ABL Round One Preview 2016/17

It’s finally back. After a lot of off-season reshuffling and a degree of uncertainty over its future, the Australian Baseball League returns for a seventh season starting on Thursday evening.

 

The defending champion Brisbane Bandits play host to the Canberra Cavalry – the Thursday night fixture – and the talent-laden Melbourne Aces take on perennial winner Perth Heat, while the Sydney Blue Sox host fellow so close, yet so far side the Adelaide Bite.

 

Xavier Player assesses what will be a fascinating Round One.  

 

WEEK ONE AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE PREVIEW

Xavier Player

16 November 2016

 

BRISBANE BANDITS versus CANBERRA CAVALRY (Holloway Field)

 

Thursday 17 November, 6.30 AEST              LIVE STREAM

Friday 18 November, 6.30 AEST                    LIVE STREAM

Saturday 19 November, 6.30 AEST               LIVE STREAM

Sunday 20 November, 1.00 AEST

 

Brisbane appears to have made the biggest splash in the offseason by landing former big leaguers Trent Oeltjen and Ryan-Rowland-Smith (both players will join the roster as the season progresses), but they will face a tough challenge this week when they take on the Canberra Cavalry, who secured the services of David Kandilas for the upcoming season.

 

All signs point to a high scoring weekend, with the two sides combining for an average of more than eleven runs per outing during the 2015-16 campaign. Brisbane come in with the swagger associated with a defending champion, and for that reason they’re going to be tough to stop.

 

Bandits 3-1. 

 

LINKS:

 

BRISBANE BANDITS ROSTER

CANBERRA CAVALRY ROSTER

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE

 

MELBOURNE ACES versus PERTH HEAT (Melbourne Ballpark)

 

Friday 18 November, 7.30 AEDST                   LIVE STREAM

Saturday 19 November, 4.00 AEDST

Saturday 19 November, 7.00 AEDST

Sunday 20 November, 1.00 AEDST

 

Many believe the Aces are already the team to beat this season, with Jon Deeble dangling the World Baseball Classic carrot to Allan de San Miguel, Josh Tols and Mike Walker in an effort to bring a first domestic baseball title to Victoria since the Claxton Shield glory of 2010.

 

Brad Harman returns to the Aces and will be a key figure this weekend with the Heat sending Dan Schmidt, Nick Veale, Tom Bailey and Mike Lee. The Heat are bolstered by the return of Joey Wong, but the good news for Aces fans is that he is 14-79 (.177) lifetime against the Aces. The bad news for the Aces is that he is due to add to his tally of four home runs and 39 RBIs across two seasons in Australia. 

 

Aces to start their season on the right foot – 3-1.

 

LINKS:

 

MELBOURNE ACES ROSTER

PERTH HEAT ROSTER

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE

 

SYDNEY BLUE SOX versus ADELAIDE BITE (Blacktown Sportspark)

 

Friday 18 November, 7.30 AEDST

Saturday 19 November, 4.00 AEDST

Saturday 19 November, 7.00 AEDST

Sunday 20 November, 1.00 AEDST         LIVE STREAM

 

Sydney and Adelaide have a lot in common. They’re two franchises who have had some of the best talent the ABL has seen sit in the dugout. Mitch Dening has played for both outfits. They’re both starved of success. They both feel that this is the year they are going to break through and end their drought.

 

Jacob Younis, Guy Edmonds, Zac Shepherd and Trent D’Antonio are the most well-known quantities for the Blue Sox and Jason Pospishil will be praying that Younis, Shepherd and Edmonds will carry their form from the recent Under 23 World Cup, where they were the top three Australian hitters.

 

Steve Mintz is back in Adelaide and hungrier than ever for a title. New faces and a new home for the Bite mean that Mintz will be looking for Dening and Stefan Welch to be at their best. The Adelaide and Sydney pitching staff had the 2nd and 3rd lowest WHIPs in the 2015-16, of 1.41 and 1.43 respectively. If that trend continues it could be a low scoring weekend.

 

When it’s all said and done they’re all square – 2-2. 

 

LINKS:

 

SYDNEY BLUE SOX ROSTER

ADELAIDE BITE ROSTER

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE