Cub Bullpen Failure Is Not a Surprise

Derrek Lee crushed a two-run double, Aramis Ramirez and Tyler Colvin had two hits a piece (and Colvin also stole a base and scored two runs), and Ryan Dempster threw five innings of shutout ball before tiring in the 6th, as the Cubs and Royals played to a 5-5 tie in Cactus League action at Surprise Stadium this afternoon.

 

box score

The game was scoreless through the first three innings, before the Cubs broke-through for a run off Royals starter Luke Hochevar in the top of the 4th. Tyler Colvin rapped a hard-hit ground-single to right with one out, stole 2nd base, and then scored on a two-out RBI single to left-center by Aramis Ramirez. (Suffering from a sore right triceps, Ramirez was the Cubs DH today, and he hit the ball hard twice, settling for singles both times).

The Cubs scored two more runs in the 5th off KC LHRP Dusty Hughes, as Ryan Theriot walked and Tyler Colvin hammered another single to right with no outs. Derrek Lee then crushed a long double off the right-centerfield fence to score Theriot and Colvin, giving the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Ryan Dempster was in mid-season form through the first five innings (80 pitches - 50 strikes), allowing no runs on two hits (a lead-off single in the 1st and a lead-off double in the 3rd) and three walks, while striking out six.

Trying to extend him a bit further, Manager Lou Piniella sent Dempster out to start the bottom of the 6th, but the veteran right-hander did not have much left. He gave up a lead-off triple to Alberto Callaspo, a hard-hit sac-fly to RF to Billy Butler, and a double to Jose Guillen, before being relieved by Carlos Marmol.

For the day, Dempster threw 93 pitches (59 strikes), with a 6/5 GO/FO.

Generally speaking, rotation starters are stretched to about 100 pitches by their next-to-last Spring Training start, and then they are usually cut-back to five innings and 75 pitches in their final start prior to the beginning of the MLB regular season. So with two Cactus League starts remaining, Dempster is probably right where he should be, maybe even a bit further along than normal.

Marmol relieved Dempster with one run in, a runner on 2nd, and one out in the 6th, and proceeded to strike out Jason Kendall with some nasty sliders. But then lefty-hitting Brayan Pena got a first-pitch fastball from the Cub closer and drove it high over the RF fence for a game-tying two-run home run.

Marmol also pitched the 7th, and labored a bit through the inning (23 pitches - 12 strikes), walking one batter and hitting another, while also throwing a wild pitch. But with one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd, Marmol got it together and struck out Alberto Callaspo and Billy Butler to end the threat and keep the game tied.

For the day, Marmol worked 1.2 IP, throwing 30 pitches (17 strikes), allowing one run (the HR).

The Cubs took the lead back in the 8th, when Micah Hoffpauir worked a two-out walk off Royals veteran LHRP John Parrish, advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, and scored on a clutch two-out line single to right by Jeff Baker.

But the Royals came right back against the Cubs LHRP John Gaub in the bottom of the frame, tying the score at four as lefty-hitting Mitch Maier laced a lead-off triple into the right-center alley, and (with the infield drawn-in) scored on an RBI line single to CF by Jason Kendall. Gaub did get out of the inning without further damage (1-3 SH, 6-3, 5-3), however, throwing 20 pitches (13 strikes) with a 3/0 GO/FO.

Still facing lefty John Parrish, the Cubs took the lead once again the top of the 9th, as Kevin Millar rapped a lead-off line-drive single to left, and advanced to 2nd base on a picture-perfect 1-3 sacrifice bunt laid down by Darwin Barney. Sam Fuld struck out and Chris Robinson walked, before ex-Royal Andres Blanco ripped an RBI line-drive single into left-center to score score Millar with the go-ahead run.

