The 2019 Can-Am League Regular Season Champion Sussex County Miners announce the acquisition of right-handed pitchers Tyler Fallwell and Juan Aguilera and infielder Adam Sasser from the Sioux City Explorers (American Association) in exchange for right-handed pitcher Ryan Newell and infielder John Brontsema.
“We got a good return of talent in this trade, and as always in baseball, in order to get good players, you have to give good players. We got a couple of strikeout pitchers who don’t walk a lot of batters, and that’s what you want. Fallwell is more of a power guy and Aguilera has good swing and miss stuff and he pitched at the University of Arizona which is a good school,” Sussex County manager Bobby Jones said. “Sasser is young and has a lot of power. When you hit 10 homers and hit for average at an SEC school (University of Georgia), chances are you’re a good player.”
Fallwell is a four-year professional baseball veteran who spent two seasons with the Sioux City Explorers (American Association) where he was a vital contributor to the team’s formidable bullpen. The 24-year old Tucson, Arizona native authored a dominant 2019 season that propelled his being named to the American Association All-Star Team. Along with ranking ninth in the league in strikeouts (104), he ranked among the club leaders in wins (8, tied for 1st), ERA (3.13, 3rd), appearances (36, tied for 3rd) and opposition batting average (.208, 4th). In 2018 he was third on the Explorers in appearances (23) and posted a 2-1 record and two saves along with logging a minuscule 0.64 ERA which ranked second on the team. Fallwell’s contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies organization on July 16 and he went onto play for the Single-A Lakewood BlueClaws where he posted a 6.75 ERA over 12 appearances and he logged 21.1 innings with 21 strikeouts while walking just six batters. Fallwell was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 19th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft from Cochise Community College (Douglas, AZ). He spent two years in the Royals farm system.
A fellow Tucson, Arizona native, Aguilera was signed by the Explorers after being released by the Detroit Tigers organization). He served in the bullpen and logged a 5.40 ERA over 16 appearances while 23.1 innings and walking 15 and striking out 23. Aguilera was signed by the Detroit Tigers as an undrafted free agent after pitching two seasons at the University of Arizona where he went 6-1 with a 3.93 ERA and appeared in 29 games and threw 64.2 innings along with amassing 23 walks and 52 strikeouts. He split his first professional season between the Tigers East (Gulf Coast League, Rookie Level) and the Connecticut Tigers (New York-Penn League, Short Season Single-A) and went 4-1 with a stingy 0.73 ERA while walking 19 and striking out 39 over 37 innings.
A left-handed-hitting infielder, Sasser is the second University of Georgia Bulldog on the Sussex County roster. Fellow catcher Austin Biggar came over in a trade with the Kansas City T-Bones (American Association) on December 4. Loaded with power potential, the Evans, Georgia native made his professional debut with the Explorers last season and hit .223 (60-269) with four homers and 31 RBIs. Along with spending three seasons at The University of Georgia, he played his senior year at North Greenville University. Sasser hit his stride in his final two collegiate seasons. As a junior, he hit .317 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs overall while leading his team in Southeastern Conference action with a .346 batting average, six homers and 26 RBIs. He was a Second Team All-EC selection at first base while the Bulldogs went 39-21 and advanced to the NCAA Athens Regional Final. His explosive power potential became more realized in his senior year where he hit .327 (67-205) with a team-leading 21 homers and 63 RBIs which placed second on the North Greenville University Crusaders.
“Newell was great for us and I am very grateful to have had him. I admire how he always did the work and was one of the first guys at the ballpark and he was a leader in a lot of ways. And I was looking forward to having a classy guy like Brontsema in the locker room,” Jones explained. “But when you run a good program with lots of good players, people [opposing teams] are going to want them.”
A cornerstone of the Sussex County bullpen, Newell was named to the 2019 Can-Am League All-Star Team and ranked second in the circuit with 19 saves. Overall, the Fairfax, Virginia native went 0-3 with a stingy 1.75 ERA with 60 strikeouts and only yielding 13 walks over 36 innings. An eight-year veteran, Newell was drafted by the Marlins in the 7th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Shorter University. He spent seven years in the Marlins system and another in the Diamondbacks organization and reached as high as Double-A for both farm systems. His best year in affiliated baseball was with the Marlins Single-A affiliate, the Greensboro Grasshoppers (South Atlantic League). As a member of the starting rotation, he tied for first on the club in shutouts and complete games (1) and ranked third on the team in wins (8), innings pitched (109.2) and strikeouts (94).
Owner of a .301 career batting average, Brontsema is having a busy off-season. Sussex County acquired the 24-year old Santa Barbara, CA native from the Kansas City T-Bones on December 4. Ironically, two weeks before that, the T-Bones acquired Brontsema from the New York Boulders where he had an excellent 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.
About the Sussex County Miners
The 2019 Can-Am League Regular Season 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.