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2017 California Winter League Signings Mid-Season Update

CWL

After the California Winter League concludes each year, the league uploads a list of signings for the 2017 season.  This year, 73 different players have been listed as signing at least a spring training contract for various independent leagues and major league organizations within the United States.

Some players have been listed more than once and are denoted by an *

Since all the leagues are now mid-way through their seasons, we have decided to do an update to see how many CWL players are still on active rosters around the country.

Here is a look at how those players have done through mid-July:

MLB (8)

Shao-Pin Ho Miami Marlins (Playing for the Batavia Muckdogs.  He has yet to appear in a game with the Muckdogs, but in 4 games in the GCL, he had a .429 avg).
*Danny Hoy New York Mets (Playing for the Kingsport Mets. In 7 games, he has a .154 avg).
Andrew Alvarez Arizona Diamondbacks (ST) (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
*Jose Flores Arizona Diamondbacks (ST) (DL. Currently on the 60 day DL with the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League. He has not played in a game this season).
*Jarret Martin Texas Rangers (ST) (Playing for the Richmond Flying Squirrels – AA for the San Francisco Giants. He had a 0.98 ERA in 18 games with the York Revolution before his contract was sold to the Giants. With Richmond, he has a 3.52 ERA and 1-1 record in 13 games).
*Jose Flores Texas Rangers (ST) (DL. Currently on the 60 day DL with the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League. He has not played in a game this season).
*Josh McAdams Texas Rangers (ST) (Playing for the Lake Erie Crushers in the Frontier League. He has a .235 avg in 41 games and 136 AB).
*Kyano Cummings Texas Rangers (ST) (Playing for the Evansville Otters in the Frontier League. In 25 games and 32.2 IP, he has a 1.10 ERA with a 2-1 record while picking up 5 saves. Earlier this season, he pitched for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League where he had an ERA of 15 in 3 games and 3 IP).

Frontier League (35)

Blair Beck Windy City ThunderBolts (Playing for Windy City where he also played in 2016. This year, he has a .241 avg and 3 HR in 48 games).
James Ball Traverse City Beach Bums (Playing for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers in the United Shore League. After being released from Traverse City on July 1st with a 1-2 record and 7.99 ERA in 13 games and 23.2 IP, he went to the United Shore League. In 2 games and 2 IP with the Diamond Hoppers, he has 3 K and a 0.00 ERA).
Mike McClellan Schaumburg Boomers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Lucas Hunter Traverse City Beach Bums (Released on June 23rd. In the 13 games and 27 AB before being released, he had a .111 average with 2 stolen bases).
Adam Falcon So. Illinois Miners (Playing for the Trinidad Triggers in the Pecos League. He has a 10.56 ERA in 23 games and 23 IP with a 2-3 record and 27 K).
Peyton Lobdell So. Illinois Miners (Playing for the Lake Erie Crushers. Between both the Miners and the Crushers, he has pitched in 10 games (all starts) with a combined record of 3-6 with a 7.44 ERA in 52 IP).
Will Krug Windy City ThunderBolts (Playing for Windy City. He has a .103 avg in 26 games and 58 AB).
Joe Webb Evansville Otters (Released on June 8th. Before being released, he had a 8.03 ERA with a 0-1 record in 3 starts and 12.1 IP).
*Jose Flores Florence Freedom (DL. Currently on the 60 day DL with the Freedom. He has not played in a game this season).
Nate Ferrell Lake Erie Crushers (Playing for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers. He was released after 2 games and 2 AB with no hits for Lake Erie. Signed with the Freedom on June 13th but was released on June 29th after batting .208 in 6 games and 24 AB. With the Diamond Hoppers, he is batting .286 in 3 games and 14AB).
D’Aundray Van Slyke Florence Freedom (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Scott Morton Windy City ThunderBolts (Suspended. Placed on the suspended list at the beginning of spring training).
Brandon Oliver So. Illinois Miners (Playing for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers in the United Shore League. He was released during spring training with the Miners, then signed to the Lake Erie Crushers. He was also released by the Crushers on July 1st after batting .213 in 14 games and 47 AB. He then joined the Diamond Hoppers and is batting .250 in 2 games and 8 AB).
*Josh McAdams Lake Erie Crushers (Playing for the Crushers. He has a .235 avg in 41 games and 136 AB).
Josh Falbo Washington Wild Things (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Brandon Maddern Normal Cornbelters (Released on June 7th. He played in 7 games with a 17.18 ERA before being released).
Tyler Hunt Windy City ThunderBolts (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Andrew Moralez Evansville Otters (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Nick Murphy Traverse City Beach Bums (Playing for Traverse City. In 28 games and 91 AB, he has a .231 avg with 10 RBI).
DJ Gee River City Rascals (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Zach Jones Joliet Slammers (Playing for Windy City. He was orginally released by the Slammers in spring training. He signed with Windy City on July 3rd and has no hits in 1 game and 3 AB).
Nigel Nootbaar Normal Cornbelters (Released on June 30th. He had a 5.57 ERA with a 2-1 record in 15 games and 21 IP). 
Joe Mello Evansville Otters (Playing for Traverse City. He has a 1.80 ERA with a 0-1 record and 20 K in 15 games and 25 IP).
Ryan Rinsky Florence Freedom (Playing for the Freedom. In 17 games and 43 AB, he has a .140 avg with 7 RBI).
Dillion Sprague River City Rascals (Playing for the Utica Unicorns in the United Shore League. He was released by the Rascals in spring training and went to the USPBL in July. In 4 games and 7 AB with the Unicorns, he has a .286 avg).
Cody Beck Gateway Grizzlies (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Richard England Schaumburg Boomers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Ryan Garvey Traverse City Beach Bums (Playing for Traverse City. He has a .174 avg with 7 RBI in 26 games and 86 AB).
Ozzy Braff Florence Freedom (Playing for the Freedom. In 28 games and 74 AB, he is batting .243 with 9 RBI).
Bobby San Martin Washington Wild Things (Playing for the Beavers in the United Shore League. After being released by the WildThings in the Frontier during spring training, he went to the United Shore. In 6 games and 18 AB, he has a .167 average).
Robert Maislin Lake Erie Crushers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Lance Montano Evansville Otters (Playing for the Otters. In 27 games and 83 AB, he has a .265 avg with 2 HR).
Nick Berger Washington Wild Things (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Justin Kovalsky Joliet Slammers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
*Brent Gillespie Gateway Grizzlies (Playing for the San Rafael Pacifics in the Pacific Association. After being released from spring trainings, he returned to the Pacifics where he was in 2016. This year, he has a .274 avg and 30 RBI in 31 games and 117 AB).

