The gloves are popping. The bats are cracking. The smell of fresh cut grass permeates the air. Just some of the sounds, sights, and smells that indicate a new baseball season is upon us.
Lowell Spinners held Media Day on June 13th and the optimism and excitement from the team was very apparent. The tone of the team is set from the head down, and manager Corey Wimberly brings the energy and demeanor that a leader should.
“Wimbo” as he is also known, says the style of the 2018 Spinners is “max effort.” This is his first season as a manager after spending 10 years in the minors with seven different organizations.
Wimberly “retired on his own terms” which will allow him to focus on this team without missing being out there himself. Communication will also provide a key role throughout the season.
“I was once told you only have two ears and one mouth so you should listen twice as much as you speak,” Wimberly said during his first meeting with the media.
During a 76 game season (38 home, 38 road) this is a team that plans to compete well every night and grind every pitch. 2017 2nd round pick Cole Brannen was described as a “grinder” by Wimbo.
Brennan (a center fielder) is the Spinners most touted prospect at only 19 years old. The kid “loves pressure” and growing up in a small town (Elko, GA) he is now on a much larger stage. Brennan will not be afraid to be vocal.
“I’m a big vocal guy. Somebody told me a long time ago you can never get in trouble for being too loud on the baseball field. I take that to heart and I’d say I use it just about every game.”
Before Brannen was drafted by the Red Sox, his family said a prayer that night. Brannen said,”It was completely in God’s hands” and he was “overwhelmed with joy” when he heard his name called. The draft party was held at his father’s Ford dealership and it is a moment Brennan will never forget.
Brannen is the oldest of five children in his family (4 boys, 1 girl.) He grew up in a town where he attended church every Sunday and “everybody knows everybody.” This is the type of guy that has faced adversity but leans on his faith to guide him through.
“I’ve had people tell me I’m not going to make it. I use that to fuel me everyday. I’m not going to let anyone outwork me. It doesn’t cost anything to hustle- anybody can do it.”
Manager Corey Wimberly is going to take a lot of things into consideration when filling out his lineup card this season. Some managers want a lot of mix when it comes to left and right handed bats but that is not the only thing to consider.
“It depends on how we are swinging the bats. It depends on the starter, whether he’s a guy that sinks the ball or a ground ball pitcher. We’ll have some logic behind it- for sure.”
Pitching coach Nick Green is another man that has a great aura about him. His energy level on Media Day was very high and he set the expectations for his pitching staff.
“Results are ideal. But the main thing is player development and pitch count. We’re about developing these guys and protecting them. We want them to succeed at higher levels- more so than just Lowell.”
Nate Spears is the hitting coach for the Spinners. Spears wants hitters to “stay aggressive to their pitches.” This is not the type of team that will be tentative at the plate.
The Spinners finished fourth in their division in 2017. The 2018 Spinners are a team that is going to be fundamentally sound and well rounded. A team that will never get too high or too low. None of the players are worried about where they were drafted. They want to make their own names eventually but that is not the focus. The goal is to get the most out of every at bat while keeping an eye towards the future. With hard work comes success and this is a team that will bring that mantra to life.
The Spinners home ballpark is Edward LeLacheur Park in Lowell, MA (450 Aiken St.) To find them online go to http://www.lowellspinners.com. The home opener is today, June 18th, 2018 against the Staten Island Yankees. Tickets are as low as $5.