The Canberra Cavalry have been quietly putting together an intimidating roster to help their charge to a second Claxton Shield, signing a former MLB player, four players from Yokohama DeNA BayStars, Japanese and Australian international representatives along with returning Cavalry stars.
Former Major League pitcher Madison Younginer and the best hitter in USA’s independent baseball Craig Massey will head to the nation’s capital during the season, along with Michael Crouse, Zech Lemond, Kyle Kinman and JR Bunda.
While some players are staying for only half the season, with the Cav’s adopting a flexible roster to accommodate their long list of stars, the question has to be asked – is this the best roster the Canberra Cavalry coaching staff have pulled together?
Four weeks after the heartbreaking loss to the Brisbane Bandits in the final game of the Championship Series 2017/18, the Cav’s recruitment committee sat down to work out how to go one game further in the upcoming season and who they need to sign to improve their roster.
Eight months after their search began, manager Keith Ward believes he has one of the Cav’s best teams at his disposal this season.
“This season we will have a lot of depth, especially in pitching. All the way down from the starters all the way to the last guy in the bullpen, it is collectively the strongest group of arms and pitchers that we have had,” Ward said.
“In the offensive side, I think we also have the best collection of Australian position players in the country. We have the Perkins boys, Cam Warner, David Kandilas and Boss Moanaroa plus a bunch of other guys who have plenty of ABL experience.
“Combine those boys who are in the Australian national team into the mix with some really high-quality players who can swing the bat hard, steal bases and play fantastic defence.”
But just because you have the best team on paper, doesn’t mean you have the best team on the park. Canberra’s championship win in the 2012/13 season is a testament to the fact.
“The year we won the championship, it came out of nowhere for us,” Ward recollected. “We knew that we had some good players and we picked up a couple of great players by chance. When the season unfolded, we thought we would be solid, but without being fantastic – but all the pieces fell together and we got on a roll and couldn’t be stopped.
“We might not have had the best roster that season but we still walked away as champions.
“The nuts and bolts of the team are there but now it is about getting together and forming as a team and getting our jerseys dirty as we try to win some baseball games.”
Don’t miss the Canberra Cavalry’s first home game of the 2018-19 season on 6 December, when the Cavs face three-time defending champions Brisbane Bandits at the redeveloped MIT Ballpark.
Canberra Cavalry Roster
Koki Aotagi, Stephen Chambers, Michael Crouse, Frank Gailey, Jake Green, Nick Hosie, Shota Imanaga, David Kandilas, Steven Kent, Yuki Kuniyoshi, Zech Lemond, Justin Lopez, Kelvin Melean, Tomoya Mikami, Lee Mills, Boss Moanaroa, Moko Moanaroa, Robbie Perkins, Kyle Perkins, Grant Piccoli, Cameron Warner, Josh Warner and Zach Wilson