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20th Anniversary Team Voting – Left-Handed Reliever

Borbon-Zimmerman-Niesen

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.
Pedro Borbon Jr. Action Shot

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.


Jordan Zimmerman
Jordan Zimmerman Action Shot

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!


Eric Niesen
Eric Niesen Action Shot

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!

20th-Anniversary-Team-Voting-Button-Left-Handed-Reliever

Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll unveil the three nominees for the closer spot on the 20th Anniversary Team.

20th Anniversary Team Voting – Right-Handed Reliever

Grezlovski-Hill-Diaz

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.

The starting rotation is now set for our 20th Anniversary Team after thousands of fans voted over the past five weeks for starters over different eras of Ducks baseball. With five outstanding starters locked in, it’s time to shift gears towards the bullpen. The Ducks have enlisted many strong arms into their relief corps since beginning play in 2000, with many being vital parts to long postseason runs. Over the next three weeks, we’ll add three different relievers to this exclusive team: a right-hander, a left-hander and a closer. We’ll begin with the righties this week, and this trio of candidates includes an Atlantic League veteran, a former Major Leaguer and a set-up man that pitched in two Atlantic League Championship Series. Let’s take a look at the nominees:


Ben Grezlovski
Ben Grezlovski Action Shot

Our first reliever in this week’s voting had already established himself as a top bullpen arm in the Atlantic League before joining the Ducks. Ben Grezlovski had turned in back-to-back impressive seasons out of the bullpen for the Atlantic City Surf in 2005 and 2006 before he was signed by the Ducks in 2007. His success continued with the Flock, as he posted a 7-2 record with a 3.39 ERA in 61 innings of relief. His 58 appearances were the second-most in the Atlantic League, trailing only teammate Danny Graves’ 62. The former Angels draft pick was selected to play in the Atlantic League All-Star Game for his efforts. Grezlovski returned to Long Island in 2008 and made 67 more appearances, a total which led the league and still stands to this day as a franchise single-season record. He finished the year 6-2 with a 3.70 ERA and struck out 69 batters over 87.2 innings of work. In both seasons with the Ducks, the Michigan native helped lead the team into the postseason. Grezlovski went on to spend two more seasons in the ALPB with the Somerset Patriots before retiring after 2011.


Jeremy Hill
Jeremy Hill Action Shot

The only ex-Major Leaguer among this week’s nominees is Jeremy Hill. The righty spent two seasons with the Ducks, leading Long Island to a Championship Series appearance in 2011 and then to the Atlantic League title in 2012. In that time, he compiled a record of 13-9 with a 3.20 ERA and 97 strikeouts over 135 innings of work. The former Kansas City Royals reliever was lights-out during the 2011 campaign, going 8-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 48 games, a total which ranked third among Ducks relievers. One year later, he earned an All-Star Game selection and made 63 relief appearances, which was tops among Ducks pitchers and second in the Atlantic League behind only York’s Adam Thomas (67). The Dallas native combined that with a 3.49 ERA and 49 strikeouts over 67 innings of work. Hill added seven postseason appearances to his resume with the Ducks before retiring following the end of the 2012 season.


Amalio Diaz
Amalio Diaz Action Shot

Our final nominee for the position was a vital piece of Long Island’s bullpen for three seasons (2015-17). Amalio Diaz, who quickly became a fan favorite with the Ducks, appeared in 169 games as a member of the Flock, all out of the bullpen. He posted an ERA under 3.00 in each season, compiling a 2.39 ERA overall. Though not primarily the closer, he filled in well when needed to jump in the role and recorded 34 saves over those three seasons. The Arizona resident also induced a lot of swings and misses, totaling 204 strikeouts and walking only 49 batters over 166 innings of work. Diaz represented the Ducks at the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game in Somerset, though he very well could have been an All-Star all three seasons. Long Island reached the playoffs in each of Amalio’s three seasons with the team, and he combined to appear in nine postseason games. His totals? Nine and one-third innings, five hits, no runs, two walks, 11 strikeouts.


The nominees have been chosen, but now it’s up to you to help pick the winner. Voting is now open for the right-handed reliever spot, so be sure to cast your ballot by clicking the button below. You can vote as many times as you’d like over the next week. The winner, along with the remainder of the 20th Anniversary Team, will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2019 season!

20th-Anniversary-Team-Voting-Button-Right-Handed-Reliever

Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll unveil the three nominees for our left-handed reliever spot on the 20th Anniversary Team.

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