Wednesday Winter Hot Stove – Edition 2
For Edition Two of the Wednesday Winter Hot Stove, we are going to highlight one of the key pitchers in the Ducks’ back-to-back Atlantic League championship runs who has some very unique plans this offseason. This Duck is a pitcher, joined the Flock late in the second half during 2012 and 2013 and has an ERA of 2.70 in three postseason games with Long Island.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the man we are talking about is right-hander Bobby Blevins. He has lost just once in 11 games (nine starts) over two seasons with the Ducks and pitched the Flock to victories in the decisive Game Five of the 2012 Liberty Division and Atlantic League Championship Series. Because of his efforts, he has received an opportunity this month to pitch for Fortitudo Bologna of the Italian Baseball League in this year’s Asia Series.
For those who do not know, the Asia Series is an annual international baseball tournament that features championship teams from five different leagues. The champions of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, the Korea Baseball Organization, the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan, the Australian Baseball League and the winner of the annual European Cup all will take part in the series. This year will mark the first that the winner of the European Cup will be included after the Asia Series Executive Committee approved the competition’s expansion.
Along with Fortitudo Bologna, who beat out league champions from the CzechRepublic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, San Marino, Spain and Switzerland to win the European Cup, the following teams will also take part in this year’s Asia Series:
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (Japan)
Samsung Lions (Korea)
Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions (Taiwan – Champions)
EDA Rhinos (Taiwan – Runner-up)
Canberra Cavalry (Australia)
The tournament will take place from November 15 through 20, with Taichung, Taiwan serving as the host city. “Quack of the Bat” caught up with Blevins before he made his way to Italy to get his reaction to being invited to the tournament.
“It sounds like it is going to be an awesome experience along with a lot of exposure,” the Briarcliff, New York native said. “I was told I will be in the starting rotation, so I am excited for that.”
He’ll likely be posting updates from throughout the tournament, so be sure to follow him in Twitter. He sent out this tweet today:
Well it was a successful trip on out to Italy. Got to me the guys run around a little but now it’s bed time! #exhausted gym in the AM.
— BOBBY BLEVINS JR. (@BBLEVS16) November 6, 2013
Blevins is not the only Atlantic Leaguer that Fortitudo Bologna has added to their roster for the Asia Series. Blue Crabs pitcher Daryl Thompson and Skeeters outfielder Steve Moss will also be teammates of Blevins during the tournament.
The Asia Series will also feature former Ducks pitchers Nelson Figueroa (2006), who is the pitching coach for the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions and Ken Ray (2009), who pitches for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Among the other Atlantic Leaguers taking part in the series will be former Barnstormers pitcher Brian Grening, who is a member of the Canberra Cavalry, and former Blue Crabs and Revolution pitcher Nick Green, who is with the EDA Rhinos.
Among the biggest names in the tournament is Masahiro Tanaka, the highly touted Japanese pitcher who likely will be the top free agent pitcher available in the Major League offseason this year. He pitches for Tohoku Rakuten and posted an incredible 24-0 record with a 1.27 ERA and 183 strikeouts this season. Also on Rakuten’s roster is former big league closer Takashi Saito, former Met Kazuo Matsui and former Yankee Andruw Jones.
You can find the schedule for the 2013 Asia Series by CLICKING HERE.
Keep it here all offseason for our weekly Wednesday Winter Hot Stove to get you updated on all of the former Ducks/Atlantic Leaguers playing in Winter Leagues this offseason in both the Asia Series and in the Caribbean. You can also follow news and stats from the Caribbean Winter Leagues by CLICKING HERE. If you happen to know other former Ducks or Atlantic Leaguers that are playing winter ball but have not been mentioned here, please leave us a comment or send us a contact form and let us know who.
Posted on November 6, 2013, in Winter Hot Stove and tagged Asia Series, Atlantic League, Australian Baseball League, Bobby Blevins, Canberra Cavalry, Chinese Professional Baseball League, EDA Rhinos, Fortitudo Bologna, Italian Baseball League, Ken Ray, Korea Baseball Organization, Long Island Ducks, Masahiro Tanaka, Nelson Figueroa, Nippon Professional Baseball, Samsung Lions, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.