Frontier League News and Notes 6-10: Moving on in Style

For the third time this season, a member of the Frontier League will be moving on to a Major League Baseball organization. Evansville Otters starter Patrick McGuff joins the likes of former Windy City ThunderBolt starter Adam Oller and former Washington Wild Things catcher Lucas Herbert following the purchase of his contract by the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 9.

Herbert was selected by the Diamondbacks on June 2, but before that, the Wild Things catcher faced McGuff in a May 28 contest at Bosse Field. Evansville won that game 3-0 thanks in large part to McGuff’s eight shutout innings, but one of the five hits he allowed was to his new organizational mate, Herbert.

McGuff broke into the Frontier League in 2018 following his release from the Cincinnati Reds and pitched to an eye-popping 1.55 ERA over 29 innings in five starts. This season, the right-handed pitcher was nearly unhittable.

Over 43 total innings in 2019, McGuff finished his year with two complete games, which included one shutout, a 1.05 ERA and allowed just 22 hits with 60 strikeouts and 17 walks accompanied by a 0.907 WHIP. The Otters were 6-0 in games he started this season.

McGuff leaves the Frontier League following a performance that is difficult to top. In his final outing on June 7 against the Schaumburg Boomers, McGuff was one out away from a no-hitter, but a Clint Hardy single broke up the bid for history. He settled for a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts, one walk and one hit.

As the League marveled McGuff’s standout performance, he was almost matched by Gateway Grizzlies starter Lucas Lanphere one day later. Lanphere took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the ThunderBolts on June 8 and with one out, Manuel Mesa beat out an infield single for Windy City’s lone safety.

Lanphere, a former Texas Rangers farmhand, earned the complete game shutout after allowing just one hit, two walks and striking out 12. Prior to his near-no-hit bid, the 23-year-old right-hander was coming off a career-worst outing where he went a mere 1.1 innings. After Lanphere’s effort against Windy City, his ERA dropped almost four full runs.

Staying on the topic of no-hit bids, Southern Illinois Minors starter Nick Stroud threw 6.1 no-hit innings the same evening of Lanphere’s performance. Stroud was removed from the contest in the 7th inning due to a high pitch count. He struck out nine, walked six and allowed an unearned run over his 113-pitch effort.

To round out the highlighted pitching performances is River City’s Dalton Roach, who picked the wrong time to throw a complete game. Despite being overshadowed by McGuff and Lanphere, Roach has arguably been the most efficient starter in the Frontier League this season.

In his last outing on June 8, Roach allowed just one run on three hits over nine innings while striking out 11 and walking one in a 7-1 win against the Joliet Slammers. The Rascals starter sports a 1.13 ERA on the year and his last three outings have been stellar.

Over his previous 23 innings pitched, the 23-year-old is 3-0 with 31 strikeouts, four walks and has allowed only 11 hits. Roach did not allow an earned run over his first 11 innings of 2019.

Speaking of River City, manager Steve Brook won his 500th game on May 31. Read more about the 16-year Frontier League veteran and his achievement HERE.

Elsewhere around the Frontier League, the Florence Freedom are starting to put together a healthy stretch of games that has resulted in the League’s best record in terms of winning percentage. At 16-10, the Freedom have won eight of their last 12 and continue to get production in all facets of their game.


Austin Wobrock, who is seen above making a spectacular play worthy of SportsCenter’s No. 2 spot on their top-10 plays of the day, has been a standout player in the League this season. The Florence shortstop ranks in the top-10 in batting average at .319 and has reached base safely in all but five of his team’s 26 games played.

Wobrock’s teammate Ricky Ramirez Jr. is putting it together as of late, as the left-handed hitting outfielder has seven hits over his last 16 at-bats (.438) with two doubles, a home run, three RBI, seven walks and five runs scored.

LEAGUE LEADERS THROUGH 27 GAMES

Batting Average: Trevor Achenbach, River City (.356)
Doubles: Andrew Daniel, Braxton Martinez, Tyler Straub (T-10)
Home Runs: Dash Winningham, Saige Jenco, Kyle Davis (T-6)
Runs Batted In: Hector Roa, Washington Wild Things (25)
Stolen Bases: Luis Pintor, Cody Livesay (T-14)

Earned Run Average: Dalton Roach, River City Rascals (1.13)
Innings Pitched: Randy Wynne, Evansville Otters (44)
Strikeouts: Tyler Jandron, Joliet Slammers (43)
Wins: Wynne, Evansvlle Otters (5)
Saves: Jackson Sigman, River City Rascals (7)

 

Mike Rankin