2018 FRONTIER LEAGUE TRYOUT CAMP & DRAFT APRIL 23-24

The 26th annual Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft will be held on Monday, April 23 and Tuesday, April 24 at UC Health Stadium in Florence, Kentucky, home of the Florence Freedom.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE 2018 FRONTIER LEAGUE TRYOUT CAMP AND DRAFT

All 12 Frontier League teams will be represented at the workouts, and scouts from multiple Major League Baseball teams also attend.  Representatives from other independent league participate as well.  Advance registration is available at www.frontierleague.com/tryouts while walk-up registration will begin at 8:00 AM on Monday, April 23.

The workouts officially begin at 9:00 AM on April 23 and will feature a 60-yard dash, fielding and throwing drills for infielders, outfielders, and catchers, and batting practice for position players while pitchers will throw 15-20 pitch bullpens.  Following the first day, the field managers will post a list of players invited back for inter-squad games on April 24.  At the conclusion of the games, action will break for 30 minutes as clubs and prepare for the draft.

An average of 35 players each season have been drafted and signed to spring training contracts over the past eight years.  Each year, at least one tryout camp participant has appeared in the Frontier League’s All-Star Game. Several draftees have gone on to be signed by Major League Baseball organizations, with three draftees having ascended to the Major Leagues (Chris Jakubauskas, Seattle/Pittsburgh/Baltimore; Josh Smoker, New York Mets; and Chris Smith, Toronto) and a fourth (Robert Stock, San Diego) receiving a MLB spring training invitation in 2018.

Eleven tryout attendees have been signed by MLB clubs during the season over the past six years.

“Florence is a great location for our Tryout Camp and Draft, and we had strong results the two previous times that the Freedom have hosted,” commented Deputy Commissioner Steve Tahsler.  “Home to the 2017 West Division champions, UC Health Stadium is a top-notch facility and easily accessible from I-71/75 along with being just 15 minutes from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport”.

The Frontier League is entering its 26th season in 2018 and features 12 teams stretching from Pennsylvania to Missouri and from Kentucky to northern Michigan.  The Frontier League annually advances the most players to MLB organizations of any of the independent leagues. Over 100 players have signed with MLB clubs since the start of the 2015 season, and 32 former Frontier League players have played in the Major Leagues.

UC Health Stadium is located at exit 180 off I-71/75 in Kentucky, about 12 miles south of downtown Cincinnati.  For more information, please visit www.frontierleague.com or contact the Frontier League offices at 618.215.4134 or office@frontierleague.com.

IMPORTANT: As per the manufacturer’s warranty for the artificial playing surface at UC Health Stadium, all players trying out must wear turf shoes or molded cleats. No metal cleats will be allowed. This policy is the same that is in effect for all events at UC Health Stadium. Players attempting to enter UC Health Stadium with metal cleats will be immediately disqualified from the workouts.  In addition, there is a strict NO SEED policy at the stadium, and all tryout hopefuls, and fans watching, are not permitted to bring seeds into the facility.

Washington Wild Things Sign Medina, Place Havrilak and Brown on Suspended List

WASHINGTON, Pa. (April 19) – Today the Wild Things announced three roster moves, which will be the final three before next week’s Frontier League Draft. Washington signed Cuban outfielder Reydel Medina. The Wild Things also acquired Washington, Pennsylvania native and outfielder Joey Havrilak from the Gary SouthShore RailCats, before placing him and 2017 All Star outfielder Rashad Brown on the suspended list.

Medina comes the Wild Things’ way after his release from the Cincinnati Reds’ organization, where he spent the last four seasons after signing as an International Free Agent. In four minor-league seasons, Medina hit 36 home runs and drove in 148 runs.

He started his pro career in 2014 with the Reds’ Arizona League rookie team, before reaching as high as Double-A Pensacola in 2017. Most of his time in the Reds’ system was spent with the Daytona Tortugas (Advanced A). His best power season came in 2015, when he hit 13 home runs in 236 plate appearances for the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League. Medina hit eight home runs and drove in 43 runs with 18 doubles as a member of the Daytona squad in 2017.

“Reydel was the Reds’ top international signing in 2014. His journey to the states was not easy but his perseverance and love for the game kept his dream alive,” said assistant general manager of team operations Tony Buccilli. “He is a very toolsy kid with noted power and a natural sense to play the game all out. Offensively, he should be one of the biggest X-factors [on our team]. His extra-base hit potential and run production should give us added depth to our lineup.”