But the Cubs bullpen gave up the lead one last time in the bottom of the 9th, as RHRP Marcos Mateo entered the game with a chance for the save. But unfortunately Mateo immediately gave up three consecutive hard-hit singles to Chris Getz, Scott Thorman, and Alberto Calaspo to tie the score 5-5, although he did work out of a bases-loaded jam to keep the score tied through nine innings.

Apparently neither team was interested in playing extra innings, as the game was declared a 5-5 tie and the Cubs headed home to Mesa.

With mediocre outings by John Gaub and Marcos Mateo today on the heels of a piss-poor performance by Rule 5 pick Mike Parisi yesterday, the Cubs are running out of in-house bullpen options. At present it would appear that (barring a trade) the Opening Day pen will be (essentially by default): Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Esmailin Caridad, either Sean Marshall or Tom Gorzelanny (Marshall gets the start tomorrow and Gorzelanny starts on Thursday, as the two lefties vie for one spot in the rotation), either Carlos Silva or Jeff Samardzija, Justin Berg, and James Russell.

I would think Hendry will probably be stepping-up his pursuit of a veteran MLB set-up man with closer experience, who can be the #1 8th inning set-up guy and close on days when Marmol is unavailable (Marmol throws a lot of pitches-per-inning, and so even if he turns out to be the 2010 N. L. Fireman of thed Year, he probably will not be able to throw more than three days in row). Toronto Blue Jays RHP Jason Frasor would appear to fit the Cubs need perfectly, but of course the Jays know that, too, so the Cubs would probably have to overpay to get him.

31-year old veteran RHRP Mike Adams has pitched very well for San Diego this Spring and would probably be available in a deal if the Cubs would be willing to give up a couple of decent prospects, but he does not have MLB closer experience. (Adams was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this past off-season, and he and the Padres agreed on a $1.2M contract in lieu of going to abitration).

Getting the start at 3B, veteran Chad Tracy had a bad day today, getting called-out on strikes, grounding into an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP, and flying out to right at the plate, while also throwing a ball away for a two-base error (his only defensive chance of the day) on what should have been a routine 5-3 ground-out.

Comments

adams is f'n bank...if his health holds. they should trade one or the other while the fans won't give SD too much hell about it. one of them (adams/bell) seems destined to be traded anyway.

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In reply to by John Beasley

Submitted by John Beasley on Tue, 03/23/2010 - 7:35pm. Good wrap, Phil. Do you not feel Cashner would be a better choice? Now that he's been optioned, how soon can the Cubs recall him? ==================================== JOHN B: Andrew Cashner isn't on the Cubs 40-man roster so he wasn't optioned to the minors. Therefore he can be added to the 40-man roster (and 25-man roster) at any time. But he won't get to Chicago until he learns to throws strikes more consistently. And it's still not clear whether the Cubs will use him as a starter or a closer in 2010, or even whether he begins the year at AAA Iowa or AA Tennessee.

I would think Hendry will probably be stepping-up his pursuit of a veteran MLB set-up man with closer experience, who can be the #1 8th inning set-up guy and close on days when Marmol is unavailable ...
Hendry already had that guy, Kevin Gregg.

Mike McDougal was just released, worth a look? He's had a rough spring, but he did manage 20/21 in save oppos last year, better than Gregg could manage. He'd only cost the big league minimum to try out. Give him a whirl and send Samninja to Iowa?

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In reply to by Jim Hickmans Bat

Submitted by Jim Hickmans Bat on Tue, 03/23/2010 - 9:37pm. Mike McDougal was just released, worth a look? He's had a rough spring, but he did manage 20/21 in save oppos last year, better than Gregg could manage. He'd only cost the big league minimum to try out. Give him a whirl and send Samninja to Iowa? ======================================== JIM H: I think it's quite possible that Mike MacDougal will be given a look by the Cubs sometime over the next ten days, presuming MacDougal is interested in pitching for the Cubs.

has been in 4 organizations over the last 3 years and had to sign a minor league deal this offseason. He had a 1.520 WHIP last year getting that 20/21 saves. Maybe on a minor league deal and see how he does in Iowa, but he's pretty sketchy.

