Blue Crabs Strengthen Roster with ALPB Newcomers

Player Signings Website 2.21The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs have announced the signings of two Atlantic League newcomers, outfielder Johnny Bladel and pitcher Ryan Chaffee.

Bladel comes to Southern Maryland after an All-Star campaign in the Canadian-American Association during the 2017 season. The versatile outfielder led the New Jersey Jackals offensively, while posting league-high totals in runs scored, hits, stolen bases, doubles, and triples. Bladel’s 95 runs scored were the most all-time in a single season for Can-Am history, while his 135 hits tied him for second all-time. The James Madison alum went undrafted out of college in 2013, signing his first professional contract the following season in the Pecos League. Bladel appeared in 77 games between the Pecos League and the American Association in 2014, batting .449 on the year with 13 homeruns and 21 stolen bases. The right-hander is a career .339 hitter, while averaging over 20 stolen bases and 70 runs scored per year across his four professional seasons.

A nine-year vet on the hill, Chaffee joins the growing Blue Crabs pitching staff for the 2018 season. After playing at Chipola Junior College, he was drafted in the third round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels. The 29-year-old was named a Mid-Season All-Star with Cedar Rapids in 2009, his first professional season. Prior to the 2010 season, the right-hander was named as a top 20 prospect in the Angels organization. In total, Chaffee has spent eight seasons in the minor leagues, six with the Angels and two with the Miami Marlins, reaching as high as AAA. In the 2012 season, Chaffee averaged over a strikeout per inning, en-route to a 7-1 record with a 2.60 ERA. The Nebraska native joined the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association for the 2017 season. Serving as the team’s closer, he went 3-3 with a 3.26 ERA, picking up 21 saves to tie him for second in the league.

“We are excited to continue to bolster our roster with two more new additions,” said Manager James Frisbie. “Bladel has shown prowess at the plate throughout his first four years, and Chaffee will bring another reliable arm to the back of our bullpen.”

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MLB Veteran Highlights 2 More Signings to 2018 Roster

Player Signings Website Runner

The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs have announced the signings of two Atlantic League newcomers. Former MLB outfielder Xavier Paul and infielder Frank Martinez are the latest additions to the roster as the team prepares for the start of the 2018 season.

Paul joins the Blue Crabs with six seasons of Major League experience under his belt. The outfielder was drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2003 MLB Draft. He worked his way up the Dodgers farm system, eventually making his MLB debut with the team in 2009. Paul appeared in 349 games over the next six seasons, spending time with the Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and most recently appearing in 2014 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his 14 professional seasons, the Louisiana native has posted a career .280 batting average, with 100+ homeruns and stolen bases.

Martinez comes to Southern Maryland with 13 years of professional baseball experience. The utility infielder originally signed with the Oakland Athletics in 2004, joining their Rookie League affiliate. Martinez spent six seasons with the A’s organization, before making the jump to independent ball in 2011. The Dominican Republic native spent the next five seasons in the Frontier League, playing for three different teams in that span. He then joined the American Association, where he split 2016 between the Sioux Falls Canaries and the Gary SouthShore Railcats. The switch-hitter spent 2017 with Gary as well, hitting .275 in 88 games with the Railcats.

“Both of these guys bring a lot of experience to our locker room for this season,” said Manager James Frisbie. “Paul has played at the highest level with some of the best players in the world, and Martinez brings a consistent bat to our lineup with the ability to switch-hit and create matchup problems for opposing pitchers.”

Q and A with former Blue Crabs Pitcher Turned WVU Tight End Jesse Beal, Jr.

Blue Crabs Broadcast Network Play-by-Play guy Brandon Bulanda sat down with former Blue Crabs Pitcher Jesse Beal, Jr to talk about his decision to trade in the diamond for the gridiron in 2018.

Brandon: What ultimately led to your decision to switch sports?

Jesse: I kind of realized I wasn’t getting the opportunities I had hoped for as far as getting a call to join the Winter Leagues. I had some guys I knew from my past that made this switch, and I’ve seen it done before. People have been in my ear about football because of my height for a long time and I just felt, after this past year, I had an opportunity to go after it. I’m still young enough and my body feels great right now, so when the season ended I decided to make the switch.

Brandon: What will you miss about baseball and Southern Maryland specifically?

