RedHawks manager Schlact 'excited about the product' as team roster rounds into shape
FARGO—The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks are about a month away from starting their training camp, and manager Michael Schlact likes the roster composition.
"We love where we're at," Schlact said. "We're excited about the product. .. We're getting close to done."
The RedHawks start their preseason camp in early May and their American Association baseball season-opener is scheduled for May 18 at the Texas AirHogs in Grand Prairie.
Schlact will be starting his first full season as the team's manager. He was the interim manager to close out last season before he was named the new manager shortly after the season ended.
Earlier this week, the RedHawks traded the reversionary rights for left-handed pitching ace Tyler Alexander to the Lincoln Saltdogs. Lincoln has since traded Alexander's rights to Sussex County of the Can-Am League.
In return for Alexander, the RedHawks acquired outfielder Tim Colwell, who played at North Dakota State, outfielder Randolph Oduber and right-handed pitcher Tyler Herr. Schlact said that deal filled a number of needs for the RedHawks.
"We had some holes in our lineup that we really, really needed to fix," he said.
Oduber is projected to be a power hitter in the middle of the lineup, while Colwell is expected to play outfield and lead off. Herr is expected to compete for a spot in the bullpen.
Oduber batted .286 with 17 home runs and 60 RBIs in 94 games with Lincoln last season.
"He's a big presence from the right-hand side, something that we lacked currently," Schlact said. "He is going to protect some lefties we have in our lineup. ... He's been around the game a long time, he has true power."
The RedHawks currently have 28 players on their roster. Schlact said he expects the team to carry 22 players once the season starts. He's worked with player personnel consultant Jeff Bittiger to put the roster together this offseason.
"It's been a really fun process," Schlact said of helping build a team with Bittiger. "I've enjoyed that side of it."
Schlact was named the team's pitching coach prior to the 2015 season and has been with the RedHawks since. The team currently has 11 players on the roster who played with F-M last season.
Outfielders Keury De La Cruz and Devan Ahart, catcher Charlie Valerio and shortstop Yhoxian Medina are among the key position players returning. The RedHawks also added former Major League infielder Carlos Triunfel, who is expected to play second base.
From 2012-2014, Triunfel played 39 games in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers.
"He was one of those top prospects in all of baseball a few short years ago," Schlact said "We shored up our defense in the infield a lot."
Right-handed pitcher Jose Almarante also returns and is expected to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. Right-hander Trey McNutt also returns and Schlact expects McNutt to be in the starting rotation. McNutt was a reliever for the RedHawks a season ago.
"It's going to be a fun camp to see how it all shakes out," Schlact said. "Our sights are set on championship baseball. Every move we make is geared toward getting back to that."