EDMONTON, AB - While spring training doesn’t begin until May in the WCBL, baseball fans in Alberta received their first look at the Edmonton Prospects roster heading into the 2019 season.
“We’re excited with what we’ve got on paper,” said Prospects head coach Jordan Blundell. “We’ve been working hard since the middle of September in exploring opportunities, and the guys we’ve signed to date are guys we’re excited to have to join (the Prospects). There’s a good mix of youth and experience; everyone’s got something to bring to the table, and now it’s a bit of a waiting game with the college baseball season just starting.”
The Players Have Changed…
It’s been a whirlwind of an offseason for Blundell after being promoted to head coach. Taking the helm of an organization that has reached three straight WCBL semi-finals, the WCBL’s age restrictions left a number of roster positions to be filled - something Blundell feels the organization has done in spades.
“We’ve made a conscious effort to find guys who can run a little bit, have some athleticism, and play the game at a speed we like. Pitching and defence are how you win baseball games, so we’ve made an effort to bring in some guys that can play defence as well. It’s important to be quick and mobile in our field. I’m excited to see what we can do defensively; we’ve got some really, really good pieces.”
The pitching staff especially excites Blundell.
“On the mound, we’ve got a mix of pitchers that all bring something different (to the team),” said the head coach. “They can all bring some different looks, which is important when you’re playing the same teams more than once over a series. We’re always looking to add an arm or two, but I think that’s consistent at any level of baseball. We have a little bit of room left on the roster, and we’ve had lots of dialogue with particular players that we’re confident in, and hopefully, we’ll be ready to announce a few more arms to round out our roster.”
The competition doesn’t just extend to the pitching staff, said Blundell, who stressed that no spot on the Prospects opening day roster is guaranteed. The team has built a solid crop of 19-year-old prospects, and as Blundell explains, age isn’t a hindrance.
“Your age doesn’t reflect your opportunity,” he stated emphatically. “You’re allowed to win a job here whether you’re 19 or 23. We have goals as a program, and we want to put the best product we can on the field and give ourselves the best chance to win, and age doesn’t discriminate. We’ve got some good young local players that we hope will make an impact for us. That being said, in the event they’re not quite ready we’ve got some solid older players signed that could help bridge the gap.
“We’re excited to see that internal competition for playing time; it’s healthy in sports, and we think the character of the players we’ve signed will respect that and work hard to be the players in the everyday lineup. At the end of the day, we’re here to win ball games, and that’s something we’ve discussed with the players who’ve signed here. They’re excited to come in and compete and hopefully win a spot on the opening day roster.
…But the Game Remains the Same
However, despite the multitude of new faces potentially joining the Prospects in 2019, the end goal remains the same.
“The goal is a championship. We feel we’ve got a good situation here with the way we take care of our players and what we can provide them while they’re here. We’re excited, and hopefully, that leads to some good results when we get started here at the end of May.”
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