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20th Anniversary Team Voting – Third Base

baerga-nelson-puckett

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.

We’ve made our way “around the horn” on the infield and have arrived at our final position there: third base. Ducks fans have been able to watch several outstanding players man the hot corner for the Flock over the past 19 seasons. Third base has seen its share of sluggers, stout defenders, former Major Leaguers and those seeking to reach “The Show” for the first time. Our three nominees for the coveted third base slot on the 20th Anniversary Team account for a mixture of all those attributes. While there are many deserving candidates for the role, here is the trio eligible for selection:


Carlos Baerga
carlos baerga action shot

Throughout the history of the Long Island Ducks, a total of 18 players have reached the Major Leagues after playing with the Flock. The first-ever to accomplish the feat was third baseman Carlos Baerga. His time on Long Island was short, as he played with the Ducks only in 2001. Prior to that, he had spent 10 seasons in the big leagues, making him one of the most experienced and well-known players to sign with the club to that point. The veteran made an immediate impact in his 53 games played, compiling a .315 batting average and a .383 on-base percentage. Baerga totaled nine homers, 44 RBIs, 38 runs, 64 hits, and 19 walks to just 24 strikeouts in that span. His numbers were worthy of an Atlantic League All-Star Game selection. MLB teams took notice of his performance, and by December of 2001, he had signed with the Boston Red Sox with the chance to make the club in spring training. Sure enough, he spent all of 2002 with the Boston Red Sox and would go on to play three additional seasons in “The Show” after that.


Bryant Nelson
bryant nelson action shot

Our second nominee for third base came to the Ducks with just one year of MLB experience, playing with the Red Sox in 2002. However, he had a pair of stints with the Ducks and forged a brilliant Atlantic League career. Bryant Nelson first joined the Flock in 2007 after beginning the year in the Mexican League and after making his ALPB debut with Bridgeport in 2006. He would bat .268 with eight homers and 39 RBIs in 77 games, earning another opportunity in Mexico to begin 2008. “Nellie” returned to the Ducks to play 14 games at the end of the 2008 regular season. After going on to spend time over the next three years with three separate Atlantic League teams (Camden, Lancaster and York), he rejoined the Flock for their back-to-back championship seasons of 2012 and 2013. Nelson was a big part of both titles, playing over 120 games, collecting over 70 RBIs, totaling over 135 hits, scoring 72 runs, and hitting 30 doubles in each season. One of the most clutch players in team history, his biggest moment came in Game Five of the 2012 Liberty Division Championship Series when his eighth inning two-run homer sent Bethpage Ballpark into a frenzy and sent the Ducks to the Atlantic League Championship Series for a second consecutive season. Nelson earned an All-Star Game selection in 2013 as well before hitting .278 during the Ducks championship run that year.


Cody Puckett
cody puckett action shot

Though his Ducks career began at second base, Cody Puckett shifted over to the hot corner shortly thereafter and went on to forge a five-year career thus far with the Flock. Puckett manned second base while Chris McClendon and Brendan Harris played third in 2014, but a year later, he became the full-time third baseman and has been there since. The California native’s first three seasons were a model of consistency in a Ducks uniform, as he played over 120 games, hit over .270 and scored over 60 runs in each. Puckett was selected as an Atlantic League All-Star in 2015 and helped lead Long Island to a postseason berth that same year as well as a Liberty Division championship in 2016. His career took a hit though in 2017 after suffering a season-ending knee injury in late-May, but his work ethic and never-give-up attitude came into the spotlight thereafter. Through a dedication to rehab and training, Puckett was able to earn a spot on the 2018 Ducks roster out of spring training and spent a full, healthy season on Long Island that year. In his five seasons with the Flock, Puckett has totaled 529 hits, 252 RBIs, 238 runs, 79 doubles, and a .270 batting average in 514 games.


