BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On Monday the Biloxi Shuckers held media day at MGM Park. New manager Mike Guerrero believes the 2016 Shuckers have the talent to make plenty of noise in the Southern League.
The Shuckers open the new season with a seven game home series at MGM Park with a rematch with Chattanooga beginning 6:40 Thursday night. The Shuckers will play five games against the Look Outs, the defending Southern League Champs who beat Biloxi in the league championship. Those games will be played Thursday through Monday. Next Tuesday and Wednesday the Shuckers will entertain the Mobile BayBears.
Guerrero said, "I think we have the ability to go out there and win a championship. I believe there's a lot of talent on this club. What I'm saying is the will of a person is bigger than your talent. So, the will of the team will be bigger to pave the task."
To get the top of the mountain pitching will be key.
"The starting pitching is pretty good, "stated Guerrero. "There's a lot of experience to this level coming in. I would say we're going to face adversity, but I believe during the course of the season, they're going to come out successful."
Shuckers pitching coach Chris Hook did an outstanding job last season and while a number of the key pitchers have been called up, Hook feels like he has a lot of talent to work with this season.
Josh Hader and Adrian Houser didn't join the team until late following a trade with the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers.
Pitcher Jaye Chapman started the season with the Shuckers last season and posted 4 wins and 2 losses with a 0.82 earned run average before he made his way to Triple A. He's back.
"My immediate goal right now, just go execute my pitches, "said Chapman. "I want to find my place on this team and help them win. Like I said, winning is what it's all about.
In 2012 Chapman pitched with the Chicago Cubs before two hip surgeries curtailed his major league career. He's hoping to use the Shuckers as a launching pad to make his way back to the Majors.
The addition of new manager Mike Guerrero gives the Shuckers two Guerrero's on the Biloxi roster. Shuckers hitting coach Sandy Guerrero is back for his second season with the Shuckers.
Mike Guerreo said, "I think it's going to be fun. There is not an excuse that I don't know my hitting coach. He's been in baseball for a long time. I've been in baseball a little longer than he has as a coach and as a manager.
It's the first time that two Dominican Republic guys come to be coaches on the same team in the states. I'm looking forward to it."
Center fielder Brett Phillips who was included in the Brewers-Astros trade is a young man loaded with talent. He believes the 2016 Shuckers could be a better overall team compared to the 2015 Shuckers.
On Monday night the Shuckers entertained the Jackson State Tigers in an exhibition game and as expected Biloxi dominated JSU 17-0.
Get ready for Biloxi Shuckers baseball beginning 6:40 Thursday night at MGM Park.