Quebec Capitales Chat: Off-Season Update
With the American Association playing a large number of games against Can-Am League teams, it makes sense to see what it going on in this independent league as well, so the Minor League Sports Report will do a monthly look at each of the off-season moves of the six teams in this league. When the season begins there will be a weekly recap for each team.
After five straight seasons as the Can-Am League Champion, the Quebec Capitales finally saw their game fall off, finishing 46-50 and in third place. While it was a disappointing season, no one can deny the quality ownership and management of the club or its commitment to winning. This will be Patrick Scalabrini’s sixth season at the helm of the team, and with four championships and a 289-189 record he has proven himself to be one of the best managers in all of independent baseball. This should give fans of baseball in Quebec optimism that this team will easily rebound.
The off-season has been a busy one to say the least. Some key players were signed away by Major League affiliates and the Capitales have had to make some deals to prepare for the upcoming season. They have a solid nucleus and there is no doubt that Scalabrini will have them right back in the thick of the pennant race this season.
The off-season got under way on September 23 when the contract of RHP Danny Moskovits was sold to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Moskovits was 2-2 last season in eight appearances, five of them starts, with a 3.03 ERA.
From October 27-29 the Capitales made a series of transactions. LHP Kyle Regnault found himself on the New York Mets radar and his contract was sold to the organization. The lefty has been with Quebec the last two seasons, combining to go 8-8 in 52 appearances. Regnault is a fire-baller, striking out 150 in 148 innings pitched.
On the 28th, LHP Ari Ronick had his option exercised by Quebec. Ronick made seven starts for the Capitales last season, posting a 2-1 record with a 6.67 ERA.
One day later another Capitales player was on the move to an affiliate club, this time it was infielder Balbino Fuenmayor. The 1B/3B was a long-time Toronto prospect, before playing for Quebec last season. He played in 95 games last season, hitting .347 with 23 home runs and 99 RBI. He now will get his chance to live out his dream with the Kansas City Royals.
On November 18 OF Sebastien Boucher and INF Mike Provencher were traded to Ottawa for RHP Derrick Miramontes. Miramontes will be a huge addition to the team’s bullpen. He pitched last season for Southern Illinois of the Frontier League, posting a 4-1 record with 20 saves, and a miniscule 1.57 ERA. In 51.2 innings pitched he allowed just 29 hits and 14 walks, while striking out 62.
On January 21 Quebec signed RHP Javier Avendano. The righty had been a Toronto prospect before being hurt in 2013. He had been with the Blue Jays Mid-A Lansing club in 2013, posting an 8-6 ERA with a 3.76 ERA. He has a live arm and looks healthy, making him a quality arm for the Capitales rotation.
On February 5, Quebec made a big deal. RHP Shaun Ellis came to Quebec, for the rights to Moskovits and Regnault, and OF Matt Helms. Ellis was a key contributor to the Jackals bullpen last season, appearing in 43games, posting a 3-1 record with 3 saves and a 2.26 ERA. He allowed just 55 runners in 51.2 innings pitched with 56 strike outs. Ellis and Miramontes should end opponent’s hopes for late inning comebacks.
On March 2, LHP Sheldon McDonald was signed by Quebec. The lefty was a key member of the team’s bullpen last season, appearing in 38 games, with a 2.02 ERA, a 3-1 record and a save. He struck out 48 batters in 35.2 innings pitched and, with his addition, this is shaping up to be the best bullpen in the Can-Am League.
On March 18 two additional lefties joined the roster. Derrick Penilla pitched for the Minnesota Twins organization the last two seasons. Last year he was with their rookie league team in Elizabethton and Mid-A Cedar Rapids. Combined he made 20 appearances, 14 as a starter, and was 6-6 combined with a 4.86 ERA. He walked just 20 batters in 74 innings pitched, while striking out 72.
Mark Hardy was also signed. He is returning from injury after pitching for Winnipeg of the American Association in 2013. The lefty made 13 starts that season, posting a 7-3 record and a 3.48 ERA.
On March 26 RHP Joe Riley was traded to Ottawa and OF Jackson Gooch was signed. Gooch played for McNeese State last season, and will be making his professional debut this year.
By Robert Pannier