Tag Archives: Omar Artsen

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!

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Pecos League Standout Omar Artsen Gets Opportunity with Marlins

Omar Artsen was almost about to give up.  After playing college baseball at three different schools (ASA junior college, Missouri Baptist University, and Brewton Parker College), he wasn’t sure that baseball was in his future after graduation. Ultimately, he ended up at a day job working in finance in New York. It was here that the 24 year old changed his life and reinvented himself.

“Being around successful people all the time kinda shows you how their minds work… how positive they are and how they manifest their own luck and success. They even gave me a couple of books to read, and I realized that mindset was the missing link to my game. After I read those books, I packed my bags and gave it another go” Artsen explains.

With his friends and family’s encouragement, he headed south to train in Florida knowing that this could be his last chance to make something happen.  He spent the winter months in Florida training with minor league coach Benny Castillo. Artsen was working out alongside guys who were as young as 17, but that never discouraged him.  All it meant was that he had to work harder to prove to everyone that he still had what it takes to play.

After four months, Artsen once again packed his bags and hit the road. This time, he ended up in Santa Fe with the Fuegos of the Pecos League.  With a new mindset and outlook on life and baseball, Artsen came into his own as the starting 2nd baseman in Santa Fe. He was named to the mid-season All-Star team and was an integral part in helping the Fuegos win the championship.  He finished the season batting .397 and set a new Pecos League stolen base record with 52.

When asked about his time in the Pecos League, Artsen replied that “the Pecos lives up to its reputation… but it’s still pro ball, and you still get the opportunity to get to the next level. When you keep that in mind, the Pecos can be a fun place to play.”

And he sure did have fun while making the most of the opportunity given to him.  Artsen quickly became a fan favorite. On the field, he dazzled with his base running, but off the field he became a star as well. He was always the first guy to sign up for volunteer activities in the community and loved being around kids.

His manager, Bill Moore, talked fondly of watching him play. “I love him to death. He’s just a fun guy to be around. Omar is a risk-taker, but it pays off more times than not.  He just puts out everything he’s got. He’s a very exciting guy to watch play. Wherever he ends up playing next season, fans are going to love him.”

This time his risk-taking really did pay off.  After the season, Artsen was signed to a minor league contract with the Miami Marlins; however he was one of the last ones to know that they were interested in signing him. He didn’t have a cell phone at the time, so his friend sent him a message through Facebook and told him to call ASAP.  As it turns out, many people within the Pecos League already knew about the offer and were all trying to get in contact with him.

This is a very big deal for the Pecos League as a whole.  In all of 2014, 41 players were promoted to higher leagues.  Of those 41, only 4 of them were given contracts by an MLB organization.

In February Artsen will once again pack his bags and head south to Florida, but this time he will be going as a professional baseball player.

“I’m looking forward to competing with the best players in the world and pushing my game forward. Every part of my game has to improve. I’m not just trying to survive in affiliated ball. I’m trying get to ‘The Show'” Artsen stated.

He knows that he has a long road ahead, but he is confident in his abilities and is ready for whatever comes his way next. “I know that I work hard, and I’m as mentally strong as they come… I’m just going to keep improving to get where I want to go.”

Omar Artsen is not taking this new opportunity for granted.  The sky is the limit for this hard working 24 year old who is out to prove everyone wrong and beat the odds.