Twelve Heading to Major League Baseball Spring Training

Hunter Pence singles against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 6 at Pac Bell Park (Photo courtesy Jacobsohn/Getty Images North America)
Twelve players with ties to teams in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League will be attending Major League Baseball Spring Training camps this month.

Cody Eppley (Elmira Pioneers 2006), Texas Rangers
Michael Fiers (Saratoga Phillies** 2007-2008), Milwaukee Brewers
Brendan Harris* (Schenectady Mohawks*** 1999), Colorado Rockies
Austin Hyatt* (Amsterdam Mohawks 2006), Philadelphia Phillies
J.D. Martinez (Saratoga Phillies** 2008), Houston Astros
Darin Mastroianni (Saratoga Phillies** 2006), Minnesota Twins
Miles Mikolas* (Saratoga Phillies** 2008), San Diego Padres
Valentino Pascucci* (Schenectady Mohawks*** 1997), New York Mets
Hunter Pence (Schenectady Mohawks 2002), Philadelphia Phillies
Cord Phelps (Amsterdam Mohawks 2006), Cleveland Indians
Mike Schwimer (Saratoga Phillies** 2005), Philadelphia Phillies
Casper Wells (Saratoga Phillies** 2004), Seattle Mariners
* Non-roster invitees
** Oneonta Outlaws were named Saratoga Phillies from 2004-2009
*** Amsterdam Mohawks were named Schenectady Mohawks until 2002

Cody Eppley became the first summer collegiate Elmira Pioneer to reach Major League Baseball when he was called up by the Texas Rangers last April. Eppley made his MLB debut for the eventual American League champions on Apr. 23. The 6-foot-5 reliever tossed two shutout innings to earn a hold in a 3-1 home victory over the Kansas City Royals. He earned one victory (against Toronto) and struck out six in 10 appearances between Apr. 23 and May 19. The Dillsburg, Pa., native was a Pacific Coast League all-star with the Round Rock Express. He fanned 55 in 55.1 Triple-A innings and pocketed 10 saves. Most recently, Eppley pitched for the Yaquis de Obregon in the Mexican Pacific Baseball League.
Elmira…Eppley pitched for the very first summer collegiate installment of the Elmira Pioneers. He was an Elmira representative in the league All-Star Game and he was named to the all-league team. Cody led the team with five victories, 51 strikeouts and 59.1 innings pitched.

Michael Fiers was one of several former Saratoga Phillies to make his Major League Baseball debut last season. Fiers, just two years removed from being drafted out of Nova Southeastern University, was called up the Milwaukee Brewers in September. He made his first appearance for the Brewers on Sept. 14 and threw one inning of scoreless relief against Colorado. One week later, Fiers blanked the Chicago Cubs in a shutout inning of relief at Wrigley Field. The 26-year-old split the majority of 2011 between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville. He went undefeated (8-0) with Nashville in 12 appearances and struck out 69 batters in 64.2 innings. He accumulated a 13-3 record for the year and fanned 132 batters in 126.0 frames. The Pompano Beach, Fla., native spent the winter with the Leones del Caracas of the Venezuelan League.
Saratoga…Fiers spent two seasons with the Phillies and he was the 2007 Pitcher of the Year. In his first summer season in Saratoga, he struck out a league-high 68 batters and accumulated a 5-1 record with a 1.99 earned run average. Fiers was a twice named to the all-league team and he holds the franchise records for strikeouts in a single season (74) and strikeouts in a career (142).

Brendan Harris signed a minor league pact with the Colorado Rockies in December and earned an invitation to Major League Spring Training. The veteran infielder spent all of last season with the International League’s Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Harris brings seven years of Major League experience to the Rockies; he’s played for the Chicago Cubs, Montreal Expos, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins. He made his Major League debut for the Cubs on July 6, 2004 against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Queensbury, N.Y., native was part of two A.L. Central championship teams with the Minnesota Twins in 2009 and 2010. Harris, a fifth-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2001 draft, has appeared in 485 Major League games.
Schenectady…Harris was a member of the 1999 Schenectady Mohawks. The team went 28-12 under manager Dennis Healy and won a division championship.

