HOT STOVE REPORT: Mentock, Austin Rieff to Saugany Lake
The off-season is here and in preparation for the 2019 ORWBL season, we will be taking a look at all the big signings, trades, and transactions from around the league as they happen this offseason.
SAUGANY LAKE - Landsharks manager Levi Miller knew he was going to need to make some big moves this off-season after losing multiple players to free agency, and that's exactly what he's done in signing former Muffs Erick Mentock and Austin Rieff.
Both of these former Muffs and were signed in the aftermath of Miller losing two everyday players in Colton Boren and Kody Webb to the Mechanics. With their departure, the Landsharks have been in the market to add some defense and depth. These signings check both of those boxes.
Mentock in particular will be a big plus in the field for a Landsharks team that could use some defensive help after losing Kody Webb. Despite appearing in only 9 games this past season, the 4-year veteran made a huge impact on the defensive end when available. The sure-handed outfielder is one of the better defenders in the league and will make an immediate impact for the Sharks.
Although Mentock struggled at times at the plate last season, his defensive abilities more than made up for his inconsistencies at dish. Even in a down year Mentock was able to muster a .324 average. With an expanded role in 2019 that number could certainly grow as the former World Series champion gets more at-bats.
As for Austin Rieff, his signing will likely come with different expectations for next season. A fine fielder himself, the younger of the Rieff brothers had a great season at the plate for the Muffs and the Sharks are hoping he can carry that into 2019 as well.
Rieff appeared in 20 games this past season for the Muffs and batted a solid .481 to go along with 41 RBIS. Despite being utilized all over the field, Austin was able to stay locked in at the plate all-season long. His consistent hitting and overall veteran presence in 2018 was an underrated part of the Muffs' success in 2018.
Rieff also brings with him two championship rings, one with Cult West and one with Maple City. Along with Mentock's Cult West championship, the Sharks now find themselves with some valuable World Series experience that could be valuable in their hopes to improve upon last season.
Both Mentock and Rieff are versatile defenders and can play all over the field. Mentock, in particular, will be a solid defensive addition to a Saugany Lake team with some question marks on the end. Expect both players to have diverse defensive roles come 2019.
After losing a number of players to free-agency, reigning National League Manager of the Year Levi Miller is tasked with re-tooling his 15-9 Landsharks on the fly. So far, it looks like he's succeeding as both these former Muffs are expected to be solid additions to Saugany Lake.