Your favorite Tri-City ValleyCats, Albany-Colonie Yankees,
Albany-Colonie A’s, who came through here. Your favorite locals on
their way to and in the bigs who grew up here. If you’re wondering
where they’ll start in baseball in 2011, well it’s all here!
Buck Showalter- Manager: Baltimore Orioles. In 1989 Buck Showalter
led the Albany-Colonie Yankees to a record of 92-48 and an Eastern
League title. Since that time, Showalter has been instrumental in
building two World Series winners in New York and Arizona. Buck has two
Manager of the Year awards on his ledger and is now attempting to
change the culture in Baltimore with the Orioles. Taking over the O’s
late last season, Showalter guided the squad to a mark of 34-23. Buck
has an overall record of 916-856 for a .517 winning percentage.
Dan Radison- First Base Coach: Washington Nationals. Dan Radison
skippered the Albany-Colonie Yankees in parts of three seasons from
1990-1992. During that time Radison went 226-192 and in 1991 guided the
AC Yanks to an Eastern League Championship. Since that time Radison
has had coaching stints with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and is
currently serving as the Washington Nationals first base coach.
Hensley Meulens- Hitting Coach: San Francisco Giants. Hensley
“Bam-Bam” Meulens played third base for Albany in 1988 and 1989. During
his time with the AC Yanks, Meulens belted 24 home runs. In his entire
career spread out between New York, Montreal and Arizona, Meulens hit
15 from 1989-1998. Last year Meulens served in his current role as
hitting coach for the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants.
Roberto Kelly- First Base Coach: San Francisco Giants. Roberto Kelly
played in Albany back in 1986. During that season, Kelly hit .291.
Most folks remember Roberto as the guy the Yankees robbed the Reds for
to get Paul O’Neill (and Joe DeBerry). What a lot of people don’t
remember is Kelly was a darn good player in his own right and a young
bright spot for the Yanks before they took off in the early 90′s. Kelly
made two All-Star teams, was a career .290 hitter with 124 home runs,
235 steals and 1,390 hits. Playing from 1987-2000, Kelly bounced around
on seven other teams before finishing up with the Yanks. Last year
Kelly served in his current role as first base coach for the defending
World Champion San Francisco Giants.
J.T. Snow- Special Assistant: San Francisco Giants. J.T. Snow
starred for the 1991 AC Yanks, batting .279 with 13 home runs and 76
RBI. After a short stint up in New York, Snow the slick fielding first
baseman really took off in California and San Francisco. Snow won gold
gloves six years in a row between the AL and NL from 1995-2000, clubbed
189 career homers and totaled 1,509 hits. A career .327 post-season
hitter, Snow hit an impressive .407 in the 2002 World Series for the
Giants against the Angels. Snow currently serves as a Special Assistant
in the San Francisco organization.
Rob Thomson- Third Base Coach: New York Yankees. Thomson coached
with the 1992 AC Yanks. He has served as the Yankees third base coach
under Joe Girardi since 2008.
Brian Butterfield- Third Base Coach: Toronto Blue Jays. Butterfield
was a coach on the 1993 AC Yanks before moving up with the big club in
New York during the 1994 and 1995 campaigns. Butterfield followed Buck
Showalter out to Arizona and eventually came back to the Yankees
organization in 2001. Since 2002 Butterfield has served as either a
third base or bench coach with Toronto.
Brad Arnsberg- Pitching Coach: Houston Astros. In 1985 with Albany,
Arnsberg went a spectacular 14-2 with a 1.59 ERA. Arnsberg’s major
league career never came close to touching that as he finished with an
overall mark of 9-6. Arnsberg had primarily been pitching coach with
the Toronto Blue Jays in the past and will now be serving in that same
role on Brad Mills’ staff in Houston.
Tim Belcher- Pitching Coach: Cleveland Indians. In ten starts with
the Albany-Colonie A’s in 1984, Belcher went 3-4 with an ERA of 3.33.
Belcher did manage to carve out a pretty steady major league career,
winning 146 games over 14 seasons. As an aside, my first game at Yankee
Stadium in 1996 on Old Timers Day, Belcher was the starter for the
Kansas City Royals, a year in which he would tie a career high for wins
with 15. Belcher also won a World Series while pitching for the 1988
Los Angeles Dodgers, going 3-0 in the post-season that year. Tim
Belcher retired after the 2000 season with Anaheim and he now serves as
the Cleveland Indians pitching coach.
