Goldeyes Add Right-Handers
Rick Forney bolstered his pitching staff last week, signing right-handed pitchers Zach Nuding and Joel Effertz.  In nearly 300.0 innings at the Double-A level, Nuding owns a 3.49 ERA.  Nuding made 14 appearances at the Triple-A level last year in the Los Angeles Angels’ organization.

Effertz reached Double-A with the Miami Marlins in 2014 and was brought to the club’s attention by former pitching coach Brendan Sagara.  Sagara coached Effertz in the Marlins’ system last year, previously guided the Goldeyes’ pitching staff to a league-best 3.98 ERA in 2011.

Former Top Pick Signs With Explorers
The Sioux City Explorers made a high-profile signing last week with the addition of third baseman Josh Vitters.  Vitters was drafted third overall by the Chicago Cubs in 2007, and reached the Major Leagues with the big club in 2012.  The Cypress, California native played in 80 games last season for the Atlantic League’s Bridgeport Bluefish.  Vitters’ older brother, Christian, was an integral member of the Gary SouthShore RailCats’ 2013 championship team.

Interestingly, Vitters will not be the highest drafted player in the history of the American Association.  That distinction belongs to veteran Major League right-hander Luke Hochevar, who was picked first overall by the Kansas City Royals in 2006.  Hochevar began his career with the Fort Worth Cats that summer before eventually signing with the Royals.

Other notable draft picks to have played in the league include Dan Reichert (seventh overall in 1997 and the current pitching coach for the Lincoln Saltdogs), Matt Harrington (seventh overall in 2000), Jake Gautreau (14th overall in 2001), C.J. Henry (17th overall in 2005), Aaron Crow (ninth overall in 2008 and 12th overall in 2009), and Barrett Loux (sixth overall in 2010).

League Alumni Carry Team Netherlands Deep in WBC
Team Netherlands made an impressive run at this year’s World Baseball Classic, reaching the semi-final bracket.  They ultimately fell to Puerto Rico by one run and in extra innings on Monday night.  Former Winnipeg Goldeyes’ second baseman Yurrendel de Caster batted .421 in the tournament with six RBI in five games.

de Caster’s WBC teammate and fellow former Major Leaguer Shairon Martis allowed just one earned run in seven and two-thirds innings.  Martis is set to front the Lincoln Saltdogs’ starting rotation for a third consecutive year.  Randolph Oduber, Dashenko Ricardo, and Curt Smith joined Martis in representing both Lincoln and the American Association for Team Netherlands.

Cleburne Coach Has Local Ties
The expansion Cleburne Railroaders recently hired Ed Pruitt as their inaugural pitching coach. Pruitt starred at Cleburne High School before enjoying a six-year professional career in the New York Mets’ organization.  Pruitt compiled a lifetime 2.93 ERA, and pitched three seasons at the Double-A level alongside several members of the Mets’ 1986 World Series team.

From the Archives – 1994 Winnipeg Goldeyes Magazine – Volume 1, Number 12
Jim Wilson reached the Major Leagues in 1985 and 1989, and eventually finished his long career as a key member of the Goldeyes’ 1994 Northern League championship squad.  Wilson’s six RBI in Game Two of the Northern League Championship Series at Sioux City remained a franchise record until Reggie Abercrombie’s seven-RBI performance in Game Five at Wichita last September.  Below is an interview with Wilson from one of the very first Goldeyes’ souvenir magazines:

When you were a young boy playing baseball, who was your biggest influence?
My two brothers.

What is your greatest baseball memory?
My first Major League at bat with the Cleveland Indians.

Growing up, who was your baseball hero?
Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, among others.

Which piece of baseball equipment do you most vividly remember receiving when you were growing up?
A glove.

Which is your favourite baseball movie?
Major League.

Which was your favourite Major League team as a boy?
The Los Angeles Dodgers.

Which book has influenced you the most?
The Bible.

Name the type of music you most enjoy and your favourite performer(s) from that genre.
I enjoy all types of music depending on mood.

What’s your favourite type of food?
As with music, I like all types.

What is your ideal pre-game meal?
Something light and well ahead of game time.

What is your strongest ability as a ball player?
My ability to hit.

If you could play another pro sport, which one would it be?

When Steve Carlton was a Goldeye, he met his wife at a bank in Polo Park.  Where do you hang out in the city?
When I’m not at the ballpark, I usually stay around the hotel.

What do you think of the designated hitter?
I love it–it’s what I do!