Former Express player projected to be first-round draft choice

Eau Claire, Wis. – Casey Gillaspie caught the eyes of all Eau Claire Express fans in 2012 when the switch-hitting first-baseman from Wichita State mashed a club-record 12 home runs while batting .332.

As it turns out, Express fans weren’t the only ones impressed.

According to Baseball America’s mock 2014 first-year player draft, the Oakland Athletics, winners of two straight American League Western Division pennants, are projected to take the former Eau Claire product in the first round with the 25th-overall pick.

Scouts from the publication indicate Gillaspie’s patience and power from both sides of the plate make him an intriguing prospect. Express Field Manager Dale Varsho agreed Gillaspie’s approach at bat is what sets him apart from other hitters.

“His discipline at the plate is the biggest factor,” Varsho said. “He only swings at strikes, and he doesn’t get cheated.”

If this projection were to hold true, Gillaspie would be the highest draft pick in the nine-year history of the Express franchise. Washington Nationals All-Star and 2006 Eau Claire MVP Jordan Zimmermann’s second-round selection in the 2007 draft is currently the highest an Express player has ever been taken.

This season at Wichita State, Gillaspie has made himself one of the top players in the college game. As of Monday morning, he is batting .406 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI. He is in the top 10 in the country in both batting average and home runs.

Gillaspie’s older brother, Conor, is the starting third baseman for the Chicago White Sox.

The Express begin their 10th season of play in the Northwoods League on Tuesday, May 27 versus the Lakeshore Chinooks. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. with gates opening at 5:30. Season tickets, voucher packs and single-game tickets are on sale now. To subscribe to the Express schedule on your Internet and/or phone calendar and have it be updated with any changes in promotions and game times, click the link below.