The Ballpark of Brotherly Love

As the start of the 2014 season continues to get closer, Atlantic League rosters are beginning to shape up quite nicely. This certainly holds true for the Ducks, who announced on Thursday the signings of Jared and Josh Lansford. The brothers have been teammates on Long Island for the past two seasons and will now begin a third with the Flock. The signings bring the current roster count to 14, including 10 players who were on the 2013 championship roster and eight who have contributed to both the 2012 and 2013 titles. The Ducks are hoping that familiarity breeds success once again this season.

Not to be outdone by each other, both Jared and Josh have been major contributors for the Ducks as relievers the past two seasons. Jared ranked second on the team last year in appearances with 47, while older brother Josh ranked third with 43. The brothers were both used often in 2012 as well, ranking fourth (Jared, 47) and sixth (Josh, 31) on the team in games pitched. Bottom line: these are two guys the Ducks have truly depended on the last two years.

Respecting seniority, we’ll start off with a closer look at older brother Josh. The former sixth round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2006 actually started off his career as a third baseman but made the move to the mound in 2009. It’s certainly a move the Ducks are glad he made. Josh began his career with the Flock in 2012, appearing in 31 games as a reliever. His regular season line read:

0-1 Record, 4.73 ERA, 38.0 IP, 45 H, 20 R, 20 ER, 20 BB, 33 K

The numbers might not have been where he wanted, but the righty provided a middle innings arm and showed several flashes of strong pitching. Josh then made three postseason appearances that season for Long Island, allowing just one run while striking out three. The 29-year-old’s success with the Ducks increased in 2013, becoming one of the most dependable arms in the bullpen. On the year, Josh posted a line of:

1-3 Record, 3.22 ERA, 44.2 IP, 55 H, 22 R, 16 ER, 7 BB, 30 K

Josh ranked second among Ducks relievers in ERA (min. 20 innings pitched) and third on the team overall. Only Leo Rosales and Dontrelle Willis had a lower ERA than Josh. His best stretch came early in the second half when he went 10 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run (June 26-August 1) and allowed two runs total over 19 appearances (August 19). That helped lift the Ducks into first place in the Liberty Division, a spot they would hold throughout the majority of the second half. The former Cubs and Oakland Athletics farmhand carried his success into the Atlantic League playoffs where he allowed just one run over 3.2 innings in four appearances.

Now to younger brother, Jared, who has been a workhorse out of the bullpen for the Flock over the last two seasons.  Prior to joining Long Island, the righty spent seven seasons in the Athletics farm system, reaching as high as AAA in three straight years (2009-11). In his first year with the Ducks, he compiled an impressive regular season line:

0-2 Record, 2.98 ERA, 54.1 IP, 65 H, 20 R, 18 ER, 18 BB, 40 K

Record aside, he was absolutely dominant. Only Jon Meloan and his 0.98 ERA were lower than Jared’s impressive 2.98 ERA that year. However, Meloan was only with the team through mid-June before being signed by the New York Yankees organization. Jared also excelled in the 2012 postseason, tossing six and one-third scoreless innings over six appearances. The California native appeared in all three of Long Island’s Atlantic League Championship Series wins over Lancaster, including two shutout innings in Game Two that earned him his second postseason win.

Just like his brother, the 27-year-old signed on with the Ducks again for the 2013 season. Once again, Jared was used with regularity by manager Kevin Baez. For the second consecutive year, Jared appeared in 47 games. Additionally, he tied his career high in wins as a reliever with five. His 2013 line:

5-1 Record, 4.29 ERA, 9 SV, 50.1 IP, 54 H, 28 R, 24 ER, 21 BB, 48 K

While his ERA ballooned due to some second half struggles, Jared was able to parlay a stellar first half of the season into an All-Star Game selection. As the set-up man to Rosales, he went on a streak of 18 consecutive games without allowing an earned run from May 5 to June 17. That success was even more imperative when Rosales suffered an injury in the second half. In need of a closer, Jared was able to step right in and fill that role.

With the Ducks back in the postseason after winning the second half, Jared continued his Atlantic League playoff dominance. He earned the win in Game Two of the Liberty Division Championship over Southern Maryland and yielded just one run in five postseason relief appearances (six innings). Jared has been the definition of a clutch pitcher for the Flock, and his aggregate postseason numbers are evidence of that:

3-0 Record, 0.73 ERA, 12.1 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K

With an eye towards the 2014 season, Ducks fans have every right to be excited about the Lansford brothers returning to Long Island. Jared will likely see some time as a reliever once again, but his versatility does allow him to potentially start should the need arise. Josh will likely hold a spot in the back-end of the bullpen, using his hard fastball to keep opponents off the scoreboard late in games. As long as both stay healthy, these two provide flexibility and strong arms among the pitching staff.

A solid core of last year’s championship team has already committed to another season with the Ducks. With the addition of Jared and Josh Lansford to that group, the Flock will once again hope that some brotherly love will be a catalyst towards the ultimate goal: becoming the first team in Atlantic League history to win three consecutive championships.


Posted on March 11, 2014, in Player Signings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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