Tag Archives: Luke Wilkins

Frontier League Regular Season Wrap Up – Draft Class, Aussies and Evansville

The Frontier League regular season has officially ended, and the post season begins with Wild Card games on Tuesday.
In this post, I wanted to give updates on how the draft class and the Aussies in America fared this season along with an update on the Evansville Otters.

Draft Class (Update Part Five)

I last updated on the 2015 Frontier League Draft Class at the beginning of August – HERE. Since then, two more players are no longer playing in the league.  One player, Nick Grim, was released by the Rockford Aviators on August 10th, and another, John Fidanza, was placed on the DL by the Washington WildThings on August 17th and went home.

Of the hundreds that tried out, 34 players were given invites to spring training. 15 of those players were signed and started the season on opening day rosters. Three more players who were originally drafted and released before the season were re-signed during the season. At the end of the regular season, 11 players from the 2015 Frontier League draft remained on a roster.

Here are the final regular season updates for the draft class:

  • Kevin Jefferis, RHP, Normal, R1 – Activated from suspended list on August 5th. Has appeared in 8 games with a 2-0 record. In 18 IP, he has 18 K, 1 save and a 2.50 ERA.
  • Scott Harkin, RHP, Gateway & Southern Illinois, R2 – Has pitched in 34 games with a 3-5 record. He has a 3.88 ERA with 44 K and 1 save in 46.1 IP.
  • Ty Nelson, OF, Lake Erie & Schaumburg, E – In 277 total AB, he has an overall average of .209 with 6 HR, 28 RBI and 4 SB.
  • Joe Iorio, RHP, Washington & Southern Illinois, R1- Has appeared in 26 games with 32 K in 32 IP.  His overall ERA is 6.75 with a 0-1 record.
  • Kyle Bogese, RHP, Frontier Greys, R2 – Has pitched in 30 games (6 starts) with a 2-7 record. In 56.1 IP, he has 49 K and a 5.75 ERA.
  • David Russo, LHP, Rockford, R2 – Has appeared in 34 games with a 2-1 record. In 33.1 IP, he has 27 K and a 5.94 ERA.
  • Jack Clearly, C, Joliet, E – Has a .247 average with 32 RBI in 219 AB. He was also selected to the mid season Frontier League All-Star game.
  • Jordan Kraus, RHP, Frontier Greys, R1 – Has started in 17 games with a 2.98 ERA and 5-5 record. He has 80 K in 102.2 IP.
  • Ernie Zaragoza, RHP, Washington, R1 – Has made 16 starts with a 6-7 record and 1 complete game. In 81.2 IP, he has a 4.18 ERA with 50 K.
  • Brodie Liebrandt, LHP, Evansville – Has appeared in 6 games. In 11 IP, he has 11 K, and a 0.00 ERA.
  • Collin Shaw, RHP, Gateway, R1 – Has appeared in 6 games (2 starts). In 13.1 IP, he has 16 K with a 8.77 ERA and a 0-1 record.

Four players will be playing in the Frontier League post season – Kevin Jefferis (Normal), Scott Harkin and Joe Iorio (Southern Illinois) and David Russo (Rockford).

Aussies in America (Part Five)

This season, I covered two Australians in the Frontier League, Luke Wilkins and Ben Lodge, who were both playing professional baseball in America for the first time.

Luke finished the season leading the Washington WildThings pitching staff in wins and strikeouts. In 20 starts, he finished with a 8-5 record and a 3.31 ERA.  In 125 innings pitched, he had 77 strikeouts. In his last start of the season, Luke pitched a complete game in Washington’s 7-1 win over the Windy City Thunderbolts.

Ben played in 53 games for the Frontier Greys. In 195 at-bats, he had a .215 batting average with 13 RBI.

Evansville

Earlier this season, I reported that the Evansville Otters were caught with an ineligible pitcher, Will Oliver. The Frontier League then ruled that the Otters would be forced to forfeit ten games – all the games that the Otters won with Oliver pitching. Although the Otters did appeal, it was too late in the season, and they did give up ten wins.

Despite losing ten games in the standings, the Otters were in a three way tie for the final two wild card spots leading up to the last series;  However, the Otters were swept by the River City Rascals in the final series and ultimately lost their spot in the playoffs by one game.

Otters fans (and players) are furious with how the Frontier League went about their decision and the amount of time that it took.  They blame the league for the issues and still believe that they should be the ones in the playoffs.

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Where Are They Now? Player Updates

Recently, a follower of this site sent me an email asking if I could provide an update about how some of the players I had previously covered are doing.

As the halfway mark of the season has approached, here are the updates of 18 players that I have covered on Indy Ball Island. (Clicking their names will take you to their original articles.)

