With the wrap up of Caribbean winter leagues there’s still some offseason action going on Down Under with three Blue Jays prospects active on the Canberra Cavalry.
Canberra sits in second place in the league with an 18-16 record, three games behind the Perth Heat after losing three of four on the weekend at home to the Adelaide Bite. They’re only one game up on Melbourne and two games up on both Adelaide and Sydney. With three weekends to go in the regular season (12 games), the Cavalry can improve their place in the standings with series against Sydney, Perth and Brisbane. Canberra needs to finish in at least third place to guarantee the opportunity to defend their 2013 ABL title.
In the weekend of games from January 2 to January 5, Mike Crouse had a big game to start and hit safely in all four games, going six for 16, scoring three runs, driving in three, stealing two bases, walking three times and striking out five and adding a pair of home runs. For the season, he’s hitting .330/.423/.560 in 91 at bats. Crouse is currently in third place in the league in batting average and is in a three-way tie for third place with six home runs.
The Mighty Jack Murphy went three for 17 on the weekend, driving in three runs and scoring another while walking twice and striking out only once. He’s hitting .301/.365/.416 with seven doubles and two home runs in 113 at bats on the season.
John Berti hit safely in all four games against the Adelaide Bite, going six for 18 with two doubles, six runs scored, two RBI, two walks and two strikeouts. Berti added three to his league lead in stolen bases but was caught once. Over the course of the season, he’s now got his batting average up to .300 with a .413 OBP and .454 SLG. The speedster from Troy, Michigan has 11 doubles, three triples and a home run with 22 walks and just nine strikeouts. He’s also been successful in 23 of 27 stolen base attempts.
Shortstop Shane Opitz appears to be done in Australia. The Colorado native arrived home on January third and promptly tweeted this:
11,172 miles, 23 hours 57 minutes on planes but I am finally home! CO I needed ya.
— Shane Opitz (@ShaneOpitz16) January 3, 2014
He finishes with a .261/.305/.333 line in 111 at bats and had five doubles and a home run in his first experience Down Under.
It’s unclear just how long the remaining three Blue Jays farmhands are going to remain in Australia. Playoffs begin January 30 and the Championship Series runs February 6 to 9. Spring Training opens for pitchers and catchers on February 13, 2014 so it may well be that the Blue Jays minor leaguers would head back to the US before playoffs were completed just to have some time to prepare for Spring Training.