The wait has been far too long, but the return of New York Boulders’ baseball to Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona is right around the corner.
And, with it comes the excitement and anticipation of playing in a new league, the Frontier League, with a new manager in charge in T.J. Stanton and a roster brimming with new faces, including a quartet of skilled outfielders.
Stanton, who managed the Trois-Rivieres Aigles in the Can-Am League for three-plus seasons covering the second half of the 2016 campaign and running through the end of the 2019 season, when he was tabbed the league’s manager of the year, is confident that the four outfielders he has inked to contracts can succeed both offensively and defensively.
Heading into the season, the Boulders’ outfield depth chart includes Milton Smith, Kevonte Mitchell, Jack Sundberg and Ryan Ramiz. Of that quartet, Mitchell is the lone righty batter.
“Our outfield is stacked with speed,” Stanton said. “All are above average and Sundberg and Smith are absolute burners. Mitchell and Ramiz are bringing the power.”
Smith, 23, was a 22nd-round choice in the 2018 MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins out of Meridien Community College in Mississippi. In his two seasons in the Miami organization, Smith hit .352 in 2018 with the Gulf Coast League Marlins and .305 at Batavia of the Class A New York-Penn League the next year. At Batavia, he also swiped 20 bases.
“(Smith) is super-fast,” Stanton said. “In 96 games, he has a batting average of .326, more importantly 37 stolen bases, only 60 Ks and an OBP of .403. Smith is a huge, huge piece of our goals – the perfect lead-off hitter.”
Mitchell, 25, was a 13th round selection of the Chicago Cubs in 2014 out of Kennett (MO) High School. In 2019, he showed his power with 14 home runs for Myrtle Beach in the Class A Carolina League.
“(Mitchell) is an uber-athlete power-speed combo,” Stanton said. “A former Baseball America top 30 prospect. He grew a few inches and gained over 20 pounds of muscle since he originally signed. His 117 extra-base hits came mostly in the last two to three seasons. He will probably be a four or five hitter.”
Mitchell is listed at 6’4” tall and weighing 185 pounds.
Sundberg, 27, a 26th round choice of the Washington Nationals out of UConn, has played four seasons in the Nats’ organization, topping out in high-A ball with Potomac of the Carolina League. He is a lifetime .262 hitter with 53 career stolen bases.
“(Jack Sundberg) is a crazy athlete, has always batted for a god average and OBP (.355) and very low Ks,” Stanton said. “He has the potential to add extra base and stolen bases in Independent Ball. He gives us another leadoff option, but probably (will hit) in the two-, seven-, eight- or nine-hole.”
A native of Neptune, NJ, Ramiz, 25, was a 23rd round selection out of Seton Hall University in 2018 by the Seattle Mariners. In 2019 at West Virginia of the Class a South Atlantic League, in 119 games, Ramiz stroked 23 doubles, three triples and seven home runs.
“After his (Ramiz) two seasons as a pro, his power really started to develop,” Stanton said. “His Ks are a bit high, but he has the potential to be a 15-home run, 25-doubles guy. He also has above average speed – (he will hit between) fourth and eighth in the order.”
After an exhibition game on May 22 against the NYPD – game time is set for 6:30 p.m., the New York Boulders’ much anticipated Frontier League debut will arrive on May 27 when they host the Washington (PA) Wild Things at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona.
Game time for Opening Day is 7 p.m.
The Boulders will conclude their two-game opening series with Washington the following day. That game is also a 7 p.m. start.
A complete New York Boulders’ 2021 schedule, as well as information regarding season tickets and packages for the 2021 season are available by calling 845-364-0009 or sliding to www.NYBoulders.com. Individual game tickets will go on sale April 19.
Meanwhile, tickets for the NYPD exhibition game on May 22 are on-sale now.
Attendance at all home games at PCU Park is subject to New York State Department of Health guidelines and protocol.
Debuting in 1993, the Frontier League is the largest and longest-running of the modern independent leagues and features teams stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway. In September of 2020, the Frontier League reached an agreement to become a “Partner League” with Major League Baseball.
As a “Partner League,” the Frontier League and its teams will meet on a regular basis with MLB representatives to discuss joint marketing and promotional opportunities, as well as collaborate on initiatives to provide organized baseball to communities throughout the United States and Canada.
More information can be found at www.frontierleague.com.
About the New York Boulders and NYB, LLC
The New York Boulders are entering their 10th season of Professional Baseball as part of the newly-formed Frontier League and are in pursuit of a post-season appearance for the seventh straight season. Founded as the Rockland Boulders in 2011, the franchise rebranded as the New York Boulders in advance of the 2020 season. In 2014, the Boulders won the Can-Am League Championship and hosted the Frontier vs. Can-Am All-Star Game in 2019. Proud to be part of the rich history of professional baseball in the New York City region, during the 2017 season the team welcomed its 1,000,000th fan to Palisades Credit Union Park located in Rockland County, NY. In 2012 and 2014, Rockland was named the Can-Am’s “Organization of the Year.” The Boulders are owned and operated by NYB, LLC, a sports and entertainment company comprised of former executives from all levels of major and minor league sports. NYB is committed to providing superior customer service and quality, affordable family entertainment experiences for the New York Metropolitan area, Lower Hudson Valley and northeast New Jersey. Slide to www.nyboulders.com for more information.