The Wild Things also acquired outfielder Joey Havrilak from the Gary SouthShore Railcats of the American Association for a player to be named. Havrilak, a native of Washington, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Trinity High School, was selected in the 18th round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers, where he played two seasons, before being released after an injury prior to the 2017 season. Havrilak appeared in 13 games for the Railcats last season.

Havrilak was placed on the suspended list, which keeps him under team control, but does not make him an active member of the Wild Things’ roster.

“We acquired Joey with the expectations of him returning home to play in front of his Washington community,” said Buccilli. “Unfortunately, we do not expect him to commit to playing in 2018 due to his career away from baseball.”

The final roster move announced today involves 2017 Frontier League All Star Rashad Brown. Brown played his first season with the Wild Things last year and was a defensive stalwart in centerfield. He hit .275 with an on-base percentage of .343 to go along with 29 stolen bases, 15 doubles and six triples. Rashad was awarded the Fran Riordan Citizenship Award at the end of the 2017 campaign as well. The Atlanta, Georgia native was placed on the suspended list today.

“Rashad requested that we shift him to the suspended list to start 2018, as he is dealing with family issues,” said Buccilli. “We are uncertain if he will join us at some point during the summer or if his playing career is over. We certainly appreciate all he did for us on and off the field, being a great community figure and playing every day with that big smile on his face.”

The Wild Things open the season May 11 at Evansville, and will sign at least two players from the Frontier League’s draft next week, prior to the start of Spring Training April 29.

Traverse City Beach Bums Sign Jordan Desguin

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The Traverse City Beach Bums have announced the signing of former Milwaukee Brewers farmhand, right-handed pitcher, Jordan Desguin.

 

Jordan comes to the Beach Bums after three seasons in affiliated ball, last year pitching for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the single-A Midwest League. He had a record of 5-5 with an earned run average of 5.13, both as a starter and reliever. He was drafted by the Brewers in the 36th round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft from Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, FL, starting his career in the Arizona Rookie League. There, he had a 2-3 record with a 2.86 ERA, striking out 28 in 28 innings. In 2016, he split between Helena in the rookie-level Pioneer League, and Wisconsin, earning a 3-1 record with a 3.44 ERA, and was the starter for the Pioneer League in the All-Star Game against the Northwest League. Overall, in affiliated ball, he was 10-9 with a 4.15 ERA, striking out 167 while walking 53 in 186 innings.

 

The 2018 spring training roster will be ready to go for the 13th annual Beach Bums Fan Fest on Saturday, May 5th. The gates open at 11am, batting practice is at noon, and the Yellow/Navy game starts at 1pm. Come get your first look at the 2018 Traverse City Beach Bums and, after the game, the players will be out on the concourse to greet the fans, chat, and sign autographs. The best part is that admission is FREE!

Washington Wild Things Sign Brandon Dulin

WASHINGTON, Pa. (April 18) – With Spring Training just 11 days away, the Wild Things have added another piece to the puzzle for the 2018 season, as the team announced the signing of infielder Brandon Dulin. Dulin most recently spent time in the Chicago White Sox organization after four seasons in the Royals’ farm system.
Dulin was drafted in the 12th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft by the Royals out of Longview Community College in Missouri. He was assigned to the team’s Arizona League, rookie-ball affiliate, where he played in 46 games that season, and slashed .269/.332/.409. In 2014 and 2015, Dulin spent time between Burlington in the Appalachian League and Idaho Falls (Pioneer League). Between those two rookie-level squads, Dulin hit 17 home runs and drove in 65 RBI in almost 500 plate appearances.
In 2016, the Lee’s Summit, Missouri native played 66 games with the Lexington Legends, the Royals’ Class-A affiliate. Dulin hit seven home runs for the Legends and drove in 31 runs to go along with 11 doubles and one triple. Dulin then went to the White Sox organization for 2017, where he split time between Winston-Salem (Advanced A) and Kannapolis (Class A). In total, he hit 18 home runs and drove in 55 runs in 457 plate appearances.
“Players with the ability to hit nearly 20 home runs in a season do not grow on trees. Brandon does a lot of off-season training with 2017 All Star Bralin Jackson and he came heavily recommended,” said assistant general manager of team operations Tony Buccilli. “He spent 3 seasons with the Royals playing with Kyle Pollock, Mike Hill and Roman Collins before being traded to the White Sox. He is a proven run producer with a great outlook on this opportunity. We look to put him in a position to succeed in spring and let his confident style of play carry over into the season.”
Dulin said he is excited to come to Washington and hopes he can make an impact on a successful season in 2018.
“Signing with the Wild Things was an easy choice after talking to former teammates I’ve played with that have, or are playing for [Washington] now,” said Dulin. “I come to play hard and win everyday.”
Dulin and the rest of the Wild Things begin Spring Training April 29, as they get ready for the season opener May 11 in Evansville, Indiana.

