OTTERS ADD CATCHER MATT MALKIN

The Evansville Otters have signed catcher Matt Malkin to a contract for the 2021 season.

Malkin joins the Otters after spending 2019 with the San Francisco Giants organization.

“I’m excited to play in Evansville because of the countless positive things I’ve been hearing about it,” Malkin said. “From the atmosphere to the stadium and coaching staff, everyone I’ve talked to who’s had experience with Evansville, either coaching or playing, says it’s one of the best places to play in the league!”

The Broomfield, Co. native split time between the Arizona League Giants Black, San Jose Giants of the California League, Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League, and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Northwest League in 2019.

Overall, Malkin batted .309 with 13 RBIs, 10 extra base hits, and 10 runs scored in 34 games played during the 2019 season with the four ball clubs.

“Matt was recommended by former Frontier League manager Richie Austin, and he was then cross checked by hitting coach Bobby Segal’s contacts in the SEC and in Colorado,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “The Giants thought highly of him but unfortunately didn’t have a spot with the reduced number of teams.”

“Just by his climb in the Giants organization, it tells us Matt is a very capable defender, catching in AAA in his first year. All accounts tell us he should compete for time behind the plate.”

McCauley also mentioned that when the Otters coaching staff looks at prospective catchers, they primarily take defense into consideration. McCauley said he is confident the new, young catchers on the Otters’ roster will improve dramatically under the instruction of Segal and assistant coach Phil Britton.

Like most minor league ballplayers in 2020, there was no competitive season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Malkin was already in MiLB Spring Training when the sports shutdown occurred.

“2020 started out great, as I was headed to my first spring training, I was playing good, and played with some guys I grew up watching,” Malkin said. “It was an amazing experience.”

“After the shut down, I was lucky enough to have a place to keep in shape and a few friends to take live reps with. It was a challenge, but I’m ready for the real thing now.”

Malkin played collegiately at Paradise Valley Community College, University of Alabama, and Metro State University. During his senior season at Metro State, Malkin was a Division II First Team All-American.

“There are no lengths I won’t go to help the team win,” Malkin said. “I love this game and show the utmost respect for it by working hard every day on and off the field. I love everything that comes with the game. The fans, the smells of the grill and grass, and the thrill of each pitch about to be hit.”

“The fans can expect a guy that will carry himself with respect and with a smile. After all we do play a game, so I hope to show that I am still a kid out there!”

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.

The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

TITANS ADD TO ROSTER WITH SIGNING OF JACKSON SIGMAN

The Ottawa Titans Baseball Club announced today the signing of right-handed pitcher Jackson Sigman for the 2021 season.

Sigman, 25, spent the 2020 season with the American Association’s Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, appearing in one game, tossing two innings, giving up five runs, and striking out four.

“The addition of Jackson Sigman is a major boost to our back end bullpen depth,” said Titans Manager Steve Brook.  “Jackson really came into his own during the first half of the 2019 season as our closer. He brings tremendous energy to the mound and pitches with confidence. I’m excited to see what he will accomplish with us in Ottawa this year.”

The Austin, Texas native has had two different stints in minor league baseball with both the Kansas City Royals (2017) and Milwaukee Brewers (2019) organizations.

A graduate of the University of West Virginia (Morgantown, West Virginia), Sigman will enter his fifth season of professional baseball. The 25-year-old was a part of the River City Rascals in 2019, going 1-1 with a 0.77 ERA across 11.2 innings pitched, with opponents hitting just .171 against him before his contract was purchased by the Brewers.

Sigman was assigned to the Pioneer League’s Rocky Mountain Vibes where he went 0-2 with a 7.13 ERA in 24 innings pitched.

The Ottawa Titans are scheduled to hit the field in late Spring of 2021 playing in the Frontier League, a partner league of Major League Baseball.

FRONTIER LEAGUE ANNOUNCES 2021 SCHEDULE

The Frontier League has released its schedule for its 28th season, which will feature sixteen clubs playing a 96-game, full-season format.  Opening day for the 2021 season will be on Thursday, May 27, with the regular season concluding on Sunday, September 12.

CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THE 2021 SCHEDULE

For the 2021 season, the Frontier League will be split into two conferences of two divisions each.  The Can-Am Conference features the New York Boulders, Quebec Capitales, Tri-City ValleyCats, and Trois-Rivieres Aigles in the Atlantic Division plus the New Jersey Jackals, Ottawa Titans, Sussex County Miners, and Washington Wild Things in the Northeast Division.  The Midwestern Conference includes a Central Division of the Lake Erie Crushers, Joliet Slammers, Schaumburg Boomers, and Windy City ThunderBolts and a West Division of the Evansville Otters, Florence Y’alls, Gateway Grizzlies, and Southern Illinois Miners.

In order to minimize travel and to enhance regional rivalries the 2021 schedule will be played largely in-conference.  Washington will have cross-over games with Florence and Lake Erie, both of whom will make a 6-game trip to the Can-Am Conference.  Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres will each make a 6-game trip to the Midwest, with Gateway and Southern Illinois hosting the Capitales while the Aigles visit Schaumburg and Windy City.

The two newest members of the Frontier League battle each other to open the regular season when Tri-City visits Ottawa.   Quebec, New York, Sussex County, Gateway, Lake Erie, Joliet, and Schaumburg also begin 2021 at home.  Trois-Rivieres and Windy City open their home schedules the following night with New Jersey and Florence having their home openers on Saturday, May 29.  Evansville and Southern Illinois return home for Tuesday, June 1 while Tri-City and Washington have their home openers on Friday, June 4.

Due to a compressed schedule and the many logistics involved in staging the event, the Frontier League will not have an All-Star Game in 2021.

Playoffs begin on Tuesday, September 14 with the four division winners qualifying.

Debuting in 1993, the Frontier League is the largest of the Major League Baseball Partner Leagues and features teams stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway.  More information and the complete 2021 schedule can be found at www.frontierleague.com.

CAPITALES ADD NEW BRUNSWICK NATIVE FOR CLOSER ROLE

Originally signed for the 2020 season, Saint John, New Brunswick native Andrew Case has officially committed for the 2021 season with the Capitales. With six seasons of experience in the affiliate ranks, the Canadian reliever will start next season as the mainstay of the bullpen. From 2014 to 2019, Case was part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization, reaching AA and AAA levels.

In his career, Case was 131 times the pitcher finishing the game for his team. Of these, 43 are saves, 15 of which are at the AA level. He should therefore get the favor of Patrick Scalabrini in order to close the books in hotly contested matches.

“He has experience of these situations. Andrew posted strong numbers as a closer in the Double-A Eastern League,” said Scalabrini.  “We’re very excited to be able to count on him in our bullpen.

At the same time, the manager of the Capitales is making a great signing. Indeed, despite an impressive track record, Andrew Case will not be considered one of Quebec’s three Veteran classification players in 2021. In addition to his 200-game experience in the minor leagues, Case has also pitched a few times with the Canadian National Team. Several former teammates on the National Team pitched him for the attractions of Quebec City and the organization.

Case will not be in his first professional season on Canadian soil. In 2014 and 2015, he played primarily in Vancouver for the A- subsidiary of the Toronto Blue Jays. More recently, he pitched an inning when the Toronto Blue Jays came to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium in 2018 (in a Jays victory thanks to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s famous home run).

2017 ALL-STAR MVP RETURNING TO WASHINGTON

The Washington Wild Things have announced the return of 2017 Frontier League All Star outfielder Bralin Jackson for the 2021 season. Jackson, who played a full season with Washington that year, was most recently with the Altoona Curve for two years in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization.

In 2017 with Washington, Jackson appeared in 95 of 96 regular-season games and all four playoff games against the then-Florence Freedom. In the regular season the Kansas City, Missouri, native slashed .294/.325/.477 with 17 doubles, three triples and 16 home runs. Jackson drove in 76 runs and stole eight bases.

He was named All-Star Game MVP in Joliet after a 2-for-4 night with two RBI as the East Division beat the West 4-1. He was one of eight All-Stars that year, a team record.

“We are excited to bring in an MVP caliber player and person with Bralin’s return. His 2017 season speaks for itself. He took advantage of the opportunity in front of him and ultimately signed by the Pirates shortly after the year,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “Bralin is a proven run producer professionally and we value the consistency to his game. We know Bralin will prepare to be that impact player once again and we expect our fans eager to welcome him back.”

Manager Tom Vaeth, who was still with the Winnipeg Goldeyes when Jackson was in Washington the first time, is also excited.

