ONE STEP CLOSER: Travis Hissong
New York Yankees / Staten Island Yankees (Class A – Short)
Mequon, WI – Travis Hissong was a Chinook for ten short days in 2014, but wowed the faithful with his smooth delivery and powerful arm as he struck out 16 batters in 11 innings just prior to the 2014 MLB Draft. To the surprise of many who watched his two appearances, he wasn’t selected in that draft. Though he wasn’t taken by any team in the selection process, his phone buzzed in the days that followed, which led to Hissong signing a free agent deal with the New York Yankees, ending his stay in Mequon. The new signee moved through the minor league system very quickly – playing three games with the Tampa Yankees of the FSL (Florida State League) and two with the Staten Island Yankees of the NYP (New York-Penn League). He quickly impressed the staff of the Yankees’ big league club as he pitched the remainder of 2014 with the Yankees one rookie team in the Gulf Coast League as he posted a decent 3.24 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 16 innings
After his first professional offseason, Hissong returned to Staten Island for 2015 where he told 27outs.com he had spent time improving his change-up, “I worked a lot on my change-up and being comfortable throwing it in any count,” Hissong stated. “I have a great deal of confidence in my fastball and slider and want to feel the same with my change and I feel like I made strides in the right direction.” The right-handed Wright State alum posted a stellar 3.09 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 23.1 innings of work and is now focusing on his all-important third year of professional baseball,which for many is a pivotal year in advancing as a professional. As we caught up with Hissong, he had these comments for Chinook fans:
1. I’ve been working 50 hours a week at Shelving Inc. in Rochester Hills, Michigan where I live in the offseason. I train and lift and throw in the evenings and do lessons as well. I'm very excited about spring training and praying I perform well. The Yankees have released a lot of guys in the off season, so I'm glad I still have a job playing ball. I'm shooting for high A or AA by the end of season, but I’m just happy to have a jersey on my back. I feel as though I need to have great spring training with good velocity into the mid-90s and put up great numbers this year.
2. Last year the best memory was wining our division of the New York Penn League and having champagne showers in New York City. It was really a pleasure getting to know so many great guys and becoming friends with so many people.
3. I think the best promotion night was "Game of Thrones" night with author George R.R. Martin there and they also brought wolves from a wolf preserve that he supports. There was a sold out crowd of about 9,500 fans.
4. Playing pro ball has been such a blessing and I thank God all the time for the opportunity he has presented me with. The minors definitely are a grind, but I try to stay positive and think about all the great ball players that would like to be playing.
Keep track of Hissong’s progress at:
ONE STEP CLOSER: Justin Langley
Batavia Muckdogs / Miami Marlins (Class A-Short)
Mequon, WI – Wisconsin native and former Milwaukee Panther pitcher Justin Langley, battled through shoulder tightness early in his career to become one of the most dominant pitchers to come through the Panther program. fter a dominant collegiate season in 2015 when he struck out 74 batters in 67.2 innings of work and was named 1st team All-League in the Horizon League, the imposing 6’6, 225 pound lefty hoped he had done enough to draw interest from Major League teams, but signed on to play for the Lakeshore Chinooks to begin the 2015 Northwoods League season. Langley made two starts, striking out 12 in eight innings of work and allowing three earned runs, before hearing the news that he had been selected by the Miami Marlins (476th overall pick in the 16th Round of the 2015 MLB Draft).
After quickly assessing his future, Langley jumped at his chance to prove himself in professional baseball. As an imposing southpaw with terrific velocity, Langley would appear to have a good shot, despite a lackluster first summer. Langley pitched 4.2 innings with Miami’s Gulf Coast League rookie team and then settled in with the Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League where he made nine more appearances to finish his first season with 1-2 record and an 8.50 ERA. With an off-season of hard work, Langley will look to establish himself during the 2016 season. Follow his 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 (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.