My out of the box thought for the bench: bring back Edmonds. He is hitting .286/.390/.457 for the Brewers this spring, but there is talk that the Brewers might not keep him (they also have Jody Gerut) or that Edmonds might not accept a 5th OF position with limited playing time. Edmonds is the lefty power bench bat that Hoffpauir or Tracy would be, but in addition to playing 1B, RF, and LF, he can also play CF. So you send Fuld, Colvin, and Adduci to the minors, and your bench is: Hill, Baker, Nady, Edmonds, and Blanco. Good LH/RH balance, good experience, good power, good defense. Will never happen. But I like it.

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In reply to by WISCGRAD

I hate it. Ugh--I hope I never see that slow ugly swing again. First-bleacher-row power to the opposite field, preferably near the line where it's about 360. He only gets hits at all because lazy pitchers don't read the scouting report and figure it's always safe to throw breaking balls low outside. Any decent fastball inside gets him out. If I wanted an inside-out hitter--which I don't--I'd ten times rather have Jaques Jones. (I was an Edmonds fan before he came to the Cubs, because of his numbers and the glamor associated with the red cap, but then I started looking at him.)

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In reply to by Rob G.

I was working from memory, but if readers follow your hittrackeronline link, it illustrates very well the point I was making about Edmonds' penchant for Wally-Moonshots. In a 20-HR season, he hit three HRs within a 42-degree arc around straightaway center. Thirteen homers were to the left of that arc; four to the right. The 368 sign in Wrigley is to the left of the arc. You're right, though, he doesn't need to hit it down the line. He can reach the seats to the left of 368, particularly if the wind is blowing out. Anyway, it's a weird swing that produces that graphic. Edmonds is too old to play centerfield and hit like a normal hitter.

From Gordon Wittenmeyer (I presume, no byline) Sun Times: "SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Cubs appear no closer to acquiring a veteran reliever for their young bullpen than they were when they got to Mesa last month. But enough pitchers have performed well enough this spring -- Tuesday's three blown saves by three different guys notwithstanding -- that the need is looking less urgent to team officials, especially given the difficulty in making a quality trade during spring training." http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/2119479,CST-SPT-cubnt24.ar… Well what do we know anyway? The bullpen is in great shape!

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In reply to by Rob Richardson

they're pretty much projected across the board at around .500. Throw in the standard +/- of 6 games and they're right in the thick of it or gonna fade, but I don't think there's anyway of knowing. If they stay healthy and a couple guys bounce back, they'll be fighting the Cardinals. If they're not healthy and guys have similar years or even more decline, they'll be battling for .500. But any team that can reasonably be expected to be .500 is gonna be at least in the wild card race until August most likely which means might as well go for it without selling off the farm. They have a few guys close to the majors (Castro, Cashner, J. Jackson, Colvin) that could be a big shot in the arm as well during the season.

So when a guy is optioned to the AAA (let's say Parker) when can he be called back up? Also, do you think they are thinking of trading Parker or keeping him to see what he can do? He did lead the AAA in saves last year.

The strength of the team last year was our rotation, and I think it won't be this year. I don't have a good feeling heading into the season, bullpen aside I think we're due for a drop-off here. I think Randy Wells is going to prove to be a back of the rotation inning eater, a slightly better Josh Fogg. Silva will get rocked. It would be very helpful if Gorz had a comeback year. The only starter I have 100% confidence in is Dempster (and Lilly if he's healthy)

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In reply to by Q-Ball

Zambrano not on the team anymore? He is a bit erratic, but seems to be more focused according to reports. I'm not worried about him. Z, Demp, Lilly (by June) will be as good as any top three. Wells at 4, Silva, Gorz, Marshall, Ninja, etc - someone will be better than the rest and claim the 5th starter spot. Assuming health the rotation should be decent. Lineup is still full of Fukodome, Soriano and Fontenot/Baker, so it's hard to be excited about any of that. Bullpen looks 10x worse than the rotation or the lineup. I'd rather run through the AAA pitching roster than trade Colvin for a rental, even if we get someone for a full season.