Atlantic League (2)

*Kyano Cummings So. Maryland Blue Crabs (Playing for the Evansville Otters in the Frontier League. In 25 games and 32.2 IP, he has a 1.10 ERA with a 2-1 record while picking up 5 saves. Earlier this season, he pitched for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League where he had an ERA of 15 in 3 games and 3 IP).
*Jarrett Martin York Revolution (Playing for the Richmond Flying Squirrels – AA for the San Francisco Giants. He had a 0.98 ERA in 18 games with the York Revolution before his contract was sold to the Giants. With Richmond, he has a 3.52 ERA and 1-1 record in 13 games).

American Association (11)

Matt Silberman Cleburne Railroaders (Playing for the San Rafael Pacifics in the Pacific Association. Released by the Railroaders during spring training. He then signed with Windy City in the Frontier League on June 28th. He pitched in one game with 3 H and 2 BB without recording an out. He was released on July 11th. In 1 game with the Pacifics he has a 0.00 ERA in 4.2 IP).
Casey Upperman Cleburne Railroaders (Playing for the Railroaders. In 17 games and 19.2 IP, he has a 2.29 ERA).
Thomas McGuckin Texas Airhogs (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
John Crank Texas Airhogs (Playing for the Beavers in the United Shore League. After being released by Texas in spring training, he went to the Beavers where he has a .148 avg. in 8 games and 27 AB).
Lance Van Noy Winnipeg Goldeyes (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Alfonso Reda Lincoln Saltdogs (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
John Menken Cleburne Railroaders (Playing for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers in the United Shore League.  In 21 games and 80 AB, he has a .338 avg with 14 RBI).
Casey Fletcher Texas Airhogs (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Dylan Thompson Sioux Falls Canaries (Playing for the Canaries – where he also played in 2016 For this season, he has a 0.34 ERA in 23 games and 26.2 IP with a record of 2-1).
Jake Luce Texas Airhogs (Released on June 8th. He had a .151 avg in 18 g and 53 AB before being released).
Quinton Alexander Texas Airhogs (Playing for the Utica Unicorns in the United Shore League. In 9 games and 22 AB, he has a .227 avg).

Can-Am League (1)

Jeff Watkins Quebec Les Capitales (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).

Pacific Association (5)

Elijah Briseno San Rafael Pacifics (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Matt LoCoco Sonoma Stompers (Playing for the Stompers. He has a .244 avg with 18 RBI in 30 games and 90 AB).
Dakota Freese San Rafael Pacifics (Playing for the Pacifics. In 7 starts and 41.2 IP, he has a 2-1 record with a 3.24 ERA and 57 K).
Tyler Garkow Sonoma Stompers (Playing for the Stompers. He has a 4-0 record and a 3.14 ERA with 49K in 7 starts and 43 IP).
Alex Sawelson Sonoma Stompers (Playing for the Bakersfield Train Robbers in the Pecos League. He was released by Sonoma during spring training, but with the Train Robbers, he has a .316 avg, 5 HR and 31 RBI in 29 games and 114 AB).