You’ve learned all about our nominees, and now you get to make your voice heard. Head on over to our voting page to make your pick for the third baseman on our 20th Anniversary Team. Vote early and vote often over the course of this next week to help determine the player that is a cut above the rest. The winner, along with the remainder of the 20th Anniversary Team, will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2019 season!

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Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll reveal our three nominees for the left field position.

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15th Anniversary Team: Final Vote

Opening day is upon us, Ducks fans! At long last, April 25 is finally here and the Ducks are ready to begin their quest to become the first team in Atlantic League history to win three straight league championships. While six other ALPB teams got started last night, Long Island opens up tonight in the most fitting of settings: TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, N.J. It was at this very same ballpark some six-plus months ago that the Ducks hoisted the Atlantic League Championship trophy for the second consecutive year. Tonight, John Brownell, last year’s championship series MVP, toes the rubber for Long Island against Somerset Patriot righty Erik Arnesen. Coverage of tonight’s game begins at 6:50 p.m. on 103.9-FM, LI News Radio, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Live streaming audio will also be available at liducks.com.

With it being Opening Day, voting for the Ducks 15th Anniversary Team concludes with the “Final Vote.” Similar to the final vote for the MLB All-Star Game, this week we are taking the second place finishers in each previous position, and pinning them against each other for one final chance to make the “Flock 15” team. Fans can vote for one player, regardless of position, to represent the final member of the 15th Anniversary Team. Here are the nominees:

J.R. House
JR House

House might have been the best hitter and one of the best all-around players Long Island has seen. While he only spent one year with the Ducks in 2011, he certainly made it count. House proved to be an iron man and a defensive stalwart, playing 113 games and not committing a single error. In addition, he threw out 20% of baserunners trying to steal and helped lead the league’s best pitching staff which posted a 4.17 ERA. Offensively though was where House truly shined. He batted .305 with 19 home runs, 81 RBI, 73 runs, 128 hits and 22 doubles. House also rarely swung and missed. His 37 strikeouts were astronomically low for any batter. Not only did he lead the Ducks to the playoffs, but he brought the team all the way to the Atlantic League Championship Series for the first time since 2004. Following the season, House retired and is about to begin his first season as a professional baseball manager, serving as the skipper for the Single-A Hillsboro Hops in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.

Brandon Sing
Brandon-Sing

Sing, who had an outstanding year with the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2009, was able to put together another impressive season in 2012 with the Ducks and helped Long Island end an eight-year title drought. The durable Illinois native played 119 games, and while his .284 average was slightly lower than normal, he crushed 26 home runs, drove in 78 runs, scored 78 times and added 31 doubles. He would’ve led the team in two-baggers if not for Ray Navarrete’s record-setting 50 that season. Then, he put together one of the best postseasons in Ducks history,  batting .333 (13-for-39) with three home runs (all in the Liberty Division Championship Series) and eight RBI (including a game-tying single in the ninth inning of Game Two in the Atlantic League Championship Series). Sing was outstanding at the plate and provided some of the most clutch hits in franchise history. He now lives at home in Mississippi with his wife and son and provides youth baseball lessons.

Adonis Harrison
Adonis Harrison

Harrison donned a Ducks uniform for the franchise’s first three seasons (2000-02). He played 271 games in his career on Long Island, combining for a .286 batting average. While he wasn’t as much of a power threat, he drove in 102 runs and scored 156 during his tenure with the Flock. The California native also showed good speed on the basepaths, stealing 35 bases in 2000 and 17 the following year while combining for nine triples in his Ducks career. He never made more than 11 errors in a season at second base and provided some versatility as well with his ability to play well at shortstop when needed. Harrison played four more seasons of pro ball after his time on Long Island, reaching Triple-A with the Angels in 2003 and Double-A with the Rockies in 2004. He ended his career by spending two seasons with Long Beach in the Golden Baseball League.