Bob Geren- Manager: Oakland Athletics. Bob Geren was a catcher for
the AC Yanks during the 1986 and 1987 seasons and in 1987 he clocked
eleven home runs. Geren caught parts of four seasons in the Bronx from
1988-1991 and finished out with the Padres in 1993. Originally drafted
by San Diego, Geren was involved in a trade which sent him to the St.
Louis Cardinals for the father of current Yankees outfielder Nick
Swisher, Steve Swisher. Since 2007, Geren has skippered the A’s with an
overall record of 307-340. However last season was the A’s best record
(81-81) and finish (second) under Geren and there are high expectations
for Oakland to be a dark horse candidate in 2011.
Mike Gallego- Third Base Coach: Oakland Athletics. Aiding Geren is
third base coach Mike Gallego. Yankees fans may know him as the guy who
not only played short but also as who was the last guy to wear number
two before Derek Jeter. Gallego played in 90 games for the Albany A’s
in 1983. Gallego was solid and versatile defensively and was a member
of the 1989 World Championship team in Oakland. In addition, Gallego
was on of the guys credited with helping change the culture in New York
and he batted a career high .283 in 1993. Gallego went back to Oakland
in 1995 and followed skipper Tony LaRussa to St. Louis before retiring
after the 1997 campaign. Before last year Mike Gallego had been
coaching third base with the Colorado Rockies and he now does so for the
Fredi Gonzalez- Manager: Atlanta Braves. Fredi Gonzalez spent parts
of two seasons as a catcher for Albany in 1986 and 1987. Gonzalez is
regarded as top young manager’s on the rise and will succeed Bobby Cox
this season. In three plus year’s with the Florida Marlins before a
spat with star short stop Hanley Ramirez, Gonzalez compiled a record of
Randy St. Claire- Pitching Coach: Florida Marlins. After spending
parts of nine seasons in Montreal, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Atlanta and
Toronto and going 12-6, St. Claire the Glens Falls native has served as
pitching coach for the Montreal Expos and Washington Nationals. This
season St. Claire will serve in that role for the Florida Marlins on the
staff of Edwin Gonzalez.
Andy Fox- Minor League Infield Coordinator: Boston Red Sox. Andy Fox
played for the AC Yanks during the 1993 and 1994 campaigns. Fox was
part of the 1996 World Champion New York Yankees and also played in the
majors with Arizona, Florida, Montreal and Texas.
Derek Jeter- Short Stop: New York Yankees. In 34 games during the
1994 campaign, Derek hit a robust .377 at Albany. From that point on
Jeter has been on the fast track to the baseball Hall of Fame in
Cooperstown. The Captain, Mr. November, has five World Series rings, is
the New York Yankees all-time leader in hits and is only 74 away from
3,000. Jeter is a career .314 hitter, an eleven time All-Star and
continues to rise in the Yankees record books. In addition, Jeter won
the 1996 Rookie of the Year award, and was MVP of the 2000 All-Star Game
and World Series.
Mariano Rivera- Closer: New York Yankees. When Mariano Rivera made
nine starts for the Albany-Colonie Yankees in 1994, the line was
impressive. Rivera went 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA and even a ten-year-old
kid like yours truly could tell Mariano might have a nice major league
career. But best closer ever? For those of you kids out there who know
nothing but Mo closing for the Yanks, in 1994 the New York closer was
Steve Howe. Mariano has 559 career saves and barring injury should end
up with the most in MLB history. Most impressive of all are Mo’s
post-season accolades. In 94 games totaling 139.2 innings, Rivera has a
record of 8-1 with a 0.71 ERA and 42 saves. Rivera is also a member of
the five rings club, an eleven time All-Star and winner of the 1999
World Series MVP and 2003 ALCS MVP. Mariano Rivera is obviously
Jorge Posada- Catcher/DH: New York Yankees. During the 1993 season,
Posada spent just seven games at Albany-Colonie and hit .280 in that
span. Since then Jorge has become an integral part of five World
Championships in the Bronx. Posada continues to climb up the Yankees
record books with 261 home runs, including the first one ever at the
“New House” in 2009 against Cleveland. Jorge is also a five time
All-Star and owner of five silver sluggers. One really has to take a
good hard look at Jorge Posada when it comes to Cooperstown
Hunter Pence- Right Field: Houston Astros. By far the most
successful player to star for the Tri-City ValleyCats in the major
leagues. Aside from Bernie Williams, perhaps the best hitting
outfielder to have played in this area period. Pence played 51 games in
Troy in 2004, on a ValleyCats team that reached the New York Penn
League Championship. That season Pence batted .296 with eight home runs
and 37 RBI. Hunter has been a standout model of consistency ever since
for the Houston Astros. Since getting called up in 2007 and finishing
third in Rookie of the Year voting in the NL, Hunter has hit 92 home
runs, driven in 315 with a career high 91 last year. A 2009 NL All-Star
for Houston, Pence has hit 25 home runs each of the last three seasons.
