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Will the Bite make another playoff run?
11/07/2017 9:49 PM ET
Adelaide's outfield celebrate a win last season (C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA
Adelaide's outfield celebrate a win last season (C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA 

This is the fourth of our 2017/18 Australian Baseball League team previews. Each day until November 10 we will preview a team in reverse order of last season's final positions. Today we take a look at the Adelaide Bite. Up next: Melbourne Aces.

After a string of near misses over the past three seasons Adelaide turns to rookie manager Chris Adamson to bring home an elusive Claxton Shield.

The SA favourite will take charge of a team that has participated in three-straight postseasons without tasting ultimate glory and finds itself needing to cover the loss of Australian stars Mitch Dening and Stefan Welch.

Adamson is confident Angus Roeger (pictured) and Jordan McArdle, fresh off his rookie season in the US, can step up alongside three Texas Rangers' prospects and Houston shortstop Rodrigo Ayarza.

The Bite have also added Taiwanese legend Chang Tai-shan in a big boost on and off the diamond.

Adelaide will rely heavily on local pitchers but will this week announce two import starters and Loek Van Mil also returns to the bullpen.

Among their local pitchers are several players likely to catch the attention of scouts, including Ky Hampton.

While one that already has, Jack O'Loughlin, will play a key role ahead of his first spring training with Detroit.


23-17 (second, lost to Bandits in ABLPF)



1. Filling a hole in the heart. Last season's three-four-five combination of Mitch Dening, Stefan Welch and Marcus Greene Jr will not be back, leaving Adelaide with a new-look line-up. Angus Roeger and Jordan McArdle will need to step up and Texas Rangers' infielder Stephen Lohr is likely to slot into the heart of the order.

2. Settled starters. Adelaide will be hoping a more settled starting rotation will help its cause this season. The Bite used 12 different starters last season and while it was not costly it was far from ideal. Adamson will turn to 17-year-old Jack O'Loughlin and Steven Chambers as his local pitchers while the Bite will this week announce two import starters. Last season Taylor Hawkins led Adelaide imports with six starts as the responsibility was spread around.

3. What a relief. If Adelaide's starters can hand the game to its bullpen with a lead they are in a strong spot. The Bite's bullpen finished last season with a tidy ERA of 3.27 and led the league with 13 saves. Returning import Loek Van Mil (pictured) was a standout, allowing one earned run in 22.1 innings and recording 25 strikeouts. Chris Horne and former Pittsburgh prospect Nick Hutchings are expected to get opportunity out of the bullpen in 2017/18.


"We've learned a lot from being close over the past few years and I think we know more about ourselves and what it takes to win those big games at the back-end of the year. We're battle-hardened and hopefully we can take those moments when they present themselves. We got to blood a lot of young kids last year that took the opportunity with both hands and having been there for the disappointment I'm really excited for what that might lead to."



Jordan McArdle (pictured) is just 19 but could prove to be a wildcard for the Bite. After signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier the year he made a promising start to his affiliated career. McArdle hit .191 after a mid-season dip in form coupled with injury. But he finished hot, hitting .314 in his final ten games. The utility was also a fast-finisher in the ABL season last year. He hit .288 and all 17 of his RBIs came in the back end of the season.


The Bite roster includes two of the brightest Australian pitching prospects in teenagers Jack O'Loughlin and Ky Hampton. While O'Loughlin established himself in the starting rotation last season after signing with the Detroit Tigers, Hampton made a couple of appearances and will aim to cement his spot in 2017/18. Both showed nerves of steel last season and were not overawed by any situation. 


Adelaide covers the loss of key offensive players Stefan Welch and Mitch Dening and its pitching continues to get the job done. The Bite's bullpen was outstanding last season and its mix-and-match starting rotation tied with Melbourne for a league-high 15 wins. That was despite turning to 12 different options to make a start, and being led by a then -16-year-old Jack O'Loughlin who was not parting of the rotation blueprint entering the season.


vs Melbourne, November 23 at 7pm. Get your Adelaide Bite tickets here.


This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.