Despite opening day being months away, the Portland Pickles are starting to announce who will be returning for the 2018 season.
In early December, they announced Coach Mark Magdaleno will be back. Director of Baseball Operations Gregg Swenson said, “He brings a great deal of experience to our staff and has a tremendous rapport with the players. We are putting the pieces together for a great 2018 season, and adding Coach Magdaleno to our staff increases the excitement surrounding this team.” Coach Magdaleno has 34 years of baseball experience.
Outfielder Alec Leighton and pitcher Max Jones will also be returning. Leighton appeared in 51 of the 62 regular season games and led the team in 10 stolen bases. Jones ranked second in games started and maintained a 3.26 ERA. Coach Magdaleno said of Jones, “He can throw both his change-up and breaking ball for strikes in any count. He pitches to contact and works with good tempo which makes it easier for our defense to stay in rhythm.”
Not only did the Pickles have the best of the best coming back, but they have already snagged up some college athletes to come play for them next season. So far, they have a pair from University of Portland, Washington State, University of Washington, Gonzaga, and University of Oregon.
In most recent news, the Pickles picked up the number one overall prospect in the state of Washington, University of Washington pitcher Steve Emanuels. He is a right-hander who can throw a mean fastball but can change it up as well. Washington head coach Lindsay Meggs said this about his pitching: “While his best pitch is his slider, as Stevie gains strength, I think you’ll see him in the 90-94 range with his fastball. Those two pitches alone make you think weekend starter, now add an improved change-up to the mix and you start thinking Friday night guy.”
Even though the Portland Pickles didn’t play their best in the playoffs last summer, they ended the season with a record of 31-29. Hopefully with their new additions to the team, along with some veterans, they can have a successful summer season!