Ben Zobrist- Right Field: Tampa Bay Rays. Another member of that
vaunted 2004 Tri-City ValleyCats club was then short stop Ben Zobrist.
During that special season Zobrist hit a robust .339 in 68 games with 87
hits, four home runs, 45 RBI and 15 stolen bases. In 2006 Ben was
dealt to Tampa for Aubrey Huff. Since his debut for the then Devil Rays
in 2006, Zobrist became the first former ValleyCats player to appear in
a World Series in 2008, was an AL All-Star like his buddy and former
teammate from 2004 Hunter Pence in 2009. In that 2009 All-Star
campaign, Zobrist batted .297 with a career high 27 home runs, 91 RBI,
91 runs scored and finished eighth in AL MVP voting. While his numbers
dipped a bit in 2010, the Rays “everywhere man” rebounded to hit .300
with a homer and two RBI against the Texas Rangers in the ALDS.
Matt Albers- Relief Pitcher: Boston Red Sox. Matt Albers had quite
an impressive summer pitching for the ValleyCats in 2003. Albers went
5-4 with a 2.92 ERA and 94 K’s in 86.1 innings of work. Matt made his
debut with the Houston Astros in 2006 and was shipped to the Baltimore
Orioles for Miguel Tejada after the 2007 campaign. Albers carved out a
nice niche in the O’s bullpen and went 5-3 with a 4.52 ERA in 62
contests in 2010. That was obviously impressive enough to warrant the
Boston Red Sox adding him to the mix in their pen for 2011.
Mark McLemore- Pitcher: Florida Marlins (New Orleans Zephyrs). Mark
McLemore was a member of the inaugural ValleyCats squad of 2002. In
2007 with the Astros, McLemore was an impressive 3-0 out of the pen with
a 3.86 ERA and 35 K’s in 35 IP. McLemore was in Independent ball in
2010 and is slated to start the season at Triple-A New Orleans in the
Troy Patton- Pitcher: Baltimore Orioles. Patton was a member of the
2005 ValleyCats. In 2007 Patton got into three games with the Astros
and last year saw one game with the Orioles.
Felipe Paulino- Pitcher: Colorado Rockies. Felipe had a solid season
for Tri-City in 2005, going 2-2 with a 3.82 ERA and 34 K’s in 30.2 IP.
Paulino made his debut with Houston in 2007 and in three seasons with
the Astros, registered 187 K’s in 208.1 IP. Paulino was dealt to the
Rockies for Clint Barmes in the off-season.
Drew Sutton- Short Stop: Boston Red Sox Organization. Sutton was
another key player on that 2004 ValleyCats roster. In 63 games Sutton
batted .280 for Tri-City, forming the other half of their DP combo at
second base. Drew made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2009
and last year split time between the Reds and Cleveland Indians. In the
off-season Drew signed on with the Red Sox and will likely begin the
year in Triple-A Pawtucket.
Bud Norris- Starting Pitcher: Houston Astros. A key contributor to
the ValleyCats 2006 runner up team, Bud Norris in 15 games went 2-0 with
an ERA of 3.79 with 46 K’s in 38 innings. Norris now takes a regular
turn in the Astros starting rotation, slotted behind Brett Myers, J.A.
Happ and Wandy Rodriguez. Since making his MLB debut for Houston in
2009, Norris has a respectable mark of 15-13 with an ERA of 4.82.
