After winning both the first and second half Southern League titles last season, the Biloxi Shuckers have graduated a lot of their top prospects to start 2019.
But with roster turnover comes opportunity for the next in line at the Double AA ranks as the Shuckers appear to be more than ready to lead-off their fifth season at MGM Park.
“Every Opening Day brings butterflies, boys. That’s what brings you back. Baseball is every year, every game is different and you learn from every game.” Back for his fourth season as manager of the Biloxi Shuckers, Mike Guerrero is a familiar voice in a dugout that features just ten returning players from a year ago. “It’s hard to duplicate a year, but I expect as much on a daily basis from these guys. I think we have enough talent to go out there and put in the work and those translate into W’s.”
Biloxi’s 81 regular season wins led the Southern League in 2018 as did its 3.47 team ERA, but after all that the Shuckers finished just two wins shy of claiming their first ever Southern League championship. Pitcher Trey Supak said, “I don’t like to bring up last year a whole lot, but unfinished business kind of thing. We’ve got stuff to do, we lost in the championship series, nobody likes that feeling. It kind of sat wrong for a couple weeks during the off-season, but coming back here and just playing and competing and playing meaningful baseball again.”
Overall, the Shuckers have just four out of the Milwaukee’s top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline after having as many 12 at one point last season. Gone are the likes of Southern League Player of the Year Corey Ray, Southern League Pitcher of the Year Zack Brown and top tanked prospect Keston Hiura who are all starting this season at Triple A. Outfielder Trent Grisham said, “Last year was a lot of younger guys. This year we have more of a veteran clubhouse, so it’s nice to see just a lot of maturity in the clubhouse. I think it’ll be able to take us a long way.”
Pitcher Thomas Jankins said, “For the guys that are coming back we do have a new group this year and it’s good to start fresh and not try to carry over too much of what we did last year. We’ve got to find our own identity as a team right now. It’s a new group, we’re probably going to play a little different style than we did last year, but looking forward to figuring out who we are.”
The Shuckers will break in MGM Park for the new campaign with tomorrow’s exhibition game against William Carey at 6:35 p.m.
Now, let’s take a look at the Biloxi Shuckers starting pitching rotation:
- Marcos Diplan
- Trey Supak
- Braden Webb
- Thomas Jankins
- Alex Bettinger