Though not among finalists for league award, Faello is highly prized pitcher for Bristol Blues

Published on Friday, 2 August 2019 19:09
Written by ZACK CARPENTER

@ZACKCARPENTERBP

BRISTOL - Ronnie Palmer is upset with the FCBL, and the Bristol Blues manager isn’t bashful about it. 

“It’s just absurd that in this league, with the summer Mark Faello is putting together - with the most wins in the league and lowest ERA in the league - that he’s not a finalist for Pitcher of the Year,” Palmer said. “That is a joke by everybody in the FCBL. It’s ridiculous that he’s not a finalist.”

Faello, a right-hander and the No. 1 pitcher on the Blues staff, has a league-leading six victories and throughout seven starts (41 innings) his 1.54 ERA is second to Brockton Rox starter Matt Svanson (1.49), who is a finalist for the award. 

Here is Faello’s official line: 6-1, 1.54 ERA, 29 K, 21 BB, 14 R, 41 IP in seven starts.

“I am [upset]. That kid has pitched his tail off all summer long,” Palmer said. “There’s not a better pitcher in this league. He might not have all the strikeouts as some other guys, but just look at his numbers. He’s been flat-out fantastic, and he would’ve been for any team he pitched for. [Pitching coach Jordie Scheiner] and I are both pretty upset about that.”

The seven finalists for the award are Svanson (3-1, 1.70 ERA, 45 K, 14 BB, 11 R, 42⅓ IP in five starts and nine appearances), Worcester’s Angelo Baez (4-1, 1.67 ERA, 61 K, 15 BB, 9 R, 43 IP in six starts and 13 appearances), North Shore’s Beau Dana (1.47 ERA, 30 K, 6 BB, 4 R, 18⅓ IP, 13 saves), Worcester’s Shawn Babineau (5-0, 2.51 ERA, 49 K, 9 BB, 15 R, 43 IP in eight starts), Brockton’s Nick Sinacola (2-0, 2.61 ERA, 69 K, 16 R, 43 IP in nine starts), Jack Fox (2-6, 2.77 ERA, 74 K, 14 BB, 61⅔ IP in nine starts and 11 appearances) and Worcester’s Eric Chavarria (3-1, 2.46 ERA, 56 K, 11 BB, 11 R, 40⅓ IP in seven starts). 

“If numbers aren’t what dictates those awards, then what does?” Palmer said. “Because our sport that we love dearly and that we coach with a passion and the kids are passionate about, it’s all based on numbers. It’s statistically driven, right?”

Perhaps it’s a lack of pizazz or explosiveness that has Faello not being named a finalist, though Palmer says everyone who’s put a radar gun on Faello has clocked him between 89-93 miles per hour. 

“That’s pretty explosive in my book,” Palmer said. “His breaking ball’s pretty dirty. His changeup’s good. Everything. He’s just a competitor.”

Adding onto the displeasure of Faello not being a finalist is Palmer’s belief that Blues players haven’t gotten the respect they deserve during his three-year tenure. 

“It’s pretty disappointing to me, but this isn’t the first time Bristol’s gotten the shaft since I’ve been in the league, and it’s probably not gonna be the last time,” Palmer said. 

The main example Palmer references is at the end of the 2017 season, when Tom Curtin led the league with 12 saves but didn’t win Relief Pitcher of the Year, though in 2018 the Blues’ Neal McDermott won the award after recording 14 saves. 

And though the Blues have two MVP candidates this season (Brandon Miller and Austin White), there is still a perception the organization gets shafted when it comes to awards and recognition. 

“We’re the outlier in the conference,” Palmer said. “We’re the only team in Connecticut. I don’t know if we get lost in the shuffle when it comes to some of those things, but it’s been disappointing. 

“It doesn’t make any sense, so you tell me. If somebody’s got the answer, I’d love to hear it.”

FCBL Commissioner Joe Paolucci said the league compiles a list of finalists from all the coaches’ recommendations on who they believe should be a finalist. After that, the league administrators take the list and vote on who the finalists are. 

“I think we had 12 or 13 names from all the coaches, and we went with six finalists based on the voting,” Paolucci said. “[Faello] didn’t receive enough votes to be in the top six, which is unfortunate because he did have a good season, but that’s the process that we go with, and that’s how it came out.

“I can’t remember exactly how the voting came out, but at some point we have to cut it off, and there was a significant drop-off from six to seven. There was a tie between four, five and six - if I’m remembering correctly - and then there was a significant drop-off.”

Pitcher of the Year finalist or not, Faello will get the chance to prove himself in the playoffs immediately. Whether the Blues finish with a No. 3-6 seed and are forced into a win-or-go-home game Monday, or if they finish strong and earn a No. 1-2 seed and a first-round bye to Tuesday, the Blues will have Faello on the hill. 

“Pitching game one, regardless, will be Faello. He’s been our guy all summer,” Palmer said. “It’s pretty disappointing because that kid is a gamer. He’s done everything we’ve asked for and beyond. He deserves that, and unfortunately he’s not gonna get it as far as the recognition. But he’s been our MVP on the staff, there’s no question about it.”

Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or



Posted in The Bristol Press, General Sports, Bristol Blues on Friday, 2 August 2019 19:09. Updated: Friday, 2 August 2019 19:11.