“He was a big-time producer in his first stint with the Wild Things and I expect nothing less from him in his return. Bralin will slot right into the middle of the lineup and be a leader both on and off the field for us,” said Vaeth. “In talking with Bralin, I can already tell how excited he is to come back to Washington and compete for a championship. His return instantly makes us a better ball club.”

For Jackson, it’s an opportunity to come back to a place he felt well-received.

“After becoming a free agent and knowing how much I still love the game, the Wild Things reached out to me and I prayerfully accepted,” said Jackson. “I appreciated how I was received by the Wild Things’ family and how there was a great team chemistry and effort during the season. The atmosphere and fans were great and that went into my decision [to come back].”

Jackson was the 2012 fifth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays out of Raytown South High School in Missouri. He began his affiliated career with 39 games for the GCL Rays in 2012. In the next three years, he went from the Appalachian League (Rk) to the New York-Penn League (A-) to the Midwest League (A). Over the three years, Jackson drove in 80 runs. In 2016, Jackson split time between Charlotte (A+) and the GCL Rays.

His 16 home runs in 2017 with the Wild Things were tied for fifth in the league, while his 76 RBI ranked second.

Jackson’s contract was purchased following the season by the Pirates’ organization. In 2018, Jackson appeared in 64 games for the Curve and drove in 14 runs with 11 extra-base hits. Then in 2019, he drove in 20 with 13 doubles and hit .257 for Altoona in 95 games played.

“One of my goals for myself would be to lead by a great example in the clubhouse and come prepared everyday,” said Jackson. “A goal for the team would be to have fun while on the way to a championship.”

Jackson will not be the only former Frontier League All Star returning to Washington’s outfield. The team’s next roster signing announcement is set for Tuesday, February 23.

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 six 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.

 

BILL LEE TO BECOME COMMISSIONER EMERITUS

The Frontier League announced today after 27 years as Commissioner, Bill Lee will be retiring and assuming the role of “Commissioner Emeritus” effective March 1st, 2021. Lee has served as Commissioner of the Frontier League since 1994 and will continue to serve as a consultant for the League and attend numerous League functions.

“It has been my honor to serve the Frontier League for more than a quarter of a century”, Lee stated. “It is very gratifying to see how the League has grown to 16 teams and has a partnership with Major League Baseball. I will always treasure the many relationships that were formed over the years with League staff, owners, front office members, managers, coaches, umpires, media, broadcasters and other members of our industry. I mostly want to thank all of the players and fans that truly built the League”.

“Bill Lee has done an outstanding job managing and growing the Frontier League”, stated League President John Stanley. “The League owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Bill for his 27 years of service, and it’s safe to say the League would not exist in it’s present form without Bill’s leadership and hard work”.

After graduating from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a degree in Mass Communications, Lee played in the Atlanta Braves organization and the independent Lone Star League. He then worked for the Birmingham Barons as their Assistant General Manager and Public Relations Director before moving on to become the General Manager of the Chattanooga Lookouts.

While with the Lookouts, Lee was the Southern League’s Executive of the Year in 1989. Just before joining the Frontier League, he was the Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for the Seattle Thunderbirds Hockey Club in the Western Hockey League. Lee was chosen as Marketing Executive of the Year of that League in 1991.

The Frontier League will begin a search for a replacement immediately.

The Frontier League is the largest and longest tenured MLB Partner League, with 16 teams stretching from St. Louis to Quebec City, Canada. For more information go to www.frontierleague.com

TITANS SIGN CODY THOMPSON AND MICAH KACZOR

As the busy offseason for the Ottawa Titans Baseball Club continues, the club announced Friday the signings of Pitchers Cody Thompson and Micah Kaczor.

Thompson, 24, enters his second season of professional baseball as he spent the 2019 season with the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League. In 16 games, Thompson started three of them, going 3-2 with a 4.97 ERA in 41.2 innings, striking out 32.

The Mechanicsville, Virginia native can also play the outfield, where he spent 17 games in 2019.

“Cody Thompson has a lot to prove in the Frontier League this season,” said Titans Manager Steve Brook. “I was able to see him personally this fall at a workout with the Gateway Grizzlies and I jumped at the opportunity to sign him on the spot. He’s pitching with a chip on his shoulders and is ready to prove that he deserves to pitch at this level and beyond.”

Kaczor, 23, played under Steve Brook during the 2019 season with the River City Rascals starting four games, going 2-1 with a 1.46 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched. In July, Kaczor had his contract purchased by the Colorado Rockies.

