The Frontier League is a little over a month into its 2019 season and teams are beginning to form an identity. However, for some, an established identity can be hard to maintain when frequent roster turnover is apparent. In the following examples, turnover is for good reason.
Over the past week, five players were purchased from the Frontier League by affiliated organizations, making this season’s affiliated list up to eight total players through 33 games. The latest include: RHP Jackson Sigman, RHP Michael Stryffeler, RHP Nick Duron, RHP Dalton Roach and LHP Alec Byrd. Among the aforementioned five signees, three were members of the River City Rascals.
MOVING ON FROM RIVER CITY
Manager Steve Brook’s Rascals lost to the Washington Wild Things on Opening Night, 7-5. Since then, his team has not spent a single day under .500.
A large part of the team’s success results directly from the three members who were recently acquired. Right-handed relief pitcher Jackson Sigman signed with the Milwaukee Brewers, right-handed starter Dalton Roach signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and left-handed starter Alec Byrd signed with the Cincinnati Reds.
Sigman ranked in the top-10 among Frontier League relievers with his 0.77 ERA. He was also tied for the league-lead in saves with seven and sported 18 strikeouts compared to four walks in 11.2 innings pitched. The freshly-turned 24-year-old leaves the Frontier League following his 25 total appearances dating back to last year.
Roach was mentioned in last week’s News & Notes as one of the more overshadowed pitchers in the league due to recent success from current affiliated hurlers Adam Oller and Patrick McGuff. Now the light is shining bright on the 23-year-old, who will get his opportunity with the Cardinals following an outstanding 2019.
Roach managed a 1.12 ERA over five starts and allowed just 17 hits and six walks over 32 innings while striking out 37. He allowed one run and struck out 11 in a complete game victory over the Joliet Slammers in his final Frontier League outing.
Rounding out the Rascals’ list is lefty Alec Byrd, who was sold to the Reds on June 16. The starter returns to affiliated ball after spending his first two professional seasons with the Colorado Rockies. River City went 4-2 in games Byrd pitched, as the 24-year-old leaves boasting 35 strikeouts over 30.2 innings.
REMEMBER TO EXHALE IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
Deep breathing exercises probably benefits the many out in Southern Illinois, as fans of the Miners have watched their team come back time and time again this season. On June 14 against the Rascals, Southern Illinois rallied for four runs in the 9th inning to walk it off in Marion, as the win marked one of 11 one-run victories on the season.
Southern Illinois Miners broadcaster Jason Guerette had the call during the wild finish:
So, last night was rather fun… Here’s how we beat the Rascals on Friday night and won our fourth straight game! We go for a fifth W in a row tonight at 6:05- don’t miss the action at Rent One Park! #ProtectThePickaxe pic.twitter.com/9qqzMuPLE5
— SI Miners (@SIMiners) June 15, 2019
Remarkably, Southern Illinois is 11-3 in one-run contests this year and celebrated a 19-12 record as last week concluded. The second place Miners have reason to celebrate a successful on field product through 31 games, but also the individual success of right-handed reliever Nick Duron.
Duron, 23, was picked up by the Seattle Mariners on June 12 following his impressive 1.35 ERA over 13.1 relief innings with the Miners. The right-hander returns to affiliated ball following a three-year stint with the Boston Red Sox, beginning in 2015. Duron was assigned to the Mariners’ advanced-A affiliate and has made two appearances in the California League as of June 17.
MORE OF THE SAME OUT IN LAKE ERIE
Dating back to last season, manager Cam Roth seems to have a knack for finding pitching. Among the then 12-team league, the Lake Erie Crushers allowed the fewest earned runs and were ranked among the top-5 in strikeouts and fewest hits allowed.
This season is more of the same, as the Crushers have given up the fewest runs through 31 games, own a league-best 3.03 team ERA and have allowed a league-low 211 hits over 264.1 innings.
Michael Stryffeler is part of the reason Lake Erie’s pitching staff has been so effective. The 23-year-old is also heading to Seattle following his sparkling 0.00 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 13.2 innings.
SHINING THE WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT ON A TOP PERFORMER
Bryant Flete is on an absolute tear over his last five games for Southern Illinois. Flete terrorized opposing pitching to the tune of a 13-for-21 (.619) effort with two doubles, a home runs, four RBI, two walks and no strikeouts.
The former Chicago Cubs and White Sox farmhand is on a mission to climb to the next level, as the left-handed hitter is slashing .413/.476/.489 over 92 at-bats. Flete has at least one hit in 18 of his 22 games with the Miners, including five three-hit performances, one four-hit performance, and one five-hit performance.
LEAGUE LEADERS THROUGH 33 GAMES
Batting Average: Bryant Flete, Southern Illinois Miners (.413)
Doubles: Andrew Daniel, Gateway Grizzlies (12)
Home Runs: Dash Winningham, Saige Jenco, Kyle Davis, Hector Roa, Braxton Martinez, Connor Crane (T-6)
Runs Batted In: Hector Roa, Washington Wild Things (26)
Stolen Bases: Cody Livesay, River City Rascals (17)
Earned Run Average: Frank Valentino, Florence Freedom (1.62)
Innings Pitched: Randy Wynne, Evansville Otters (50)
Strikeouts: Tyler Jandron, Joliet Slammers (50)
Wins: Wynne, Evansville Otters (5)
Saves: Dylan Prohoroff, Connor Eller (T-7)