Tag Archives: Indy Ball Signings

Vallejo Admirals to sign Brandon Phillips

Brandon Phillips to sign

The Admirals announced on Tuesday their intention to sign long time major leaguer Brandon Phillips. The 17-year MLB veteran is the older brother of Vallejo manager P.J. Phillips.

Phillips is expected to join the Admirals on Thursday for their game in Sonoma. He will then play during the two-game homestand on Friday and Saturday.

“It’s a pleasure to be managing my brother,” P.J. Phillips said. “It was a dream to play with him and it’s exciting to have him be part of the Admirals.”

Brandon Phillips last played in the Major Leagues last year, playing nine games for the World Champion Boston Red Sox. He spent 11 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, starting mostly at second base. He is a lifetime .275 hitter with 209 stolen bases in the big leagues. He was named to three all-star teams (all during his time with the Reds) and earned four Gold Glove awards at second base. He also won one Silver Slugger award.

“I’m excited to be playing for my brother.” Brandon Phillips said. “I’ve always hit the ball well in California.”

Brandon Phillips twice earned Most Valuable Player votes, finishing 13th in 2012 and 22nd in 2007. In 2007, he hit a career-high 30 home runs with 94 RBI to go along with 32 stolen bases (also a career-high). He was the third player in Cincinnati history to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a single season.

In 2012, Brandon Phillips hit .281 with 18 home runs and 77 RBI to help the Reds win the National League Central Division. In 2013, he knocked in a career-high 103 runs.

The Phillips brothers both graduated from Redan High School-Stone Mountain (Ga.) and each was drafted in the second round of the MLB draft: Brandon in 1999 by the Montreal Expos and P.J. in 2005 by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Their sister Porsha Phillips played for the San Antonio Silver of the WNBA and their brother Jamil played in the Texas Rangers organization.

The Vallejo Admirals are in their seventh season as members of the Pacific Association. The Admirals have made the playoffs the past two seasons and won the 2017 Pacific Association championship.

P.J. Phillips is in his fourth season as manager of the Admirals. He played six seasons in the Angels organization and one in the Reds organization.

The Admirals will face Salina at 6:35 p.m. on Friday and San Rafael at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday. For ticket information, go to vallejoadmirals.com or call 707-641-1111

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USPBL Announces Three Players Sign with the Twins

Trifecta! Minnesota Twins Sign Three USPBL Standouts

ROCHESTER, Mich. – August 1, 2017The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL) announced that Randy Dobnak, pitcher for the Utica Unicorns, Kevin Marnon, pitcher for the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers, and Taylor Grzelakowski, catcher for the Utica Unicorns have all been signed by the Minnesota Twins organization. Dobnak, Grzelakowski and Marnon are the third, fourth and fifth USPBL players signed to a MLB contract this year. Overall 18 players have been signed by MLB organizations since the league’s inaugural season last year.

Randy Dobnak, a 22-year-old, 6’1”, 215 lb. right-hander from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, appeared in 6 games this season for the Utica Unicorns.  He compiled a 3-0 record, with 29 strikeouts over 35 innings and an ERA of 2.31.  Dobnak joined the USPBL’s Unicorns following a collegiate career at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia.

Dobnak praised his experience with the USPBL, saying, “Getting the opportunity to play in the USPBL is something special to me. Having the chance to play baseball beyond college is something every kid dreams of doing and I got the chance to live it. Throughout my time here, I’ve learned even more about the game and how I can become better as a person and as a player, pushing myself to my limits. The players, coaches, and staff in the USPBL are top notch and I could not have asked for anything more.”

Kevin Marnon, a 23-year-old, 6’7”, 240 lb. left-hander pitcher from Shelby Township, Michigan, appeared in 16 games with 18 innings pitched, 29 strike outs and an ERA of 1.50. Marnon joined the USPBL after pitching as both a starter and reliever at Ball State University.

“Being signed by a Major League club is a surreal feeling,” said Marnon. “I’ve worked for this my whole life, and I’m just so happy that things paid off.  I’m extremely grateful for the USPBL organization and everything they’ve done for me.”

Tayor Grzelakowski, a 5’11, 200 lb. catcher from  Fraser, Michigan, Grzelakowski joined the USPBL’s Utica Unicorns following his collegiate career at Madonna University where he led the Crusaders in home runs, RBI’s and batting average. Grzelakowski appeared in 29 games this season for the Unicorns and was leading the league in home runs with 9. In 108 at bats he hit .306 with 7 doubles and 23 RBI’s.

“The USPBL has been an incredible experience, from the facility to the staff at Jimmy John’s field, I could not have asked for a better opportunity,” said Taylor Grzelakowski. “I will be forever grateful for the chance that Andy Appleby, Justin Ordenruff and Jim Essian have given me. They allowed me to continue my baseball career, and helped get me signed by the Minnesota Twins Organization. Special thanks to Cedrick Landrum and Ray Ortega for the countless hours they spent with me honing my craft. I’m excited to see what this new chapter brings but I will never forget my time as a Utica Unicorn.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to have three more of our players signing by Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations,” said Andy Appleby, Commissioner and Founder of the USPBL. “These players are textbook examples of what we are trying to achieve with player development in the USPBL.  Our goal is to make every player better and see them succeed at the next level and beyond,” Appleby added.


About United Shore Professional Baseball League                                                                             

Rochester, MI-based General Sports and Entertainment founded the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), an independent professional baseball league, in Metro Detroit in 2015.  The league plays in the new, state-of-the-art $16 million ballpark named Jimmy John’s Field located in downtown Utica, Mich.  The first of its kind for the region, the USPBL provides a fun and exciting family atmosphere while showcasing top baseball talent to fans of all ages. The inaugural season of the USPBL, which began on Memorial Day 2016, featured three teams—the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers and the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers, from which 13 players were signed to contracts by Major League organizations.

The 2017 USPBL season features four teams with the addition of the Westside Woolly Mammoths, and the season began on May 11, 2017 and runs through September 10, 2017.  Additional teams and ballparks will be added in future years.

Tom Wegehaupt