Edgardo Alfonzo
Edgardo-Alfonzo

When Alfonzo was signed prior to the 2007 season, Ducks fans were immediately excited. “Fonzie” had spent eight years with the New York Mets, earning a Silver Slugger Award, an All-Star appearance and a National League championship in the process. After spending the previous year with the Blue Jays and Angels, he came to the Ducks looking to finish out his career in one of the most respected leagues in baseball. In two seasons on Long Island, Alfonzo batted .289 with 13 home runs, 83 RBI, 90 runs and 36 doubles in 164 games. He played solid defense at shortstop as well but also showed some versatility by spending time at second and third base too. In terms of success, Alfonzo helped the Ducks to a pair of playoff appearances, including an outstanding 72-54 record in 2007. The Venezuela native resurfaced in the Atlantic League with the Newark Bears in 2010 before deciding to retire.

Carlos Baerga
Carlos-Baerga

Prior to  joining Long Island in 2001, Carlos Baerga had already been a 10-year Major League veteran, three-time All Star (1992-93, ‘95), and two-time Silver Slugger (1993-94). After spending 2000 out of baseball, Baerga started his road back to ‘The Show’ with Long Island in 2001. Although his time with the Ducks was short, Baerga was able to use the organization (and the Atlantic League) to help reignite his career. In 53 games that season, Baerga posted a .315 batting average, nine home runs, 44 RBI and three triples. These numbers earned Baerga a selection to play in the All-Star Game held in Newark, New Jersey. The Puerto Rico native also earned himself an opportunity to play in the Korean Baseball Organization where he would further impress Major League scouts. The following season, he became the first player in franchise history to make it back to the Major Leagues after playing on Long Island when he took the field for the Boston Red Sox. Baerga would go on to play 350 games with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Nationals over four seasons before retiring from the game in 2005.

Joash Brodin
Joash-Brodin-Running

Unlike all of the other outfield nominees, Brodin had never played in affiliated baseball before coming to Long Island. It was not until he parlayed his impressive 2013 season with the Ducks into a contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, making him the fifth Duck to be signed by an MLB team that season. Acquired by Long Island in July of 2012, Brodin made his presence known, batting .369 with seven RBI in the 2012 postseason, earning a hit in all five games during the Atlantic League Championship Series. The Washington native returned for the 2013 season and hit .307 over 106 games with 11 home runs, 48 RBI, and 14 stolen bases. That earned the College of Charlestown alum an All-Star game selection. Brodin hit .300 over 155 games in his two years with the Ducks.

Carl Everett
Carl-Everett

Arguably the most well-known name among designated hitter nominees, Everett had two monster years with Long Island. Playing in 219 games over the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Everett led all DH nominees in batting (.320) and home runs (54) while ranking second in RBI (197). The 14-year Major League veteran finished third in the league in home runs (25) and RBI (97) during his first season with the Ducks. Everett then improved on those numbers in 2008, batting .327 with 100 RBI and 29 home runs, a Ducks single-season record. The Florida native and former 10th overall pick in the 1990 draft retired from professional baseball in 2010 with 1,304 hits, 202 home runs and 792 RBI combined in the Major and Minor Leagues along with two MLB All-Star selections.

Bill Pulsipher
Bill-Pulsipher

A name that resonated well among Ducks fans, Pulsipher certainly made an impact in his time with the Flock. The former ‘Generation K’ member of the New York Mets spent parts of four seasons with the Ducks (2004-07). His first season was where the southpaw truly made made his mark. In 2004, Pulsipher started 17 games (18 appearances) and posted a 9-5 record with a 3.67 ERA. His efforts earned him an Atlantic League All-Star Game selection as well as a midseason contract with the Seattle Mariners organization. Like Davis though, Pulsipher finished the year in championship-fashion with the Ducks, leading Long Island down the stretch and in the playoffs. Overall, the six-year Major League veteran was 17-10 as a Duck with a 4.17 ERA, and the team reached the playoffs each and every one of his four years.

