10/01/2018 10:00 AM
During the 2018 season, dozens of players with PGCBL connections starred across Minor League Baseball. The following list spotlights one player from each PGCBL franchise that had a productive season in professional baseball.
Adirondack Trail Blazers
Rollie Lacy, Texas Rangers organization- Lacy had an eventful 2018 season, beginning with a combined no-hitter for the South Bend Cubs on June 7. Lacy threw the first seven innings in the contest, marking the seventh no-no in franchise history. On July 27, the 2015 Trail Blazer was included in the blockbuster trade that sent Cole Hamels to the Chicago Cubs. Between his three teams this season, Lacy worked a 2.97 ERA with a 6-4 record and 121 strikeouts in 109 innings.
Ernie Clement, Cleveland Indians organization- In his second season of professional baseball, Clement moved from Class-A to high-A to double-A in the Indians farm system, moving up to Akron by the end of the season. In 102 games between three teams, the 2014 Dutchmen infielder hit .289, which included a .346 average in the high-A Carolina League. He was also one of the hardest players in professional baseball, registering just 35 strikeouts in 419 at-bats.
Zack Brown, Milwaukee Brewers organization- One of Milwaukee's most promising pitching prospects, Brown had a standout season for the double-A Biloxi Shuckers. Brown was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Year, as well as Mid-Season and Postseason All-Star. The righthander, who played for Amsterdam's 2014 PGCBL Championship team, recorded a 9-1 record with a 2.44 ERA, and allowed opposing hitters to post just a .207 batting average. He was also named the Brewers' Minor League Pitcher of the Year for his efforts.
Logan Salow, Los Angeles Dodgers organization- A member of the 2014 Pioneers, Salow settled into his role as a reliable relief pitcher this season. Salow was traded to the Dodgers early in the season, and spent the majority of the year with the high-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. While in the California League, the former sixth-round draft pick from Kentucky worked a 2.82 ERA with a 4-2 record and 56 strikeouts over 44.2 innings. In his first two seasons, Salow has recorded a 2.49 ERA in 57 appearances.
Geneva Red Wings
Tommy Bergjans, Cincinnati Reds organization- After being traded to the Reds in May, Bergjans started 14 games for the Daytona Tortugas of the high-A Florida State League and put together the best of his four seasons in professional baseball. The former Red Wing walked just 16 hitters in 78.2 innings, and won five of his 14 starts while losing only two. The 2015 eighth-round pick recorded a 3.66 ERA, and posted a career-best WHIP of 1.09
Glens Falls Dragons
Matt Eckelman, Pittsburgh Pirates organization- Eckelman, who wore the uniform of the Glens Falls Golden Eagles in 2013, was dominant in his first season handling closing duties. While splitting time between the Bradenton Marauders and Altoona Curve, Eckelman went 5-1 with a 2.05 ERA, and converted 17 of his 20 save opportunities. He was named a mid-season All-Star in Bradenton, and posted a sub-2.00 ERA with the double-A Curve.
Dan Dallas, San Diego Padres organization- A pitcher from Jamestown's first season in the PGCBL, Dallas completed his third season in the farm system of the Padres. Out of the bullpen, Dallas posted a 2.27 ERA in 35.2 innings, mostly for the Northwest League's Tri-City Dust Devils. He spent the final month of the season in the Midwest League, and struck out eleven hitters in seven appearances for the Fort Wayne Tin Caps.
Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs
JD Osborne, Miami Marlins organization- The Ontario native, who caught for Mohawk Valley's first PGCBL Championship team, returned to New York during the 2018 season. The second-year pro suited up for the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League, before moving up in August to the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the South Atlantic League. In 46 total games this season, Osborne hit .310, which included a .340 mark in the NYPL.
Greg Cullen, Atlanta Braves organization- After being selected in the 15th round of this season's Draft by the Atlanta Braves, Cullen made his professional debut for the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League. In the first 55 games of his Minor League career, the infielder hit .280 and drove in 33 runs for the Braves. He added 17 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs, and drew 29 walks to record a .373 on base percentage and a .396 slugging percentage.
Zander Wiel, Minnesota Twins organization- Wiel played for the Oneonta Outlaws during their first PGCBL season in 2012, and advanced one step away from the Major Leagues this season with 15 games for the triple-A Rochester Red Wings. Wiel spent the majority of his season in the double-A Southern League, playing for the Chattanooga Lookouts. In Chattanooga, the first baseman hit .311 with 58 RBIs, and was named a midseason All-Star.
Jared Tobey, Detroit Tigers organization- The lefthanded pitcher from the Stallions' inaugural season began his professional career with the Tigers organizaion, playing in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He started ten games on the mound, striking out 29 hitters with a 4.17 earned run average. Tobey picked up his first professional victory on July 3, when he tossed five scoreless innings against the GCL Blue Jays.
Utica Blue Sox
Gus Varland, Oakland A's organization- A member of Utica's 2016 team, Varland had a dominant first season in professional baseball. The 14th round selection moved up to Class-A Beloit by the end of the season, and allowed just four earned runs in 38 innings between three teams. Varland worked a 0.95 ERA in his 13 appearances, eleven of which were starts.
Charles Leblanc, Texas Rangers organization- The 2014 Watertown Ram - the precursor to the current Rapids - was a Midseason All-Star in the Carolina League, and hit ten home runs and drove in 72 for the Down East Wood Ducks. Leblanc, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft by the Rangers, will play for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League with many of the top prospects in baseball.