“Micah is a competitor on the mound and pounds the strike zone,” added Brook. “I’m very excited to have him back with me in 2021 and pumped to see what he can do for the Titans this season.”

A graduate of East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tennessee), Kaczor appeared in six games with the Boise Hawks, the Rockies short season-A affiliate going 1-3 with a 5.13 ERA across 26.1 innings pitched.

The Ottawa Titans are scheduled to hit the field in late Spring of 2021 playing in the Frontier League, a partner league of Major League Baseball.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS OPENS DIAMOND CLUB FOR BUSINESS MEETINGS

Looking for a meeting space for your small group? The Diamond Club at Southern Illinios’ Rent One Park is a unique and spacious setting for your meeting needs. Under the current state guidelines, the capacity is set at 50 guests.  Prices start at $200 for weekday use with an option to add on a box lunch catered by Crystal’s Catering.  Contact the Miners Box Office at 618-998-8499 for details and availability, or visit here for more information.

TITANS BOLSTER PITCHING STAFF

The Ottawa Titans Baseball Club announced today the signing of Canadian left-handed pitcher Evan Grills.

Grills, 28, was a 10th round selection of the Houston Astros in the 2010 MLB Draft out of Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby, Ontario. The six foot-four-inch lefty reached Triple-A twice in his minor league career, with both the Astros and Colorado Rockies organizations.

“I am thrilled to add Evan Grills to our 2021 pitching staff in Ottawa,” said Titans Manager Steve Brook. “Grills is a professional both on and off the field. He has extensive experience as a starting pitcher for both the Rockies and Astros organizations. I’m very excited to see what he can accomplish this season with the Titans.”

Named to the Houston Astros 2016 organizational all-star team, Grills was a career 36-32 with a 4.25 ERA over 608 innings pitched in the minor leagues. Grills was sidelined for the entire 2017 season after receiving Tommy John surgery.

After being released by the Astros, Grills signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies, earning an invite to big league spring training. The Oshawa, Ontario native split the 2019 season in both double-A and triple-A, going a combined 5-8 with a 4.50 ERA across 128 innings pitched.  He left affiliated baseball for the American Association’s Winnipeg Goldeyes in 2020 where he appeared in 11 games, sporting a 3-2 record, tossing 38.2 innings, and holding a 4.89 ERA.  Grills currently resides in nearby St. Albert, Ontario, and holds duties as Pitching Coach for the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians youth baseball club.

The Ottawa Titans are scheduled to hit the field in late Spring of 2021 playing in the Frontier League, a Partner League of Major League Baseball.

WILD THINGS ADD MT. LEBANON PRODUCT

The Washington Wild Things have announced the latest addition to the 2021 roster with the signing of left-handed pitcher Austin Kitchen, a Mt. Lebanon High School and Coastal Carolina University product. Kitchen pitched for the Slammin’ Sammies in nine games during pod play this past summer and sported a 1.50 ERA from the bullpen.

In 12 innings in 2020, Kitchen allowed just 10 hits and two walks while fanning 11 and only giving up three runs (two earned). Kitchen is set to make his Frontier League debut in 2021.

“Getting Austin back in his normal role was our first step. He adjusted quite well to the professional game and our experienced relievers were great resources,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “Austin has the ability to limit hitters from both sides of the plate and he is attacking this off-season with a purpose.”

Kitchen said the opportunity to play with some guys from the 2020 summer as well as some other factors helped make his decision to sign with the Wild Things for the upcoming season.

“[I also was excited to have] the opportunity to play for a winning organization that can help make me better and grow as well as maximize the opportunities in baseball,” said Kitchen. “[I’m] a strong competitor who enjoys to compete and attack hitters [and] a guy that doesn’t shy away from tough situations on the mound and wants to win as a team more than anything.”

At Mt. Lebanon, Kitchen was a Quad-A All Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and QuadASports.com All-Section player, Quad-A Pitcher of the Year in 2015 and Pittsburgh South Hills Almanac MVP. He was 6-1 that season with a 2.29 ERA ERA and a 0.95 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched). He registered a school-record 85 strikeouts in 51 innings that year, leading Mt. Lebanon to a 15-3 regular-season record and a section title. The year prior, Kitchen was 6-1 with 61 strikeouts and batted .380 while setting the Blue Devils’ program record with a 1.07 ERA.

