Atlantic League Bullpen, Opening Day Edition
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Atlantic League News & Notes
Year 24 for Atlantic League: The Atlantic League will open its 24th Championship Season with four games on Thursday, April 21 including Kentucky at High Point, Lancaster at Gastonia, Staten Island at Charleston and Southern Maryland at Lexington. York will visit Long Island on Friday, April 22 for the season-opener for those clubs as they start a three-game series.
Welcome To The Atlantic League: For the first time in league history, the ALPB will have 10 teams with a pair of new clubs joining the circuit in 2022. The Kentucky Wild Health Genomes will share a ballpark with the defending champion Lexington Legends while the Staten Island FerryHawks begin their first season at Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell Health “Community Park.”
Legends Seek Repeat: The Lexington Legends will look to become the fourth Atlantic League team to win back-to-back championships and the first since 2013. The Legends beat Long Island to win the 2021 ALPB title three games to one. The last club to win back-to-back ALPB championships was Long Island which took the 2012 and 2013 championships. Other repeat champs were York in 2010-11 and Somerset in 2008-09.
The Roster Turnstile: The Atlantic League had a record 310 different players record an offensive statistic in 2021 (includes pitchers who pinch-ran or pinch-hit). It marked the highest number in league history, surpassing the 218 in 2014. That is 42 percent higher than the previous high mark. Likewise, the ALPB had 278 players throw a pitch in 2021 (including position players). The previous high was 216 in 2019, a 6.5 percent increase over the previous high.
All Hail Daryl Thompson: The Southern Maryland rightly, who has been in the Atlantic League since 2012, set the ALPB record for career starts in his final appearance of 2021 against Lexington. It was his 181st career start and 75th career win, giving him one more than previous record holder Cory Thurman who made 180 career starts during his eight-year career with York from 2008-15.
Speaking of Thompson: He is just 3 and 1/3 innings from setting the all-time ALPB record for innings pitched. Daryl will enter the 2022 campaign with 1,147.1 career innings pitched and will be chasing the mark of 1,150.2 set by Tim Cain with four teams between 1998-2007. Thompson already owns the ALPB marks for career strikeouts (842) and wins (75). He also ranks fourth in league history with 15 career complete games.
Everybody Needs Some Lew Ford: Much in the same way that Daryl Thompson has taken control of a number of ALPB career pitching records, Long Island’s Lew Ford is right there on the offensive side. For starters, Ford has 26 homers since he turned 40 on August 12, 2016. That’s the most-ever by an ALPB quadragenarian. The ageless one is also on the cusp of records for games played (ranks 12th), at-bats (10th), runs (seventh), and hits (fourth). Ford enters the season just 32 hits shy of 1,000 for his career which only three players (Bryan Nelson, Jeff Nettles and Ray Navarrete) have ever reached.
The .350 Club: The 2021 season marked the first time in ALPB history that the league produced three qualified hitters that hit .350 or higher. Michael Russell (High Point) led the league with a .360 batting average, followed by Roberto Baldoquin (Lexington) at .355 and Southern Maryland’s Rubi Silva at .350.
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