John Gray/Lowell Spinners
After a tough season that saw the Spinners finish dead last in the New York Penn League at 24-50, they look to bounce back to form for the 2011 season. Despite the tough finish in the standings, 2010 was not without its moments, as top prospects Jose Iglesias, Kolbrin Vitek, and Chris Hernandez all donned a Lowell uniform. Jed Lowrie also returned to LeLacheur Park for six games as he worked his way back to the majors. Exciting prospects Madison Younginer, Bryce Brentz and David Renfroe all made their initial forays into professional baseball with the youngest squad in the league.
While many of the 2010 Spinners squad will be moving on to Class-A Greenville or Salem, many familiar faces are projected to return from last year’s team such as Henry Ramos, Seth Schwindenhammer, Jayson Hernandez, and Nick Robinson. Perhaps the two most intriguing players projected to be in Lowell this season are shortstop Xander Bogaerts and infielder Garin Cecchini.
Bogaerts entered last year as a relative unknown, signed out of Aruba along with his brother Jair in 2009. He made his professional debut with the Dominican Summer League Red Sox and immediately began producing at the plate. Bogaerts ended the season hitting .314/.396/.423 with 3 home runs, 5 triples, and 42 RBI in just 69 games. His stellar performance at the plate and in the field earned him DSL All-Star honors, as well as recognition from many scouts at the age of 17.
Cecchini, unlike Bogaerts, was a well-known commodity coming into last year’s major league draft. The 19-year-old from Barbe High School in Louisiana was projected to be a can’t miss first round selection in 2010, but an ACL injury wiped out all but 15 games of the 2010 season. Selected in the fourth round by the Red Sox, Cecchini was a middle infielder in high school who projects as a third baseman professionally. An in-depth interview of Cecchini and fellow 2010 draftee Sean Coyle details the hard work Cecchini has been putting into his rehabilitation.
2011 may also be a first for Lowell, as brothers Boss and Moko Moanaroa could grace the field at LeLacheur this summer. Signed out of Australia in 2008, Boss and Moko are both left-handed hitting first baseman who have spent the past few seasons with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.
Adding on to the international flair of the potential 2011 squad, Swen Huijer, a 6 foot 9 inch right-hander from the Netherlands may become a key member of the Spinners bullpen along with South African reliever Justin Erasums.
Independent league signees Matty Johnson, Chris Martin and Matt Kramer all will make for interesting story lines as the summer progresses. Kramer, who was a graduate of Harvard University, will be making the leap from catching to pitching for the first time this summer.
As always, the Spinners will experience an influx of new draftees right as the season begins in June. This year, the Red Sox have four first round selections, meaning some of the top amateur talent in the country could make their presence felt in Lowell this season.
No matter how the 2011 roster shakes out, the upcoming season promises to be an exciting one, with many interesting promotions on the docket, including the Human Home Run, an attempt at the world record for dental flossing, Star Wars night, Cowboy Rodeo, Back to School with Mr. Belding, and of course the popular bobble-head giveaways. Make sure to get your tickets for the 2011 season by calling 978-459-1702 or by going to lowellspinners.com.