Much like the starting rotation, the River City Rascals bullpen will look vastly different in 2019. Last season's top relievers, Joe Iorio and Cody Mincey, have moved on, and the new crop features just one player from the 2018 roster: Jackson Sigman. Joining them will be Frontier League veterans Colton Freeman and Anthony Herrera, MiLBers Marvin Gorgas, Joe Mortillaro, and Andrew Vernon, as well as rookies Anthony Baleto and Kyle Fimbrez.
Sigman joined the Rascals during the 2018 season, after starting the year with the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association. The Austin, TX native made 14 appearances, registering a 3.64 ERA and striking out 19 in 12 1/3 innings of work. The 23-year old started the 2017 season with the Grizzlies before being signed in August by the Kansas City Royals. The right-hander finished out that season with the (RK) AZL Royals. Jackson pitched collegiately for West Virginia, where he struck out 73 hitters over 58 innings for the Mountaineers as a senior in 2017.
Freeman is a lefty who spent last season with the Grizzlies. The Birmingham, AL native appeared in 32 games in 2018, after appearing in one game for the Evansville Otters in 2017. In 35 1/3 innings last season, the 25-year old registered 45 strikeouts. He was a 20th round pick in 2016 by the Chicago Cubs out of Alabama, and appeared in four games for the (RK) AZL Cubs that season.
Herrera spent the last two seasons with the CornBelters, and went 7-5 in 41 appearances, two of them starts, last season, and also had seven saves. The McKinney, TX native had a 2.66 ERA across 27 innings in 2017. The right-hander pitched and also played infield collegiately for Louisiana-Monroe, where he recorded 10 saves as a junior in 2016, working 41 innings across 22 appearances while amassing a 1.74 ERA.
Gorgas is a 23-year old righty who spent five total seasons in the Seattle Mariners organization, reaching as high as the (AAA) Tacoma Rainiers in 2016. He spent last season with the (A) Clinton LumberKings of the Midwest League, where he went 6-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 29 appearances out of the bullpen. The Chicago native was a 13th round pick of the M's in 2014 out of high school. He sported a 2.49 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings in 2017, splitting the season between the LumberKings and the (A+) Modesto Nuts of the California League.
Mortillaro is a Middle Village, NY native who last pitched for the (RK) AZL Dodgers in 2018. The right-hander was signed by the Dodgers in 2016 out of Western Illinois, where he spent the final two seasons of his collegiate career. The 25-year old spent his rookie season with the (RK) Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League, and missed 2017 due to injury. He surpassed the 100 career strikeout mark in his last game for the Western Illinois Leathernecks in 2016, leading the team in the category as a senior.
Vernon joins the Rascals after spending the last three seasons with the Milwaukie Brewers organization, although he missed all of 2018 due to injury. The Durham, NC native split the 2017 season between the (RK) Helena Brewers of the Pioneer League and the (A) Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League. He compiled a combined 42 strikeouts across 37 1/3 innings of work. The right-hander was a 28th round pick of the Brewers in 2016 out of NC Central, and became the first-ever MLB draft pick in school history.
Baleto is a rookie from Chico State, where he spent two seasons after transferring from Cuesta College. The Martinez, CA native was 2-2 with a 3.35 ERA in 26 appearances out of the bullpen as a senior for the Wildcats in 2018, totaling 45 2/3 innings and four saves. He had seven saves as a junior in 2017, when he was named Honorable Mention All-CCAA.
Fimbrez is also a rookie, and hails from Modesto, CA. The right-hander was an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American for Oklahoma Wesleyan in 2018, when he went 12-0 in 15 starts with a 2.89 ERA in 93 1/3 innings.
The Rascals kick-off the 2019 campaign against the Washington Wild Things on Thursday, May 9 at CarShield Field. Tickets for the season are available at rivercityrascals.com, or by calling the team box office at 636-240-2287.