20th Anniversary Team Voting – Left-Handed Reliever
19 seasons of Long Island Ducks baseball have come and gone. Players from all around the world and of all varieties of baseball experience have worn the Ducks uniform since the first pitch on April 28, 2000. In that time, they have played in front of nearly 8 million fans in Central Islip, and millions more around the rest of the country. Those players and coaches have also earned three Atlantic League Championships, seven Division Championships, 13 half-season Division Championships and over 1,300 victories. As the Ducks 20th Anniversary Season, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, approaches, it is time to determine which members of the Flock have stood above the rest.
After a week of voting for some of the top right-handed relievers in Ducks history, we now switch over to the southpaws. Lefty relievers are vital pieces to any strong bullpen, whether for match-up purposes with big lefty bats or to be late-inning set-up men. The Ducks have had their fair share of strong left-handed arms throughout their history, and it was not easy determining the three nominees who will vie for a spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. Let’s take a look at the three candidates:
Pedro Borbon Jr.
The son of former Major Leaguer Pedro Borbon is our first nominee for the left-handed reliever position. Pedro Borbon Jr. had spent parts of eight seasons in the big leagues before making his way to the Ducks in 2003. The Houston Astros had released the southpaw, and he was looking for a way to get back to the game’s highest level. The Ducks gave him the opportunity, and he responded by posting a 5-2 record with a 2.08 ERA in 32 games (six starts). Borbon Jr. also struck out 50 batters and walked just 14 over 69.1 innings of work. Opportunity came calling, as the St. Louis Cardinals purchased his contract on July 24th. Just five days later, he was back in the big leagues, where he made seven more appearances. The jump made the Dominican Republic native the second Duck in team history to return to the Majors after playing on Long Island, following Carlos Baerga (2001). Borbon Jr. returned to the Ducks briefly in both 2004 and 2005, where he combined to make eight starts. He would also make a couple of appearances with the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2006 before wrapping up his playing career.
The second nominee for this position was part of the Ducks Atlantic League championship team of 2004. Jordan Zimmerman joined Long Island after spending the majority of his career in the Seattle Mariners organization, reaching the Major Leagues for 12 games in 1999. As a member of the Flock, he helped serve as a set-up man to closer Bill Simas. Zimmerman made 50 appearances during the 2004 campaign, second-most in the Atlantic League behind only Camden’s Todd Rizzo (59). He registered a 3-2 record with a miniscule 2.28 ERA and a pair of saves. The Canada native also struck out 36 batters while walking just 16 over 47.1 innings of work. During the postseason, Zimmerman recorded several big outs to keep the Nashua Pride off the scoreboard in the North Division Championship Series. He did the same against Camden in the Atlantic League Championship Series to help give the Flock their first-ever league title. Not a bad way to complete your professional career!
Last among the trio of nominees, but certainly not least, is left-hander Eric Niesen. The former third round draft pick by the Mets first joined the Ducks in 2013. He got off to a terrific start that season, posting a 4-0 record with a 3.23 ERA, one save and 39 strikeouts in 39 innings. Thanks to his strong performance, Niesen’s contract was purchased on July 9th by the Boston Red Sox. After spending time with Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket that year, he returned to the Ducks in 2014. The southpaw appeared in a team-high 59 games, tied for fifth-most in the league, and turned in a 4-3 record with a stellar 3.06 ERA and 65 strikeouts over 53 innings. Niesen returned for one more year with the Ducks in 2015 where he experimented as a starter as well, making eight appearances overall (four starts) to finish his career in the orange and black. His playing career finished the following season in the Atlantic League with Bridgeport.
We have revealed our three nominees for the left-handed reliever spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. Now, we need your help in determining which of the three will be represented among this exclusive group. Click on the button below to cast your vote from now through next Thursday for either Borbon Jr., Zimmerman or Niesen. The winner, along with the remainder of the 20th Anniversary Team, will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2019 season!
Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll unveil the three nominees for the closer spot on the 20th Anniversary Team.
Posted on April 5, 2019, in 20th Anniversary Team and tagged 20th Anniversary Season, 20th Anniversary Team, Atlantic League, Bethpage Ballpark, Eric Niesen, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, Jordan Zimmerman, Left-Handed, Long Island Ducks, Pedro Borbon Jr., Relief Pitcher, Voting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.