You're both broadcasters. Which Lugnuts names are giving you pause for thought?
Trey Wilson: Thankfully, I have had several years of practice pronouncing Jeremy Gabryszwski’s name. I can certainly see some early struggles trying the handle the pronunciation of Jason Leblebijian. Leb-leh-BEE-gee-an. Leb-leh-BEE-gee-an. Leb-leh-BEE-gee-an. Even seasoned veterans like Jesse Goldberg-Strassler get tripped up on that one.
Names like those make you thankful for the simplicity of Matt Dean.
Jesse Goldberg-Strassler: Jairo Labourt: Long vowels and soft consonants work for me. (I'm not too happy about Trey bringing up the past here. I practiced week after week in 2012 to get Jason Leblebijian's name right... and now it's as routine to me as saying "Dickie Joe Thon.")
Which of the 2014 Lugnuts are you looking forward to seeing?
Jesse: Jimmy Cordero. The right-hander has worked only one game above the Gulf Coast League, and yet here he is, jumping up to Lansing to show off a 94-98 mph fastball as the Lugnuts' closer. I'm also intrigued by my fellow Marylander, Scott Silverstein, a 6'6, 260-lb lefty with a Virginia Cavalier pedigree.
Trey: As a Bluefield College alumnus, I always like to see fellow NAIA guys having success, which this year’s Lugnuts squad features a pair of: Relief pitcher Phil Kish was a closer and shortstop at Southeastern University (Fla.) Fire, and catcher Jorge Saez was a catcher for NAIA-powerhouse Lee University (Tenn.) Flames. (There is a pun buried somewhere in there about fire. Find it.)
Jesse's challenge question: Who is poised to dominate the Midwest League?
Trey: This team has some serious talent on the mound and at the plate. I know I am not alone in this thought, but I think Mitch Nay is going to have a big year.
Jesse: The returning Kendall Graveman in the starting rotation, and catcher Santiago Nessy and outfielder Carlos Ramirez in the starting lineup. A second year in the Midwest League should bring increased production from all three. For Graveman, that means ground balls, strikeouts, and shutout frames. For Nessy, that means power and defense. For Ramirez, it means everything: He has the full five tools. Now he just needs to be consistent.
Trey's challenge question: I have never been to most of the cities and ballparks in the Midwest League (and I haven't been to a couple of the states we will see). What is your favorite Midwest League destination?
Jesse: In the past, Fort Wayne wins out over West Michigan, Dayton, and Great Lakes. With our hotel there changing, though, I might have to change my answer to Great Lakes (Midland, Michigan). The food is top notch, the trip is easy, the company is excellent, and the hotel is right next to a movie theater and a mall.
Trey: Lake County. Lovely scenery up there.