Saturday, December 8, 2007

Beach Bums Off-Season Recap - 12/8/07

The first thing I want to do is try to briefly describe the roster rules in the Frontier League and how an amendment to these rules will greatly change the way our roster is handled in Traverse City for 2008. So if you aren't into the technical side of player procurement, you can skip down a little until I get into the specifics of what we have done so far.


The purpose of the Frontier League uses a classification system for their players based on professional experience. Up until 2007, there has been four categories, Rookie, LS1, LS2, and Veteran. LS stands for "League Service," therefore LS1 technically translates to a player who has the equivalent of one year of professional experience. However, a player can play a full season of professional baseball and not gain a year in status - a year of experience is defined by greater than 150 at-bats, 60 innings pitch, or 30 pitching appearances. Therefore, if Player A and Player B have both played three years in the Frontier League, but Player A has at-bat totals of 150, 150, 150, and player B has at-bat totals of 151, 151, 151, then player A is considered a Rookie and Player B is considered a Veteran.

Each team may have a maximum of 3 Veteran players, 2 LS2 players, 7 LS1 players, and the rest of the roster must be Rookies (teams may carry a minimum of 22 and a maximum of 24). Teams can carry a larger number in one classification if they carry a lesser number in a greater classification. In other words, if you only have 2 Veterans on your roster, you may have 3 LS2 players, and so on.


In 2008, the Frontier League will dividing the Rookie status into two - R1 and R2. An R1 is any player who has entered the Frontier League without previous professional experience. Players who are classified as an R1 will be classified as an R2 the following season no matter how many at-bats, innings, or pitching appearances they have. Players who enter the Frontier League with previous professional experience who have never had more than 150 at-bats, 60 innings, or 30 pitching appearances in a single season will be classified as an R2. Players will only move from R2 status to L1 status if they break the 150, 60, 30 thresholds.


The Beach Bums had several players that will benefit from the R2 classification this coming season. Players like Jeff Brown, Brett Bostelman, Jeff Williams, etc., will all be classified as R2s in 2008 whereas they would have been classified as L1s under the previous rules. That means that we won't have as many decisions to make as to who to bring back. Under the old rules, we would have had 11 or 12 players classified as L1s for only 7 spots, not including players that we would try to sign out of spring training. Under the new rules the only players that bumped up to the L1 status are RHP Tyler Meigs and LHP Tom Thornton.


The Beach Bums will have some holes to fill this off-season as several talented players announced their retirements - shortstop Justin Holmes, catcher Matt Rademacher, third basemen Sam Orr, and pitchers Tony Casoli and Robbie McClellan have hung up their spikes for the 2008 season.

However, we've already signed two players who I think can greatly impact our squad in 2008 - LHP Jacob Cook and OF James Conrad. Cook pitched for James Madison University and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays. We've had a lot of good reports on Cook and he had a great first professional season for the Blue Jays, and the fact that he will come in classified as an R2 doesn't hurt either. He has experience as a starter, short relief, long relief, and closing, and we plan on using his versatility to our advantage. We think that Cook could be our version of Windy City's Isaac Hess, who won the MVP of the Frontier League Championship series.

Conrad caught my eye because of his speed - he ranked third in NCAA DI last season in steals (49 of 55). If you're a Beach Bums fan you know how valuable speed is in our outfield - we play in one of the biggest parks in all of professional baseball. A lot of people who look at the 320 markers down the lines don't understand how fast the park gets really deep - over 390 feet in the gaps - and poor outfielders get exposed very quickly. Conrad's coach at Lafayette University had nothing but good things to say about him and we have reports that he ran a 6.5 to 6.6 60-yard dash at tryouts this past summer (MLB average is around 6.9). He is no slouch with the bat either, and led his team at Lafayette with a .369 batting average while only striking out 16 times in 203 at-bats. He also finished 8th in country in runs scored with 67 in 52 games.

Even though we excited about our current roster, we should have a lot more player news after we turn the calendar to 2008, so make sure you stay tuned to the Beach Bums blog to get the inside scoop. You can send any questions to me at



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