Rockland Boulders Buzz: May Update
This has been a very busy off-season for the Can-Am League Champions, the Rockland Boulders. The club has been working to ensure that their rise to the top of the league was not a one-year deal. They enjoyed the view from the top position in the league, and plan on making that a permanent location.
In March, the club sped up its pace in finalizing the roster as the season draws near. In the last month their pace has only quickened, as the pitching staff and the infield have been two of the main areas of focus for manager Jamie Keefe.
On April 3, the Rockland Boulders re-signed RHP Charlie Law. Law has started 17 games for Rockland over the last two seasons, winning four and posting a 4.71 ERA. Command of his pitches will be a primary focus if the right-hander wishes to take his game to the next level.
Four days later two additional pitchers were signed to deals. RHP Mike Dennhardt enters of his fourth season of professional baseball. The last three he has spent in the Cincinnati Reds organization, with most of his time being spent at High-A Bakersfield. Last season he was 7-8 in 24 starts and 5 relief appearances, with a 4.52 ERA.
LHP Sean Lucas also comes to Rockland via that Reds organization. He, too, is entering his fourth professional season, and also pitched at Bakersfield last season. The lefty worked almost exclusively out of the bullpen, going 3-2 with a save and a 4.96 ERA. In his three professional seasons he has 18 saves.
On April 13, 3B Ryan Fisher was inked to a deal. Fisher has some power, and is a quality third baseman. He should be a nice addition to the club’s roster. Last season he split time between the Miami Marlins rookie team and AA-Jacksonville. Combined he played in 39 games, hitting .214 with 6 homers and 17 RBI. In 2011, Fisher blasted 18 home runs at Mid-A Greensboro, showing he has the ability to be a solid run producer.
One day later came the re-signing of infielders Giuseppe Papaccio and Stephen Cardullo. OF Jared McDonald was also signed by the Boulders. Papaccio has been a Chicago Cubs prospect since being drafted in 2013. Last season he appeared with four different Cubs’ affiliates, from Low-A Boise to AA-Tennessee. He also played 26 games for Rockland, where he was a solid contributor for the club, hitting .239 with a homer and 9 RBI.
Cardullo was also with the Boulders last season. He had a huge season for the club, appearing in 92 games, hitting .298 with 6 home runs and 51 RBI. This will be his third season with Rockland.
Jared McDonald split time last year between Wichita and St. Paul of the American Association. In 44 combined games, McDonald hit .262 with 29 runs scored and 24 RBI. He also stole 9 bases. He proved to be a super-sub who can play all over the diamond, while also providing a quality at-bat when called upon to do so.
Looking to add some more infield depth, Rockland signed Steven Nyisztor on April 20. Nyisztor also played for Rockland last season, as well as Hillsboro, the Low-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. At both spots he hit extremely well, combining to bat .325 with 5 home runs and 47 RBI. He showed great base running prowess as well, scoring 62 runs and stealing 18 bases. If Nyisztor continues to hit as he has it is likely he will find himself back with an affiliate at some point this season.
Three days later RHP Chad Robinson was signed by Rockland. This will be his eighth season of professional baseball. Last season he had a mixed year. The right-hander played in three different leagues: Rockland, Evansville (Frontier League) and Perth (Australian Baseball League). In Evansville he appeared in five games, posting a 5.14 ERA. In Perth he was a solid 2-3 with a 2.11 ERA. In Rockland he was simply dominant, going 2-1 in 31 appearances with a miniscule 1.04 ERA.
On April 28, OF Bryon Wiley was dealt to Rockland from Laredo of the American Association. Two days later he would be on his way back to Laredo.
By Robert Pannier