Waltham Yankees 2015 Season Preview

YankeesEven as Boston was getting a record amount of snow, baseball business was in the air and a lot of changes in the off season for the former Brighton Minutemen.

For starters, Yawkey League Hall of Famer Dan Pill has moved on and the former 50% franchise share holder Dana Levensaler, is now the sole franchise holder. With field permits becoming ever increasingly difficult to obtain, and the Minutemen bouncing around numerous home fields within the Boston area the last 3 years, the first order of business was to secure somewhere the Minmen can really call home and play the majority of their 16 home games at. They needed a good venue and a good ball park as a foundation to start.

After trying for a decade, and a lot of good things falling into place, this huge, first goal has been accomplished. The squad will leave the scenic tennis courts and infamous “doggie hill” of Rogers Park in Brighton. Although the sights will be missed at Rogers, the team will now bat in the bottom frame of innings at Nipper Maher Park in Waltham. Simply dubbed “Nipper”, there is a huge baseball tradition here. A boat load of high level college ball players, independent league players, and players that would eventually go on to be drafted have played ball here. Nipper has plenty of parking, a good field, good mound, one of the best batters box around and a “mini monster” along the entire outfield. The mini monster is a chain linked fence about 20 feet high……and its even painted green.

With this, a complete rebranding was in order. A vision Levensaler has had for years since his early days as a Brighton Brave some 22 years ago. Also, the fact that in this local market, there has not been a team called this for years, and teams that did have the name were offered uniforms and donations to change it. Let the boos begin……ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the Waltham Yankees.

All these logistics and waiting to see where the dominoes would fall, in addition to the crazy snow, has led the Yanks to start a tad later then usual on the personal side. Their three all stars from last year all return including Levensaler himself. Team hit leader and strikeout leader on the mound, Rob MacDonald is back. Maca also emerged last year into a leadership role with managerial duties and he will continue that as well. He, like Dana, a Waltham guy, grew up playing ball at Nipper. Third all star and team leader in wins returns, and Stephen Shortle is right on track with his normal non-throwing off season routine. Come mid summer though, tall lefty Steve-O will continue to paint the black and mix in off speed pitches to try to keep opposing offenses quiet.

Super YBL vet Steve Walsh will return and continue to track down balls with younger outfield teammates asking him “how did you get to that?”. “positioning”.   Walshy led the team in RBI last year and also has a leadership role and knows how to “position” himself because he has been playing against YBL-ers for years and knows the scouting reports.

Base running rabbit Steve Fitzmaurice returns. In addition to shagging balls down, Fitzy also has been behind the dish. When he is, he would have to be the fasted catcher in the league. With some base stealing tips, look for Fitz to again lead the team in steals.

Speaking of catchers, Devin Kelly returns. The U Mass Boston sophomore catcher got a taste of the YBL last summer and now realizes how good the ball is here. With another year playing at school and one YBL summer under his belt, look for Kelly to continue to improve.

When it comes to two things in the YBL, the Waltham Yanks have one of the best. 1-baseball trivia and 2-Highest IQ in the league. We are speaking of course, about Dan Cooney. Baseball trivia all day and after spending years at Harvard, you don’t want to start asking him about non baseball stuff because it will be over your head.

The Yanks have other coals in the fire and other players returning from last year that will help with this exciting rebrand as we get ready to don the pinstripes.

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Malden Maddogs 2015 Season Preview

maddogs logo-3Malden Maddogs
2014 Record: 14-18
Ted Williams Division: 5th place

2014 Season Review:

The 2014 campaign was the first under new manager/franchise holder, Nick Vennochi. The team consistently pitched well enough to win, with highlight performances from Kenny Chaves, Blaine McLean, and Jon Klein. Chaves and Klein both finished with 1.88 ERAs, and Chaves led the team with six wins. He and McLean combined for 10 of the team’s 14 victories. Rookie Paul Mahoney also showed promise, with two wins, and pitching in nine games over 38.1 innings.

But the team’s offense was inconsistent in key moments, and the Maddogs missed the playoffs by one game. Veterans Matt Delaney, Geoff Lopes and Pete Maltzan led the team offensively. Delaney batted .355 with an OPS of .971. He ripped four doubles, four homers and had a triple, while driving in 21. Lopes caught 30 games and hit .319 with 17 RBIs. Maltzan led the team with 34 hits and 20 runs. Delaney, Lopes, Maltzan and Nick Vennochi combined for 128 of the teams 219 hits. In the end, the team didn’t get enough contributions from the entire lineup to consistently win games.

2015 Season Preview:

With all the struggles offensively in 2014, the team still missed the playoffs by only one game. This year’s version of the Maddogs is using last year’s disappointment as motivation. We have been working hard in the offseason to get over the hump and end a two-year playoff draught. A few new additions coupled with returning the core of the team gives the Maddogs franchise hope for the present and future.

The team returns seven key starters offensively and four-fifths of a starting rotation that combined for 3.57 ERA last season. Blaine McLean and Kenny Chaves look to continue their consistent track records with Paul Mahoney and Brad McLean looking to build on solid progression. Jeff Croteau (Bentley, ’13) joins the staff looking to pave his own Maddog legacy. He was a teammate of Blaine McLean and right fielder Bryant Johnson at Bentley during the 2012-2013 season.

