KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A do-it-all bat with plenty of experience and a local product coming off a career year are heading to the Kansas City Monarchs.
The American Association club has signed utility player Olivier Basabe and infielder LJ Hatch for the 2023 season, the club announced Monday.
Basabe Brings Versatility To Monarchs
An eighth-round draft pick by the Padres in 2017, Basabe is a true utility player who has significant pro experience at six different positions.
Monarchs manager Joe Calfapietra said Basabe will be an impact signing, thanks to his experience and versatility in the field.
“He’s able to give us innings in the infield and the outfield,” Monarchs manager Joe Calfapietra said. “It’s very important to have players with flexibility.”
Basabe, 25, grew up in Maracaibo, Venezuela, but attended college in the U.S. He played two years at Indian Hills CC in Iowa, hitting .333 his sophomore season.
He played his junior season at Faulkner University in Alabama, helping his team to the NAIA World Series. Basabe finished the 2017 campaign with a .342 average and .875 OPS.
— Paris Tyburski (@ParisTyburski) June 14, 2017
Basabe made his pro debut in the Arizona League before advancing to Low-A Tri-City in 2018. He impressed with the Dust Devils, hitting .313 with an .851 OPS over 40 games. He earned a spot in the starting lineup of the Northwest League’s midseason All-Star team that year, and was promoted to Class A Fort Wayne soon after.
2 takeaways from @TC_DustDevils home opener. Olivier Basabe can flash the leather and Dusty has been taking dance classes in the offseason. here is the video evidence #DustyDanceOff #TCDustDevils pic.twitter.com/BtsGtWeCBe
— Alan Hoshida (@AHoshidaSports) June 21, 2018
Basabe continued to rise through the Padres’ system, heading to High-A Lake Elsinore in 2019 and making his Double-A debut with San Antonio in 2021.
He spent 2022 with High-A Fort Wayne. A shortstop in college, Basabe played first, second and third base last season, as well as both corner outfield spots.
Basabe is the fourth position player the Monarchs have signed for the upcoming season, joining former big leaguer Jacob Robson, Gio Brusa and Micker Adolfo. Fans can check out the Monarchs’ full roster at monarchsbaseball.com/roster.
Hatch Heads To Monarchs After Career Year
Hatch is set to take the latest step on a remarkable journey. Undrafted out of college, he made it to Triple-A with the Colorado Rockies organization in 2021 and played in big-league spring training games earlier this year.
Tie ballgame! LJ Hatch smacks his seventh homer of the year!
B4: Isotopes 5, Express 5 pic.twitter.com/Q54jrfzlIH
— Albuquerque Isotopes (@ABQTopes) August 24, 2022
Born in Shawnee, Kansas, he attended Johnson County Community College in Overland Park before finishing his college career at New Mexico State. Hatch is the fourth native of the Kansas City area to join the Monarchs, alongside pitchers Grant Gavin, Dalton Moats and Zach Matson.
Monarchs manager Joe Calfapietra says this is the most hometown players he can remember having on a Kansas City roster.
“They’re all connected; they’re all the same age, same level,” Calfapietra said. “We’re excited to get them in the clubhouse.”
Hatch is primarily an infielder; he spent time at shortstop, second base and third base this past season. He’s also appeared at each of the three outfield spots in his pro career.
Last year at Triple-A Albuquerque, Hatch posted a .280 batting average, an .830 OPS, and a career-high eight home runs in 49 games.
LJ Hatch hit his sixth HR of the year in the final game before the All-Star break with the Triple-A @ABQTopes.@NMStateBaseball alum is having a career year with a .308 average and 6 HR in 34 games.@NMStateAggies | #ProAggies pic.twitter.com/faPSELVrrc
— Adam Young (@youngpbp) July 18, 2022
“LJ definitely fits the bill. He’s versatile, plays shortstop, second and third. He’s going to be a great player for us,” Calfapietra said.
The Monarchs open their 2023 season on May 12 on the road. The club’s home opener is set for May 19.
About the American Association
The American Association of Professional Baseball played its first season in 2006. It is a professional partner league that is affiliated with Major League Baseball but not specifically with any one team. The league consists of 12 teams located primarily in the Midwest and the South of the United States. Its season runs from May to September and features players who are looking to showcase their talents for a chance to be signed by a major league team.
About the Kansas City Monarchs
The Kansas City Monarchs are a professional baseball team in the American Association, an MLB Partner League. This year, they are celebrating their 20th year of baseball in Kansas City, Kansas. In 2020, the team partnered with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and changed their name from the T-Bones to the Monarchs in honor of the legendary Negro League franchise that played from 1920 to 1965. The Monarchs won ten Negro American League championships and two Negro League World Series championships in their history. The team featured numerous notable players over the years, including Hall of Famers Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, and Buck O’Neil.