According to the Canberra Times, four members of the Toronto Blue Jays organization will be headed Down Under to play in the upcoming Australian Baseball League. The Blue Jays have agreed to send C/1B Jack Murphy, SS Shane Opitz, 2B Jon Berti and OF Mike Crouse to the defending league champion Canberra Cavalry.
Murphy, 25, played the majority of the season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats before he was called up to the Buffalo Bisons for the remaining three games of the season. He batted .218/.269/.330 and had 3 home runs to go along with 39 strikeouts. Last year for the Cavalry he had a .304 batting average with 5 home runs and 24 RBIs. The Australian team’s general manager says he really liked the way the Murphy worked with the pitching staff last season.
“Jack worked very well with pitching staff last year and was a true field general” – Canberra Cavalry general manager Thom Carter
Murphy’s long hair and throwback moustache made him a “cult hero” last season according to the Australian daily.
Opitz, 21, started the 2013 baseball season in the Midwest League playing for the Lansing Lugnuts and batted .370/.424/.500, which was a big-time improvement over the .225/.282/.317 triple-slash he put up as a 20-year old in Lansing. He then moved up to Dunedin and put up an impressive .309/.362/.399 line in 60 games. Opitz is a versatile defensive player and played every infield position this year for Dunedin. He’s really starting to hit his stride as he continues to move up the ranks so is a player worth keeping your eye on.
Berti, 23, repeated in Dunedin this year and put up a .250/.338/.323 triple slash and had 56 stolen bases in 75 attempts. Crouse, 22, is a B.C. native and also repeated for Dunedin. He batted .250/.343/.403 and had 21 stolen bases in 30 attempts.
The Cavalry are hoping the infield familiarity of Opitz and Berti will pay dividends as they chase title aspirations in the Australian Baseball League.