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Preview: How the Bite shape up for Round 1
11/07/2018 9:29 PM ET
Angus Roeger is back with some familiar faces, but the Bite definitely have a fresh feel this season.
Angus Roeger is back with some familiar faces, but the Bite definitely have a fresh feel this season. (Ben Southall/SMP Images)

The imports and new signings all arrived at West Beach this week ahead of next week's 2018/19 season opener in Brisbane.

Manager Chris Adamson and GM Nathan Davison worked hard in the off-season to address some glaring needs on the roster.

What they've put together is, on-paper, arguably the most talented roster and mix of Australian's and imports we've seen in years.

It's okay Bite fans - you can get excited. This team could take the league by storm.

We get it. There's lots of changes that happen year-to-year in the ABL. Let's break down what our roster could look like.

EXHIBITION GAME: Come see the Bite in action on Saturday November 10

OUTFIELD

Adelaide had a revolving door of outfielders last year and struggled defensively and with the bat. That appears to be much different this year with 2017 ABL MVP Aaron Whitefield cementing his spot in centre and some serious pop in imports Michael Gettys, Ryan January and Nick Shumpert.

There's speed, power and a hell of a lot of defense.

Michael Gettys (Import, San Diego Padres) - A highly rated player in San Diego's system, some see Gettys as the most likely player to reach MLB out of this year's import crop. He played a full 2018 season in Double-A with 99 hits, 15 homers and 17 stolen bases, highlighting his combination of power and speed.

Ryan January (Import, Arizona Diamondbacks, OF/C) - January is 21 and has just two seasons of affiliated ball behind him, but he has power and plenty of potential. He's in search of valuable at-bats in Adelaide and while he is a natural catcher we'll likely see the lefty in the outfield.

Nick Shumpert (Atlanta Braves, OF/SS) - Shumpert is far more than just good genetics. His father played over 800 MLB games and his cousin is Mookie Betts, but the 21-year-old stands out on his own and has already had a taste of Triple-A. The Braves want to see his full potential on show and he wants to nail down a starting position.

Aaron Whitefield (Australian, Minnesota Twins) - Do not underestimate how big a signing this one is. Whitefield is a Team Australia player, 2016/17 ABL MVP, three-time ABL champion and 2018 Florida State League champion with Fort Myers. The former Brisbane player made the switch so he can take his US career to the next level and the career .318 hitter is about to enter his prime.

Angus Roeger (Australian, OF/DH) - Any hitting struggles Roeger had last season have disappeared early on in the SABL, with the seven-season veteran playing with newfound confidence. It's likely he will be utilised more as a DH than an outfielder, but the former ABL All-Star won't be far from action, regardless of where he plays.

Todd McDonald (Australian, OF) - Brisbane born McDonald signed for the Texas Rangers as a 17-year-old before injury ended his Minor League career after four years. Now aged 23 he's ready to make his ABL debut. In the SABL and Super League his power hitting has been on show and while he has an interest in switching to pitching, we could see his hot bat called upon initially.

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INFIELD

This is the best mix of experience and youth you could ask for. Stefan Welch returns to the line-up and brings with him the best glove of any Australian defender in the comp. Mikey Reynolds wins everywhere he goes and on the right side of the infield we have two South Australian kids with MILB contracts.

Stefan Welch (Australian, 3B) - The return of the Sheriff is an instant boost. He leads the Bite in appearances and most hitting categories, and the former Team Australia third baseman has not lost his groove; he still dominated in the SABL last year and at 30 is as good as ever.

Mikey Reynolds (Import, SS) - Reynolds offers experience alongside a young infield with the likes of Curtis Mead and Nick Shumpert, and as the complete package he will be just as dependable as Welch. He hit .335 for Can-Am League champions Sussex County, and is undeniably in career-best form.

Curtis Mead (Australian, Philadelphia Phillies, 2B) - The 18-year-old is the latest Adelaide talent to sign a professional contract after impressing in his rookie season. In 20 games he hit .373 and had an on-base-percentage of .411. One year ahead of when the Phillies expected him to make his Minor League debut, Mead voluntarily flew to Florida for two weeks of rookie ball, while he also attended their end-of-season Instructional League.

