On June 19, the Lowell Spinners will begin play in their 22nd season of existence, the 20th of which will be played at LeLacheur Park in Lowell. The team will open the season on Monday the 19th against the Vermont Lake Monsters with a 6:35 first pitch. The Spinners are coming off of a franchise-best 47 win season that ended in a Stedler Division Title and playoff appearance. With many players from last season being promoted to a higher level of minor league ball, the fans will welcome a new crop of players hoping to make their impression on the Red Sox organization.
For the first time since moving to Lowell in 1996, the team saw a change in ownership occur last summer. After nearly 20 years of running the team, Drew Weber sold the team to new owner Dave Heller (Main Street Baseball Group), who assumed the responsibilities when last season began. Heller owns four other minor league ball clubs across the country, according to the Lowell Sun, and has every intention of keeping the same promotions and fun family atmosphere at the games that Weber’s ownership oversaw for so many years. Per an story in the Eagle Tribune, Heller plans to keep the team both in Lowell at LeLacheur Park and as a member of the Red Sox organization for years to come.
As a result of the new ownership group, the team also revealed a new logo and jerseys for the upcoming season. The new branding for the team emphasizes the city of Lowell over the Spinners, hoping to show the connection with the city. The team’s Canaligator mascot has also taken a big role on the logo and will be the same insignia on the team’s home hats. The logo also shows the mills of the city of Lowell, which is a huge part of the history of the city. According to Ballpark Digest, Heller said that he was excited to incorporate the city of Lowell into it’s logo and uniform to show how important the team is to the city and vice versa.
After such a successful season last year, it is no surprise that many players were promoted to a higher level, as the Spinners participate in the New-York Penn League, a short single-A season. After winning the NYPL batting title with a .332 average, Tyler Hill has been promoted to the Greenville Drive of the South Atlantic League. Teammate Bobby Dalbec also begin 2017 in Greenville after winning Player of the Month last August after Hill won the award in July. Roldani Baldwin, Carlos Tovar, Jhon Nunez, Ryan Scott and Nick Lovullo are among other notable players who have moved on to a new club in the Red Sox organization.
Notable players returning to Lowell for this season include Victor Acosta, Matt McLean, Nick Sciortino, Yoan Aybar and Enmanuel De Jesus. As is the case with every season, a slew of new players will be joining the Spinners. The most well-known player joining is Jay Groome, who has not pitched since injuring himself in a Greenville Drive game in April. Groome was considered a top prospect for the 2016 MLB Entry Draft out of Barnegat HS in New Jersey, and the Red Sox drafted him 12th overall and signed him to a $3.65 million contract. He was recently rated as the 41st best prospect in all of baseball and will be one of the most exciting players that fans in the Greater Merrimack Valley will see all season.
During the 2017 season, the Spinners home schedule is full of fun promotional nights in order to try and draw fans to the ballpark. For the home opener on Monday night, they will be giving away magnetic schedule’s to all fans, as well as their first installment of “Military Monday”, when all military members can enter the game for $1. Military Monday will occur every Monday, while every Tuesday will be “Taco Tuesday” with Taco’s sold at the ballpark and Sunday’s are “Kids Day” as well as “Peanut Free Game” for those with a peanut allergy. Nearly every home game will have a promotion, while five of the home games will have fireworks following the conclusion. During the season, the team will continue its series of bobblehead giveaways, this season with giveaways for Rick Porcello, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley.
The Spinners have seen and continue to see numerous players make their way to MLB and make major impacts once they get there. Current Red Sox players Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr, Brian Johnson, Deven Marrero, Christian Vazquez, Robby Scott and Sam Travis all played games at LeLacheur Park when their careers were getting started. Former Sox players Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Youkilis, Travis Shaw and Clay Buchholz all got their start in the organization with the Spinners, while 2006 World Series MVP David Eckstein was a popular player for the Spinners back in 1997. Nearly every season that the Spinners have played has seen a player who later goes to play in the major leagues.