Evansville Otters Sign Eldridge and McGuff

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters signed first baseman Caleb Eldridge and right-handed pitcher Patrick McGuff.

Eldridge, an Edmond, Okla. native, arrives in Evansville after playing affiliated baseball the last two seasons, seeing time in the organizations of both the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners.

He played for Oklahoma State University and Cowley County Community College before being drafted in the 20th round of the MLB Amateur Draft by the Phillies in 2016.

With the GCL Phillies in 2016, Eldridge batted .159 in 12 games. He split time between the AZL Mariners and GCL Phillies last season, appearing in 42 total games while batting .293 with 19 runs and 21 RBIs.

“Caleb comes highly recommended by a hitting coach I’ve known a long time,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “He should figure into the lineup everyday at first base and as a designated hitter.

“He is a power bat that should get a chance at another opportunity in affiliated baseball.”

With Cowley in 2016, Eldridge started 53 games and finished with 66 RBIs and 18 doubles.

McGuff, a Cincinnati, Ohio native, was drafted in the 36th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins from Morehead State University.

From 2016-17, McGuff split time between the GCL Twins, Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids. In 49 appearances in affiliated baseball, he went 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA and 12 saves. He pitched 82 1/3 innings and struck out 95 batters.

“Patrick was highly sought after in independent baseball,” McCauley said. “He was a surprise release to us and Patrick pitched for Bobby Segal in a collegiate summer league.

“Bobby was instrumental in signing Patrick and he should be a top of the rotation starter for us.”

As a senior with the Eagles in 2016, McGuff posted a 5-3 record in 18 appearances and finished with 63 strikeouts. Opponents only hit .260 against him that season in his 59 innings on the mound.

He began his collegiate career at Sinclair Community College, playing there from 2013-14.

Evansville will celebrate Bosse Field’s Opening Night May 11 against the Washington Wild Things at 6:35 p.m.