United Shore Professional Baseball League (17)

Thomas Roulis Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Beavers. He has a .284 avg with 10 RBI in 24 games and 81 AB).
John Kraft Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for Eastside. In 13 games and 33 AB, he has a .273 avg).
*Brent Gillespie Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for the San Rafael Pacifics in the Pacific Association. After being released from spring trainings, he returned to the Pacifics where he was in 2016. This year, he has a .274 avg and 30 RBI in 31 games and 117 AB).
Tanner Oymaian Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Shane Gonzales Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Released. In 5 games and 18 AB, he had a .167 avg before being released).
Mark Burnside Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Tanner Kiest Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for Eastside. In 2 games (1 start) and 5 IP, he has a 3.60 ERA with 7 K).
Tony Holten Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Kevin Matthews Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Rome Braves, A ball for the Atlanta Braves. After going 2-1 with a 1.60 ERA in 6 games for the Beavers, he signed with the Braves organization. In 4 games and 6.1 IP with Rome, he has a 0.00 ERA with 5 K).
Nick Buckner Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Beavers. He has an average of .269 in 25 games and 93 AB).
Cameron MacKenzie Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Beavers. In 11 games and 13.1 IP, he has a 2.77 ERA).
Louis Johnson Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Beavers. He has a .212 avg in 14 games and 33 AB).
Brian Heldman Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Beavers. In 9 games and 10.1 IP, he has a 1-2 record and a 111.32 ERA).
Jeremy Scott Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for Eastside. He has 7 RBI and a .222 avg in 14 games and 27 AB).
Devin Alexander Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for Eastside. He has a 3-1 record with a 2.78 ERA in 10 games and 32.1 IP).
Jordan Pannell Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for Eastside. In 13 games and 23 IP, he has a 1.96 ERA with a 3-0 record).
Myles Richard Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Released. Started 2 games and pitched 8.2 innings with a 9.34 ERA and 0-1 record before being released).

 

Out of the 73 players, 43 of them are still currently active on a roster and playing somewhere.

Of those 43 players, 19 of them are now on a different team than the one they originally signed with. Many that signed with the Frontier League or American Association are now in the Pacific Association or United Shore League.

Despite having a deal with the Frontier League to offer contracts, only 11 of the 35 players signed to Frontier League contracts are still playing in the Frontier League. Three of those 11 are currently on a different Frontier team than the one they signed to out of the CWL.

(All stats and rosters were found through PointStreak).

Mining the CWL

Casey Dill, the scouting and player acquisition coordinator for the Southern Illinois Miners, has been hard at work coaching in the California Winter League (CWL) this off season.  In addition to leading the Palm Springs Power, he is actively searching for players to sign for the Miners’ upcoming season in the Frontier League.

“Coaching in the CWL is a great resource for the Southern Illinois Miners organization,” Dill explained. “It gives me the opportunity to see how players carry themselves and prepare playing a minor league style schedule playing everyday. It gives me the opportunity to see things in players that may not show in a one or two day tryout. It also allows me to maximize the scouting report I provide to Mike Pinto (manager of the Southern Illinois Miners) when deciding which players are the best fit for the organization.”

Pinto loves that Dill knows exactly what he’s looking for while managing in the CWL.

“Finding rookies that can impact your organization is one of the keys to success in our league, but it’s also so important to find players that fit the culture of your organization. Many times we are looking at numbers, where a guy has played, against what competition and you do your best to get some reports on them as a player and person,” Pinto said.

“With Casey out there in the CWL, it gives us the opportunity to see players with multiple lenses.  We can certainly see their history through numbers, but Casey also gets to see them from a scouting perspective, and more importantly, sees what kind of fit that they would be for us.  History has shown us how critically important that is to our organization,” he explained.

 “With my position also running the business aspect of our organization and not able to be at the CWL like some managers are, Casey gives us the chance to not only see players up close in the CWL, but also run a tryout for players on the West Coast who we might not be able to see and have access, eyes and information on some potential college players following the draft.” 

So far, Dill has found three players who fit the Miners mentality:  RHP Adam Falcon, RHP Payton Lobdell, and C Brandon Oliver. 

Dill and the three newest members of the Southern Illinois Miners family recently sat down for an introduction and to discuss the CWL and their expectations for the upcoming season.

Meet the Miners

new-miners
(Adam Falcon, Casey Dill, Payton Lobdell, and Brandon Oliver)

Adam Falcon

“Adam Falcon stands out as soon as you look at him, in baseball we say ‘he passes the eye test'”, said Dill. “He has a tremendous work ethic off the field and in the weight room. He’s a big strong physical presence on the mound, he has a bull dog / no fear approach to pitching, he wants the ball with the game on the line. He is a power arm that can top has high as 94 mph with his fastball with a plus slider he can throw for strikes in any count. Depending on how he does here in the CWL and in spring training, I think he is a great power arm option out of the bullpen that will help us win games.”

