American Association Daily will provide insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, we examine a number of current and former American Association players that are making a big splash down under in the Australian Baseball League, including Alex Boshers, Tyler Herr, Mark Hamburger, and Dylan Thompson.
Going Down Under to Make a Real Splash
At the end of the independent and affiliate baseball seasons, many players are still hankering to get onto the diamond, and so they will look to find an opportunity to play in the winter leagues, whether it is in the Caribbean, South America, southwestern United States or other parts across the globe.
A popular destination for many players has been the Australian Baseball League (ABL), which not only features former Major Leaguer Delmon Young on the Melbourne Aces roster, but several current and former American Association pitchers have found their way down under to pitch in Australia’s elite baseball league. This group is performing well, proving to be the fair dinkum (the real deal).
Alex Boshers – Perth Heat
Alex Boshers has starred in the Wichita Wingnuts rotation the last two seasons, posting a combined record of 23-7 in 34 starts. He was traded to Sugar Land (Atlantic League) earlier this month, but is performing quite well for the Perth Heat. Boshers is fifth in the ABL in ERA at 3.97, but his team has not supplied much in offense for their starter, as the right-hander is only 1-6 in his 12 appearances this season. Boshers has shown his usual pinpoint control, walking only 12 in 56.2 innings pitched while striking out 52.
Bo Hellquist – Perth Heat
Bo Hellquist had a solid season for the Sioux Falls Canaries in 2017, going 4-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 50.1 innings pitched. He has only pitched twice for the Perth Heat, but there is still a lot of season left to go and the left-hander should get the opportunity to be a key contributor out of the bullpen.
Dylan Thompson – Perth Heat
Dylan Thompson had a monster season for the Sioux Falls Canaries last season, allowing just one earned run in his first 21 outings. He finished 3-4 with a 3.66 ERA in 41 appearances, and is picking up right where he left off for the Perth Heat. Thompson is 2-0 with a save in 6 appearances. He has an outstanding 2.63 ERA. In 13.2 innings pitched, the right-hander has struck out 17.
Mark Hamburger – Melbourne Aces
Mark Hamburger is always a fan favorite no matter where he goes. The “Mayor of St. Paul” is adored by the St. Paul Saints fans, and he has rewarded them, going 25-12 in 42 starts the last two years. For the second season in a row, he traveled to the Melbourne to join the Aces. Hamburger is 3-7 in 12 appearances and, true to his nature, leads the league in innings pitched with 67.1. He has also struck out 72 and has a save.
Ryan Bollinger – Brisbane Bandits
Ryan Bollinger isn’t a name that fans around the American Association may remember, but he spent a season in the league, playing in both St. Paul and Winnipeg in 2014. In 2015 and 2016 he pitched for Trois-Rivieres (Can-Am League) before joining Brisbane this season. The left-hander is having a monster year in Australia, posting a 5-1 record and a 3.48 ERA. He is third in ERA and tied for first in wins.
Josh Tols – Melbourne Aces
Josh Tols pitched for the Kansas City T-Bones in 2015 and 2016 where he was 7-4 in 56 career appearances. The left-hander was born in Australia, so it only makes sense that he would be playing before his countrymen. This is Tols fifth season playing in the ABL and he is having his best season since 2014 with he was 9-2. This year the Australian is 5-3 with a 4.78. His ERA is seventh in the league and he, too, is tied for the league lead in wins.
Brian Grening – Canberra Calvary
If you have been a fan of American Association baseball for nearly a decade, then Brian Grening is a name that should ring a bell. The right-hander pitched for Gary Southshore and Kansas City in 2011 and remained with the T-Bones for the 2012 campaign. He was 10-5 that season. Grening has been in the Atlantic League much of the last five seasons, but has also made a trip down under a regular part of his routine, pitching in Canberra each of the last seven seasons. This season has arguably been his best, as the right-hander is 5-1 with a 3.53 ERA, ranked fourth.
Ryan Searle – Brisbane Bandits
Ryan Searle last played in the American Association in 2014, when he went 5-9 in 20 starts for the Grand Prairie AirHogs. Brisbane has been a regular stop for Searle, who is having a great year, posting a 1-1 record and a 1.84 ERA in 10 appearances. The right-hander has struck out 19 in 14.2 innings, while walking just four.
Tyler Herr – Canberra Calvary
Tyler Herr may be a name you hear again soon in the American Association. He was the closer in Salina last season, posting a respectable 3.46 ERA with 6 saves in 32 appearances. The right-hander has good stuff, striking out 55 in 41.2 innings pitched. For Canberra, Herr has a 3.65 ERA in 7 appearances with a save. He has 12 strikeouts in 10 innings pitched with only 5 hits allowed.
American Association Daily Notes
It was a busy day for the Lincoln Saltdogs on Tuesday. Lincoln sent LHP Will Solomon back to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in exchange for RHP Tyler Herron and LHP Anthony Pacillo. Solomon will be returning to the RedHawks where he pitched the last two seasons. The left-hander was acquired from Fargo in a deal that sent Tommy Mendonca to the RedHawks. Solomon was 5-5 last season with a 4.47 ERA. Pacillo appeared in 22 games for Fargo-Moorhead, going 1-1 with a 6.91 ERA. Herron had a huge season, going 9-2 in 15 starts with a 2.92 ERA. He is 20-11 in his three seasons for the RedHawks…The Saltdogs also re-signed infielders Nathaniel Maggio and Christian Ibarra. Ibarra is an outstanding infielder who hit .243 last year, his sec0nd season in Lincoln. 2017 was the first professional season for Maggio and he performed well, hitting .288 in 49 games with 7 homers and 35 RBI. Maggio also played well defensively at first, making 3 errors in 45 games.
By Robert Pannier