Washington Wild Things Sign Doug Willey

WASHINGTON, Pa. (April 12) – Today the Wild Things announced another addition to the ever-growing Spring Training roster for the upcoming 2018 season, as the team has come to terms on a deal with former Angels’ farmhand Doug Willey.
Willey was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft by the Los Angeles Angels and was sent to rookie-ball after a successful collegiate career. The Gorham High School grad matriculated to Franklin Pierce University, where he played three seasons before heading to the University of Arkansas, where he pitched his senior season before being selected in the draft.
At Franklin Pierce (NCAA Division II), the right-hander made 53 appearances, which is the career record at the school. As a freshman, Willey pitched in 20 games accumulating 36.2 innings. He allowed 35 hits and walked eight, while sporting an earned run average of 2.45 with 25 strikeouts. He improved as a sophomore and logged 39 innings in 26 games, pitching to an ERA of 1.85 (eight earned of 10 runs allowed). Willey struck out 31 to just 13 walks in 2014. In 2015, Willey threw just seven innings in an injury-plagued season.
That’s when Willey went to Arkansas, where he enjoyed a good bit of success in the SEC. In 28 innings over 26 appearances out of the bullpen, the New Hampshire native struck out 29 and walked only nine while owning an ERA of 3.49.
After that season, Willey said the pro game was a big adjustment for him.
“Getting drafted by the Angels in 2016 was a childhood dream that came true, and I’m thankful for the opportunity they gave me,” said Willey. “The biggest adjustment I had to make in the minor leagues from getting drafted out of college was calling my own game and reading the hitters on my own. In college you have coaches calling pitches and scouting reports on hitters for each game so it makes it easier on you and your catcher.”
Once drafted, he was sent to the Orem Owlz of the Pioneer League, where he threw 30 innings prior to having Tommy John surgery in September, which forced him to miss all of 2017.
“While we always focus on players with productive backgrounds, there is always a point where makeup influences our decision-making. The journey making contact and recruiting Doug was quite unique, but we were sold after one phone call,” said assistant general manager of team operations Tony Buccilli. “He carries a natural hunger to compete considering he is 18 months removed from Tommy John surgery. He feeds off pitching in big games and has only been involved with winning programs. We expect him to be an impact arm out of our bullpen. His experience at Franklin Pierce, the Cape Cod League and center-stage SEC play at Arkansas reinforces our belief in his character.”
The right-hander echoed the sentiments of Buccilli on the phone call that all but sealed the deal.
“The process was sort of a right place right time thing for me in signing with the Wild Things,” said Willey. “I had a great conversation with Tony, and we clicked so I knew it would be somewhere I could contribute to winning and somewhere that is closer to home so my family can catch some games. I’m very excited to join the Wild Things and hope to be a part of another great season like [the team] had in 2017.”
Willey described himself as a competitor on the mound and said fans can expect to hear some Metallica play over the sound system as he runs to the mound.
“I’m a guy who loves to compete at everything I do. I carry a heavy passion and pride for everything I do, and I definitely bring that bulldog-type mentality to the game,” said Willey. “I’m always down to talk to fans and sign autographs before and after games so feel free to come say ‘hey.'”

Traverse City Beach Bums Signs Trio

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The Traverse City Beach Bums announce the addition of three more players to the upcoming season’s roster, including two MLB draft picks and an all-star.

 

Stephen Lohr comes to Traverse City after spending the last two seasons in the Texas Rangers organization. Drafted in the 20th round of the 2016 draft, the former California Baptist University product played both corner infield positions in two seasons in Rangers system between rookie ball and short-season. Combined, in 76 games, he hit .243 with five homers, 11 doubles, and 23 runs batted in. In between his two affiliated years, he traveled to the Australian Baseball League and was an all-star with the Adelaide Bite, where Lohr hit an impressive .376 with six long-balls, 11 doubles, and 23 RBI. In three collegiate seasons in NCAA’s division 2, Stephen hit .346 with 17 home runs and 120 RBI.

 

Right-handed pitcher Alhanon Miller split last season between the Alpine Cowboys of the PECOS League and the Salina Stockade of the American Association. With the Cowboys, he made a league-high 34 appearances, and had over 16 strikeouts per nine innings, also tops in the league, on his way to a Mountain division all-star selection. In five appearances with the Stockade, he was 0-1 with a 1.59 ERA. Miller spilt his collegiate career between NCAA division 3 Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA, and NCAA division 2 Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA.

 

Kris Goodman is from Apple Valley, MN, and was a 32ndround draft pick of the Miami Marlins in 2015. He started his pro career in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League before moving on to the Batavia Muckdogs and the Greensboro Grasshoppers, ascending as high as single A. Combined, in affiliated ball, Kris played 72 games, hitting .223 with a home run and eight RBI. During the 2016 season, he signed on with the Gary SouthShore Railcats of the American Association, and played there until the end of last season. The versatile infielder/outfielder hit .245 with 5 home runs, 12 doubles, four triples, and 36 runs batted in. A graduate of the University of Iowa, he was a 4-year varsity player and hit .262 in 194 games as a Hawkeye, with eight homers, 23 doubles, and 83 RBI

