effective 1-3 in the
rotation and give the team a chance to win with almost every
outing. Rounding out the rotation are Buttercup Holzemer and,
for the time being at least, Sam Drudge. Holzemer is off to
another strong start this season. After finishing last season
8-13 with an ERA of 3.99 hes thus far posted a record
of 1-2 with a 3.44 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched.
Rounding out the rotation is Sam Drudge, the righty who was
acquired from Argentina at the beginning of the season. Drudge
has had a couple of rocky starts so far but has been relatively
effective overall. Hes 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA in 8 starts
this season and has struck out 22 in his 48.1 innings pitched.
Some are calling for Drudge to either be traded or moved to
the bullpen to make room for rookie sensation Roy Rock, but
it doesnt seem as if the team has any intentions of
doing so this season, barring an injury to Drudge or one of
the other starters. Overall the starting rotation has posted
a record of 7-12 (not counting Roy Rocks victory as
a starter) with an ERA of 3.23. All the team needs now is
offensive production and a little more consistency out of
the bullpen and good things could happen. The team sees no
reason to rush anything. According to hitting coach Derek
that weve done player wise this season has been by design
and very deliberate, other than the call up of Roy. That was
done out of necessity. Sure, were a ways away from really
competing in this division or even in this league
you have to like our chances in the future. I certainly do.
is no doubt that this team has a long and at times difficult
season ahead of it, but spirits are high in spite of that.
Everyone on the team knows what they have to do and according
to Team Captain Jim Keating;
boys in the rotation are doing everything that we could ask
of them. We have to get our bats going. Right not the burden
for our failures falls squarely with the offense. It wont
we have too much talent offensively for this drought
to continue. Ill get us going, even if I have to boot
a few butts to do it.
rebellion needs an on the field leader and Sydneys is
definitely Jim Keating
or The General as
his teammates like to call him. Sydney may not win a lot this
season but in time they will... and it will all have been
done very deliberately and completely by design.