The Ottawa Champions are set to begin Spring Training for their third season in the CanAm League on May 8th, and play their first game of the 2017 season at home in RCGT Park against the Trois-Rivieres Aigles on May 18th. Unlike the major leagues, the players here don’t have a lot of time to gel as a team, and just as importantly, get used to playing on Ottawa’s large playing field.
With Champs spring training a little less than two months away, I thought was as good a time as any to get to know the players who will be in the lineup and take to the field on Opening Day. A big part of my love of baseball is getting to know the unique stories of each player–where they come from, how their path brought them to Ottawa, how they’ve done in the past, etc.
This week, check out below for bios of all the pitchers on the Ottawa Champions roster as of March 15th, 2017. As extended bios and recent stats are hard to come by for a lot of independent league ball players, most of this information comes from Ottawa Champions press releases–I’m just putting all of their news all in one place for your enjoyment. Anything that comes from their website will be italicized, and my comments will be in regular font below. Where possible, I try to provide a couple of extra goodies about each player!
Eventually, I hope to build these profiles out with a bit more detail, but stay tuned for that! Check back next week for bios of the Ottawa Champions’ Catchers.
Without further ado, your Ottawa Champions’ pitchers!
Victor Beriguete (#98)
Bats/Throws: R/R | Height: 6″1| Weight: 225 | Age: 28 (11/06/1988)
Victor Beriguete 28, last played in 2015 when he split the season between the Frontier League’s River City Rascals and Normal CornBelters, combining to go 5-2 with a 2.86 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched.
“Victor is a guy who comes at you from the side with good velocity, and is really tough on righties,” says Champions manager Hal Lanier. “He put up some good numbers in the Frontier League last year so we expect him to slot into the back end of our bullpen.”
A native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Beriguete was originally [selected] by the New York Yankees, playing as high as Single-A Charleston in the South Atlantic League.(source: http://www.ottawachampions.com/champions-bolster-roster-with-five-signings/)
On the March 5th edition of ‘Around the Diamond,’ Dante De Caria interviewed Hal Lanier, who said he really likes what he saw from Victor at a camp in Florida this offseason, and expects that Beriguete will be a strong addition to the back of the Champions bullpen.
“I was very impressed with him. He’s gonna be a guy who will be in the back of our bullpen. He’s got great velocity. He throws sidearm, and he’s got a very good breaking ball to get right handed hitters out on. His numbers are very good from the standpoint of innings pitched, base on balls, strikeout ratio, he’s got good control. He was in the Frontier League a little bit last year, and again, I was very impressed with what I saw. I think he pitched about four times about there–the equivalent of about eight innings, so I got a good look at him,…if we started the season now, he’d be our closer,” said Lanier.
And here’s a video of him pitching from August 2015. The video suggests he can throw a 4 seam fastball, changeup, and slider, and can top the radar gun at 94mph. It will be interesting to see what his velocity is like here in Ottawa in 2017–Lanier said it was around 92-93mph. A 2.86 ERA in independent league baseball is pretty damn good, and I’m really excited to see what he can do in a Champions uniform this season.
Steve Borkowski, 24, joined the Champions on August 16th, 2016 and made four starts, compiling a 1-2 record, 4.43 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched.
He also went 2-0 in the playoffs, most memorably starting game four of the Can-Am League championship where he dominated the Rockland Boulders, striking out 13 batters in eight innings in a 13-3 Champions victory.
“Everything he did last year impressed me,” said Champions manager Hal Lanier. “And he really stepped it up in the playoffs so I’m delighted to have him back.”
Prior to signing with Ottawa, the Boone, IA native won the 2016 Pecos League championship with the Tucson Saguaraos, where he went 10-0 with a 2.72 ERA in the regular season. (source: http://www.ottawachampions.com/playoff-hero-borkowski-returns-to-champions-rotation/)
- Borkowski basically spent the entire 2016 season on fire, going undefeated in the Pecos League (another independent league), sporting a low ERA that would be the envy of many unaffiliated league clubs. Great to see him back with the Champions for the 2017 season.
Austin Chrismon, 24, was an All-Star in 2016 and was named Can-Am League Pitcher of the Year at the end of the regular season.
The Newport News, VA native went 8-4 for Ottawa in 2016 and led the Can-Am League with a 2.39 ERA, 135.1 innings pitched, and three complete games.
Chrismon also pitched a complete game in game five of the league championship series to lead the Champions over the Rockland Boulders.