Washington Wild Things Sign Outfielder Roman Collins

WASHINGTON, Pa. (April 10) –
With Spring Training just around the corner, the Wild Things announced the signing of an outfielder to the 2018 roster today. The team did so by inking former Royals’ farmhand Roman Collins to a deal for the upcoming season.
“Roman was heavily sought after this spring and we are happy he chose Washington,” said assistant general manager of team operations Tony Buccilli. “During his time with the Royals he played a dynamic style of baseball: heavy with extra base hits and drawing a fair share of walks. Once we hired [field manager Gregg] Langbehn, we shifted our focus back to the athletic, speed and power outfielders and Roman fits that mold. We expect Roman to be quite impactful for us and have challenged him to be a force driving in runs.”
Collins, who was drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft, played three seasons in the Royals’ farm system after two in college at Des Moines Area Community College (Junior College) and one at Florida Atlantic University. He also played one season for the Melbourne Aces in the Australian Baseball League, the same league former Wild Things’ pitcher Trevor Foss played a few seasons in.
The Charleston, West Virginia, native, who played his high school ball and currently lives in Maple Grove, Minnesota, tore it up at Des Moines Area CC in 2014, as he posted a .435/.512/.756 slash line at the plate to go along with 25 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs and 74 RBI. Collins also drew more walks (31) than times he went down on strikes (26). Once at FAU, the left-handed hitter hit .288 with an OPS of .859. Collins connected with 13 doubles, legged out five three-baggers and hit seven home runs in 2015, while driving in 59 and drawing 39 free bases in 277 plate appearances.
That’s when Collins was drafted. He advanced as high as Advanced-A Wilmington between 2015-17 in the Kansas City Royals’ organization. Collins had 54 doubles, 15 triples and 21 home runs between his three affiliated seasons. He drove in 139 runs in the three years. In Melbourne, Collins slashed .336/.398/.486 with 22 RBI and 15 extra-base hits in 166 plate appearances.
“The last few years with the Royals were great. I am extremely thankful for the opportunities they gave me,” said Collins. “The biggest adjustment from college to pro ball was the transition to playing every day. The toll it takes on your body is one thing, but the mental side of it is even more taxing.”
Collins said the process was hectic of trying to find a pro-ball team to play for after his release from the Royals’ system.
“I was released from the Royals at the end of March and wasn’t sure I would even have a team to play for this summer,” said Collins. “I started getting calls from teams from all over the country but I chose the Wild Things because it seemed like the best fit for me. I have friends I played with in the Royals system who currently play for the Wild Things and they had a lot of good things to say, plus it’s pretty close to my family in West Virginia.”
Current Wild Things’ players Mike Hill and Kyle Pollock played with Collins in the Royals’ organization.
The outfielder described himself as a “dynamic” offensive player with a “good combination of power and speed.” Defensively, he said he has the ability to cover a lot of ground.
“I’m very excited to be a part of a winning team and I am looking forward to making a positive impact in 2018,” said Collins. “I want to continue to improve as a baseball player while helping the Wild Things win a championship.”

Washington Wild Things Sign Mick Fennell

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.”

Southern Illinois Miners Ink Right Hander Perez

Marion, IL (April 9, 2018) – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they have they have signed former major league right-handed pitcher Williams Perez for the upcoming 2018 season, making him the first player with big league experience to sign with the franchise in their 12-year history.

Originally from Ariagua, Venezuela, the 26-year old Perez pitched last year for the Iowa Cubs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, and went 7-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 25 games, 23 of which were starts. A workhorse on the mound, he struck out 102 and walked 51 while surrendering just eight home runs in 120 1/3 innings pitched.

The previous two seasons, Perez was a member of the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation in the major leagues, the culmination of an eight-year stint in the Braves’ organization. He comes to Southern Illinois having pitched in 34 big-league games with 31 starts, a 9-9 record and a 5.18 ERA along with 100 strikeouts in 170 1/3 innings. The veteran righty earned a call-up to “The Show” by posting a 1.16 ERA in eight starts at Triple-A Gwinnett in 2015, striking out 36 and walking 10 in 38 2/3 innings. He then made his major league debut in relief on May 8th, 2015 against the Washington Nationals, and made his first big league start 12 days later against the Tampa Bay Rays.

In 2014, Perez was named an MiLB.com Organizational All-Star at Double-A Mississippi, going 7-6 with a 2.91 ERA in 26 games (25 starts), striking out 94 with only 39 walks in 133 innings pitched, and was also a midseason and postseason Southern League All-Star that season. He sports a cumulative minor league resume that includes 141 games with 121 starts, a 3.61 ERA, and 559 strikeouts against 194 walks in 666 1/3 innings. In addition, Perez was teammates in two seasons in the Braves organization with former Miners closer and fellow former Atlanta Braves pitcher Brandon Cunniff.