Veterans Jay Sablone and Taleh Saleh are also returning for the 2015 season. Sablone will be in his 12th year, while Saleh will be in his 10th. Matt Delaney, Blaine McLean, and Brad McLean return for a six season, while Vennochi, Lopes, and Maltzan all return for a fourth.

Youngsters Joe Klingensmith (Stonehill), Mahoney (UMass Dartmouth), Matt Keefe (Rivier), Noah Tocci (Colby), Brooks Parker (Deerfield Academy), Tyler McLean, JP Whalen (Babson) and George Gouthier will all be competing for playing time with the veteran-laden team.

The team believes a good mix of young and experienced will lead to a 2015 season to remember.

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South End Astros 2015 Season Preview

astrosSouth End Astros
2014 Record: 13-18-1
Carl Yastrzemski Division: 5th place

2014 Season Review:

The South End Astros definitely didn’t end their season the way they would have liked to, but there were definitely some bright spots in an otherwise disappointing season. The Astros were 2-0 against Yawkey powerhouse Stoneham Sabres, and also had impressive victories over East Boston, Al Thomas, and Revere. It was their inability to beat teams like Savin Hill, West Roxbury, and Malden that ultimately kept them out of the playoffs once again.

Offensively, South End was led by the most dangerous 3-4 hitters in the league, Luis Uribe and Julian Alvarez. Uribe finished the season with a team leading .403 average with 5 HR and 19 RBI. Alvarez finished with a .349 average with a team leading 6 HR and 24 RBI. Key injuries to relievers Joey Ortiz and Izzy Velez in the 2nd game of the season really hurt the Astros. They then lost 2nd baseman Paul Politsopoulos to a concussion and Chris Deane to a horrific knee injury. One of the main reasons the Astros were able to remain competitive was the arm of staff ace Starling Arias. The right hander threw 61 innings, ending the season with a 5-4 record, a 2.87 ERA, and a Yawkey League leading 75 strikeouts!

2015 Season Preview:

The 2015 South End Astros are looking forward to starting the season healthy and stronger than ever. Starting pitchers Starling Arias and Alex Weldon will anchor the Astros rotation. A healthy Chris Deane will add leadership and power to the lineup that already boasts names like Peguero, Sanjurjo, Uribe, and Alvarez. The return of closer Izzy Velez and hard throwing lefty Jonathan Matos will give the Astros depth and versatility for Coach Carl Rodriguez, and the return of Moises Maza behind the plate will be great for Carl’s knees! The Astros also have a few surprises for the upcoming season that the league will just have to wait to see…….

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Revere Rockies 2015 Season Preview

rockiesRevere Rockies
2014 Record: 24-8
Ted Williams Division Runner-ups

Season Review:

The end of their 2014 campaign was arguably the most heartbreaking in the team’s history, but it was galvanizing and has only increased the sense of family that has developed around the team in the past few seasons. This is evident in the markedly low turnover experienced this offseason. Families stick together, and this one is ready for spring.

Key Losses:

- John Young will be missed this year as he has relocated for work, but we plan to have him back in 2016. Attempting to fill his roll will be several new faces but they will surely find they are tall shoes to fill. Revere will have to find a way for more “free stuff” in 2015.

- Revere loses Rich Wlodarczyk to relocation as well. His bulldog mentality will truly be missed. You don’t just replace a Woody. The new arms will have big shoes to fill.

- Mike Hicks will be moving on from the Rockies. We wish him all the best

Key Additions:

- The biggest news of the offseason is that they will again be joined by 2013 League MVP Luis Rodriguez, who missed the last season recovering from surgery. Luis’ presence should really set the tone for an already formidable Revere lineup.

- Revere will add 2 new young arms to the pitching mix, in Andrew Wells and Jake Kelley. Both will be counted on to log important innings if Revere intends to make a playoff push come August.

Season Outlook:

The 2015 edition of the Revere Rockies looks a lot like the 2014 edition, returning all but one of the 2014 playoff Roster. Revere is excited to unite former league MVP Luis Rodriguez alongside reigning MVP Tom Englehardt. Revere will also turn to Bobby Foote to build off his 2014 campaign seeing him lead the YBL in RBIs. If Rockies veterans Chris Hartery and Sean Glavin can cement the middle of the lineup the Revere offense should be amongst the league’s best.

The top end of the pitching staff returns mainly unchanged. Veterans Adam Del Rio and Chris Sandini have combined for 20 Rockies wins over the last three seasons, and will again be joined by Alex Wong and Alex Torres who both turned in ERAs under 2.00 in their 2014 campaigns.

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YBL 25th Anniversary Logo

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Want to Play in the YBL?

To enter the player registration pool for the Yawkey Baseball League, please click on the link below. Once registered, all league managers will have access to your info and will reach out to you if they feel you might benefit their club. It is helpful to include a few sentences about your playing experience.

http://www.400hitter.com/registration.asp?SeID=218

Prospective players are also welcome to contact the franchises that interest them.

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