I love rookie ball! If I had my druthers, I would stay out west all summer to photograph young Pioneer League ball players at Ogden and Orem every day. They are new to professional baseball, enthusiastic, and anxious to do well. They put out 120 % effort but still make little league mistakes, which make the games more exciting.
Playing with lots of heart and talent, college kids who Reds brass filled the roster of their Pioneer League Rookie A Billings Mustangs up with this season are making them look good.
Led by experienced savvy veteran manager Julio Garcia, pitching coach Tom Browning, who’s been to the show a few times, and batting coach Tony Jaramillo, these youngsters are playing heads up ball and won the first half Pioneer League Northern Division title.
Their every day lineup is packed with some hitting punch and sound defense.
#6 draft pick, Alex Buchholz out of Delaware University, is showing a good glove at 2B and hitting a ton (366 BA, 3 HR, and 20 RBI in 82 AB).
Pioneer League player of the week, OF Tony Brown is the team slugger with 10 HR, 35 RBI, and a respectable 270 BA.
Catcher Kyle Day, drafted out 12th of Michigan State, is strong behind the plate and hitting 324 BA, 1 HR, 7 RBI in 74 AB in 20 games played.
Outfielders, #9 David Sappelt, from Coastal Carolina, is playing flawless defense and hitting 318, 4 HR, and 23 RBI, while OF Tyler Stovall , out of Central Michigan, is holding his own, hitting 349 BA, 1 HR, 13 RBI in 106 AB
A grandson of one of my favorite pitchers in the 50s who was also the ace of the 1950 Philadelphia Whiz Kids, 1B Mike Konstanty, #19 from Albany U, is showing power at the plate, hitting 314 BA with 5 HR, and 24 RBI.
The key to Billings’ strength is steady pitching, which Coach Browning has patiently nurtured along this season. RHP Jamie Arneson (4-1, 4.43), RHP Leonardo Astorga (3-1, 2.45 ERA in 40.1 IP), RHP Dan Zeffiro (2-0, 2.84 ERA in 25.1 IP), RHP Lance Janke (3-1, 4.31 ERA in 39.2 IP) and RHP Randall Linebraugh RHP 1-2, 3.14 ERA in 14.1 IP) are bearing the fruit of his labor.