“Williams will be a tremendous addition to our rotation,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “His success with winning games at the major league level over two seasons will bring both experience and leadership to our staff. He was a teammate of Brandon Cunniff when he was with the Braves, and Brandon tells me great things about him as a competitor and a teammate. We have always been committed to bringing the very best available talent to the Miners, and this is a continuation of that commitment. We are looking forward to helping him towards his goal of a return to the major leagues while helping the Miners win along the way.”

Traverse City Beach Bums add David Lemley

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The Traverse City Beach Bums have announced the signing of infielder/outfielder David Lemley.

Lemley begins his professional career after graduating from La Roche College, an NCAA division 3 school in Pittsburgh, PA. He leaves the Redhawks as their all-time leader in home runs with 21 in three seasons. In his senior year, the Bethel Park, PA native hit .408 with nine long balls, 20 doubles, and 51 runs batted in on his way to being named to the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference all-conference team for the second straight time. In the season before, he smashed 12 home runs and drove in 55 runs with a .341 batting average, while leading La Roche to a NCAA Mideast Regional Championship, and the College World Series semi-finals.

Southern Illinois Miners Sign Veteran Kurt Heyer

Marion, IL (April 2, 2018) – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they have they have signed veteran right-handed pitcher Kurt Heyer for the 2018 season, bolstering their pitching rotation for the upcoming 2018 campaign.

Heyer, 27, comes to the Miners with an extensive resume that includes success at the highest levels of minor league baseball. Prior to splitting last season between Les Aigles de Trois-Rivieres in the Can-Am League and the Sioux City Explorers in the American Association, Heyer played five full seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, the last three of which were spent with Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. Having been teammates with current Miners pitcher Robby Rowland at Springfield in 2015 and 2016, he made 34 appearances and 12 starts in 2016, with 67 strikeouts and 26 walks in 94 1/3 innings pitched between Double-A and Triple-A, and in 2015 made 41 appearances and six starts, going 7-2 with a 4.09 ERA, 57 strikeouts and 23 walks in 83 2/3 innings.

In 2014, he was a workhorse starter for Springfield and Memphis, tossing 152 1/3 innings with a 4.84 ERA, 109 strikeouts and 46 walks across 28 games, 27 of which were starts. Originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 MLB Draft, the Huntington Beach, California native had a stellar three-year career as the #1 starter at the University of Arizona, and went 13-2 with a 2.24 ERA in 19 starts with seven complete games, 113 strikeouts and only 28 walks in 153 innings as a junior in helping the Wildcats to the 2012 College World Series title. For his efforts that season, he was named a Second Team All-American by Baseball America, and was teammates and battery mates with former Miners catcher Riley Moore.

“Kurt’s experience and success at the highest levels of minor league baseball to go along with his exceptional work ethic could make him an important piece of our rotation this season,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “He has had ‘big moment’ successes in his career, and I am very much looking forward to seeing him in a Miners uniform.”

Former Grizzlies Pitcher Trevor Richards to Make MLB Debut

SAUGET, IL – Aviston, Illinois’ own Trevor Richards is inked as the starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins against the Boston Red Sox at 6:10 p.m. CST on Monday, April 2, according to mlb.com. MLB.com reports, “With back-to-back contests seeing extra innings for the Marlins, they were in need of a slight, early-season rotation shakeup. Richards seemed like the logical candidate, as he allowed just one earned run across 12 innings this spring, with nine strikeouts and a 1.17 WHIP.” Read the full story here.

Richards went 2-0 in Spring Training starts over the last two weeks. Both wins were against Nationals hurler Max Scherzer. Richards threw four complete innings in his first outing on March 19. On March 27 he held the Nationals to just one run over six innings, even with four errors on the field behind him.

Richards pitched for the Gateway Grizzlies in 2015 and signed with the Miami Marlins club in 2016. Over the last two years Richards climbed his way through A and AA with the Miami club. In 2017 he posted a 12-11 record in 146 innings with a 2.53 ERA across A+ and AA. This year he was invited to Marlins spring training as an unsigned player.

Born in Aviston, IL, Richards pitched locally at Mater Dei Catholic High School before joining the Drury University baseball program in Springfield, MO.

Richards will be the 34th former Frontier League player to get the call to the Major Leagues and is the 22nd who made their pro debut in the Frontier League. Richards is also the second Grizzly, after Scott Patterson (Yankees and Padres) to play in the Major Leagues.

