2021 Preview: Winchester Royals

Organizational Details

  • Last VBL title: 2004, ending a run of three titles in four years
  • General Manager: Brian Burke
  • Head Coach/Recruiter: Mike Smith (Who helped me with this info)
  • Key Alumni: Joseph Odom (2012), Lorenzo Hampton (2017), Cody Wilson (2017)

2019 Season Recap

winchester-royalsThe ’19 Royals went 18-24 in the regular season, finishing fourth in the North Division, just one game behind New Market for third, but eight behind Division champs Strasburg. Indeed, Strasburg eliminated Winchester in the first round of the playoffs, two games to none. Team MVP was Aaron Palensky (Nebraska), who went on to sign a pro contract with the New York Yankees after the season. Team Cy Youngs were Mike Anderson (Oklahoma Wesleyan), and Logan Walters (Memphis), and the team “Glue Guy” was Masen Prososki (Louisiana Monroe), who later transferred to Nebraska Omaha.

Returners

  • AJ Cieslinski, Frederick CC (2019)
  • Cristopher De Guzman, Alabama State (New Market 2018)
  • Will Long, Tennessee Tech (2019)
  • Zach Munson, Nebraska-Omaha (2019)
  • John Servello, Toledo (2019): Even though he got to Winchester late in ’19, he was a top hitter and excellent outfielder. He “made a lot of things happen,” according to Smith.

Key Hitters

Smith is especially pleased with his infield; the team will have great flexibility. Stats are through Monday, May 10:

  • Mason Lytle (San Jacinto) will most likely bat leadoff; he’s hitting .310/.369/.513 with 11 doubles and 14 stolen bases
  • Sabin Ceballos (San Jacinto) is a top JUCO player; he’s at .335/.464/.593, with 11 doubles and eight home runs
  • Nate Furman (Charlotte) has a .420 on-base percentage in 57 at-bats
  • Alan Shibley (San Jacinto) is hitting .325 in 77 at-bats
  • Austin Turner (Northwest Florida St) has a .435 on-base percentage and 25 stolen bases. He originally played for Auburn, and is planning to attend Tennessee Tech in 2021-22.
  • Ramses Cordova (St. Johns River State) leads St. Johns with nine home runs

Key Pitchers

“I like the staff,” Smith said. He has a variety of solid arms coming to Winchester:

  • Ryan Ayrey (Flagler) transfer from Bethune-Cookman
  • Cieslinski has four pitches he can throw for strikes, and is 5-1, 3.67 in 41 2/3 innings this spring
  • Jacob Shafer (UNC Wilmington) is a six-foot-eight righthander who throws downhill. He could either start or relieve.
  • Riley Skeen (Florida Southwestern State) is 4-2, 2.70, with 53 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings.
  • Calvin Stalzer (Rider) is a closer for his college team, can hit high-80’s with his fastball
  • Joseph Chavana (Trinity) is on the #2 ranked D-III school in the nation.

Other Notes

  • Two sets of brothers are planning to play for Winchester, which is pretty rare; John and Sam Servello (Toledo) and Christopher (Fairleigh Dickinson) and Kenneth Quijano (Rider). John and Sam’s dad played for West Virginia.
  • Daniel Vos (Florida Southwestern State) is a six-foot-six righty from the Netherlands- he might win the award for the player who comes from the greatest distance this summer

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