Austin Hyatt has yet to make his Major League debut. The flamethrower earned an invitation to Spring Training with the Philadelphia Phillies after leading all of Double-A with 171 strikeouts as a member of the Eastern League’s Reading Phillies in 2011. The Phillies tabbed Hyatt in the 15th round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Alabama. He has been an all-star at nearly every level with All-Star Game appearances in the New York-Penn League, Florida State League and Eastern League. Hyatt, in his first full professional season, was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Year in 2010. As a member of the Clearwater Threshers, he fanned 156 batters in 124.1 innings. Hyatt finished the 2010 season with 186 punch outs and he was named an Philadelphia Phillies Organization all-star.
Amsterdam…The Atlanta, Ga., native was an all-league selection for the Mohawks in 2006. He went 2-1 with a 2.23 earned run average in seven overall appearances. Austin struck out 41 batters in 32.1 innings and walked 18. The ‘Bama pitcher was first on the team in strikeouts per inning pitched and second in overall strikeouts.

J.D. Martinez was one of several former Saratoga Phillies to reach Major League Baseball last season. He was selected by the Astros in the 20th round of the 2009 draft. Over the course of two years, Martinez tore up Houston’s minor league system. He earned all-star selections in the New York-Penn League, South Atlantic League and Texas League. Martinez was the South Atlantic League’s Player of the Year in 2010. In three minor league seasons, Martinez batted .342, belted 43 home runs and recorded 217 RBI. He skipped Triple-A and was recalled by the Astros from Double-A Corpus Christi in July. The Nova Southeastern product debuted for the Astros on Jul. 30 at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers. The rookie slugger finished the season with Houston. He appeared in 53 total games and batted .274 with six home runs and 35 RBI.
Saratoga…J.D. enjoyed a tremendous 25-game run with the Phillies in 2008. He played in the All-Star Game and was named to the all-league team at the end of the season. Martinez batted .392 with seven home runs and 19 RBI. He cracked 38 hits, scored 18 runs and slugged .691.

Darin Mastroianni, like Michael Fiers and J.D. Martinez, was one of several Saratoga Phillies to make it to the Majors last season. Mastroianni will be attending Spring Training with the Minnesota Twins after being claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. The fleet-footed outfielder spent five seasons in the Toronto organization after being taken by the Blue Jays in the 16th round of the 2007 draft. He reached Double-A New Hampshire in just his third professional season and the following year, he was among the Eastern League’s leaders with 46 stolen bases. The Mount Kisco, N.Y., native split 2011 between New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas. He stole 20 bases and drove in 23 runs for Las Vegas in 79 games. Mastroianni was called up by the Blue Jays in late August. He made his Major League debut at the Rogers Centre against the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 24.
Saratoga…Mastroianni helped lead the Phillies to their first summer baseball championship in 2006. He won the All-Star Game Home Run Derby and was named to the all-league first team. Darin topped the Phillies in batting average (.348), hits (54), triples (eight), slugging percentage (.497) and on-base percentage (.435).

Miles Mikolas is a rising star in the San Diego Padres organization. The 6-foot-5 reliever, who has yet to officially reach the Majors, has earned an invitation to Spring Training with the Padres. Mikolas was a seventh-round selection of the Padres in the 2009 draft. He began his professional career as a starter and then was moved to the bullpen after one year. Since converting to a reliever, Mikolas moved quickly through the San Diego system. He was a Midwest League all-star in 2010 with the Fort Wayne Tin Caps and struck out 78 batters in 60 appearances. Last season, the Nova Southeastern product split time between Advanced-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio. He went a combined 4-0 with 21 saves and a 1.38 earned run average. Milles struck out 69 in 72.0 innings over 62 appearances. Most recently, he pitched in 11 games for the Arizona Fall League’s Peoria Javelinas.
Saratoga…Miles was a starting pitcher for the Phillies in 2008. He tied for the team lead in starts (eight) and was second in innings pitched (47.1). Mikolas struck out 26 and walked 10.

Veteran slugger Valentino Pascucci is entering his 14th professional season overall and his second season with the New York Mets organization. Pascucci will be attending New York Mets camp as a non-roster invitee. The University of Oklahoma product spent most of last season with the International League’s Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Metropolitans. He was Buffalo’s Offensive Most Valuable Player with 21 home runs and 91 RBI in 130 games. Pascucci, who has belted over 200 career home runs, was a September call-up He singled in his first New York at-bat on Sept. 8 against Atlanta at Citi Field. He played eight games for the Mets and batted .273 with a home run and seven RBI. Pascucci’s run with the Mets was his first at the Major League level since playing for the Montreal Expos in 2004. Val made his Major League debut on Apr. 26, 2004 against the San Diego Padres. That season, he appeared in 32 games for Les Expos. In seven of 13 professional seasons, Val has played at least at the Triple-A level. He also spent two seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Pacific League in Japan (with manager Bobby Valentine).
Schenectady…The Bellflower, Calif., native was a member of the Schenectady Mohawks in 1997. The team went 23-19 under head coach Tom Fleenor and finished in third place in its’ division.

