Marion, Ill. – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they have hired Garrett Bauer as their pitching coach for the 2017 season. He replaces Preston Vancil, who has resigned to spend more time with his family after three years as the Miners’ pitching coach.
Born in St. Louis, Bauer comes to the Miners with a wealth of experience. He has worked as the pitching coach at St. Louis Community College since 2013, and was the pitching coach for the Frontier Greys in 2014. He has also served as an instructor at Balls-n-Strikes Youth Softball & Baseball in Brentwood, Missouri.
After starting his professional playing career with two seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization following his selection in the 27th round of the 2004 MLB Draft from Missouri Baptist University, Bauer was an all-star starting pitcher in each of his three years in the Frontier League with the Rockford Riverhawks from 2006-08. The southpaw’s best season was his final year, as he went 10-6 with a 2.98 ERA in 21 starts with career-best totals in wins, strikeouts (151) and innings pitched (148). The 151 strikeouts he amassed that season were just one behind former Miners pitcher Ryan Bird’s league-leading total of 152, while his 148 innings pitched were the most in the league.
For his career in the Frontier League, Bauer went 23-16 with a 3.24 ERA, striking out 317 and allowing just 294 hits in 369 innings pitched.
“I am very blessed and excited to join the Southern Illinois Miners family,” Bauer said. “I look forward to this great opportunity and hope I can add to the Miners’ remarkable winning tradition.”
“I am very excited to be adding Garrett to our coaching and development staff,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “When we opened up the window for potential candidates, we were blown away by a number of great possibilities, including some former major league pitchers. In the end, Garrett jumped out as the right fit for us. He brings so many things to our organization. I watched him pitch against us for a number of years, and greatly admired his competitiveness and work ethic.He was a dominant force in our league, a leader on Rockford’s staff, and that followed into his career in coaching. Garrett has an understanding of mechanics and game prep. He comes to us with experience in affiliated baseball as a pitcher as well as successful experience in this league both as a pitcher and as a pitching coach.”
Bauer takes the place of Preston Vancil on the Miners’ coaching staff. After an all-star season on the mound for the Miners in 2013, Vancil transitioned into the dugout as the pitching coach and led the staff to great success, with the Miners posting their two best team ERAs in team history in 2014 (3.46) and 2015 (3.32) along with a league-best and team-record 808 strikeouts in 2015. In both of those seasons, Southern Illinois also produced the Frontier League Pitcher of the Year in Matt Bywater (2014) and Adam Lopez (2015).
“I would argue that Preston was the single-best pitching coach in this league during his time with the Miners,” Pinto added. Under his guidance we had two Pitchers of the Year in two seasons, and could have easily had a third. Other pitchers had success as well- for many, the best seasons of their careers. We also had continued great success as a team while he was with us, and that is not a coincidence. Preston was organized and prepared, and his staff followed that lead. He will definitely be missed here. But he is also starting a new chapter in his life with a new baby girl on the way for he and his wife Lottie. ‘Vance’ will always be part of the Miners Family, and we wish him happiness in his life after professional baseball.”
Be sure to follow the Miners on Facebook, Twitter (@SIMiners) and Instagram as well as Snapchat this offeseason as they prepare for 2017!
The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2016 Frontier League West Division Champions, the 2014 and 2015 Frontier League East Division Champions and the 2012 Frontier League Champions. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in 2007, their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the Rent One Park box office at (618) 998-8499. For any additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.