With the end of the transaction period in Belgian baseball (just) behind us, it is time to pay attention to the several clubs in Division 1 and to the players they acquired and those who they lost. Today, we pay attention to the four-time Belgian champions Borgerhout Squirrels.
Except for Yannick Gontier, none of the players leaves the flagship team. Yannick will step down to the farm team, where he will be player coach. But in the area of coaching, there will be a big change. Manager/head coach Mike De Vriendt calls it quits to have more spare time. The void he leaves will be filled by Jordi Mertens, who was first base coach already.
Squirrels will ad a total of five players. First of all, Jens Boermans. He will return after having played with Brasschaat Braves. Jens can be used as a utility player.
From Ghent Knights, three players will join the ranks of the Squirrels: Pitchers Viktor Vandervelden and Aaron Meert, and utility player Tim Hoflack. Vandervelden didn’t play much as a pitcher, but the numbers he posted were pretty good: 3.86 ERA, seven Ks in 4.2 innings. The numbers of Aaron were not that impressive, but he knew how to handle the bat as he batted .338 with three doubles. Not bad for a pitcher. But Aaron can also be used as a utility player.
Also the Squirrels took advantage of the collapse of the Brussels Kangaroos as they acquired Mauro van Mook and Ken Spurgeon. Mauro can be used as a pitcher and infielder.
As infielder, Mauro can play all positions but first base. Mauro posted a 3-4 record with a 6.49 ERA. Ken Spurgeon will be used as backstop. With the Kangaroos, he hit a modest .240.
Last season, the Squirrels struggled due to absence of players because of work obligations and injuries. Next season, the club will have teams in Division 2 and 3. The intention is to let slumping players or those who haven’t played enough innings play in these teams, so they can get a chance in Division 1 later.
Next to all these transfers, the club intends to fit in young players from the farm team, just as happened last season when Yann Van den Branden and Matthias De Baets got a shot in the flagship team.
I’d like to thank Yannick Gontier for providing the much-needed information that made it possible to write this blog post. Your help is appreciated. Good luck next season at Division 2.