Once at Coastal Carolina, the lefty made an immediate impact. As a freshman in 2016, Kitchen was named a Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American. As Coastal’s go-to lefty from the pen, he was 4-0 with two saves in 21 appearances while opposing hitters managed just a .185 batting average against him. That’s second on CCU’s single-season record list. He missed the Super Regional and College World Series due to injury that season. The Chanticleers defeated TCU for the national title that season.

In 2017, Kitchen led the team in appearances (24) and saves (six), the latter of which ranked eighth in the Sun Belt. In 24 games, he amassed 35.2 innings and fanned 30. He’d red shirt with an injury in 2018 before returing to the mound for CCU in 2019 to appear in 17 games and start 13 of them. He was 6-4 that year across 70.2 innings pitched. In those, he struck out 61 opposing hitters and walked only 23.

Kitchen also appeared on the mound in the Cape Cod League in 2017, pitching his way to a 3.05 ERA in 20.2 innings across seven appearances (two starts).

“For some personal goals, I want to just continue to get better and pick some of my coaches’ and teammates’ brains to learn as much as I can everyday,” said Kitchen. “Team goals are to win a championship.”

Kitchen is the 11th pitcher officially announced for the 2021 roster and the third lefty, joining Tommy Shirley and BJ Sabol. Next week, the team is set to announce the return of a one-time Frontier League All Star.

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 six 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.

 

BOOMERS’ HITTING COACH JOINS TWINS ORGANIZATION

The Schaumburg Boomers are pleased to announce Derek Shomon has been hired by the Minnesota Twins organization. Shomon will serve as a minor league hitting coach for the 2021 season.

Shomon began coaching with the Boomers during the inaugural 2012 season, serving as the team’s bullpen catcher. He would spend the next five seasons in various roles including bullpen coach, bench coach, and strength and conditioning coach helping the team win two Frontier League Championships.

“I am really excited and proud to see Derek get this opportunity with the Twins,” said manager Jamie Bennett. “I have known Derek since we began with the Boomers in 2012 and I’m proud to call him a true friend to myself and my family. He has worked very hard to get where he is today and is well deserving. He’s one of those guys in baseball that “gets it”. We will miss seeing him as often in Schaumburg, but he will always be a part of the Boomer family.”

In June 2016 Shomon joined the Lake Erie Crushers staff along with original Boomer Cam Roth. Under Roth, he held the duties of catching and bullpen coach.

Derek returned to the Boomers in 2018 as bench coach a role he would hold until being named hitting coach for the 2020 season. As bench coach he primarily worked with the catchers where he helped catcher Nick Oddo put together back-to-back All-Star selections. First baseman Quincy Nieporte also benefitted from working with Shomon. Nieporte surged late in the 2019 season to become the Frontier League batting champion and broke the league record for RBI’s in a single game with 10.

“Derek Shomon is a great leader on and off the field and we greatly appreciate everything he has done as a coach with the Schaumburg Boomers”, said Boomers Vice President/General Manager Michael Larson. “While we don’t like to lose a talented coach like Derek, we are excited to see him continue his career in the MLB affiliated system with the Minnesota Twins organization.”

Shomon is the Co-Owner at Athletes HQ in Elgin, IL. He works with baseball and softball players at the youth, college, and professional.

To stay up to date with all things Boomers baseball, follow the Boomers on social media and on www.boomersbaseball.com.

JHALAN JACKSON RETURNING TO QUEBEC

The Quebec Capitals are announcing a major addition to the roster for next season. Outfielder Jhalan Jackson signed a contract for the 2021 season, formalizing his return to the organization. In the space of about 50 games during the 2019 season, Jackson had an immediate impact with the Capitales, both batting and defensively.

Manager Patrick Scalabrini is delighted with Jhalan Jackson’s return to his roster: “He is our most exciting and spectacular player, both batting and defensive. Jhalan is the best hitter in our lineup. I expect him to be one of the best players in the league. We’re going to try to build our offensive around him. He will definitely be a big run producer.”

Released from the New York Yankees’ AA affiliate in the spring of 2019, Jackson joined Quebec in June and immediately joined the core of the offensive lineup. In the 2019 season, the native Floridian hit the long ball at a frantic pace (1 home run in every 19 plate appearances). His 13 home runs (in 58 games) were good for fourth place in the former Can-Am League. He also ranked among the top players in several other offensive chapters (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS). The imposing outfielder also stood out defensively. In the outfield, he had repeatedly stolen long hits from the opponent. Jackson had also frustrated several opposing runners who had dared to challenge his hot arm.

