Today the Washington Wild Things announced the contract extension of left-handed pitcher and reigning Frontier League Pitcher of the Year Ryan Hennen, paving the way for the top of the rotation arm to return to Washington for his second professional season.
Hennen raked in three major awards this past season, with the top honor being named 2021’s Bryan Tollberg Award winner for the Frontier League’s Pitcher of the Year. At the time of voting, the left hander and No. 2 overall draft pick in the 2021 Frontier League Draft led the league in ERA as a true rookie in his first season of pro ball. His 2.12 ERA led the league by 0.60, his 11 wins were tied for second in the league and his innings (106.1) were the 10th most total in the league. The former NJCAA Pitcher of the Year at Century College is the fourth Wild Thing and third left-handed pitcher to win Pitcher of the Year, as he joined Frontier League Hall of Famers Jared Howton (2002) and Aaron Ledbetter (2007) as well as lefty Thomas Dorminy (2018) in that company.
The southpaw also took home the second Wild Things’ Jason Simontacchi Award for Rookie of the Year, joining Casey Barnes (2011) as winners of that award in the organization’s history. Hennen is also the lone Wild Thing on the 2021 Can-Am Conference Post-Season All Star Team as the team’s starting pitcher. Howton (2002), Ledbetter (2007), Trevor Foss (2016) and Dorminy (2018) have also been honored as Post-Season All-Star Starting Pitchers.
In total, Hennen was 11-3 with a 2.12 ERA in 19 games (16 starts) with a complete game and a shutout (at Lake Erie). He fanned 93 and walked just 18 over the aforementioned 106.1 innings. He allowed only 84 hits in the regular season.
“It was great to see Ryan go from a free agent at the Frontier League Draft to becoming the league’s Pitcher of the Year. He was relentless in taking the opportunity provided to him and he worked extremely hard between starts to prepare his body,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “[This season] will be about Ryan building on his success and refining nuances in his game. We are excited to have Ryan return and see where his next steps take him.”
While the 2021 campaign didn’t end how the team wanted it to, Hennen said that taking a step back, the team “realizes what it did.”
“Keep in mind we were an outside shot at the playoffs two-thirds of the way through the season,” said Hennen. “To finish the season how we did speaks a lot of [that] group. I think it put a chip on our shoulder for [this season].”
Hennen said he thinks he speaks for everyone in the organization when he says the goal now is to win another division title and be the team that raises the trophy at the end of the year.
“Whatever I can do to help that, I will do,” said Hennen. “Simply put, [I want to be] the best piece of the puzzle I can be… or: float like a Cadillac, sting like a Beemer.”
He said he re-signed because Washington is an organization is one he wants to be a part of.
“Everyone from the fans, staff members, front office, coaches and the 23 other players made it easy to come to the field and play everyday,” said Hennen. “Life is a highway. I want to drive it all night long.”
The Wild Things will kick off their 20th Frontier League season May 13 at home against the New York Boulders. The full schedule is available at washingtonwildthings.com. Check out the roster as it gets announced by clicking here.
ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS
The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League, partner league of Major League Baseball, that plays in Washington, PA. Since their inception in 2002, the Wild Things have won seven division titles and earned numerous playoff appearances. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media platforms and website, washingtonwildthings.com. For other inquiries, call the front office at 724-250-9555.