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Local talent key to Aces success
Aussie young guns to compliment MLB star-power
11/08/2017 11:53 PM ET
(C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA
(C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA 

Jon Deeble has 1,637 games of MLB experience to call on for the Aces' 2017/18 ABL campaign, but his focus is firmly set on the continuous improvement of young Australian baseballers.

"The key is getting more gametime into these young Aussies and making them better ballplayers," Deeble said.

"We're confident our imports can get the job done, so we're working really hard to ensure that our Australian talent players have a role to play."

Melbourne's Australian contingent will have a different look in 2017/18, following the departure of veteran pitcher Dushan Ruzic and the middle infield caliber duo of Brad Harman and James Beresford.

The future seems bright for the Aces current local crop, with U23 silver medalists Liam Bedford and Jared Cruz both finishing with career highs in hits, RBI and total bases last season.

"People forget that Cruz and Bedford are both in their early 20s, and we're looking forward to more consistency from both young men this season," he said.

"Also keep an eye out for the Dale boys (Ryan and Jarryd) to really become key members of the team."

Those young Aussies will have plenty of experience to lean on, with former MLBers Delmon Young, Matt Marksberry, Peter Moylan, Mark Hamburger and Virgil Vasquez all set to lead the Aces Claxton Shield campaign.

"Last night we had the Victorian U16 and U18 teams at Aces practice, and the look on their faces when Delmon Young was hitting balls to the train tracks at Altona was priceless," Deeble said.

"This league is unique because you get 16/17 year olds sharing locker rooms with big leaguers. 

"They see what it's like to rub shoulders with these professionals and all being well they tack on to some good on-field habits."

Peter Moylan is coming off another stellar year in the MLB, and will play a big role in the Aces bullpen post-Christmas, and Deeble says he won't be the only Aussie arm being rolled out following the holiday period.

"Expect Jon Kennedy, Sam Street and Dan McGrath to be getting plenty of game-time after the mid-season break."

"Kennedy was outstanding for us last year as both a starter and a reliever. He's coming off a great year in pro-ball and we're excited to see how he's developed his game."

Make sure you join the Aces on their quest to claim Claxton Shield glory this season, buy your memberships here.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.