Hunter Pence is one of the most well-known and most successful former Mohawks. Pence, currently a starting outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, was a second-round pick (64th overall) of the Houston Astros in 2004. After tearing up Houston’s minor league system with all-star selections in the South Atlantic League and Texas League, Pence was promoted to the Astros in 2007. He made his Major League debut on Apr. 28, 2007 at home against the Milwaukee Brewers. The UT-Arlington product was a five-year starting outfielder for the Astros. He earned his first MLB All-Star Game selection in 2009 and then went on to be Houston’s Most Valuable Player in 2010. Hunter made his first All-Star Game appearance last summer as a member of the Astros and then he was traded to Philadelphia on Jul. 30.In five Major League seasons, Pence has appeared in 734 games. He has a .292 career batting average and 114 home runs.
Schenectady…The Fort Worth, Texas, native played for the Schenectady Mohawks in 2002 prior to attending UT-Arlington. Schenectady went 30-12 and won the division championship. The Mohawks went unbeaten in the divisional playoffs and played for the league championship. Pence was second on the team with a .316 batting average. He collected 36 hits, 13 RBI, 13 runs and six stolen bases in 30 games.

Cord Phelps is preparing for what hopefully will be his first full Major League Baseball season. Phelps split last season between the International League’s Columbus Clippers and the Cleveland Indians. He began the year with Triple-A Columbus and was recalled by Cleveland in June. The switch-hitting infielder made his Major League debut on Jun. 8 against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Overall, Phelps appeared in 35 games for the Tribe in 2011. He registered 11 hits including one home run against Pittsburgh, 10 runs and six RBI. At the Triple-A level, Phelps was a key ingredient for the Clippers. The third-round pick of the Indians in the 2008 draft batted .294 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI. He was an MiLB Organization all-star with Cleveland. The Stanford University product took just three years to advance to Triple-A Columbus.
Amsterdam…Cord played for the Amsterdam Mohawks in 2006. He was selected to play in the league All-Star Game and he was named to the all-league first team. Phelps and the Mohawks won 21 games and advanced to the divisional playoffs. The Gaviota, Calif., native topped the Tribe in RBI (24) and on-base percentage (.395). He averaged a hit per game (35 hits, 36 games) and drew 25 walks.

Mike Schwimer was the first former Saratoga Phillies pitcher (second Phil overall) to reach Major League Baseball when he took the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies last August. Schwimer, Philadelphia’s 14th round selection in the 2008 draft, earned a late-season promotion to Philadelphia’s bullpen from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Schwimer made his MLB debut on Aug. 21 against the Washington Nationals. He went on to make 12 appearances for Philadelphia over the final six weeks of the season. The University of Virginia product went 1-1 with a 5.02 earned run average and 11 strikeouts in 14.1 innings. The 6-foot-8 closer earned his first MLB win against Florida on Sept. 8. From 2008 through 2011 at the minor league level, Schwimer accumulated 313 strikeouts and 49 saves. He earned All-Star Game selections in the Eastern League and International League. Mike went 9-1 with a career high 86 strikeouts and a 1.85 ERA for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs last season.
Saratoga…The Fairfax, Va., native pitched for the Phillies in just their second season of existence (2005). He was one of three Phillies chosen for the league All-Star Game. His best performance came in a complete game five-hitter against rival Glens Falls.

Casper Wells made his Major League debut with the Detroit Tigers on May 15, 2010, against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. He was the first former Saratoga Phillies player to reach the Majors. Wells spent the first seven years of his professional career in the Detroit Tigers organization and then last season, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners on Jul. 30. The Schenectady, N.Y., native appeared in his first Mariners game on Aug. 23. He slammed seven home runs and recorded 15 RBI over the final month of the season. Wells clubbed 11 home runs last year and he has 15 in parts of two Major League seasons. He was selected in the 14th round of the 2005 draft by the Detroit Tigers. After spending three non-productive seasons in the low minors, Wells erupted as a 23-year-old in 2007. He drilled 27 home runs between Class-A West Michigan and Double-A Erie. Two years and nearly 40 home runs later, Wells was called up by the Tigers.
Saratoga…Casper was a member of the very first Saratoga Phillies side in 2004. He played in the league All-Star Game and was one of four Saratogians named to the all-league team after the season.

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