by Corey Mansfield

Here we go again...the Mets have had outstanding starting pitching but can't score runs.  In the offseason Terry Collins made the decision to move Curtis Grandson from the leadoff spot to cleanup and put Jose Reyes in the leadoff spot. Reyes has been brutal at best, looking completely lost at the plate. Reyes has always had an odd batting stance, swinging a head of pitches and constantly picking up his back foot. It's seems that these bad habits have gotten much worse this season. Reyes' On-base percentage has gone down substantially over the last few years and this season is no exception. This season Reyes is hitting .053 with OBP of .100. At this point in his career Reyes should be more selective with pitches and looking to draw more walks rather than swinging out his shoes.

Curtis Granderson should be the Mets leadoff hitter (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
How does Terry Collins fix this. Well it's pretty simple, move Reyes down in the order and put Granderson back in the leadoff position. Granderson and Reyes have very similar on-base percentage for their careers but Granderson is much better at working pitchers. In 2015, Granderson lead MLB with PPA (pitches per plate appearance) with 4.37. Last season he was 12th in the league at 4.24. Reyes had 3.81 PPA.

Granderson's ability to wear down pitchers at the top of the order will help the power hitters down in order succeed. The more pitches the pitchers throw, the more mistakes they'll likely to make down in the order.

Here's what I think the Mets lineup should look like:

1. Curtis Granderson - CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera - SS
3. Yeonis Cespedes - RF
4. Lucas Duda - 1B (Wilmer Flores against LHP)
5. Neil Walker - 2B
6. Jay Bruce - LF
7. Travis d'arnaud
8. Pitcher's Spot
9. Jose Reyes - 3B

by Corey Mansfield

Spring training is over and local talent from around the Capital Region have found their new homes in Minor League Baseball.

Jeff Hoffman (Colorado Rockies) - Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA): The North Colonie High (NY) product made it to the major leagues last year with the Rockies, but struggled to a 0-4 record with a 4.88 in 31.1 innings. He's slated to start the season in Triple-A with the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League. 

Garrett Whitley (Tampa Bay Rays) - Bowling Green Hot Rods (A): Whitley was the #13 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft out of Niskayuna High School in Niskayuna, NY. Last season, he hit .266 with one home run, 31 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 65 games for the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League (short season-A). He'll start the season with with the Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Midwest League (A). 

Garrett Whitley with Hudson Valley Renegades in 2016 (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
Ian Anderson (Atlanta Braves) - Rome Braves (A):  The Shenendehowa product and third overall pick in the 2016 draft started his professional career with the Gulf Coast Braves but quickly moved up to the Appalachian League with the Danville Braves (rookie) He posted a 0-2 record with a 3.74 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched. He starts the season with the Rome Braves in the South Atlantic League  (A). 

JaVon Shelby (Oakland Athletics) - Beloit Snappers (A):  The A's 5th round pick from 2016 and former Amsterdam Mohawk struggled mightily after he was promoted to the Vermont Lake Monsters in the New York-Penn League last season. He hit only .186 with five home runs and 18 RBI in 56 for Vermont. He'll start the season with the Beloit Snappers in the Midwest League (A).

John Sansone (Cincinnati Reds) - Dayton Dragons:  The former Amsterdam Mohawk had an outstanding season with the Billing Mustangs of the Pioneer League hitting .285 with 5 home runs and 25 home runs in 50 games. He'll start the season in the Midwest League (A) with the Dayton Dragons.

Stephen Woods (San Fransisco Giants) - Augusta GreenJackets: - The former UAlbany pitcher had rough time when he was promoted to Salem-Keizer of the Northwest League. He had went 1-0 with a 5.63 in eight innings pitched. He'll start the season in the South Atlantic League (A) with the Augusta GreenJackets

Mike Kaelin (Los Angeles Angels) - Burlington Bees . The former University of Buffalo product and Albany Dutchmen was solid for the Burlington Bees last season with 1-1 record with a 2.16 ERA in 33.1 innings pitched. However, his success didn't warrant a promotion and he'll start the season back with Burlington.

Zach Remillard (Chicago White Sox) - Kannapolis Intimidators: The Cohoes, NY native and former Albany Dutchmen tore up Arizona League (rookie) hitting .310 average with 2 home runs and 9 RBI in 13 games. However, Remillard Remillard struggled when he was promoted to Kannapolis (A), hitting only .227 with 3 home runs and 7 RBI in 31 games. He'll start the season back with Kannapolis.

Anthony Marks (San Fransisco Giants) - Augusta GreenJackets: Marks was the face of Coastal Carolina's NCAA Championship run in 2016. The former Albany Dutchmen will start his professional career with the Augusta GreenJackets of the South Atlantic League(A).

Jonny Reid (Washington Nationals) - The former Albany Dutchmen was outstanding for the Gulf Coast League Nationals (rookie) and was quickly promoted to their New York-Penn League (short season-A) affiliate the Auburn Doubledays. Reid, a southpaw posted 1-0 record with a 3.10 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched. The Nationals organization assigned Reid to extended spring training so he can develop some new pitches.

by Corey Mansfield

Mike Vecchione didn't win the Hobey Baker last night. However, I wasn't surprised since many ECAC players don't get the respect for this award. It was undeniable he was the best player in college hockey, but the voters thought differently.

Mike Vecchione (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
Many Hobey Baker voters views are skewed by a players prospects for the NHL. A higher draft pick normally gets a player more exposure and more votes. Vecchione was undrafted free agent from a very small school in upstate New York.

I'm not taking anything away from Will Butcher who won the Hobey Baker Award over Vecchione. Butcher is a great player, but he's from Denver University who is a perennial national championship contender every year. Denver also played in a much tougher conference (NCHC).  Butcher was a 5th round draft by the Colorado Avalanche which I believe helped his campaign for this award.