“He was the best pitcher in the league during the regular season and the playoffs,” says Champions manager Hal Lanier. “He was a workhorse, giving us all those innings and never wanting to come out of a game.” (source: http://www.ottawachampions.com/ottawa-champions-have-their-ace-in-the-hole/)
Andrew Cooper, 24, appeared in 33 games for Ottawa in 2016, compiling a 2-2 record with a 4.35 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 51.2 innings pitched.
The Belle River, ON [native] pitched in two games in the playoffs, including game three of the finals against Rockland where he picked up the win in a nervous 12-inning affair.
“He’s a very durable pitcher and he has the kind of arm that allows him to pitch multiple days at a time,” says Champions manager Hal Lanier. “He’s a hard worker and he did a great job in his first season in Ottawa.”
Cooper was originally selected by the Washington Nationals in the 12th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, and pitched three seasons in their organization, making it as high as Single-A Hagerstown in 2014 and 2015. (source: http://www.ottawachampions.com/champions-bring-back-canadian-reliever-for-second-season/)
Daniel Cordero, 23, went 10-4 with a 3.79 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 116.1 innings pitched, was named to the All-Star team, and was recently named number 26 on Baseball America’s list of the top Independent League prospects.
The Barinas, Venezuela native led the Can-Am League in wins during the regular season and made two starts in the playoffs, going 1-0 with a 2.02 ERA.
Cordero was originally signed by the Atlanta Braves in 2012 and played as high as Single-A Rome in the South Atlantic League. (source: http://www.ottawachampions.com/champions-re-sign-all-star-starter-cordero/)
- A quick perusal of Cordero’s Instagram account reveals that he stayed in Ottawa during the offseason–great to see a young player becoming an active part of the community, especially with how cold Ottawa must be compared to Venezuela!
Yean Carlos Gil, 26, had an 8-6 record with a 3.46 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 111.2 innings pitched in the 2016 regular season then went 1-0 with a 5.68 ERA in the playoffs.
“He did a great job this year and actually got better as the year went on,” said Champions manager Hal Lanier. “He was one of our top starters so it’s good to have him back.”
The lefthander from Maracay, Venezuela was twice named Can-Am League Pitcher of the Week during the 2016 season
Gil was originally signed by the Atlanta Braves in 2010, and pitched as high as High-A Carolina in the Carolina League. (source: http://www.ottawachampions.com/champions-re-sign-another-key-member-of-the-rotation/)
James Mulry, 23, pitched four seasons at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, compiling a career record of 11-21 with a 4.97 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 228 innings pitched.
The West Roxbury, MA native made 14 starts for Northeastern in 2016, finishing with a 3-7 record and 5.28 ERA in 75 innings.
Lanier on Mulry: I was very impressed the first day I saw him. I wanted to give him a contract as soon as possible–you know, there were a lot of scouts and managers [at a camp in Florida] . I was just very impressed with his command of his pitches. He comes side-armed on left-handers–he gets it up to 90-91[mph]. He just finished a winter league camp with the Arizona Diamondbacks and a lot of people saw him out there–a manager from the [Independent League] American Association wanted to trade for him, so the way he threw out there…I’m very surprised the Diamondbacks didn’t sign him. (source: March 5th Around the Diamond)
Pat Peterson, 23, appeared in three games in 2016 for the Clinton LumberKings of the Midwest League in the Seattle Mariners organization where he went 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in 3.2 innings pitched before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.
The Bear, DE native was originally drafted by the Mariners in the 23rd round of the 2014 MLB draft out of North Carolina State University.
“He is a really interesting signing at this particular time,” says Champions manager Hal Lanier. He gives us a little more experience [on the pitching staff] and is capable of starting and relieving.”
Peterson’s last full season came in 2015, also with Clinton, where he went 6-6 with a 4.49 ERA in 108.1 innings pitched over 27 appearances (17 starts) (source: http://www.ottawachampions.com/champions-add-lefty-swingman-to-pitching-staff/). Pat Peterson played college baseball for the Temple Owls, so he shouldn’t have a hard time making friends In Ottawa with Temple Owl anumnus and Ottawa demigod Henry Burris living in town.
Raydel Sanchez, 27, last played in 2015 with the American Association’s Joplin Blasters where he went 1-2 with a 13.50 ERA in four appearances (two starts).
The Peilon, Cuba native was originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and spent four years in their organization, compiling a 11-22 record with a 4.71 ERA and 212 strikeouts in 309.1 innings pitched, while making it as high as Double-A Chattanooga in the South Atlantic League. (source: http://www.ottawachampions.com/champions-bolster-roster-with-five-signings/)
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