10/22/2009 12:00 PM
The Lake County Fielders, the newest entry of the Northern League, set to open play in the spring of 2010, have chosen 12 players in the recently-concluded NL Dispersal Draft. The Fielders, owned in part by actor Kevin Costner, have hired former Frontier League veteran skipper Fran Riordan to pilot their inaugural club.
“The dispersal draft is a great thing to get the Lake County Fielders off and running,” says Field Manager Fran Riordan. “We feel we selected 12 players that have the ability to make an immediate impact on our ballclub.”
The Fielders’ first pick, RHP Garry Bakker, joins the team after a successful stint with the 2009 Northern League Champion Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, and was the first of 7 pitchers drafted by the Fielders.
Catcher Chris Lopez (Joliet) was the Fielders’ second pick, followed by infielder Jeff Helps, a rookie infielder chosen off of the Kansas City T-Bones roster.
On the Fielders’ first draft pick, Riordan comments, “The Lake County Fielders are pleased to select Garry Bakker as the first pick in the dispersal draft. He’s potentially a legitimate number one starter in the Northern League. His experience and past success should be a great asset”.
Northern League teams will play a 100 game schedule, spanning from May 20th to September 6th. Tickets to the Fielders inaugural 2010 season are available at the team’s retail store in the Gurnee Mills Mall (6170 West Grand Av, Gurnee, IL 60031), or by calling 847-731-8000, or by logging onto www.fieldersbaseball.com.
1. Garry Bakker, RHP (Fargo)
2. Chris Lopez, C (Joliet)
3. Jeff Helps, IF (KC)
4. Cody Ehlers, 1B (Winnipeg)
5. Anthony Esquer, C (Gary)
6. Jeff Dunbar, OF (Schaumburg)
7. Matt Mossey, RHP (Fargo)
8. Chad Blackwell, RHP (Joliet)
9. Dustin Bolton, RHP (KC)
10. Chris Homer, RHP (Winnipeg)
11. Brett Wallace, C (Gary)
12. Kris Jiggits, RHP (Schaumburg)
TOP PLAYER BIOS
1. Garry Bakker - RHP:
Bakker was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 11th Round (329th overall) of the 2004 amateur entry draft out of the University of North Carolina. He had seven wins each of the last two seasons while helping the RedHawks to a Northern League Championship in 2009.
2. Chris Lopez - Catcher:
Lopez was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 6th round of the 2003 draft. Lopez started the 2009 season with Charlotte of the Florida State League in the Rays system. Acquired on August 8, 2009 by the Jackhammers, Lopez hit .212 with 1 HR in 19 games.
3. Jeff Helps - IF:
Jeff played collegiately for Central Michigan University. He made his pro debut in 2009 with the Kansas City T-Bones. He hit .253 for the last season.
4. Cody Ehlers - 1B:
Ehlers spent five seasons in the New York Yankees system. He helped lead Trenton to consecutive league titles and earned league MVP honors in 2006 after leading the circuit in five offensive categories, including runs batted in, and extra base hits. Cody led all first basemen with a .994 fielding percentage. Cody hit .245 with 6 HR’s last year for the Goldeyes.
5. Anthony Esquer - C:
Catcher Anthony Esquer hit .318 in 39 games in the regular season with the RailCats after being signed in early June, then went on to start seven of eight postseason games. The 24-year-old set a career-high with 41 hits but made his biggest impact behind the plate defensively. Esquer led all Northern League catchers throwing out runners, cutting down an impressive 54.1% of would be base-stealers. Esquer was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 24th round out of Division II Cal Poly Pomona in 2006, where he was a two-time All-California Collegiate Athletic Association selection. Esquer led the Broncos with seven home runs and 42 RBIs as a senior.
6. Jeff Dunbar – Utility
Dunbar was the ultimate utility player for the Flyers in 2009 where he hit .286 with 6 HR’s while also posting a 1-1 record in 25.1 innings out of the bullpen. Jeff was originally selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 11th Round (345th overall) of the 2007 amateur entry draft.