Mike Loree
Mike-Loree

Loree spent two seasons on Long Island (2011-12), but his first year with the Flock was without a doubt the best the franchise has ever seen. That year, the New Jersey native won a team-record 14 games while losing only five, posted a microscopic 1.98 ERA and struck out a league-leading 131 batters, which was also a Ducks record at the time. He also set a Ducks record for most strikeouts in a game with 14 on September 15 against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. That magical year was more than enough to earn Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year honors and the starting pitcher spot at the Atlantic League All-Star Game in York. Loree excelled in the 2011 postseason as well, leading the Ducks staff with a 2-0 record in three starts and allowing just three runs over 19 innings (1.10 ERA) with 17 strikeouts and two walks. The righty began the 2012 championship season with Long Island and made 18 starts before he was signed by the Lamigo Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. In 42 regular season appearances (37 starts) with the Flock, Loree tallied a 19-12 record with a 3.69 ERA, and 220 strikeouts in 227.0 innings. Those wins, strikeouts and innings pitched totals led all right-handed starter nominees.

Jared Lansford
Jared-Lansford

Lansford represented the only reliever nominee that is currently on the Ducks roster. Brother of teammate Josh Lansford, Jared now enters his third season with the Flock. While his regular season numbers are impressive, it’s his postseason statistics that signify Lansford as a premier reliever in Ducks history. Over two championship runs in the postseason, the California native is 3-0 and has allowed just one run over 12 and one-third innings of work (0.73 ERA). In addition, Lansford has 13 strikeouts compared to just nine hits and one walk in 11 postseason appearances. During the regular season, Lansford is a combined 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA, nine saves and 88 strikeouts in 94 games (104 and two-thirds innings pitched). That includes a 2.98 ERA over 54 and one-third innings of work in 2012 and an All-Star Game selection in 2013.

Leo Rosales
Leo-Rosales-Dealing

Rosales was the only closer nominee that is currently on the Ducks active roster and has been a part of back-to-back championship teams on Long Island. He came to the Ducks in a late-season trade during the 2012 season and immediately filled a closer role the team needed. After tossing three scoreless innings in the regular season, he pitched six more games in the postseason, earning saves in all three victories over Southern Maryland in the Liberty Division Championship Series. The righty went on to earn the win in Game Five of the Atlantic League Championship Series to clinch the Ducks first title since 2004. The Los Angeles native returned again in 2013 and put together an All-Star season, going 2-2 with a 2.34 ERA, 18 saves and 45 strikeouts in 38 and one-third innings. He was even better in the playoffs, earning four saves total, three of which came in the ALCS against Somerset. The last of those saves came in Game Five against the Patriots to seal another championship for the Ducks.

There are your final vote nominees, Ducks fans. We understand that this is quite possibly the toughest decision yet. It is very important, however, as this will be the final player voted onto the 15th Anniversary Team. The official “Flock 15” team will be made available to fans in the Ducks Official 2014 Commemorative Yearbook at the home opener on Friday, May 2 at Bethpage Ballpark. Until then, Ducks fans; let’s play ball!

15th Anniversary Team: Third Base

Before we begin another round of voting for our 15th Anniversary Team, we want to make sure you heard the exciting news! The Ducks today announced the launch of a brand new official mobile app. Fans with Apple or Android devices can download the app for free, and it offers many unique features to stay up-to-date with all things Ducks baseball. CLICK HERE to check out what the app has to offer and find out how you can download it today. A big thank you also goes out to ClearVision Apps for creating the newest addition to the team’s increasing social presence.

Now it’s time to complete the infield for the 15th Anniversary Team. Last week’s voting was extremely close among the shortstops, with several lead changes taking place. With winter on the back nine, a debate over some of the best Ducks to man the ‘hot corner’ should help prepare fans for baseball season and warmer weather. This week, the four nominees for third base include a three-time Atlantic League champion, two prominent names who shared time at the position for two seasons, and one former Major Leaguer who resurrected his career on Long Island. Without any further adieu, here are your “Flock 15” third basemen nominees:

