The Laredo Lemurs had made a series of moves early in the off-season that saw some key pieces of their club depart, including the Strawn brothers. It was wondered by some insiders whether the club would be able to compete in the American Association this season after so many key departures, but manager Pete Incaviglia has made some key moves over the last four weeks to restock the club’s roster and set them in a position to make a serious run to return to the playoffs.
On March 16, LHP Mike Watt was signed to a contact by the club. Watt has been out the last two seasons, but has six years of professional ball under his belt, most recently with Eugene, the San Diego Padres Low-A club. He pitched at the AAA level in both 2010 and 2011.
On March 17, INF Travis Denker signed with Reynosa of the Mexican League. Denker had an impressive 99 games with Laredo last season, hitting .305 with 25 homers and 85 RBI. So far at Reynosa this season he is hitting .257 in 8 games with a home run and 6 RBI.
The team added three pitchers to their staff on March 18, with the signings of RHPs Tyler Wilson and Sam Martin, and LHP Luke Goodgion. The lefty is returning from injury, sitting out all of 2014. In 2013 he pitched for Joliet of the Frontier League where he was 1-2 with a 3.82 ERA in 36 relief appearances. He has a lively fastball, striking out 37 in 35.1 innings pitched.
Wilson enters his seventh professional season, the last two with Trois-Rivieres of the Can-Am League. He made 11 starts last season, posting a 1-4 record and a 7.22 ERA.
On March 19 RHP Michael Shreves was traded to Traverse City of the Frontier League for C/INF Kevin Taylor. Taylor was a Dodgers prospect his first three professional seasons before playing for Traverse City last year. In 64 games he hit .271 with 18 RBI and 3 home runs. He also added 32 runs scored and a solid .341 on-base percentage.
After four straight days of activity the Lemurs took a quick breather, but got back to business on March 26, signing C Rey Otero, RHP Andrew Aizenstadt, and OF Aaron Haag. Aizenstadt was with Gateway of the Frontier League last season, where he appeared in 26 games, 6 starts, and posted a 3-4 record with a 6.65 ERA. Otero’s stay in Laredo was brief as he and LHP Joe Testa were dealt to Sussex County of the Can-Am League on April 1.
Aizenstadt’s stay in Laredo was also a short one. On April 9, he and RHP Ian Kadish were traded to Sussex County of the Can-Am League in exchange for future considerations.
On March 30, RHP Scott Garner signed with the club. Garner was signed by the Sonoma Stompers last season after attending Bethune-Cookman University. He was 20-15 in college, including 9-2 as a freshman.
On April 5, LHP Luis Pollorena was inked to a deal by the Lemurs. The left-hander was drafted by the Texas Rangers organization two seasons ago, and split time between Low-A Spokane and Mid-A Hickory last season. Combined he was 1-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 19 appearances. He should be a quality arm in the Laredo bullpen.
On April 8 two RHPs were signed by the club, Ryan Beckman and Joan Montero. Beckman has been pitching for the Pirates organization since being drafted in 2009. Last season he was at AA-Altoona, where the righty was 3-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 45 appearances. He also saved 5 games. He is not a strikeout pitched but has good stuff, allowing just 44 hits in 55 innings last season.
Montero was also with Altoona last year. He, too, was 3-4, but struggled with a 6.02 ERA.
By Robert Pannier