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In reply to by The Real Neal

No, Cleveland sold high on DeRosa last year. We didn't pick up a sure thing Major league player in the bunch. And last year we were supposed to contend. So trading DeRosa was a HUGE MISTAKE.

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In reply to by The Real Neal

selling high" doesn't have anything to do with what you get back. * reply HuH????????? The return is everything in a trade. The fact that we were supposed to contend last year and dealt our starting second baseman for 3 bullpen suspects is nowhere near selling high. The Indians sold high because they picked up their MLB closer and probable 8th inning setup guy when they turned DeRosa around to St. Louis. Conversely, If we would have shipped DeRosa to St. Louis instead of Cleveland. We would probably not be having all the bullpen hand wringing that we are. Just sayin

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

The Indians got a better haul than the Cubs. So they sold "Higher". who is to judge who got a better haul? you've already determined the Indians did better(not that it really matters with what was being discussed) despite a very incomplete evaluation period. But now 6 years later, the Cubs did better in the Sosa trade. If you evaluated the Sosa trade in 2006, everyone would have thought the Cubs got absolutely nothing in the deal. And the Cubs paid almost all of Sosa's deal in the O's trade, they certainly didn't get a better haul.

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In reply to by WISCGRAD

The only point some people are making is that Hendry sold DeRosa high after his career year it seems more like the point trying to be made is that he didn't sell high at all. So either Hendry did not get enough for him, or DeRosa's value increased after he was traded. DeRosa was owed $5.5M when the Cubs traded him, $2.75M when the Indians moved him. So yes, his trade value did increase, although the Cubs would have never moved him mid-season since they were still competing. The Cards would not have offered the same package if they were on the hook for all of DeRosa's $5.5M. This allegedly better haul of prospects the Indians got cost them about $2.75M. Either way, the main point is that Hendry either got screwed on the deal or pulled the trigger to early. There was no later opportunity for the Cubs to trade DeRosa, it was either keep him for the season or move him over the offseason to save money to sign their left-handed hitting outfielder(that of course is a different bag of worms). As for getting screwed... Perez, Todd and essentially sending over $2.75M(or the cost of one year of Ryan Theriot) vs. Gaub, Archer, Stevens I fail to see much of a difference there.

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In reply to by Rob G.

2.5 million dollars is absolutely Nothing to a MLB team like Philly or St. Louis. They threw more than that at 16 year old latin kids last summer. Acting like its an acceptable difference between the Indians getting 2 Charter Memebers of their pitching staff and the Cubs getting the ghosts of Luke Haggerty and Grant Johnson in return is beyond disingenuous. Surely we could have found money to make the haul different if need be. We didn't have trouble finding money for Grabow and Gorzo in July.

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

I am really looking forward to this string of CY Youngs that their jumped up set up man and player to be named later are going to duel over for the next 10 years. All this bitching and moaning about Perez. Let's take I don't know, 10 seconds and review some facts. Perez had a 4.26 ERA, 99 ERA+ last year. You're bitching because the Cubs didn't get a guy who can't match Aaron Heilman's ERA - the same guy the Cubs discarded because he wasn't good enough to be on the team. Next you're going to start complaining how we let Barry Zito go to the Giants.

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

2.5 million dollars is absolutely Nothing to a MLB team like Philly or St. Louis.
False.
They threw more than that at 16 year old latin kids last summer.
Amateur/draft budgets are generally separate to major league budgets.
Acting like its an acceptable difference between the Indians getting 2 Charter Memebers of their pitching staff and the Cubs getting the ghosts of Luke Haggerty and Grant Johnson in return is beyond disingenuous.
speaking of disingenuous, Jess Todd was cut today. Enjoyed the absurd hyperbole though.
Surely we could have found money to make the haul different if need be. We didn't have trouble finding money for Grabow and Gorzo in July.
they cost less than a $1M to the Cubs last year, teams usually leave some room in their budget for mid-season acquisitions. Plus the new ownership took over by then.