Bryant Nelson
Bryant-Nelson-Home-Orange

Bryant Nelson spent parts of four seasons with the Ducks (2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013), but his most memorable contributions have come in the past two seasons. The former Houston Astros draft pick was a main contributor to both the 2012 and 2013 Atlantic League championship teams on Long Island. In 2012, he hit .265 with 13 home runs and 80 runs batted in, good for ninth-best in the Atlantic League. Nelson’s signature moment that season came in the decisive Game Five of the Liberty Division Championship Series. Down 3-2 in the eighth and facing elimination, the switch-hitter launched a go-ahead two-run homer to lift the Flock into the Atlantic League Championship Series. The Arkansas native continued his success in an All-Star 2013 season with the Ducks, posting a .298 batting average along with 11 home runs and team-leading totals in RBI (71), hits (144) and doubles (30). Nelson’s biggest hits once again came in the postseason, as he picked up the game-winning single in Game Two of the Championship Series and the eventual championship-winning RBI with a fifth inning double in Game Five against Somerset. Overall, the veteran of eight Atlantic League seasons compiled 32 home runs, 197 RBI and a .274 average in 343 career games with the Ducks.

Javier Colina
Javier-Colina

While Javier Colina may not have played in as many games with the Ducks as Nelson (176), the Venezuelan’s numbers speak for themselves. Colina played during parts of two seasons with Long Island (2010-11). The third baseman had made it as high as Triple-A in three different Major League organizations (Colorado, St. Louis, and Chicago [AL]) before coming to Long Island midway through the 2010 season. After starting the year with the Charlotte Knights (AAA, White Sox) of the International League, Colina hit .266 with seven home runs and 37 RBI over 67 games. Colina then spent the entire 2011 season on Long Island and had arguably one of the best seasons in Ducks history. He hit .309 over 109 games, with 25 home runs and team-highs in RBI with 90 and hits with 133. The performance earned him a trip to the Atlantic League All-Star Game, and he ultimately led the Ducks to the League Championship Series for the first time since 2004. Colina had the versatility of playing both shortstop and second base while he was on Long Island, but he spent the most time at the ‘hot corner’ and played admirably.

Matt Padgett
Matt-Padgett

Colina was not the only notable infielder to man third base for the Ducks during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Matt Padgett also excelled there for the Flock and certainly deserves a nomination. Padgett played in 187 games over his two-year Ducks career, playing a bit of first base along with his primary duties at third. During his time on Long Island, the former fifth round draft pick of the Marlins hit .279 with 16 home runs and 110 RBI. The 2011 season was especially impressive, as Padgett hit .282 over 112 games, and finished second on the team with 24 doubles. The South Carolina native was especially impressive during the postseason where he batted .320 in eight games, picking up at least one hit in seven of those contests. His solo home run in the second inning of Game One in the Liberty Division Championship Series helped lift the Ducks to a 1-0 lead in a series they would eventually win in four games.

Carlos Baerga
Carlos-Baerga

Prior to  joining Long Island in 2001, Carlos Baerga had already been a 10-year Major League veteran, three-time All Star (1992-93, ‘95), and two-time Silver Slugger (1993-94). After spending 2000 out of baseball, Baerga started his road back to ‘The Show’ with Long Island in 2001. Although his time with the Ducks was short, Baerga was able to use the organization (and the Atlantic League) to help reignite his career. In 53 games that season, Baerga posted a .315 batting average, nine home runs, 44 RBI and three triples. These numbers earned Baerga a selection to play in the All-Star Game held in Newark, New Jersey. The Puerto Rico native also earned himself an opportunity to play in the Korean Baseball Organization where he would further impress Major League scouts. The following season, he became the first player in franchise history to make it back to the Major Leagues after playing on Long Island when he took the field for the Boston Red Sox. Baerga would go on to play 350 games with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Nationals over four seasons before retiring from the game in 2005.

