Despite having 9 different players play the catching position last year, the Rebels are relatively thin and inexperienced behind the plate. 2009 saw Jon Lehmen,
If the Rebels were to start playing tomorrow, a platoon system of
Graumann, a new signing by the Rebels for 2010, would also factor in the Rebels pitching rotation and infield as he has played both positions with the Camrose Axemen of the North Central Alberta Baseball League. Graumann is young and has tremendous upside to his game therefore Reinholt will have to find innings and at bats for Graumann, even if it is not at the catcher’s position.
Toles, gives the Rebels veteran leadership as he will be entering his 2nd season with the Rebels, who are Toles’ fourth team since joining the Powerline Baseball League in the mid 1990’s (the Tofield Lakers, Lamont Steelers and Armena Axemen being the others). Although Toles’ 2009 campaign at the plate resulted in a only 13 at bats for a .231 batting average, his ability to move the runners into scoring position and take pitchers deep into counts is something the Rebels need more of in 2010. Toles does have a .330 batting average since 2004, so the ability to find hits is there and with more at bats in 2010, the Rebels hope to see that average climb closer to his career average. Toles also has the experience to move to either second or third base should the situation call for it.
Young Jon Lehmen is the freshest of the three catchers in the Rebels camp and will need to continue to develop his defensive game to help offset what Rebels management hopes was an off year in 2009. Lehmen batted a disappointing .148 in 27 at bats during the 2009 season for injuring his knee while sliding into 2nd base. Lehmen may be one of the fastest players in the PBL and has the ability to turn walks and singles into doubles and triples with his base stealing speed, he just needs to be on base more often.
The Rebels catching corps will need to collectively work with the pitchers to ensure walks, and singles by the opponent don’t turn into free bases, something that the Rebels saw happen more then they would have wanted in 2009. With hard throwing pitchers who like to work down in the zone, the Rebels catchers at times, struggled with the ability to block the ball which turned into passed balls and wild pitches, costing the Rebels valuable holds on the base paths. All 3 catchers will be given the off-season to fine tune there defensive skills in preparation for the 2010 campaign.
At first base, things are a little simpler. Veteran Rebel Travis Bugge showed flashes of Gold Glove caliber defense at one bag and should Bugge be available, Reinholt will surely use him at first. Bugge’s left handed bat also provided a .312 average with 11 runs and 8 RBI’s for the Rebels in 2009 and more should be expected from Bugge who looked to be getting back into the hitters groove in the latter part of the season.
The Rebels will however have support from Kevin Reinholt, Darcy Granberg and Ronnie Oslund should Bugge be unavailable or have to move across the diamond to play third. Bugge, much like Kevin Youkilis, has the ability to play both corners, but is slightly more proficient at first.
The middle infield may the Rebels strongest point of the defense in 2010. The combination of All-Star Dylan Solberg and
The Rebels will also have some flexibility at second base and short stop on days which Solberg will be on the mound. Kyle Reinholt can slide back into his second base spot, Tavaroli over to short and have Solberg (.349/ 3HR/17RBI’s) bat for himself.
Third base may be the infield’s biggest question mark in 2010 as there are multiple options for the Rebels. Travis Bugge,
Like many teams, the Rebels will find themselves constantly juggling their infield lineups in 2010, as players will more then likely be unavailable for every game. Given that fact, the Rebels have players like
Rebel Baseball Season Preview, Part I – Catchers and Infield
Rebel Baseball Season Preview, Part II – Outfielders
Rebel Baseball Season Preview, Part III - Pitchers