Jesse: I made a lot of real close friends in the Southern Maryland clubhouse last year that I still keep in contact with right now. We were a real tight-knit group, with a great team and manager. Everybody really got along well and kept it loose in the clubhouse.

Brandon: What experience do you have in football?

Jesse: I did not play in high school, but as I grew into my body and began to get stronger and more athletic, football just intrigued me.  I always toyed with the idea of flipping sports and following some of my teammates that made the switch. As soon as baseball season ended I began training to make the switch. I began working on running routes and building a video, which ended up getting some looks. The running backs coach at West Virginia knew me from high school and they ended up having a need at tight end. West Virginia was my number 1 choice from the start, so everything just kind of worked out perfectly for me to make the jump.

Brandon: What has the transition been like from professional athlete to student-athlete?

Jesse: Obviously taking a pay cut was part of the move. The real transition for me has been the transition from baseball to football. I have 120 teammates now. I try to keep my mindset the same, approaching this with a professional attitude, and working hard every day. It’s a little different for me than other student-athletes because I came in with the professional experience. No one has to tell me to go to class, do my work, go to bed early, or anything like that. I learned the importance of all of those things long ago and am carrying my routine into the football world now.

Brandon: What are your goals for football?

Jesse: I want to use this year to feel everything out and try to gain some momentum heading into Spring Football. I feel that it’s too early for me to set long-term goals in football, I’ve only been playing a month. Being drafted out of high school for baseball, I still have all four years of eligibility left so I have plenty of time to figure out my future in football. Right now, I’m just trying to make a good impression on) Dana (Head Coach Holgorsen) and the rest of my teammates and coaches. I am just taking things one day at a time, learning from my teammates and coaches, and working to improve every day at practice.

Brandon: What are your expectations for yourself and WVU football?

Jesse: For myself – I would like to reach a point where I am able to contribute every game. I try not to set expectations for the season yet because I have only been here a month. I’m just working on soaking everything in, and working hard every day. There are a lot of great coaches and players here, with a lot of experience in the sport. I am learning things from them every day and trying to reach a point where I know that I can make a difference for this team, hopefully this year but definitely at some point in the future.

For the team – We feel we are a very good football team with the guys we have returning. With (quarterback) Will Grier coming back and working back to 100%, we feel like we are right up there with the top teams in the country. Our goals are to win the Big 12 this season, and try to compete and get ourselves in the conversation for a playoff spot. We are starting inside the preseason top 25, and there’s no reason West Virginia can’t climb higher and draw some national attention.

Rodriguez and Wong Sign with Blue Crabs

Player Signings Website Runner 2The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs have announced the return of two players, Devon Rodriguez and Joey Wong, for the 2018 season.

Rodriguez returns to the Blue Crabs after an All-Star campaign during the 2017 season. The utility man joined the team in May, jumping into an everyday starting position in left field. The lefty came in on fire at the plate, hitting over .400 in his first two months with the team. This first-half performance led to his selection to represent the Freedom Division in the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game. Rodriguez played a major role in the First-Half Freedom Division Championship Game, going 3-5 with two RBI’s and two runs scored, helping the Blue Crabs punch their ticket to the postseason with an 8-3 victory.

Wong will return to Southern Maryland after a brief time with the team last season. The infielder was signed by the Blue Crabs in late February, but was picked up by the Seattle Mariners organization before he could make an appearance for the team. Wong made his professional baseball debut in 2009 out of Oregon State University, being drafted in the 24th round of the MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies. The 29-year-old spent his first eight seasons in the Rockies organization, before joining the Mariners in 2017. Wong was also selected to represent China in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, starting all three games for them in the tournament.

“The versatility of Rodriguez and Wong make them great additions to our 2018 roster,” said Manager James Frisbie. “Both guys bring the ability to play multiple positions in the field, as well as giving us an advantage against most pitchers with two solid left-handed bats in our lineup.”

Blue Crabs Begin 2018 Signings

Player Signings Website RunnerThe Southern Maryland Blue Crabs have announced their first three signings of the 2018 season, led by the return of shortstop Edwin Garcia. Garcia will be joined by a fellow Venezuelan, Outfielder Teodoro Martinez, as well as Pitcher Alex Boshers.