So fans, which one of these nominees deserves to be named to the Ducks 15th Anniversary Team? Make your selection in the poll below and remember, if you feel that we missed a third baseman that deserves consideration, you can write in a candidate as well. The winner of this week of balloting will round out the infield for our “Flock 15” team. It’s up to you, the fans, to determine the next Ducks great to join this already impressive team. Next week, we move on to the outfielders!

Wednesday Winter Hot Stove – Edition 3

Castro-Caguas

Before we get to updating you on how Ducks players are doing around the world this winter, we first would like to extend a big “Thank You” to all the groups around Long Island who called in today to reserve their group outings for the 2014 season. It was another successful Opening Day of Group Sales at Bethpage Ballpark, with thousands of tickets being booked throughout the course of the 15th Anniversary season. If you didn’t remember to call in though, don’t fret! There are tickets still available for great dates throughout the year, so be sure to call (631) 940-3825 and speak with a group sales representative. Here’s a picture from the front office when the phones were buzzing this morning:

Group-Opening-2014

Now, onto the Winter Hot Stove for this week. We’re going to focus today on Puerto Rico where the Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente is now almost two weeks old. One Long Island Duck who is making a ton of noise to open the season is catcher Ramon Castro, who leads the league with seven RBI in six games played with Criollos de Caguas. Four of those RBI and two of his four doubles this season came on Tuesday in a 6-3 win over Santurce. He is batting .318 with three runs as well, helping Caguas to a 4-3 record thus far.

Castro is also teammates in Puerto Rico with four pitchers from Long Island’s 2013 championship team, and all have made a positive impact thus far. Championship Series MVP John Brownell tossed five shutout innings in his season debut on November 4, allowing just three hits and striking out five to earn the win. Shaun Garceau has tossed six and two-thirds scoreless innings out of the bullpen in four games. He has yet to allow a hit, has struck out four and picked up a win in his most recent outing on Tuesday. Derek Blacksher has yielded just one run in four innings of relief while striking out five thus far, and Eddy Ramos earned a win with a scoreless appearance on November 5. Overall, it’s been a successful start for Ducks alumni with Criollos de Caguas.

Several more Ducks make up the roster of Cangrejeros de Santurce in Puerto Rico. Left-hander James Houser has continued his success from the Ducks this winter, posting a 2-0 record with a 0.87 ERA in two starts. He has struck out 10 while allowing only one earned run in 10 and one-third innings. Another southpaw, Eric Niesen, has gone 1-1 and earned a save so far in four games out of the bullpen, though he has allowed four runs in four and two-thirds innings. Rounding out the former Ducks, John Rodriguez (2010-11) is 3-for-16 in five games at the plate, Benny Cepeda (2010) has a 1.93 ERA in four games out of the bullpen and Ivan Maldonado (2010) has given up four runs in five and two-thirds innings of relief.

Another Duck alum serves as a catcher for Gigantes de Carolina. Robinson Cancel, who was voted by fans as the Delmonte-Smelson Team MVP in 2010, has played in seven games thus far but is struggling at the plate. He is 4-for-24 with a run batted in and two runs scored, but he has drawn three walks to just two strikeouts. Right-hander Ian Snell, who is on the roster for Leones del Ponce, has yet to appear in a game this season. Finally, Carlos Baerga, who serves as the manager for Indios de Mayaguez, has led his team to a 3-2 record thus far, just one game out of first place.

Next week, we will head to another location in the Caribbean to check on some more Ducks that are playing winter baseball this offseason. You can also follow news and stats from the Caribbean Winter Leagues by CLICKING HERE.

As we mentioned last week, Ducks pitcher Bobby Blevins will be pitching with Fortitudo Bologna in the 2013 Asia Series, which begins on Friday in Taichung, Taiwan. Bobby landed in Taiwan today with the rest of his teammates and is eager to be a part of the first European team ever to take part in the tournament. Here are some of the tweets he has sent over the last day documenting his trip:

 

 

He has assured us that more photos and updates will be tweeted throughout his stay, so be sure to follow him on Twitter: @BBLEVS16. We’ll likely post some tweets and photos here as well.

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. 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.

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