Growlers sign trio of players from Notre Dame
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Growlers have signed three players from the University of Notre Dame for the 2014 season. Junior outfielder Ryan Bull, freshman pitcher Ryan Smoyer, and freshman catcher Ryan Lidge will be joining the Kalamazoo Growlers inaugural roster.
Ryan Bull hit .254 with a home run and 19 RBI during the 2012 season at Notre Dame. His lone home run was a walk-off to beat Pittsburgh, and was the first walk-off home run for a Notre Dame freshman since 1998. Bull started 52 of 54 games for the Fighting Irish, including 19 games at both corner outfield positions and 33 games as the designated hitter.
Last season, Bull continued his strong play for the Fighting Irish starting 57 of 58 games and helping lead Notre Dame to a spot in the Big East championship game. He raised his batting average to .319 while hitting two home runs and driving in 38 runs – all of those were good for third on the team.
Bull is a switch hitter, and has been projected as a potential power hitter from both sides of the plate with tremendous defensive capabilities in the outfield. Bull is from Eden Prairie, MN and figures to be an integral part of the Growlers offensive attack this season.
Ryan Smoyer becomes the first pitcher to join the Growlers staff this season. Perfect Game ranked Smoyer as the No. 26 high school prospect in Ohio last year. He went 6-0 with a 0.70 ERA and 58 strikeouts. On top of that, Smoyer also hit .440 with two homers and 21 RBI. Smoyer is phenomenally gifted athlete, earning four varsity letters in baseball, football, and basketball in high school.
The 6-4 right-hander from Bowling Green, OH surprised scouts last season when he displayed a consistent high 80s fastball that also touches 90. He also possess above average breaking and offspeed pitches. Smoyer is expected to be a regular bullpen contributor in his first year at Notre Dame this season.
Smoyer's battery mate Ryan Lidge will follow him to the backstop at Homer Stryker Field. The 6-2 catcher fromBarrington, IL is already thought of as a gifted catcher with a strong throwing arm. He projects as a good hitter with power from both sides of the plate. The Boston Red Sox selected Lidge in the 40th round in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Lidge earned all-state honors as a high school senior last year hitting .381 with eight home runs. Those numbers were earned him the No. 16 spot in the Perfect Game Illinois prospect rankings. Baseball fans will recognize him as the cousin of former Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, and Washington Nationals pitcher Brad Lidge.
The Growlers open their home schedule against the Battle Creek Bombers on May 30. Season tickets and flex plans are currently on sale now. Call (269) 492-9966 or email at email@example.com for more information and be sure to follow the Growlers on Facebook and Twitter.