ONE STEP CLOSER: Beeler & Koenig
ONE STEP CLOSER: Bryce Beeler
New York Mets / Kingsport Mets (Rookie)
Mequon, WI – Right-handed pitcher Bryce Beeler from the University of Memphis threw just three innings and struck out three batters for the Chinooks in June of 2014 just before he was drafted by the New York Mets (565th overall pick in the 19th round of the 2014 MLB Draft). The hard throwing reliever drove back to Tennessee where he posted a solid rookie campaign pitching for New York’s rookie league team, the Kingsport Mets, striking out 18 in 23 innings and posting a 4-2 record with a 3.13 ERA. Looking to follow up on his early success, Beeler’s 2015 season barely got started when he suffered an elbow injury. As he recovers from surgery, Beeler had these comments for Chinook fans:
I was out all season with a Tommy John surgery after I tore my UCL during a bullpen on the first day of spring training. I had surgery on March 25th, so it's been a long year – but it has also come with fun experiences because 2 big leaguers (Josh Edgin and Zack Wheeler) had surgery at the same time that I did. Zack had it on the exact same day.
I should be able to play this year. The past year has been great for motivation to get back and compete to see how I measure up!
Catch up with Beeler’s progress this season and follow his road to recovery at:
ONE STEP CLOSER: Sam Koenig
Los Angeles Angels / Orem Owlz (Rookie)
Former UW-Milwaukee outfielder and 2012 member of the Chinooks, Sam Koenig, played just eight games for Lakeshore, but put together a solid college career for the Panthers. While he also played for the Madison Mallards and the Battle Creek Bombers of the Northwoods League, Koenig capped his college career with a performance that caught the attention of MLB scouts. During his redshirt senior season, after missing one season due to injury — Koenig was named to the third team of the Louisville Slugger All-American team. He received first-team Horizon League honors after hitting .361 with 57 RBIs and 58 runs scored. His 15 homers ranked second in program history and he led the conference in runs scored, hits, and homers. The Los Angeles Angels snapped Koenig up (825th overall pick in the 27th round of the 2015 MLB Draft) and the Wisconsin native was off and running as he split the 2015 summer between the Class A Burlington Bees and the Pioneer Rookie League Orem Owlz. Koenig hit .240 in 37 games with one home run and eight RBI. As he anticipates his first spring training, Sam commented:
1. The next step for me is to continue training and working hard to get stronger as I underwent surgery in the fall.
2. One thing I need to do to progress through the minors is to stay healthy and become a more consistent well rounded player at the highest level.
3. The funniest contest I saw was a slushy drinking contest for speed when I was playing in Utah. That’s not an easy thing for anyone to do.
4. The most difficult part of minor league ball is definitely all the travel and late nights on the bus as well as being away from family and friends back home.
Fans can check on Koenig’s progress at:
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (KC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.