The work to reshape the Silver Knights roster begins in few weeks

Staff file photo by TOM KING It will be interesting to see how many of these Silver Knight faces, happy after they clinched a playoff spot, will return for 2019.

NASHUA – The 2019 Nashua Silver Knights season will begin in a few weeks for B.J. Neverett.

After a respite for the rest of August, the Knights field manager will put on his Vice President of Player Persnnel hat on and start to reshape the roster for next June.

Some players will be offered “contracts” to return – those are to protect/secure their FCBL rights for Nashua, but they usually aren’t given out unless Neverett truly wants them on the roster. Of course, their respective college coaches may have other plans, but an offer will mean the Silver Knights want them back if they’re allowed to return.

Others will not be offered, either based on performance, chemistry, etc. or especially if Neverett knows they were just sent here by their college coaches for a one-year stay, like most of the incoming freshman/recent high school grads.

This season was a bit different from years past as the roster was much younger, especially when compared to 2017, which was loaded with players entering their senior seasons.

That’s the key, keep in mind only players with remaining college eligibility for the 2019-20 season and beyond are fair game.

Let’s take a look, telling you who is eligible and who isn’t. We won’t in most cases try to speculate the team’s plans:

INELIGIBLE TO RETURN: Luke Dawson, p; Jake Lebel, dh; Justin Snyder, p; Luke Tyree, of; Max Goione, inf; Dan Shaw, p.

Question mark: Cam Cruz, p.

All will be seniors at their respective schools, although it’s possible Cam Cruz might have another year of eligibility remaining after injuring his ankle in February, with Eastern Michigan, needing surgery and missing most of the 2018 college season.

There are three big losses here: Lebel, who provided much needed power; Dawson, who grinded his way to a team-high five wins; and Tyree, a speedy outfielder who was always a key on the basepaths.

INCOMING FRESHMEN: Cody Morissette, inf; Nick Biddison, inf-of; Andrew Gorham, of; Mason Pelio, p.; Geoff Mosseau, p.

These annually are usually one-and-done, with a couple of exceptions, as college coaches want these players to get their feet wet prior to their college careers and then, depending on how they’re used during their freshman year, move to another league to progress. At least that was the idea when the rule was first introduced in 2012.

Exeter’s Morissette probably won’t return, even though he loved it here, as Boston College will likely want to send him to a higher level league. Same with Virginia Tech’s Biddison, who is from Richmond. Mosseau is a possibility, although St.John’s players rarely stay more than a year. Pelio’s family is supposedly moving back to New England, and he’ll likely be much better by this time next year. Gorham is from the area, that’ll be up to Tulane.

ELIGIBLE TO RETURN: Teddy Beaudet, c; Ryan Berardino, of; Spencer Bergeron, p; Nate Cormier, inf.; Joe Bramanti, inf; Casey Candiotti, p; Joe Caparis, c; Justin Cherry, p; Jeff Costello, of; Nick Couhig, p; Brandon Dufault, p; Drew Farkas, p; Joe Grassett, p; Dylan Jones, c; Tyler Littlefield, inf; Pat Maybach, p; Jacob Norcross-Plourde, p; Manny Ray, p; Austin White, of; Mike White, p.

It’s way too hard to predict what happens with all these young players, but one might think the bigger the school, the less likely they come back. Dufault and Costello are Northeastern kids and they usually will send players for just a year (althoug Beaudet returned). It’d be nice if Bergeron, the Nashua native whose season was cut short from shoulder woes, could be sent back here by Umass-Amherst and the same for the lefty Maybach by Salvae Regina. A lot of the out-of-region players, like Candiotti, Littlefield, Caparis, etc. likely won’t return or be sent back here. It would be good if Berardino is able to come back, along with perhaps the University of Rhode Island players like outfielder/leadoff hitter Austin White (tops on team at .340 batting) and pitcher Mike White (solid final outing).

There will be some interesting decisions for Neverett and also the schools. We’ll see by November.

Classy farewell

Morissette was rightly considered a class act his entire time with the Silver Knights this summer. He’ll be a freshman at Boston College in a few weeks, will likely see immediate playing time in the spring rather than being red shirted. Also, the B.C.coaching staff will probably want to send him to an advanced league next summer. Either way, the son of former longtime Rivier College men’s basketball coach Dave Morissette was a definite highlight of the season with his play.

“Thank you for an unreal summer of baseball,” Morissette said in a tweet, thanking the Silver Knight organization. “Great people, great fans, great organization. Had a blast playing with all my teammates. It’s been real, boys.”

Notes

Looking at final regular season stats, the team leader in wins on the mound was Dawson (5); innings to Dawson (47.2) earned run average was Dufault for starters(1.30), Cruz for relievers (0.81 in eight appearances); strikeouts Dawson (41); and saves to Farkas (five).

For hitting: RBIs went to Lebel (23); OPS was Lebel (.927); homers to Lebel (five); doubles was Berardino (10); Morissette and Biddison tied with two triples; and on-base percentage to White (.431). Tyree was the team leader in steals with 12.

While Dufault was the Pitcher of the Year, the league’s 2018 Top Pro Prospect the Year was North Shore’s Sal Frelick. He’s one of the recent high school grads/incoming freshmen (Lexington, Mass.; Boston College) who was second in the league in hitting at .361, tied for the league lead in homers with seven, fourth in RBIs at 36 and was tops in slugging percentage (.594), third in stolen bases (22) and fourth in total bases (79).

Could it be a Brockton-Worcester final? Stay tuned, as Brockton stunned top seed Martha’s Vineyard 7-5 on the island in that series opener on Tuesday and had a chance Wednesday night to clinch the series back home at Campanelli Stadium.

Second seed Worcester, meanwhile, beat Bristol 8-6 in Game 1 at home, and was looking to oust the Blues in Game 2 at Bristol on Wednesday.

Depending on the outcomes, weather, etc., the finals would either start tonight or Friday.