Norris is in the process of harnessing his stuff, which has yielded 212
K’s in 209.1 IP in two seasons.
Tommy Manzella- Short Stop: Houston Astros. Tommy Manzella was a
member of the 2005 ValleyCats and played in 53 games that season at
short stop. After making his MLB debut in 2009, Manzella was more or
less Houston’s regular short stop for the 2010 campaign. While not the
biggest bat, Manzella gave the Astros steady play in the field in 2010.
Tommy will likely begin the year at Triple-A.
Chris Johnson- Third Base: Houston Astros. Another member of that
vaunted 2006 Tri-City squad, Johnson has really started to blossom
offensively on a Houston club that desperately needs it. After debuting
in 2009, Johnson hit a solid .308 in 94 games with the big club, while
homering eleven times and knocking in 52.
Jason Castro- Catcher: Houston Astros. Since starting out with the
ValleyCats in 2008, Jason Castro has made a meteoric rise through the
Astros system. After batting .275 in 39 games with the Cats behind the
plate, Castro found himself in the Houston lineup 67 games in 2010.
Unfortunately due to an injury to his right knee in Spring Training,
Jason is expected to have surgery and miss the entire 2011 season.
Fernando Abad- Pitcher: Houston Astros. Fernando pitched in a couple
of games in Troy during the 2007 season. Making his MLB debut with
Houston in 2010, Abad put up som filthy numbers. In 22 games Abad
registered an ERA of 2.84 in 19 innings of work.
Brian Bogusevic- Outfielder: Houston Astros Organization. Bogusevic
played in 13 games for the ValleyCats in 2005. Bogusevic made his
Houston debut last season and is slated to begin 2011 at Triple-A.
Tim Stauffer- Starting Pitcher: San Diego Padres. Since making his
MLB debut for the San Diego Padres in 2005, Saratoga Central Catholic
standout Tim Stauffer has shown some sparks of brilliance on the mound.
After fighting through the numbers game, injuries and some hard luck,
Stauffer followed up a solid 2009 season with a superb 2010 output.
Over a stretch of 32 games, including seven starts, Stauffer put up a
sparkling 1.85 ERA for San Diego with a record of 6-5 in 82.2 innings of
work. Stauffer obviously caught the eye of Manager Bud Black during
that 90 win season of 2010, because with Mat Latos starting the year on
the DL, Tim Stauffer will start Opening Day for San Diego.
Brendan Harris- Infielder: Baltimore Orioles (Norfolk Tides). After
making his MLB debut in 2004, it appeared as though Queensbury, NY
native Brendan Harris had finally carved out a nice niche for himself as
a useful role player at the major league level. The best season to
date for the career .260 hitter came in 2007 with the Rays where Harris
set career highs for runs, hits, doubles, homers, RBI and average.
Harris had actually been a fairly regular part of the Twins lineup in
Minnesota up until last year when he was sent down to Triple-A Rochester
to finish out the season. Harris tried to hook on with Baltimore this
year, but with new acquisitions Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Derrek Lee
and mainstay Brian Roberts, the O’s infield looks hard to crack. Thus
Harris will begin the year at Triple-A Norfolk.
Casper Wells- Outfielder: Detroit Tigers. Some may refer to Detroit
as a ghost town, but with Casper Wells on the rise that phrase may well
come with a positive connotation soon enough. Wells, the Schenectady,
NY native and Schenectady High School grad made a solid enough
impression in 2010 to make the 2011 Tigers squad out of camp. In his
2010 Detroit debut, Wells batted a robust .323 in 36 contests, hit four
homers and drove in 17. The Tigers have Austin Jackson and Ryan Rayburn
seemingly cemented in left and center though with an injury prone and
aging Magglio Ordonez in right and Johnny Damon now in Tampa, Wells will
likely battle for at-bats with Brennan Boesch.
John Lannan- Starting Pitcher: Washington Nationals. Finally, while
Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman may get the ink in D.C., the
Siena College grad Lannan has been a steady influence on the Nats
starting rotation. Lannan has been durable to say the least for an
awful team in Washington. Upon making his debut in 2007, Lannan in 95
starts has logged 566.1 innings with a record of 28-38 and an ERA of