Hudson Valley Sports Report


Renegades Welcome Batch Of New Players As Season Begins Monday

By Philip Sanzo
Special to HVSR

FISHKILL – Another baseball season means another crop of Hudson Valley Renegades ball players, most of which are in the very beginning of their professional career.

The team held its annual Media Day on Friday at Dutchess Stadium and 26 players currently make up the roster of the short-season Class A New York-Penn League team ahead of Monday’s season-opern, and all hail from different places and cultures.

However as of now, only one player from this week’s 2017 MLB draft is donning a Renegades uniform, and that player is pitcher Hunter Schryver, a seventh-rounder out of Villanova University.

The last few weeks have been anything but dull for Schryver and his family. The left-handed pitcher had just recently graduated Villanova and earned the Pitcher of the Year award in the Big East conference.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” Schryver said of the last few days. “Draft day was an animal in and of itself and just hearing my name called was something I’ve dreamed about. The day after I got picked was crazy. Phone call after phone call, just phones blowing up every which way of people wanting to congratulate you and wish you the best.”

Draft day itself was a fairly low-key event for Schryver and his family in Mechanicsburg, Penn. Only a few close relatives waited around for Schryver to get the call that determines what lied ahead for the 22-year-old.

That call finally came, and it was from the Tampa Bay Rays.

The organization told Schryver that they were looking to pick him in the seventh round and they did with the 199th overall pick. What followed was chaos.

“I actually found out from the live stream of the draft that was on my TV,” Schryver said. “My name got called and it was just chaos. My dog was barking my parents were screaming, I was pumped.”

It was only a few hours after he was picked that Schryver found out he was going to start his professional journey in the Hudson Valley. Before he made the short trip out east though, he celebrated a little more during a graduation turned draft party the very next day.

In his time at Villanova, Schryver pitched to a 3.57 earned run average but had a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the last two seasons. His best season came this past spring as a senior. The lefty’s ERA was the lowest of his four years at ‘Nova at 2.44 and his 91 strikeouts were the second-most in the Big East.

But he knows that he’s not in college anymore.

“I know that every hitter in pro ball are college guys’ three, four and five hitters, like the best hitters they have,” Schryver said. “So there is never really a break out on the mound. But I just have to go out and be confident. Keep the approach that I’ve had my whole college career.”
Schryver is a fastball pitcher who also packs a knuckle-curve and a changeup. In the mid-spring he was able to get his fastball up to 94 miles per hour, but looks to improve that now that he can solely focus on baseball.

While a fastball and changeup are run of the mill pitches, a knuckle-curve is a little bit rarer. It was a pitch Schryver learned as a kid messing around with his friends.

“It was in Little League, me and one of my buddies on my team just screwing around like ‘look how I can make the ball move,’” Schryver said. “I did it and it’s obviously changed slightly over the years as I’ve thrown harder and stuff, but it’s pretty similar and it has worked for me.”

Schryver is one of the many new faces on the Renegades this season but the only one who has yet to make his professional debut. Manager Craig Albernaz’s message to all the new faces no matter what service time they have is that “they still play baseball.”

“It’s the same game except now they’re professionals, that’s the only difference. They are paid to play,” Albernaz said. “Other than that, do what got you here and just go from there.”

The Renegades start their season Monday at Aberdeen and will host the Staten Island Yankees for their home opener Wednesday.




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