Evansville Otters Sign Zach Welz to a Contract Extension

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters have signed outfielder Zach Welz to a contract extension.

The Otters signed Welz, a Grass Valley, Calif. native, last August after he spent time in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization.

“Zach was a huge boost to our clubhouse and team last year,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “He was a plus defender in the outfield for us late in the season.”

In 20 games with Evansville in 2017, Welz batted .250 with 17 hits and six RBIs. He accounted for two doubles, a triple and home run while also walking 11 times.

“Zach should figure into the middle of our batting order,” McCauley said. “We look forward to having him back healthy.”

In affiliated baseball, Welz split time between Arkansas, Inland Empire, Burlington and Mobile playing for the Angels’ organization from 2015-17. Playing 145 games over the three-year span, Welz batted .238 and finished with 53 RBIs and 18 doubles.

Welz played collegiately at Texas Southern University in Houston and as a senior in 2015, he batted .281 with 28 RBIs and five doubles.

Evansville will celebrate Bosse Field’s Opening Night May 11 against the Washington Wild Things at 6:35 p.m.

Washington Wild Things Ink Danny Garmendia

WASHINGTON, Pa. (March 27) – As the season draws closer, the Wild Things are continuing to shape the roster for the 2018 campaign, as today the team announced it has signed right-handed pitcher Danny Garmendia to a deal for 2018. Garmendia comes the Wild Things’ way after his release from the Kansas City Royals organization. His time with the Royals came after a successful season at NAIA-power Keiser University in 2017.
Tony Buccilli, assistant general manager of team operations for the Wild Things, said he recognized Garmendia as a target very quickly, and said he believes Garmendia has the ability to be very successful in Washington.
“He played at a very high level with the Royals last season after shouldering 100+ innings in college. A lot of teams were pursuing Danny to remain a reliever but we jointly discussed flipping him back to a starter and I believe that separated us as a landing spot,” said Buccilli. “I certainly appreciate Danny’s enthusiasm to join our organization and am encouraged by his demeanor. We know he plans to work hard to prove himself.”
Garmendia joins a Wild Things’ staff that now has 14 pitchers on it as it stands, all of which will compete for spots either in the rotation or in the bullpen in a few short weeks leading up to the opener May 11 in Evansville.
“I’m blessed for the team giving me the opportunity to keep playing this game, and am excited to be a part of a great team,” said Garmendia. “I hope I can benefit us on the field and give it all I got everyday.”
The South Miami High School grad pitched two seasons at Eastern Florida State College before heading to Keiser University for the 2017 season. Keiser plays in the NAIA Sun Conference, and made the NAIA World Series last season. Garmendia was a big reason for the success, as he was awarded Pitcher of the Year laurels in the Sun Conference, and was named an NAIA All-American.
Garmendia was 10-3 with a 2.48 earned run average as a starter for the Seahawks. He made 17 appearances (16 starts) and tossed five complete games. In 108.2 innings of work, the right hander allowed just 77 hits and walked 30, while striking out 96 opposing batters, who only hit .196 against him in 2017.
“I have been known as a power pitcher. I like going right after hitters. [You] can’t show them any weaknesses or they won before they even get in the box,” said Garmendia. “I give it all I have every time I step out on the mound and I hope the ball club and fans like the way I pitched.”
After his junior season at Keiser, he signed with the Kansas City Royals organization, becoming the second Keiser player ever to sign with a pro team. Garmendia pitched for two rookie-ball teams in the Royals farm system and totaled 23.2 innings of work. He recorded 27 strikeouts, allowed 12 hits, walked seven and had a 3.04 ERA. The role was an adjustment for the Miami Lakes, Florida, native, but an experience he said is thankful for.
“I had a great experience with the Royals. [I also] made a lot of friends with my teammates and the coaching staffs. I was blessed [they] gave me the opportunity to play and wear their uniform on the field,” said Garmendia. “I was a starter in college and when I signed with the Royals they moved me into the bullpen [which] was really the only adjustment I had to make. I had to learn the bullpen role and plan out my days, ready to be called in at any moment.”
He expects to return to the starting role in 2018 with the Wild Things, and said he knows the process will require him to work hard and compete to succeed. In the end, he said he wants to have a great year, but also help the ball club win.
“My main focus is to help our team win a championship,” he added.