WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes signed four players on Tuesday, including left-handed pitcher Mitchell Lambson, former Major League outfielder Dave Sappelt, first baseman Eric Aguilera, and infielder Tucker Nathans.
Lambson returns to the Goldeyes after making 11 starts earlier this season for the Mexican League’s Pericos de Puebla. The Montclair, California native was 7-3 with one save and a 3.98 ERA for the Goldeyes in 2017 over one start and 38 relief appearances. Lambson struck out 61 and walked only 12 in 61.0 innings pitched. The 27-year-old left-hander went on to make six postseason appearances, including four and one-third scoreless innings during the Goldeyes’ three victories in the American Association Championship Series.
Lambson is in his eighth season of professional baseball, and is 35-21 lifetime with 10 saves and a 3.33 ERA in 236 appearances, 12 of them as a starting pitcher. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Lambson was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 19th round in 2011 out of Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona) where he helped the Sun Devils reach the College World Series in 2009 and 2011. Lambson has averaged 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings during his career versus just 2.4 walks.
Sappelt (pronounced suh-PELT) played three seasons in the Major Leagues from 2011-13 with the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs. The Buffalo, New York native hit a combined .251 in 95 Major League games, which included base hits against former Cy Young Award winners Cliff Lee and Dallas Keuchel, as well as MLB All-Stars Madison Bumgarner and Aroldis Chapman.
“From the start of training camp until now, we’ve been patiently observing our team and evaluating where we are,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “We’re just looking for something a little bit more offensively, and we’re looking for some guys who can come in, work their at bats, and grind it out three or four times a night. Dave’s one of those guys who is hungry to still play. He’s anxious to get here and help us win ballgames.”
Last year, Sappelt combined to hit .282 with 22 doubles, 13 home runs, and 43 RBI in 94 games in the Triple-A Mexican League, splitting time with Rieleros de Aguascalientes and Olmecas de Tabasco. The 31-year-old Sappelt was drafted by the Reds in the ninth round in 2008 out of Coastal Carolina University (Conway, South Carolina). Most recently, Sappelt appeared in seven games for the Atlantic League’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.
A right-handed hitter and defender, Sappelt is in his 11th season of professional baseball, and owns a lifetime .291 batting average with more base hits (1,193) than games played (1,073). The 5-foot-9, 195-pound outfielder has averaged 87 runs scored, 35 doubles, seven triples, 14 home runs, 71 RBI, and 52 walks per 162 games as a professional.
Aguilera (pronounced ag-yoo-LARE-uh) played all of last season at Double-A, hitting .222 with 18 doubles, 15 home runs, and 51 RBI in 111 games for the Texas League’s Frisco RoughRiders (Texas Rangers). Earlier this season, the Cary, Illinois native hit .301with 12 home runs and 43 RBI in 57 contests for the Mexican League’s Algodoneros de Union Laguna.
“Eric is a guy who can give us a little bit of presence in the middle of the lineup, hopefully drive in some runs for us, and shore up that defence on the right side,” said Forney.
Aguilera is in his sixth season of professional baseball, and was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 34th round in 2013 out of Illinois State University (Normal, Illinois). A left-handed hitter and fielder, Aguilera earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honours in 2012 and 2013. Last year marked the third time Aguilera reached the Double-A level, and the 27-year-old first baseman was named a High-A California League All-Star in 2015 after hitting .327 with 17 home runs and 94 RBI for the Inland Empire 66ers.
Including his time in Mexico this season, Aguilera has reached double-digit home runs in each of his first six professional seasons. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Aguilera is a career .283 hitter, and has averaged 81 runs scored, 39 doubles, 22 home runs, 101 RBI, and 52 walks per 162 games.
Nathans is a veteran infielder who reached the Triple-A level last season in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization. The Warwick, New York native also hit .284 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 33 games for the Double-A Eastern League’s Bowie Baysox before finishing the year in the Atlantic League with Southern Maryland.
“Tucker is a baseball player,” said Forney. “He plays second. He can play a little bit of third and shortstop if need be. He plays the outfield real well. He’s going to give us a really good at bat from the left side, and has a little bit of pop in his bat too.”
Nathans is an independent baseball success story, having started his career in the Can-Am League in 2011 with the Brockton Rox and New York Federals. Nathans hit a combined .296 in 2011, and went on to win the Can-Am League’s Rookie of the Year Award in 2012 with a .307 average and 30 RBI in 56 games for the Newark Bears.
After having his contract purchased by the Orioles, Nathans hit a combined .273 with 18 doubles, 10 home runs, and 56 RBI during his first year in affiliated ball in 2013. A left-handed batter and right-handed defender, Nathans saw time with both Low-A Delmarva and High-A Frederick. The 6-foot, 200-pound Nathans spent all of 2014 in Frederick before reaching Double-A Bowie in each of the next three seasons.
Nathans played collegiately at Fairfield University (Fairfield, Connecticut) and owns a lifetime .980 fielding percentage in 112 games at second base.
Lambson will make the start tonight against the Gary SouthShore RailCats, while Sappelt, Aguilera, and Nathans are all in the starting lineup.
Additionally, outfielder Victor Cruzado, first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez, infielder Jordan Edgerton, and left-handed pitcher Kenny Mathews all cleared waivers and are now free agents. The Goldeyes’ active roster currently stands at 23 players.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes continue a three-game series against the Gary SouthShore RailCats at Shaw Park tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/Goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.