John Holdzkom – In my very first blog post, I remarked that John Holdzkom’s story was the reason I wanted to start this website. John is currently on the DL for the second time this year. He has spent the entire season with the Pirates Triple A team, the Indianapolis Indians. After getting off to a rough start, he is 2-0 on the season with a 3.38 ERA and 27 Ks in 21.1 IP.

indyholdzkom

(Mark Dickhaus)

Matt Sergey – Another personal post I made early on was covering Matt Sergey’s perfect game for the Washington Wild Things. Matt is back with the Wild Things for the 2015 season. In 9 starts, he is 3-3 with a 2.33 ERA. He has already passed his career-high professionally for innings pitched (54) and has 59 Ks.

Chris Peacock – After being signed in the offseason by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Peacock was released and then returned to the American Association, this time with the St. Paul Saints. He has a 1.59 ERA with a 1-0 record in 11 games.

Three of the players that I covered from the Pecos League TV show are playing this season :

Tony Smith – Tony was traded right before the season started from the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League to the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the American Association.  He is 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA in 16 games (2 of which were starts).  He has 33 K in 37 IP.

Sam DiMatteo – Sam is playing with the Old Orchard Beach Surge of the newly formed North Country Baseball League.  He is batting .344 in 23 games (102 plate appearances).  He also has 2 HR, 16 RBI and 9 stolen bases.

Jacob Fabry – Jacob is once again teammates with Sam and has been playing on the Surge as well. He is batting . 296 in 26 games (129 plate appearances).  He has contributed 12 RBI and stolen 8 bases so far this season.

sam and jacob

(Sam DiMatteo. Sam took a ball off his ankle.. he’ll be okay!)

Tim Henry – Another one of the Pecos League stories, Tim is back with the Alpine Cowboys in the Pecos League for the 2015 season. In 42 games (118 AB), he has a .246 average with 2 HR and 21 RBI.

Omar Artsen – Omar was signed by the Miami Marlins out of the Pecos League last year; However he was eventually released by the Marlins organization.  He then went to the American Association and played 2 games with the Winnipeg Goldeyes going 1-7 at the plate.  After being released from the Goldeyes, he played for the Garden State Grays in the Can-Am league for only 3 games with 1 H in 8 AB.

Brandon Cunniff – After earning his second chance at affiliated ball with the Braves, Brandon never looked back. This year, Brandon started the season in the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves. He set an Atlanta rookie record when he didn’t allowed a hit in four relief appearances (four innings) to start his major league career. Brandon has a 2-2 record, 4.23 ERA and 30 K in 30 games with the big league club. At one point in the season, he was sent to AAA Gwinnett where he has a 1-0 record in 3 games. He has since returned to the big league club but is currently on the major league 15 day DL for a groin strain.

brandon-cunniff-braves-pic

(emspeedtraining.com)

Javy Marticorena – Javy achieved his dream of landing on Indy Ball Island when he signed a contract to play in the Mt Rainier League.  Sadly, the MRPBL folded after just a few weeks, and Javy is back home working hard for another opportunity.

Nick Renault – Nick, like Javy, was caught up in the MRPBL drama, but he still made the most of his few weeks being back in his hometown in Oregon and enjoyed his short stay. He is now back home in Hawaii.

CJ Beatty – CJ used his never give up attitude to bounce back after being released from the White Sox organization at the beginning of the season.  He came back to the Washington Wild Things in the Frontier League and is batting .262 in 42 games with 2 HR and 21 RBI.  CJ will have to use his positive attitude once more to get through another tough situation as he now finds himself on the DL with a quad injury.

CJ

(CJ Beatty)

Al Yevoli – Al was picked up by the Arizona Diamondbacks after the 2015 Frontier League season, but was released during spring training.  Instead of returning to the Wild Things, Al landed a spot with the Wichita Wingnuts in the American Association.  He has a 3-0 record with a 3.67 ERA and 26 K in 26 games (27 IP).

Stewart Ijames – Stewart started the season with the High A Visalia Rawhide for the Arizona Diamondbacks. After batting .267 with 15 HR and 37 RBI in 60 games, he was promoted to the Double A Mobile BayBears. In 14 games (31 AB), he is batting .323 with 1 HR (his first hit in AA) and 7 RBI.

Matt Fields – After being released from the KC Royals organization, Matt was signed by the Diamondbacks and was sent to Double A Mobile BayBears. In 3 games (11AB) so far, he is batting .364 with 1 HR.

mobile

(Matt Fields)

Sean Conroy – After making news as baseball’s first openly gay active player, Sean is still doing well with the Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association. He has a 2-1 record with a 0.69 ERA including 24 K in 26 IP in 10 games (2 starts).

Aussie in America updates

Luke Wilkins – Luke is currently 4-2 with a 2.80 ERA starting in 10 games for the Washington Wild Things. He has struck out 35 in 61 IP. His 61 innings pitched are the most on the Wild Things team.

2015-05-21 22.44.41

Ben Lodge – In 37 games (130 AB) with the Frontier Greys, Ben is batting .208 with 8 RBI.

Stay tuned and subscribe for more updates as the season progresses!