Scalabrini also mentions that Jhalan Jackson will arrive more motivated than ever. “In 2019, the first few weeks had been complicated for him because of his hamstring injury. Once he recovered he was unstoppable. He wants to arrive in a form that will allow him to be at this level to give himself a chance to be spotted by Major League Baseball teams.”

OTTERS ADD INFIELDER RILEY KRANE

The Evansville Otters have signed infielder Riley Krane to a contract for the 2021 season.

The 2021 season will be Krane’s fourth season overall in the Frontier League.

“I’m extremely excited about joining the Otters in 2021, coming to an organization with a history of success in the Frontier League, as well as playing for Andy (McCauley) is a great opportunity,” Krane said. “Competing against the Otters for the past three years, I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for this organization. I’m looking forward to competing for a championship and playing in front of a really passionate fan base.”

Krane spent the 2019 season with the Joliet Slammers. With the Slammers, Krane batted .280 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs. He played in all 96 games and scored 52 runs.

“Riley was a tough out for us,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “He’s a positive presence on the field and in the clubhouse, a versatile player that can play numerous positions, and hit anywhere in the lineup. Jeff Isom, the former Slammers manager, recommended him highly.”

Krane played for the Windy City ThunderBolts in 2017-18. He totaled eight home runs, 52 RBIs, and 52 runs in 123 games over those two seasons. His combined batting average was .263.

“In 2020, I lived in Montana, working in a little town, but I was able to find a little batting cage and get some work in,” Krane said. “I’ve since moved to Kansas City, Mo., where I’ve been working out and will continue to work to get ready for the season. I feel great about where I’m at and I am excited to put on a uniform again after more than 20 months.”

Krane played collegiately at Washburn University. In four years at Washburn, he hit .325 with 25 homers and 139 RBIs in 172 games. He also stole 30 bases in his college career.

“Riley can play numerous positions, so we’ll be seeing where he fits us best in Spring Training,” McCauley said.

“Fans can expect me to give everything I have every day I come to the stadium,” Krane said.

“At the end of the day, all you can control is how well you prepare yourself and how hard you play the game. I take a lot of pride in being able to maintain a consistent approach to my routine so that I’m able to compete at my best every single day.”

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.

The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

EVANSVILLE RELIEVER OPP SIGNED BY NEW YORK METS

The Evansville Otters have announced that former Otters pitcher Cam Opp has signed with the New York Mets Organization.

Cam Opp, from Enterprise, Ala., signed and joined the Otters in July 2019 for his first professional stint in baseball.

The left-hander went 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA, recording two saves, and striking out 35 in 26.2 innings pitched and 21 appearances for the Otters.

“I am looking forward to competing at the next level and pushing myself further than I have before,” Opp said.

“Cam has above-average velocity from the left side with a sharp cutter, slider combination,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “He also threw a curveball that was tough to time up with his other pitches.”

Opp had 16 appearances not allowing an earned run and had 12 outings recording multiple strikeouts out of the bullpen.

“Cam made a huge impact as a rookie stepping into the setup role, and with the number of pitchers that got picked up last year, we needed younger guys to step up,” McCauley said.

“With the new three-batter minimum rule, left-handed pitchers like Cam will be in more demand, and especially because he was dominant against left-handed and right-handed hitters.”

Opp came to the Otters following his senior season at the U.S Military Academy at West Point, pitching for the Army Black Knights. In 2019 for the Black Knights, Opp was 5-1 in 24 appearances with a 3.65 ERA. He recorded 51 strikeouts in 44.1 innings pitched.

“I’ve never had a player from the U.S military academies, U.S.M.A. or U.S.N.A., but hopefully with new regulations we will be able to give these exceptional student-athlete patriots an opportunity to compete past their eligibility,” McCauley said.

Following the 2019 Frontier League season, Opp rejoined the Army to resume his military training.

“The last competitive pitch I threw was in an Otters jersey, and like most baseball players, 2020 was a year away from the field for the most part due to COVID-19,” Opp said.

Opp mentioned he was able to piece together a baseball offseason to stay ready and in game shape. He was supported by the Army and the World Class Athlete Program, moving through Texas, Colorado, and most recently North Carolina, which has provided facilities and an environment where he can work to get better each day.

