The Adelaide Bite prepare to welcome the international additions to the 2012/13 squad as we near the start of the third season of ABL baseball.
Along with the homegrown favourites, each year, the Adelaide Bite takes on up and coming talents from US Minor League organisations. Last year saw personalities like Chin-Lung Hu, Denny Almonte, Calvin Anderson and James Jones, and this year we look to usher in the new guard of Bite imports.
As with last season, players being sent over play within the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates organisations, with strong contributions from each.
Joining the squad from Seattle are South Korean infielder Ji-Man Choi, pitcher Andrew Kittredge, outfielder Nathan Melendres, and pitcher Seon-Gi Kim.
From Pittsburgh, we see the return of Million Dollar Arm Rinku Singh as well as the new additions, outfielder Justin Howard and pitchers Zac Fuesser and Aaron Pribranic.
Ji-Man Choi, First Baseman/Designated
Choi, 21, just completed his second season in the Mariners' organisation. The Korean native spent the entire season playing for the Mariner's A-level affiliate, the Clinton LumberKings of the Midwest League in Clinton, Iowa. Choi played very well for Clinton, batting .298 with 8 home runs and 43 RBIs in 66 games for the team. He sat out the entire 2011 season due to back issues after a very successful first year in the Mariners' organisation in 2010. Choi helped lead the LumberKings to the playoffs in 2012 with a stellar second half of the season. His combined totals in the minor leagues put him at an impressive .324 average with 10 home runs and 73 RBIs in just 116 games.
Andrew Kittredge, Right Handed Relief
Kittredge, 22, just finished his first full season in the Mariners' organisation. He split the 2012 season between three different leagues within the organisation. He started the season at A-level Clinton with Choi, then briefly spent time at with the AA-level Jackson Generals of the Southern League in Jackson, Tennessee. Andrew spent most of his season though with the High Desert Mavericks of the High A-level California League in Adelanto, CA. Over the course of his three teams, Kittredge appeared in 25 games going 3-1 with a 4.07 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 42 innings. Andrew is a Spokane, Washington native and attended the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.
Melendres, also 22, is the third Bite import to have finished the 2012 season with the High Desert Mavericks of the High A-level California League. Although he only played in 23 games in 2012, Nathan still put up a combined .307 average, 2 home runs, and 15 RBIs for the Mavericks, Clitnon LumberKings, and the Arizona League Mariners. This is also his second season in the Mariners' system, as he spent 46 games with the Everett Aquasox in 2011, the team's Low-A level affiliate. Melendres was born in Miami, Florida and played for the hometown University of Miami Hurricanes before being drafted by the Mariners.
Seon-Gi Kim, Right Handed Starting
Kim is a 21 year old native of Cheongju City, Korea and has been in the Mariner's organisation for the past three seasons. He finished the 2012 season with his countryman and Bite teammate Ji-Man Choi with the Clinton LumberKings after starting the season with the Everett AquaSox. Overall in 2012 Kim started 16 games, going 6-4 with a 4.02 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 80.2 innings pitched.
Rinku Singh, Left Handed Relief Pitcher
Singh, 24, is the only returning Bite import from last season. He spent the entire season 2012 season with the West Virginia Power of the South Atlantic League. He appeared in 39 games for the Power, going 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 72 innings. This was following his 2011-2012 ABL season with the Bite where Rinku pitched in 12 games, going 1-1 with a 5.49 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 19.2 innings. As you may remember, Singh, born in Lucknow, India, got his shot at baseball after trying out for a reality TV show called Million Dollar Arm. As a result of his success on the show, he was signed by scouts from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has been a member of the Pirates system since 2009, and has appeared in 96 games over the past four seasons.
Justin Howard, First
Justin Howard is a 25 year old lefty from Ennis, Texas who just finished his third year in the Pirates system. He has successfully been promoted each of his three seasons, from rookie league to low A-level league to this past season at high A-level for the Brandenton Marauders. In 2012, Howard played mostly at designated hitter, batting .283 with 2 home runs and 29 RBIs in 83 games. Prior to being drafted by the Pirates, Justin played college baseball for the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Zachary (Zac) Fuesser, Left Handed
Fuesser, 22, has been in the Pirates organisation since he was 18 years old. He spent his entire 2012 season with Rinku playing for the West Virginia Power. Zac played in 31 games for the Power, starting 11 of them. He finished the season with a 3-7 record, a 4.09 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 112.1 innings. Fuesser has appeared in 83 games for three different minor league teams in the Pirates system and posts a career 3.73 ERA. Zac is a native of York, South Carolina and was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves, but went to college for a year before being drafted by the Pirates in 2009.
Aaron Pribanic, Right Handed Pitcher
Pribanic, 26, has been in the Pirates' system for the past four seasons following four years of playing for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. Pribanic, born in Fairfax, Virginia, played for three different teams with the Pirates organisation in 2012. He only saw action in 13 games, including 5 starts due to a shoulder injury. Overall, Pribanic went 1-2 with a 5.33 ERA. These numbers are not reflective of his superb career numbers of 30-28 with a 3.63 ERA in 95 games and 83 starts.You can catch the Imports in a Bite Uniform for the first time on Saturday 27 October at our FAN FEST!