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In reply to by Rob G.

Not my argument. I personally think they should have kept DeRosa for last year. I just think that is what some people feel - that Hendry didn't get enough for DeRosa based on what they see Cleveland got. In turn, they express this by saying that Hendry sold too low or got taken on the deal. Whether they are using the right terminology or are even correct is debatable, but I just think that is what a LOT of Cubs fans think. "Why did we trade him, and even if we did, why didn't we get more, look what Cleveland got"

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

Yes, because Gonzales improved his OPS+ by 27 over his career high last year. Here's an idea. I know it's going to blow your mind. Maybe the Cubs don't use Baseball America when they determine how good players are... I know that's way out of left field, but it's just a thought. The guy who started the discussion, Colvin, many people would have traded for a bag of beans over the off-season, and now he looks to be a commodity you can get something for. That right there is a very good illustration of how you, don't know what the fuck you're talking about. The whole way you're looking at this is so... flawed? ignorant? What's the nice word for it? Myopic? You can't both say that you have to wait for the players careers to finish to determine whether or not a trade was a "sell high" and simultaneously say that the Cubs didn't "trade high" when they got three guys of whom the most you could would have hope for is half a major league season at this point.

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In reply to by The Real Neal

Obviously we will see how it will all play out. I would guess that public perception, both at the time and still today is that Hendry got hosed. I don't hold out much hope for the bullpen prospects from the DeRosa deal. The fact that they can't break camp in a bullpen with Marmol,Grabow, Carlos F'N Silva and 4 rookies tells us quite a bit about how they are viewed internally as well.

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In reply to by The Real Neal

I am one of those who said they wouldn't have been dissappointed if they traded Colvin for bullpen help. He has had a great spring, but the way I see it is that he has earned a stay of execution.

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

You think Colvin has improved his stock in Spring Training? Really? He is doing what he is supposed to be doing but damn no walks? Never lose sight of the fact he is a career .277 hitter with a .323 OBP in the minors. He walks about 30-40 times and strikes out 100 in 600 AB's in the minors roughly. Expand that to the major leagues and its a repeat of Corey Patterson except this kid has no power and no speed. He will walk maybe 20 times and punch out 160 times if you play him everyday in the majors. Colvin hasn't impressed a single scout, he is just hacking away at the plate with no ability to lay off pitches. That will be exploited by major league pitchers shortly.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/dead-money/ teams paying the most to other teams for bad contracts(seems to be a few discrepancies if you look in the comments). Cubs receiving a net of $2M from other teams, although I believe it's actually 2.5M as the guy is counting Vizcaino, although his is actually a buyout. Sending $1M to A's for Miles Receiving $3.5M for Silva.

Orioles playing the Cardinals. Hill started and went 3 innings, gave up 3 walks and 4 hits (2 runs), struck out 3. Not sure where he goes from here with his 6.30 spring ERA and his 9 walks in 10 innings. Pie led off the game and walked, then singled his next at bat. Pie has been hampered by shoulder tendonitis this preseason, and is 6 for 15 (.400).

doh...dwight gooden...yesterday morning arrest... "endangering the welfare of a child, driving under the influence of drugs, DWI with a child passenger, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident and reckless driving" yeah, dawg.

