Baseball: Joliet Slammers continue to build 2013 roster
From Submitted Reports March 12, 2013 3:42PM
The Slammers' Brad Netzel swings against the ThunderBolts at Friday night's game. | Paul James Bergstrom~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:06AM
The Joliet Slammers’ shortstop has retired, but the team has signed an able replacement.
Brad Netzel, the former University of St. Francis shortstop who manned the position in the first two years of the franchise, has hung up the spikes. But the Slammers filled the void with the signing of Michael Wing.
“This is a huge sign for the Slammers,” manager Mike Breyman said in a news release. “Michael has had a great career since he was drafted out of high school in 2007. A good shortstop is very hard to find in minor league baseball, and we could not be happier that we found Michael to play this position for us.”
Wing, 24, brings six seasons of affiliated baseball experience to the Slammers. He was selected in the 26th round of the 2007 draft out of Upland High School by the Los Angeles Angels. Wing got as high as Double A and has a career .283 batting average in affiliated ball. He’s expected to start at shortstop but can play all over the infield.
At the time Netzel retired, the Slammers announced infielder Kyle Maunus, 28, will return as the Slammers’ lone “veteran” player. The Frontier League allows one player on each team, designated as a veteran, who is older than the age limit of 27 but younger than 30.
“We could not be happier that Kyle has chosen to come back to Joliet for at least one more year,” Breyman said. “His worth on the field is obvious, but with the huge roster turnover we will have, his clubhouse presence will be priceless.”
Maunus finished 2012 with four home runs over his final six games. He led the Slammers with 12 homers on the season. His 45 RBI tied him with Erik Lis for first on the team. Maunus smacked 15 homers while driving in 56 in the Slammers’ 2011 championship season. The Western Michigan product can play first or third base.
Netzel, 27, retires as one of the most consistent players in the Slammers’ short history.
“Brad was a very big part of the Slammers organization,” Breyman said. “I got the privilege of playing against him when I was with Gateway and watch him compete at a very high level. His professionalism and performance set him apart as one of the best shortstops I have seen in this league.”
The Slammers signed left-handed hitting Leighton Pangilinan to compete for a spot at first base and southpaw Corey Kimes to compete for a spot in the starting rotation.
Pangilinan, 21, participated in the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers for the Philippines. The Filipino squad’s efforts to make the tournament came up short, but it did upend Thailand 8-2 in the first qualifying game.
Pangilinan hit a career-high 22 doubles in 2012 with the Kannapolis Intimidators, the Class A affiliate of the White Sox. He was a 40th-round selection of the Sox in 2009 out of Escalon High School in Escalon, Calif.
Kimes, a former star for the University of Illinois, brings an undefeated record in affiliated ball to Joliet. The Ottawa native went 5-0 in 2012 between the Elizabethton Twins of the Appalachian League and the Beloit Snappers of the Midwest League. In two seasons, Kimes has a 3.25 ERA in 22 appearances, including six starts. He was an 18th-round selection of the Minnesota Twins in the 2011 draft.