Adam, how did you get to the point where you are now in your career?

A new Independent Fall league called The Desert League started up in Yuma, Arizona and held tryouts in Chandler, AZ on September 15-20, 2016. I wanted to tryout to see if I could get picked up by a professional team. I ended up making one of the teams called the Yuma Hammers, and two days later, our season started. It was my first ever experience as a professional baseball player. After about a month, our season ended and our coaches from the Hammers got a couple of my teammates and myself a tryout in Palm Springs for some Independent and International teams.

What led you to the CWL?

I had signed with the Southern Illinois Miners after the October 30 Palm Springs tryout. Southern Illinois Scouting Supervisor Casey Dill kept in touch with me and suggested I participate in the CWL to get reps in and get scouted much better. I was already familiar with the layout of the field and the area, and thought it would be a good experience for me to play here.

How are you liking it so far?

I’m enjoying myself out here in Palm Springs. I’m just happy to be out on the field competing, and I’m very pleased with the way the league in run. The coaches and staff run the show very professionally and work hard for us everyday.

What part of your game are you focusing on while you’re there?

I’m looking to develop my off-speed pitches into better put out pitches, keep walks and runs low, and build up some more velocity on my fastball.

How did it feel to sign with the Miners?

I couldn’t be more happy to sign with such a quality team and organization. In the Palm Springs tryout, it was my goal to get signed with a Frontier League team, and I was so glad to achieve that goal.

What are your expectations for your first pro season in the Frontier League?

I expect to be part of a winning ball club, I expect to develop even more as a pitcher, I expect a whole different ball game in the Frontier League, and I expect to face very tough competition. I couldn’t be more excited to get out and compete.

Payton Lobdell

“Payton Lobdell has 4 pitches he throws for strikes. His fastball tops at 92 mph and usually sits between 88-91. His best secondary pitch is his splitter that he locates down in the zone and forces consistent bad contact from hitters,” Dill explained. “Payton is very mature on the mound, plus pitch ability, he knows how to use all of his pitches to maximize his effectiveness. He doesn’t look to strike everyone out, he looks to force bad contact and trusts the defense to play behind him.”

Payton, what led you to the CWL?

Playing with for Casey Dill with the Palm Spring Power last summer really led me to trying out and showcasing myself in the CWL.

How are you liking it so far?

These last few weeks have been a blast, and I love the guys/teammates that I’m making out here.

What part of your game are you focusing on while you’re there?

I’m really focusing on getting ahead and staying ahead of batters while I’m out here, while also working on my secondary pitches.

How did it feel to sign with the Miners?

It was an experience that I’ll never forget. It was my first pro contract so it is something that I’ll always remember. I couldn’t ask for a better organization to play for to begin my professional career.

What are your expectations for your first pro season in the Frontier League?

I expect to do everything I can to help the Miners win a championship, and I expect to have a great time getting to know my teammates and coaches. I’ve heard nothing but great things that come from the frontier league and I can’t wait to find out.

Brandon Oliver

“Brandon Oliver is a plus defensive catcher that has to potential to control and shut down opposing teams running games,” Dill pointed out. “He receives and blocks the ball very well behind the dish. Perhaps most impressively, Oli knows how to manage and work with the pitching staff, his communication and leadership with our pitchers here at the CWL has been phenomenal, for a rookie he has a veteran presence, he batted .351 at Western Oregon University as a senior so he also knows how to handle the bat well.”

Brandon, what led you to the CWL? 

I had heard of a California Winter League but knew nothing about who it was for or why it was there. I met Miners Scout Casey Dill at a tryout last fall, he thought it would be a good opportunity to play in front of him and other professional coaches and scouts for an entire season. He said it was a place for guys like me to get signed.

How are you liking it so far?

It’s been awesome. I’ve met some great people out here. From the staff to the coaches to the players, I really like it.

What part of your game are you focusing on while you’re there?

I take a lot of pride in my defense I’ve work behind the plate, but my main focus will be offensive. I’ll be focusing on getting my timing and rhythm down.

How did it feel to sign with the Miners?

It felt great. I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted on my shoulders, and I can use the rest of the winter league to fine tune my game, as opposed to trying to get every scout to see me on a daily basis.

What are your expectations for your first pro season in the Frontier League?

I expect to win a championship.

Pinto is also looking forward to seeing what the newest members of his team can do. “I really like what I have heard about Adam, Payton and Brandon. Casey has seen them up close and I am looking forward to seeing them compete for important roles with us this spring.”

For more information on the Southern Illinois Miners, visit their official website HERE.