Tracy with a bases clearing double in the first but an error in the bottom half as Marshall gives up an unearned run on 2 hits and a walk.

done arthoscopically which apparently gives him better odds of returning ---------- Without details, I have to make some assumptions but what Guzman probably had was a capsular repair that is done arthroscopically for recurring shoulder dislocations. This is what ARam would need if he re-dislocated and had continued instability of his left shoulder. The anterior capsule of the shoulder is reattached to the lower front of the socket (glenoid). There are several anchors that are available to do this which require drilling a hole in the bone where the anchor or anchors are to be placed and then placing the sutures to tighten the capsule (where the inferior glenohumeral ligament is embedded) and tying slide knots arthroscopically, essentially sewing the capsule back in position and removing the laxity that causes the instability. As I've said before, the trick is to get this not too tight and in a pitcher who needs a lot of external rotation, too tight means pretty loose but tight enough to prevent instability. It probably takes 3 months for the capsular attachment to heal down to the anchor site but they will start stretching a lot sooner than that to prevent excessive shoulder stiffness. Then strengthening. Probably will be a year or two before he can throw at full velocity or whatever velocity and accuracy he can get to again. An open procedure involves more tissue dissection and therefore scarring but it's all about getting that fine line of capsular tightening accomplished so it's probably easier to recover in the short run, but the end results, since it takes a long time to assess are likely to be tough to tell if getting it done by the scope alone will make a full recovery quicker or better. It's definitely better from how Guzman will feel in the early postop period though.

which is more valuable, $84 worth of Shamrock shakes or $84 worth of McRib sandwiches? Cubs leading 10-1, top of 6th after Tracy's second dooble, this one 2 runs, first inning was a 3 run. 6 spot so far in the 6th.

Az Phil: can you give us a scouting report on Brian Schlitter? He was acquired from the Phils for Scott Eyre. Nobody seems to mention him as a bullpen possibility at this point but what does he need to do to get noticed. Seems like the 22 saves at Tenn (even though his w-l record was bad) must have some value. Plus he's another one from Park Ridge, IL

I'll betcha a million bucks Ricketts re-signs Hendry. Book it, and get used to it. PS Is there ANY GM this forum would take? Eventually, we (baseball fans) get tired of all of them, even Sherholts, and that Marlins/Tigers guy. They are not gods and we are just Monday morning QB's. I, on the other hand, "know" the prospect prognostications, therefore I would keep Colvin and then trade him after Lou leaves him on the bench until he rots, since he is a youth.

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In reply to by artskoe

only thing hendry has done to piss me off is signing milton without having a manager and coaching crew ready to deal with such a large investment (investment in money and time). milton was better suited for a DH league to begin with and he showed up in a lazy locker room that wasn't ready to have him around. people can blah-blah about how much of a baby milton is, but you don't make an investment like that unless you are ready to deal with something that shouldn't be a mystery to anyone. it was all an extremely 1/2-assed experience. i kinda wonder how they'd handle a guy like cj wilson. it may be the cocaine, but ron washington's TX doesn't seem to be overrun by a single strong personality (or multiple ones) "ruining" everything for everyone else.

via ye olde world o' roto for those still interested: "Padres GM Jed Hoyer told Corey Brock of MLB.com Monday that his club is not actively shopping closer Heath Bell, nor have they had offers."

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In reply to by The Real Neal

here's your paul sullivan edited version... MESA, Ariz. - I, Paul Sullivan, arrived back in Arizona in good time (Hey, any time you're in Arizona without Milton Bradley is a good time!) only to make it to Fitch Park where a noticeably celebrating Milton-less lockerroom was shooting off bottle rockets and giving me high fives. The Cubs are playing the Rangers. It was an eventful day without Milton Bradley (or should I call him Milton BADley? Hahah!), though, and I'll update you on the game if I get a chance.

Cubs MLB Roster

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Last updated 12-2-2022
 
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PITCHERS: 20
Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Ben Brown
Jeremiah Estrada
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Codi Heuer 
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Ryan Jensen
Caleb Kilian 
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Ethan Roberts 
Manuel Rodriguez
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Adrian Sampson
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Keegan Thompson
Erich Uelmen 
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