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Adelaide 2018/19 season preview
Can the Bite bounce back this season?
11/05/2018 9:34 PM ET

Adelaide's three-year run of postseason appearances came crashing to an end last season as the Bite fell to the bottom of the ABL standings with a thud.

Chris Adamson's charges will hope a youth focus helps propel Adelaide back into contention this season.

The Bite have added 2017 Helms Award winner Aaron Whitfield (Brisbane), 19-year-old catcher Mitch Edwards (Sydney) and former Texas Rangers' prospect Todd McDonald.

Adelaide has also re-signed Team Australia U23 World Cup members Jordan McArdle and Nick Hutchings, along with team Rookie of the Year Curtis Mead.

Fan favourite Stefan Welch is back after a year away from the ABL and the Bite have reloaded with fresh imports.

Adelaide fans have plenty of reason to be confident they can charge back into contention as Perth did a season ago.


The Vitals

Last season: 11-29 (sixth)

Manager: Chris Adamson


Three up, three down

1. Putting runs on the board

Adelaide struggled to score runs last season, leaving a lot to do for its pitching staff.

The Bite averaged 4.5 runs per game after warming up in the final month of the season.

Through nine games Adelaide was managing just 2.8 runs per game.

Imports Isaias Quiroz and Darius Day failed to deliver and it left too much work for the Bite's young core.


2. Top-end production

The top of the Bite's order struggled for production last season but Adamson will be hoping the addition of Whitefield will help.

While Rodrigo Ayarza was a consistent performer in 2017/18, fellow import Darius Day struggled to deliver much offence.

Day hit .194 with an OBP of .289 in 17 games leading off.

Whitefield, in 22 games batting first for the Bandits, hit .300 with an OBP of .379.

He also stole eight bases from that spot - the same amount Adelaide recorded as a team in 40 regular-season games.


3. Leaving them on base

It was a tough year for pitchers around the ABL last summer and Adelaide was one of the teams that got beaten up at stages.

But despite managing just 11 wins, Adelaide ranked third for hits allowed and issued the second fewest walks.

The Bite's WHIP was third-best in the league so it was not all doom and gloom.

One of Adelaide's biggest battles was with runners on board.

Only Sydney gave up more hits than the Bite (132) with runners on base.

They were made to pay.


What's different?

The Bite have added plenty of young, exciting, Australian talent.

They have also brought in highly-touted prospects, including 2014 MLB second round pick Michael Gettys (outfielder) and Mookie Betts' cousin Nick Shumpert.

At the same time they have added strength to their pitching.

Markus Solbach returns to the ABL after previous stints with Sydney and Melbourne, while Kurt Heyer and Ryan Chaffee join the club with impressive resumes.

Chaffee will be important at the back-end of games following the departure of Loek van Mil to Brisbane.


The case for

Adelaide have a Perth Heat of 2017/18 look about them.

They have added further young talent to their existing list of affiliated prospects, including Jordan McArdle and Curtis Mead.

The Bite also look to have secured an impressive crop of import talent.

Gettys is a highly-touted prospect and has the potential to become the next Adelaide alumni to play MLB.

Shumpert is coming off a career-best year at minor league level and Ryan January provides an option behind the plate and in the outfield.

The Bite's pitching looks more solid too and starter Greg Mosel will surely get more run support than last summer when he was arguably the most unlucky pitcher in the ABL.


The case against

The worst thing that could happen to Adelaide is they start slowly like they did last season.

A rough early run - like their 0-6 start to last season - would put a dent in the club's optimism.

Question marks also hover over the Bite's bullpen, which last season went from one of the league's most reliable to one of its worst.

Adelaide has brought in quality replacements to cover the loss of Loek van Mil to Brisbane but will need locals, including Nick Hutchings and Jackson Brebner-Russ, to take the next step.

Additionally, new division rivals Perth and Melbourne have made upgrades too and Geelong-Korea looms as the large unknown.

The Bite will be better, but will it be enough to rise up the rankings?


Home opener

vs Melbourne at Active Displays Stadium, November 22 at 7.20pm local time. Get your tickets here!


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