As Opening Day for France’s D1 baseball league inches closer, perhaps the most pressing question right now is what the rosters of the various participating teams will look like.
For that, unfortunately, we’ll just have to wait. Until when? C’est pas clair. Last season, the full team lists never even made it onto the website of the FFBS, French baseball’s governing body. Let’s hope that’s not the case this time around.
What we can report is that in a few cases, teams have started to divulge the names of certain foreign recruits – always a fun topic this time of year! And it’s to those players that Le Baseblog turns its attention in this, the second part of our series on new faces in the D1.
Earlier this week we focused on Markus Melendez (Metz), Héctor Velasquez (Sénart) and Steve Anderson (Montpellier). Next up are two more players from across the Atlantic, including a high-performing infielder from Argentina.
Agustín Tissera, Montigny Cougars
Argentina is well known as a source of top-flight fútbol talent. But baseball? Not so much.
And yet… as we pointed out earlier in the year, the sport has a realtively long history in the South American country, and a “winter” league – the LAB (Liga Argentina de Béisbol) – that has a surprising number of connections with French baseball.
It’s a league Agustín Tissera knows VERY well, having just won a championship there (for the second time in the past three seasons) with the Córdoba Falcons, which he joined in 2017, when the LAB was first formed.
The 28-year-old shortstop is a fan favorite in Córdoba, Argentina’s second largest city, and not just because he grew up there, in a neighborhood called Los Plátanos. He’s also been a consistent star for the team, putting up fantastic numbers each season and even winning the league’s MVP award in 2019, when he batted .448 (tops in the LAB), with 26 hits and 23 RBIs in just 19 games.
Tissera’s reputation isn’t limited to just Argentina, where he’s also a member of the national team. Between 2016 and 2018 he played professionally in Italy, as a member of the Macerata Angels, in the Serie A2. And in 2020 and 2021 the talented Argentine starred in the German Bundesliga, as a member of the Mannheim Tornados.
What Tissera hasn’t tried yet is French baseball, but that’ll change starting in just a few weeks, when he joins a Montingy Cougars squad that finished strong last season, winning seven of their last eight regular-season games, but came just short of qualifying for the playoffs.
“My goals are really all about the group,” Tissera explained in a recent interview with his new team. “I come from a top club in Argentina and the message there is always to put the group above the individual. To win you really need to put the common interests first.”
Trevor Rogers, Metz Cometz
The next player on our list will have a chance to see Tissera and the Cougars up close and personal this season. That’s because his new team, the Metz Cometz, is switching pools and will now play in the D1’s Group A, together with Montigny, the Rouen Huskies, Paris UC and the Savigny Lions.
The competition will be stiff, in other words, but with a number of new additions to their roster, the Cometz, eight-place finishers out of 11 teams last year, are looking to hold their own.
One of those newcomers is Trevor Rogers, who grew up in sunny California and played at San Francisco State University (SFSU), an NCAA Division II school. The 23-year-old lefty was a standout pitcher in high school, but played first base at the univeristy level, collecting 73 hits in three seasons (six of them home runs) with the SFSU Gators.
With Metz, Rogers will be called on to fill both rolls – as a hitter and a hurler. It’ll be a challenge, but based on his comments in a recent interview with the Cometz, it sounds like getting to be a two-way player is also part of what’s drawing the Californian to French baseball.
“I grew up playing first base and pitching so it is something that I feel comfortable doing,” said Rogers, who also played for two different collegiate summer-league teams, the Covington Lumberjacks (2018) and Geneva Red Wings (2019).
“It is important to differentiate the two from each other,” he added. “Some days I might be hitting well and other days I may not, but I have to make sure that I do not bring however I am doing at the plate and in the field to my pitching.”