04/11/2013 4:22 PM
As tryouts and spring training for the 2013 season get closer, T-Bones manager Kenny Hook will be providing weekly thoughts on a variety of topics, ranging from the offseason to preparation to the outlook of the season. This week, Hook talks about the 2013 roster, which is nearly complete. This installment of Kenny’s Korner was told to Matt Fulks.
As we get closer to the 2013 season — just three weeks from tryouts and the start of camp — I’m really excited about our roster. Going into the offseason, we knew some guys wouldn’t be back and we knew we had some holes to fill. Besides that, since I became manager last year after most of the guys had been signed, this was a chance to form a roster with guys who believe in the system we’re trying to develop in Kansas City.
Frankly, I believe that all of us, from coaches and players to the front office and fans, can be excited about seeing these guys on the field.
The best aspect of our game last year was pitching. For the most part, we kept the core of the guys who pitched well last year: Devin Anderson, Shaun Garceau, Luke Irvine and Steve Kent. We re-signed Dustin Loggins and Sean Toler, two guys who pitched a little for us last year and then played winter ball in Australia. The only impact pitcher who isn’t back is Brian Grening. But, we also have some young, talented arms coming in. As I look at our rotation, we have two lefties (Anderson and Aaron Meade), plus different types of pitchers, who’ll cause problems for our opponents. That’s important.
One of the biggest areas we needed to improve was team speed. We have — and still have — Justin Bass and Devin Goodwin, who can run, but we’ve added a true top-of-the-lineup guy in Kennard Jones. He’s always a base-stealing threat.
Speaking of Goody, I believe we’re a stronger defensive infield. This won’t necessarily show up in the statistics, but we have three guys who have played shortstop in Goodwin, Jairo Perez and Karexon Sanchez. That’s important because, besides their athletic ability and strong defensive talents, as shortstops they have anticipation and instincts. All of that will help our pitchers. We want our pitchers to throw groundballs, and now they can do so knowing that the defense will make a play behind them. That wasn’t always the case last year. Plus, all three guys have played second base and third base in addition to short, so we can move them around if needed. On top of that, we added first baseman Matt Padgett, who should be a solid veteran on the field and in the clubhouse.
In the outfield, we have our two former big-league guys back in Brandon Jones and Ray Sadler, with Kennard Jones and Bass out there. Really, I don’t think you’ll find a better outfield in our league than those four guys. Having four guys with this much talent will help all of them, but especially Brandon and Ray. They’ll be able to stay healthier because we can let them DH on a regular basis. As you get older, it’s nice to have the DH days. It sounds minor, but when your legs are fresh, it changes the way you play.
Off the field, character-wise, I like the guys we have. With this being my first full offseason to put the roster together, I did as much homework as I could about their character. There’s a bit of an unknown, of course, until all of the guys are around each other and on the field on a daily basis, but I’m happy with where we are. As far as tools and how everything fits at this point, I couldn’t be happier.
I don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves because we haven’t seen these guys play together, plus we’re counting on some younger pitchers. But on paper, I don’t think we could’ve designed this roster any more to my liking. I don’t see a glaring need right now.
I can’t wait for the season to get here.