NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – New faces, promising young talent and a new, energetic coaching staff — there’s plenty to be excited about for Mahoning Valley Scrappers fans this year.
“I hope they’re as excited as I am,” first-year Scrappers manager Luke Carlin said Saturday at Media Day. “I think we’ve got a great group of guys here. I mean, our staff just sits and talks almost every day and in awe of what these young men can do on the field.”
It’s just the second year of coaching for Carlin, who played professionally for 15 years — including two seasons with the Indians. The good news for Carlin is he has all kinds of young talent to work with.
“My main goal is to get 15 home runs and I’m sticking to it,” Will Benson said.
Benson was drafted by the Indians 14th overall in the first round last year. He turned 19 years old Friday, and with a 6-foot-4 frame, Benson has big time upside.
“I just want to be, overall, solid at the plate — not giving away at-bats,” he said. “And then defensively, holding my own out there in right field.”
Nolan Jones is another guy to look out for this year.
He’s one of about a dozen guys that came from the Arizona League Indians now ready to make an impact in the Mahoning Valley.
“It’s pretty special,” Jones said. “I’ve heard a lot of things about this place and I’ve heard there’s really good energy and I think we’re gonna rally off of that.
“I think the more people they get in here, the better we’re going to do. Even the coaching staff, they have a lot of energy. This might be a pretty special team.”
The Scrappers kick off their 19th season of play Monday with two games on the road against the West Virginia Black Bears.
Their home opener is Wednesday at Eastwood Field against the Auburn Doubledays. First pitch set for 7:05 p.m. That will start a six-game home stand.