The Washington Wild Things announced today the re-signing of seven players from their 2018 East Division Champion roster.
The group of returners include; LHP Kellen Croce, LHP BJ Sabol, RHP Dillon Sunnafrank, RHP Michael Austin, RHP James Meeker, INF Ryan Cox and INF Brett Marr.
LHP Kellen Croce transitioned from Fargo in the American Association, pitching 10 innings and striking out 11 batters in Washington. “This is a big year for Kellen. We saw glimpses of dominance but we are aiming for more of a consistent effort so we can put more on his plate” said Assistant General Manager Tony Buccilli.
Sabol joined the Wild Things following a successful season in the Big 10 and made 12 relief appearances professionally. “BJ has the ability to carve out a matchup role for us. Fatigue derailed some of his outings but he showed that he could be effective and cause problems for hitters” continued Buccilli.
Wheeling Jesuit’s Sunnafrank was a quality find in 2018 as he shined with a 1.15 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 15 innings. “Sunny is a focused worker and he was such a meaningful addition for us down the stretch. His outing Game 4 of the Championship Series showed serious guts. We anticipate him to take a step forward in the rotation and believe having a consistent home for the first time in his career should benefit him” Buccilli added.
Mid-season signing Michael Austin shouldered 12 starts, 70 innings for the Things and now looks to take on more in year two. Buccilli discussed, “I have had some long talks with Austin and we are both on the same page. This needs to be his year. The kid is a plus athlete on the mound and brings so much to the table. Consistency, focus and leadership are the points of emphasis in ’19. He has All-Star, affiliated ability and it’s in his hands to stack in-control outings.”
Pittsburgh native James Meeker returns for a second season where he saw 29 innings of work and 26 strikeouts out of the pen. “Meeker made the most out of the opportunity he earned out of a tryout. He showed flashes of dominance, which was encouraging. When he attacks and is aggressive, he is an option we can lean on” noted Buccilli.
Another Pittsburgh tryout gem, Ryan Cox, hit .265 in his first year professionally after success in the PSAC at Kutztown. “Ryan added instant energy to us on the field. He is a smart kid who plays hard and knows his game. We were pleasantly surprised by what he showed us and the balance he brings to our infield” Buccilli stated.
INF Brett Marr returns after career highs in RBI (30) and a .268 batting average for Washington. “Marr was clutch for us in so many spots late in games. Walk offs, starting rallies, getting hit by a pitch or simply just a quality at-bat. He was instrumental to our offensive depth” Buccilli outlined.
The returning Wild Things look to repeat as East Division Champions as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.
ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS
The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.