“It was honestly a pleasure to have Cam, as his work ethic, discipline, respect for staff and teammates, and appreciation of the opportunity were exemplary,” McCauley said.

“We wish Cam the best of luck with the Mets organization.”

“Throughout 2020, the 2019 season with Evansville came to mind often,” Opp said. “I will always remember that team, and I look forward to keeping a lot of the relationships I made with the staff and players throughout the organization.”

Opp is the seventh Otters player from the 2019 season to be signed to an affiliated organization and sixth pitcher from the 2019 pitching staff. He is the third player from the 2019 roster to sign with the Mets.

“It goes without saying that Mr. Bussing’s commitment has allowed me to acquire and retain the best coaching staff in all of minor league baseball,” McCauley said. “All three assistants – Boots (Day), Bobby (Segal), and now Max (Peterson) – have won the prestigious Darren Bush Frontier League Coach of the Year award, and all three were well deserved.”

McCauley also said having the history and proven ability of his coaching staff to get players signed into affiliated baseball helps recruit new players to Evansville.

The Otters have sent 81 players to affiliated organizations out of Evansville.

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.

The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

TWO-TIME ALL STAR RETURNING TO WASHINGTON

The roster for the 2021 Washington Wild Things has grown by one, as the team announced today that the franchise’s all-time leader in saves Zach Strecker has re-signed. Strecker will be back for a fourth Frontier League season and fifth overall with the club, including a strong 2020 in pod play that followed Strecker setting the single-season ERA record for Washington in 2019.

The former Kentucky Wildcat allowed just two runs (one earned) in 11.2 innings of work this past summer, appearing in 11 games. He fanned 13 batters and allowed only eight hits and did not walk a batter.

He finished the 2019 season with 11 saves, the first of which gave him the team’s career record. The last was his 52nd, which places him sixth on the Frontier League’s charts, just two behind Jorge Marban’s 54 (Florence, 2012-14) for fifth. With eight saves, he’d be second. The all-time record belongs to Eric Massingham (Evansville, 2011-14), who had 70 career saves.

“We are very fortunate to have Strecker back for the 2021 campaign. His consistent dominance puts him in rare company, among the best relievers to ever to pitch in the Frontier League,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “The goal this season is clear and Strecker returns to make history.”

For Strecker, returning was a “no brainer.”

“2020 didn’t count and I needed one more go around with Dem Thangz,” said Strecker. “Plus Momma Streck said this is my last year so I have to take advantage of that.”

In terms of what keeps him coming back, he said he didn’t know where to begin.

“[There are] too many great things [that] come from being a Wild Thing: the teammates, atmosphere, winning… the people especially Tony Buccilli and Kyle Dawson,” said Strecker. “Being able to be myself and be truly embraced by everyone [is great too], even while [I’m] being a clown.”

He worked four strong seasons at Kentucky. Those saw him post a career 3.18 ERA in 81 games and 96.1 innings. A walk-on to the team before his freshman season out of Eastern High School (Louisville, Kentucky), Strecker enjoyed his best season as a senior, posting a 1.84 ERA in 22 games. He pitched 29.1 innings and allowed 25 hits, seven runs (six earned), walked six and fanned 20.

He’d pitch in the Twins’ organization to start his pro career in 2016 before signing with Washington prior to the 2017 campaign.

In his first three Frontier League seasons with the Wild Things, Strecker was named a Frontier League All Star twice and boasted a 1.72 ERA in 178 innings pitched. He’s walked only 50 and struck out 130. The 52 saves go along with 13 wins. His 1.48 ERA in 2018 finished just shy of the franchise’s single-season record. He’d then set it in 2019 with a 1.29 ERA in his 44 games pitched. He accumulated 55.2 innings and allowed just eight earned runs in the Frontier League’s last championship season.

Now Strecker returns for another season, in hopes of winning a title and continuing his success.

“Some personal goals this season are to help us win as many games as I possibly can. I want zero blown saves, to break more records… you name it,” said Strecker. “As a team anything short of a championship will be a disappointment. [I’d love to have the] regular season best record, sweep playoff series and have the 2021 Thangz be the Frontier League Champs.”

Tom Vaeth’s first roster will continue to take shape in the next few weeks before the Wild Things report for Spring Training around May.

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 six 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.

 

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