2010 Kenosha Kings Outlook
April 1, 2010
The 2010 Kenosha Kings enter the season with several familiar faces at nearly all 9 positions on the field. The Kings also return all but 3 players to the 2010 team.
The 2010 Kenosha Kings enter the season with several familiar faces at nearly all 9 positions on the field. There will be no shortage of leadership as the Kings return all but 3 players to the 2010 roster. After ending 2009 on a high note, with a Langsdorf League Championship, the Kings look to be a model of consistency in 2010 and compete for 2 league titles. “Having such a veteran team, our fans and community should expect good, solid baseball at all 3 phases of the game. But it comes down to the same thing year after year, consistency, reliability, strong starting pitching, quality at bats and timely hitting. With our wealth of leadership and talent, this could be a special year for us,” states head coach Tim Pulizzano. “With age, and our aggressiveness, often comes injury, so that is something we need to be mindful to create the consistency we are looking for throughout the entire summer.”
The strength of the Kings will start on the mound in 2010. 2009 WSL Pitcher of the Year, Jon Olson (7-0, .59 ERA) will be the anchor of the staff. Randy Johnson (3.77 ERA), Jon Kleinmeyer (3.13 ERA), Chadd Ori (7-1, 3.00 ERA, Langsdorf League Pitcher of the Year), Jason Bunton (3.99 ERA) and Jack Olson (5.40 ERA) will round out the top of the rotation as one of the most consistent rotations in the Kings 27 year history. This rotation will be complimented well with 2 young newcomers, lefty, Sean Kennedy (Jacksonville University) and hard throwing righty, Eric Schumacher (Ripon College). “We know our top 6 guys can shut down any team on any given day and have proven that year after year, but we also know these 2 young guns will be fun to watch develop at this level and see where they fit in this rotation. We have heard nothing but positive things about these guys. If we keep them consistently around the plate with their 2 best pitches, we may have some rising stars in this organization.
”In the bullpen the Kings return long reliever Kyle Stone and closer Chris Wolcott (8 saves). “Stoney will be a good change of pace for us when we need him in long relief spots, and if Wolcott can give us the same consistency as a year ago, with his first full year of consistent appearances in college under his belt (UW Parkside), this will be the most consistent bullpen this club has ever seen.”
The battery behind the 2010 Kings staff will be veteran Billy Johnson (2009 Langsdorf League Playoff MVP) who will carry most of the workload as the Kings catcher. “Billy takes away 3-5 bases a game from the other team with his arm. In the big scheme of things, that probably wins us 5-10 more games a year. We also look for Billy to move into the heart of the lineup and if we can get more runners on in front of him, he could have a big year offensively as well.” Second year King, Brad Medina, will back up Johnson behind the plate and also contribute at third and second base. “Brad is a kid that just needs AB’s. We seen glimpses of what he can do last year, and if he finds a groove at the plate, he can potentially put up some nice power numbers this year and for years to come.”
The middle of the lineup for the 2010 Kings will be on the corners. Third base is locked down year after year by Mark Cibrario, and this year should be no different. “Mark is the heart and soul of this organization. He is well respected by his peers and leads by example on the field. We know Mark will be on base nearly 50% of the time. If we can get Mark near the 20 RBI range this year, it will make our lineup that much more potent.” First base and DH will be manned by Jason Acevedo, who is coming of an injury plagued 2009, and “Mr. Reliable,” John Hasser 2009 2nd Team All WSL). “These are 2 lefties that can flat out hit the ball. Hass has done everything we have ever asked, from OF to leadoff hitter, to cleanup. With consistency above him in the lineup, and a healthy Acevedo behind him, his production should only increase this year.”
Up the middle the Kings will showcase shortstop Joe Ferro. “Joe has emerged as a leader over the years for us on the infield. This kid has as much knowledge as anyone on the field and often provides a spark for us on the base paths. He is a cog in our offense that is often a game changer when he is on the bases.” Ferro may also see some late inning appearances on the mound. At second base will be veterans Ross Conwell and Rob Novotny. “This will be Ross’s chance to take advantage of an opportunity he has never had in a Kings uniform. With the loss of an injured Rob Bellish, Ross will get his chance early to prove himself as an everyday player. Alongside Ross, we are pleased to have Rob Novotny back in the States for a full summer. Rob is a teacher of the game, and brings a lot of on, and off, the field knowledge that are intangibles to our success.”
The season may flow the way of the success of the Kings outfield. Jason Dennis will man left field and may get the opportunity to play a little infield depending on how things shape up this year. “JD plays hard, plays the game the right way and has a passion for success. He does a lot of little things that go unrecognized and is always willing to do whatever we ask, whether it be a spot start on the mound, a relief appearance or hit anywhere we ask him in the lineup. We are never sure what roll he’ll play in our lineup, but we know if we can see increased consistency, his potential for productivity is endless.” Rounding out the outfield will be Paul Pulera, Andrew Highland, and newcomer, Kyle Frye. “It’s simple, our field is a graveyard, and it takes speed to win a lot of the lower scoring games we will be in. Paulie and Andrew have to be the table setters. It’s no surprise these guys light up the base paths with the speed. We simply need them to find a way on base. With the powerful, veteran hitters behind them, as they go, so may our season.”
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