Garcia rejoins the Blue Crabs after a successful 2017 season. During his first campaign with the team, Garcia led in games played and hits. His 134 appearances on the regular season ranked him third in the league, while he also appeared in the top 10 in at-bats (534), hits (139), and runs scored (69). The Venezuela native made his professional baseball debut in 2008 at the age of 17. He spent his first eight professional seasons in the Texas Rangers organization, reaching as high as AAA, before joining Southern Maryland last season.

Martinez will rejoin his fellow countryman with the Blue Crabs this season. A native of La Guaira, Venezuela, Martinez began his professional baseball career in 2009, joining Garcia in the Rangers organization. The 25-year-old spent six seasons with the Rangers affiliates before spending 2015 in the New York Yankees organization. He has spent the last two seasons playing between the Venezuelan Winter League and the Mexican League, appearing for Los Tigres de Aragua and Los Generales de Durango.

The Right-Hander Boshers will make his Atlantic League debut in 2018, joining the Blue Crabs after three seasons in the American Association. The 26-year-old went undrafted out of the University of Tennessee-Martin. He signed his first professional contract with the Wichita Wingnuts in 2015, one year removed from college. Boshers came on strong in his debut season, going 4-2 with a 1.86 ERA working primarily as a reliever in 2015. In his last two seasons with the Wingnuts, the righty transitioned to a starting role, going 23-7 across the two seasons, posting a 3.29 ERA in 2016 and following that with a 3.72 last season.

“We are very excited to begin formulating our roster for the upcoming season as Opening Day fast approaches,” said Manager James Frisbie. “I look forward to Edwin returning this season after a great year, as well as bringing in some new talent in Teodoro and Alex to help us reach the ultimate goal of bringing home a championship in 2018.”

Michael Snyder Signs with the Atlanta Braves

Snyder Announcement- Website

The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs announced Thursday that infielder Michael Snyder has reached an agreement to join the Atlanta Braves organization. Snyder will report to Spring Training with the Double-A affiliate Mississippi Braves.

The powerful 1B/DH first joined the Blue Crabs at the start of the 2016 season. Snyder quickly became a fan favorite, bursting onto the scene by hitting .304 with a team-high 25 homeruns. His homerun total in his debut season was the second-highest single season total in franchise history. Snyder was named the starting first baseman for the Freedom Division in the 2016 Atlantic League All-Star Game.

The Virginia native announced he was resigning with the Blue Crabs for a second season on February 9, 2017. He picked up right where he left off the season before, leading the team with 25 homeruns and 72 RBI’s, earning another starting spot in the 2017 All-Star Game. Snyder played a key role in the Blue Crabs playoff run last season, finishing top 10 in the Atlantic League in homeruns, RBI’s, runs scored, doubles, walks, and slugging percentage.

“His leadership on and off the field played a huge part in our success last season,” said Manager James Frisbie. “Michael is the type of player that gives the organization everything he has day in and day out.”

Prior to joining the Blue Crabs, Snyder spent four seasons in the Los Angeles Angels organization. He was originally drafted in the 23rd round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Florida Southern College. In his four seasons with the Angels, he appeared in 355 games, reaching as high as AA in 2015.

“Michael has been a fan favorite since he first arrived with us in 2016,” said General Manager Courtney Knichel. “The Blue Crabs faithful have gravitated towards his exuberant personality, as he was always willing to interact with fans, whether signing autographs or taking pictures.”

Snyder is the third player from Southern Maryland signed since the start of the 2017 season. He will join former teammates Danny Muno and Justin De Fratus, both of whom signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2017.

The Blue Crabs open their 2018 season on April 27th at home against the Long Island Ducks.

7 Great Games… 1 Great Deal!

7 FOR 70 Newsletter

We have picked out 7 games for the upcoming 2018 season and bundled them into 1 great deal!  Games include your reserved seats to popular nights such as Opening Day and the Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular.  Opponents include the Somerset Patriots, New Britain Bees, the Road Warriors, the 2017 Liberty Division Champion Long Island Ducks and the 2017 ALPB Champions, the York Revolution.

Special offer!  The first 50 fans to purchase will receive a FREE Blue Crabs Fan Club T-shirt!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!

Once purchased, a Blue Crabs Representative will contact you for seat selection and shirt size.  Seat selection based on availability.