The 2019 Can-Am League Regular Season Champion Sussex County Miners announce the acquisition of Kansas City T-Bones (American Association) infielder John Brontsema, catcher Austin Biggar and a player to be named later in exchange for right-handed pitcher Frank Duncan.
“Brontsema is a heck of a player with high energy who I had the opportunity to watch from the other side [when he was with the Rockland Boulders]. He is a good defender who plays multiple positions and is also a good teammate,” Miners Manager Bobby Jones said. “Plus anytime you have the opportunity to acquire someone like Biggar who was highly recruited out of high school and played at a big Southeastern Conference school [University of Georgia], it’s really exciting. He’s a baseball rat and a good defensive player.”
A 24-year-old Santa Barbara, CA native, Brontsema is a pure hitter who brings four years of professional baseball experience to the Sussex County. Owner of a career .301 batting average, the T-Bones acquired Brontsema two weeks ago in a trade with the Rockland Boulders where he had a fantastic 2019 campaign. The Can-Am League All-Star led the club with 18-doubles while ranking second in hits (83) and stolen bases (14) and placing third in on-base percentage (.370) and slugging percentage (.436). Along with going 1-4 at the 2019 All-Star Game between the Can-Am League and the Frontier League, Brontsema logged a 15-game hitting streak that ranked second in the league. During this torrid stretch (May 19-June 7), he hit a sizzling .379 (22-58) with eight runs, four doubles, one triple, two homers, 13 RBIs and two stolen bases. Plus Brontsema bashed a league-high three doubles against the Quebec Capitales on June 1st.
Before joining the Boulders, Brontsema spent three seasons in the Kansas City Royals organization. Drafted by the in the 26th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of California Irvine where he played in the 2014 College World Series as a freshman. Brontsema authored an excellent professional debut. Spitting the season between the Surprise Royals (Arizona League, Rookie Level) and the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League, Single-A) Brontsema hit .337 (63-182) with 34 runs, nine doubles, one triple, 24 RBIs and nine stolen bases. He ranked second in the Arizona League in batting average (.346) and third in hits (60) and on-base percentage (.395) while earning Arizona League Postseason All-Star honors. After spending the 2017 season in Single-A with the Lexington Legends (South Atlantic League) and the Blue Rocks, he split the 2018 season with Wilmington and the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League).
Loaded with offensive potential, the 22-year old rookie backstopper from Liburn, Georgia was signed by the T-Bones on August 23rd as a free agent after playing three seasons at the University of Georgia. He hit .214 for the T-Bones (2-11) with one homer and three RBIs during the regular season and hit .143 (1-7) with a walk during the American Association playoffs. In 99 games with 73 starts, Biggar hit .203 with four homers and 28 RBIs in his collegiate career. His best season was his junior lear when he batted .255 with four doubles, two home runs in 30 games with 13 starts while the Bulldogs went 46-17 overall (a school-record 21-9 in the Southeastern Conference) and earned a national No. 4 seed in the NCAA Championship. He was touted as the top catcher in the state of Georgia out of Parkview High School, No. 9 nationally among catchers and the No. 97 overall prep prospect by Perfect Game. Biggar was named a 2016 Louisville Slugger High School All-American and 2nd Team Rawlings/Perfect Game All-American while hitting .318 with 15 doubles as a senior and named first-team All-State, All-County and All-Region plus to the Braves 400 club and Gwinnett Daily Post Super 6.
“Frank is such a warm guy and easy to get along with. He is consistent as a person and as a player and great in the locker room. On the field he was super competitive and kept the ball down,” Miners Manager Bobby Jones said. “Kansas City is getting a really good one and I’m grateful to have coached him. We wish him nothing but the best.”
A stalwart of the Sussex County starting rotation, Duncan authored a stellar 2019 season by logging a Can-Am League single-season record eight complete games along with ranking among the league leaders in shutouts (3, 1st), innings pitched (132.2, 1st), wins (10, 3rd), ERA (3.05, 3rd) and strikeouts (111, 3rd). Plus he threw the second no-hitter in Sussex County history — the first over a full-nine innings — in a masterful 89-pitch performance against the New Jersey Jackals on June 13. Interestingly, Duncan’s performance happened four years after Sussex County’s first no-hitter that was thrown by Jamie Walczak against the Ottawa Champions over seven innings in the second game of a doubleheader in 2015. Along with being named to the Can-Am League All-Star Team, the San Francisco, CA native was the first Can-Am League hurler to earn Pitcher of the Week three or more times in a season since 2014 when Rockland left-handed starting pitcher Sean Bierman was selected three times and New Jersey Jackals lefty Mike Antonini was selected four. Prior to being signed by Sussex County he spent five seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers organizations, reaching as high as Triple-A.
ABOUT THE SUSSEX COUNTY MINERS
The 2018 Can-Am League Champion Sussex County Miners are New Jersey’s newest professional baseball team. The Miners play a 96-game season in the newly expanded Frontier League from May through September. Their home games are played at Skylands Stadium, one of the premier sports and entertainment venues in North Jersey. Conveniently located in the heart of Sussex County, the Skylands Stadium Sports Complex includes a 4,200-seat stadium, the all-new 17,000-square foot indoor climate controlled Champions Way Sports Academy, a 3-acre play and party area, an 80-seat full-service restaurant – the only of its kind in all minor league baseball — and a spacious parking lot. Along with baseball, Skylands Stadium hosts numerous events including food truck festivals, beer festivals, comedy nights, concerts, stunt spectaculars, boat shows, light shows, and holiday extravaganzas, as well as private and corporate functions. For more information or tickets, please click here or call 973.383.7644.