Now that college is behind Vecchione it's time for to turn his sights to his NHL career and helping the Flyers get back to the playoffs and possibly win the Stanley Cup in the future.

Mike Vecchione played in his first NHL game with the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. The former Union College star logged just a little over 8 minutes of ice time in his debut.
Mike Vecchione made the jump from college to the NHL (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

by Corey Mansfield

In a press release today, the Albany Dutchmen announced they are relocating their team to Siena College for the upcoming season.

A Dutchmen flag flies at Belizzi Field in 2016 (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

"The Dutchmen's move from Bob Bellizzi Field at the Christian Plumeri Sports Complex, where they played their last five seasons, comes after the City of Albany and The College of Saint Rose notified them that their lease would not be renewed and plans for the facility would be headed in another direction. The Dutchmen have seen their attendance grow over those five seasons and have established a loyal fan base that the organization believes will be similarly enthusiastic about the game day experience at their new home."

The Dutchmen are a member of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL). Most of the teams in the league play in former minor league baseball stadiums and have the ability to draw 2,000-4,000 fans a night. However, the Dutchmen were limited in attendance by the capacity at  Plumeri Sports Complex. In 2015, Ballpark Digest calculated the Dutchmen averaged 470 fans per game which ranked them #100 out of 154 teams. In comparison the Elmira Pioneers of the PGCBL were ranked #2 and averaged 3,377 fans a game. The new home of the Dutchmen has the capacity for only 370 seats. However, the team will add seatings down the lines to grow attendance and increase the fan experience. 

"We will have additional seating/viewing areas available. We're working on finalizing logistics on seating down both the lines in addition to the permanent chair back and bleacher seating." said Dutchmen General Manager Jason Brinkman

In addition to the new seating the Dutchmen will be playing at a more state-of-the-art facility which has been upgraded over the last few years and better suits their needs for producing quality baseball players who have ambitions to playing professionally.

The Dutchmen have a great organization and for many years have been at the forefront of marketing for college summer league teams. Every game is a good time and a great experience. However, their biggest flaw was their inability to draw big crowds based on the restraints of Plumeri Sports Complex, St. Rose, and the City of Albany. The Dutchmen can now move forward with their new home which better suits their overall game experience. I totally anticipate their attendance numbers to grow significantly.

The Dutchmen play their home opener at Siena on June 3rd against the Mohawk Valley Diammond Dawgs. 

Here are photos of the ECHL hockey game between the Norfolk Admirals and Adirondack Thunder on April 1, 2017 at Glens Falls Civic Center in Glens Falls, NY.

J.P. Anderson earned the shutout for the Thunder, stopping all 23 shots he faced and Adirondack defeated Norfolk 3-0. Peter MacArthur. Cullen Bradshaw, and Brian Ward all had a goal for Adirondack in the win.
Gunnar (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
Union College Hockey forward Michael Pontarelli has signed an amateur tryout agreement (ATO) with the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL.

Pontarelli against the Adirondack Thunder on April 1, 2017 in his first pro game (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
The Laval, Quebec native had seven points on two goals and five assists in 23 games for the Dutchmen this season.

For his career Pontarelli had 21 goals and 30 assists for 51 points at Union. He was a member of the 2014 Union College National Championship team. 

Tampa Bay Rays prospect Garrett Whitley has been assigned to the single-A Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Midwest League.

Whitley was the #13 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft out of Niskayuna High School in Niskayuna, NY. 

Last season he hit .266 with one home run, 31 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 65 games for the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League (short season-A).

A couple weeks ago former RPI Engineers Riley Bourbonnais and Parker Reno joined the ranks of professional hockey.

Riley Bourbonnais signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins' ECHL affiliate the Wheeling Nailers. In six games with the Nailers he has a goal and two assists for a total of three points.

Parker Reno signed with the Toledo Walleye the ECHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. Since joining the team Reno has played in seven games and has two assists.

Spencer Foo will forego his senior season at Union College to sign with an NHL team (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

What NHL team will Spencer Foo sign with?

San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Edmonton Oilers
Philadelphia Flyers
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Carolina Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Detroit Red Wings
Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs
Chicago Blackhawks
Dallas Stars
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets
Anaheim Ducks
Arizona Coyotes
Calgary Flames
Vancouver Canucks
Colorado Avalanche
Vegas Golden Knights
Poll Maker
by Corey Mansfield

Center, Mike Vecchione signed an entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers today. 

Mike Vecchione (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
Vecchione, a Hobey Baker finalist tallied 29 goals and 34 assists for 63 points for the Union College Dutchmen this season. His 63 points tied him for most in NCAA Division 1 hockey.

The Saugus, Massachusetts native led to the Dutchmen to the NCAA Tournament this season and was named 2016-2017 ECAC Player Of the Year.

Vecchione is also Union's all-time leading scorer with a 176 points.

This wasn't a shock that Vecchione signed with the Flyers considering his former Union teammate  and current Flyer star, Shayne Gostisbehere has been hinting that he'd like him to join the Flyers. Also, the agency that represents Vecchione, Sports Professional Management has Flyer ties as Flyer great John LeClair is one of their agents and is a friend of Vecchione's agent Mark Toof. 

According to hockey insider, Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period, the Los Angeles Kings have a "significant interest" in signing Union College star Spencer Foo.

Spencer Foo head to Hollywood? (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

The Union College Dutchmen will face the Penn State University Nittany Lions in the first round of the NCAA Tournament today at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati.  The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 online at 4:30pm.

Union College Alex Sakellaropoulos (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

by Corey Mansfield

The 2017 NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament field is set and here is my bracket.

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