The Suns have a college-laden roster with some experienced players. Starters like shortstop Jake Wald (George Washington), third baseman Kevin Kelly (Duke) and Karl Jernigan (Florida State) have tasted playing in extended seasons.
But Ramsey and the Suns, who trained in Arizona, don't know much about their SAL competition, since 11 of the 13 other teams train on the East Coast. Add to the mix a talented but untested starting rotation and a bullpen which needs to establish its pecking order and Hagerstown has much to overcome before it can lay claim to any playoff berths.
"I think we are going to be better because our defense is going to be better," Ramsey said. "I think our starting pitching will be strong, but we have to see how we handle the middle and final innings. I think we have more power than speed, but we do have a number of guys who can run."
The starting pitching will debut with Merkin Valdez , a 21-year-old right-hander with high credentials who came to the Giants as part of the Russ Ortiz-Damian Moss trade with Atlanta.
"He's been throwing the heck out of the ball," Ramsey said. "He has a heck of an arm and has good possibilities. He throws the ball in the mid-90s (mph)."
The Suns lineup is dotted with some running ability at the top and bottom and what could be some formadable power in the middle.
Ramsey spoke of Travis Ishikawa and Jason Columbus, a pair who will share first base and designated hitter duties, to be power hitters. They will bat fifth and sixth tonight.
Second baseman Aaron Hornostaj and Kelly will fall into the third and cleanup roles.
Jernigan, the center fielder, and Wald will take the top two slots. Outfielders Carlos Sosa and Randy Walter will bat at the bottom of the order.
"We are going to see how things go, but I'd like to be more aggressive (on the bases)," Ramsey said. "Last year, we struck out too much and that made it tough to hit and run. The whole organization struck out too much last year. This year, we are going to try to pull back and try to make things happen."