Jordan McArdle (Australian, Arizona Diamondbacks, 1B) - In many ways 20-year-old McArdle is the older, more experienced player amongst Adelaide's depth of young talent. He's entering his third ABL season after his second season with the Diamondbacks, and an U23 World Cup, and with his numbers up across the board in 2018 this is his time to shine.

Mitchell Edwards (Australian, Philadelphia Phillies, C) - Another gun recruit, 19-year-old Edwards made the switch from Sydney. He's also just returned from the U23 World Cup and his first season with Philadelphia, and the word is the Phillies absolutely love him. Keep an eye on this guy.

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PITCHING

Adelaide was pretty much dead in the middle of every pitching category last year. That said, they upgraded pretty much every position and their starts and bullpen look like they'll take a step forward. We expect them to keep the Bite in the games, even if the bats are cold.

Kurt Heyer (Import, SP) - Heyer is an experienced pitcher with nearly 700 innings to his name in pro ball, from Double-A and Triple-A with St. Louis to Indy ball with Southern Illinois. The 27-year-old is a handy addition to the Bite's starting rotation.

Markus Solbach (Import, SP) - The German national team pitcher is a great signing as he knows the ABL well from stints with Melbourne and Sydney in the past. With even more experience in Indy ball and from Germany the former Minnesota Twins prospect is in line to be a starter.

Greg Mosel (Australian, SP) - Mosel headlines the list of local talent and for a good reason. In his two ABL seasons he earned a place with Team Australia and made his debut against Japan earlier this year. Personally, he will want to pitch consistently as Australia heads towards Premier 12 and 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualification next year.

Nick Hutchings (Australian, P) - A two-time U23 World Cup pitcher, Hutchings is coming off his first full season with the Bite as a more complete athlete. His off-season also saw him coach a Little League team to the Cal Ripken World Series, and he is one local option ready to challenge for a starting role.

Wilson Lee (Australian, P) - Lee is one of several versatile players on the roster who can hit and pitch, and while his bat has been running hot in Australia and Germany it's his pitching which will be a much-needed tool. This is his eighth ABL season and as a former starter we could see him return to that role at the highest level.

Michael Gahan (Australian, P) - The Lismore native has represented Australia, most recently at the Under-23 World Cup where he made two starts with six strikeouts in 11.2 innings. He's in line for his ABL debut and is another ready-made prospect who could challenge for a starting spot.

Nathan van der Linden (Australian, P) - Van der Linden's versatility during his ABL career has seen him hit, field and pitch, and this season pitching will be his focus. He's a handy bullpen choice with ABL experience.

Jackson Brebner-Russ (Australian, P) - Translating SABL form to ABL success is always difficult but Brebner-Russ did enough to impress last season to earn another contract with the Bite. He pitched 15.1 innings over 15 appearances and more consistency will be his aim as he steps in from the bullpen.

Tom Fitzgerald (Australian, P) - A genuine bolter, Kensington's Fitzgerald has just returned from two years with Monterey Peninsula College in California, and really has had minimal game time in Australia during that time. The 24-year-old is a late bloomer but at 6'8" offers height and a point of difference in the bullpen.

Jared Wilson (Import, P) - A former Minnesota Twins prospect, Wilson can hit 98 mph on the gun and has a knack for finding the strikezone. He flew himself to Adelaide for the chance to pitch in the Super League and show off what he could do, earning a spot on the roster as a result with his speed and accuracy.

Ryan Chaffee (Import, P) - In the absence of Loek van Mil, Chaffee is going to be a first choice closer. Much like Heyer, he has the experience from Triple-A and Indy ball, and the former La Angels and Miami product is in a rich run of form; he made a league-high 70 appearances in the Atlantic League in 2018.

Jorge Perez (Import, P) - The former Corvallis Knights pitcher comes with the recommendation of former Bite manager, Brooke Knight. Injury has impacted his career but the talent and technique is there, and Perez firms as another closing option.

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