Second ABL Draft a quiet affair
13 August 2015
The second ABL draft has been completed, with only the Canberra Cavalry making any selections, and all remaining five teams passing on the chance to participate.
The 2015 draft did not include the big name as seen last season, when Tristan Crawford left the Brisbane Bandits for a second stint with the Canberra Cavalry.
All eyes will be on the quartet of draftees for this season to see who will be the next player to make a surprise impact in the league, much like Corey Lyon did for Adelaide last season.
Selection 1 – Canberra Cavalry
JACK BARRIE – 19 years old
Position: First Base
Previous ABL experience: None
Following a stunning Under 18 carnival in 2014 for winners Queensland - where he hit a staggering .636-4-20-3 - Barrie was signed by the Minnesota Twins organisation to a sizeable contract, but after a solitary season in the Gulf Coast League where he hit .205-0-4-2 in twenty-five games, he found himself released by the Twins organisation.
Over the last two seasons, Barrie has hit .226 and .230 for Redcliffe in the GBL Major competition, and he will represent Queensland at the U25 National Championship next month in Cairns.
Listed at 6’4” and in excess of 110kg, it would seem Barrie wasn’t given a full chance by the Twins to develop into his body and let his baseball evolve with him (as it arguably has been with the recent signing of 6’9” pitcher Jon Kennedy). However, Canberra’s signing of the mountainous first baseman does provide him with the chance to show other teams he is a suitable option for their organisations.
With Canberra’s signing of crowd favourite Boss Moanaroa, Barrie will most likely find himself in a platoon situation at first base, though that is largely dependent on whether the Cavalry also look for an import to fill the position.
Selection 2 – Canberra Cavalry
JOSHUA FRITSCH - 19 years old
Previous ABL experience: None
Another draftee from the Carina Red Sox, Fritsch moved to the club from Narangba a couple of seasons ago, and has impressed many by putting together back-to-back seasons of .316-1-24-10 and .281-1-19-8 at GBL Majors level.
Possessing good bat discipline, Fritsch - a right-handed hitter - appears to have a good chance of developing at the ABL level due to his ability to make contact against almost any pitch anywhere in and around the strike zone.
A former Australian underage representative, Fritsch was a member of the MLB Academy on the Gold Coast along with fellow draftee Jack Barrie and Corey Lyon, who was drafted by Adelaide last season.
Selection 3 – Sydney Blue Sox (from Adelaide – compensation for Mitch Dening)
Selection 4 – Canberra Cavalry
SCOTT MULHEARN - 27 years old
Position: Middle infield
Previous ABL experience: none
Another player drafted out of Queensland, Mulhearn is a mature-aged rookie, who has played college baseball in the US (Mid-America Christian University and Three Rivers Community College), before going on to play on several continents over the world.
A right-handed hitter, Mulhearn was the caretaker coach of the GBL Major team Carina Red Sox last season (he has since been replaced by former Cavalry player Wayne Ough), and hit .231-2-12-6 for the season, a year removed from a .228-0-15-4 season with the Red Sox.
Recent history shows the Cavalry prefer using import players up the middle, and the presence of Aaron Sayers, an affiliated minor leaguer, suggests Mulhearn will likely be expected to fill a utility/back-up in both the infield and outfield role throughout the season.
Selection 5 – Adelaide Bite
Selection 6 – Canberra Cavalry
JAMES DARCY – 23 years old
Previous ABL experience: 2014-2015 with Melbourne Aces
The only pitcher selected in the 2015 ABL draft, Darcy joins the Canberra Cavalry on the back of nine appearances with the Melbourne Aces last season.
His numbers with the Aces were far from spectacular (0-0 13.50era 3.11whip), although he was only scored upon in three of his nine outings, absorbing some punishment in the other three as the Aces bullpen lacked punch throughout the season.
Making the adjustment to the top level of baseball in the country was difficult for Darcy, who in his first appearance baulked using the fake to third, throw to first move, and later in the season nervously crashed into his first baseman in pursuit of a pop-up that was never his. However, the experience and lessons learned should hold the teenager in good stead for a campaign with the Cavalry this season.