WASHINGTON, Pa. (April 6) – As the Wild Things’ spring-training roster continues to take shape, the team announced today the signing of Butler, Pennsylvania, native Mick Fennell to a contract. Fennell is fresh off two seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization, and is an alumnus of Butler Area High School and California University of Pennsylvania.
After a standout career for the Golden Tornado baseball team, Fennell went on to Cal U, where he had four successful seasons. A four-year starter for the Vulcans, Fennell was a consensus all-region selection for two-straight years to end his Division II career and was a national semifinalist for the Tino Martinez Award as a senior. He received first-team all-region status from the American Baseball Coaches Association and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 2016, after being named an ABCA Third-Team All American in 2015. The awards did not stop there, as he was named PSAC West Athlete of the Year in his senior season and received All-PSAC laurels in three different seasons.
In his collegiate career, Fennell was a two-way player. He finished his four seasons as one of only three players in Cal U program history with over 200 hits and 150 runs scored. He is tied for the all-time school lead in runs scored and was one hit shy of tying the school’s record in that category. He hit 27 triples in his four seasons (tied for second all time in NCAA Division II history). HIs four-year slash line at the plate was .372/.445/.597, and Fennell hit 16 home runs and drove in 98 for the Vulcans.
Fennell was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Cardinals, before being sent to the State College Spikes (Class Low-A), where he hit .256 in 42 games in 2016. In 2017, he split time with the Spikes and Peoria Chiefs (Class A). He played 46 of 54 games in 2017 with the Chiefs, and hit .254/.309/.295 while there.
“Obviously Mick is very familiar with us and our facility, with his college career at Cal U. He is a high energy player who looks to use his dynamic speed to create chaos,” said assistant general manager of team operations Tony Buccilli. “We look to give him more freedom and allow him to showcase his strengths. Being a WPIAL, Butler and Cal U product, it will be exciting to see how the local community embraces him on his journey.”
Fennell said his last two seasons of affiliated ball went well, with the biggest adjustment being the talent of every player and “being prepared to face the other team’s ace every night.” He added that in college, most teams had two to three guys who had great command with every pitch, while most pro guys did.
On the field, Fennell said he’s always been taught to give 100% effort in between the lines in every aspect of the game.
“As a player, in the past I would have to say my type of game has usually revolved around more of a good contact hitter and speed guy rather than a heart-of-the-order type guy,” said Fennell. “This offseason I worked on some adjustments to hopefully bring out more consistent power to try and maximize all five tools of my game.”
Of the opportunity to continue his career with the Wild Things, Fennell deemed it a “great opportunity.”
“I am thrilled to be able to continue my career with the Wild Things. My friends and family have been supportive through college and with the Cardinals and this gives them a great opportunity to see me play locally one again,” he said.
Fennell doesn’t want to give any at bats away, he said, and is focused on controlling what he can control. He said he’s excited that the core of the team that had success last year is back.
“I’m hoping to feed off of the other guys and help this organization to continue to win,” said Fennell. “I’m pumped to join these guys and bring what I can to the table to make another playoff push.”