While I have been a casual record keeper and historian of modern era Rebels baseball, and I enjoy keeping tabs on what our alumni are doing, I am first and foremost a fan of these college athletes. I would not be involved in Rebels baseball if it weren’t for the magic on the field and the relationships built off the field. It is for this reason that it is always so exciting to me when my favorite players get the chance to continue their careers professionally. I hope other fans feel the same joy and excitement for these career updates that I feel!
This month we had a record breaking 7 Rebel alumni hear their names called in the MLB First Year Players Draft. Those players were Nate Pawelczyk (2016-17), Brandon Parker (2018), Jake Washer (2017), Reeves Martin (2018), Oraj Anu (2018), Keven Pimentel (2018), and Justin Crump (2016). Let me give you a quick update on where these players are at right now.
Nate Pawelczyk pitched for the Rebels in 2016-17, coming to us from Winthrop University. He was drafted in the 10th round of the MLB draft by the Chicago White Sox. He has since signed with the White Sox and is currently pitching for the Great Falls Voyagers, which is an Advanced Rookie League team in Great Falls, Montana. He has appeared in relief in 4 games so far for the Voyagers and has posted a 5.4 ERA.
Brandon Parker was an outfielder with the Rebels for the beginning of our 2018 season, coming from Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 10th round of the draft. He signed with the team on June 17th and is currently playing for the Danville Braves in Danville, VA. So far he’s accumulated 5 hits in 7 games for the Braves and holds a .192 batting average.
Reeves Martin pitched for our 2018 Rebels coming from the University of New Orleans. He was picked by the Seattle Mariners in the 21st round of the draft. He signed quickly and was sent to Everett, Washington to play for the Class A Short Season Everett Aquasox. He has so far pitched in 4 games and holds a 6.23 ERA.
Oraj Anu was a hard-hitting outfielder on our Championship 2018 team, and was drafted for the second time this year in the 16th round by the Boston Red Sox. Oraj has not signed with the Red Sox, and is currently playing for the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod League. Most reports indicate that Oraj will not sign with Boston, but will keep his commitment to playing for the University of Kentucky this fall. If this is how things turn out, we won’t be surprised to see Oraj drafted yet again in 2020 and/0r 2021.
Keven Pimentel was an All-Star pitcher for the Rebels in 2017. He played for the 2019 Championship-winning University of Tampa this year. He was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 28th round of the draft. He has since signed with the team and is currently pitching with the Class A Short Season Boise Hawks in Boise, Id. He currently has a 5.4 ERA after appearing in just 2 games for the Hawks.
Jake Washer was a catcher for the 2017 Rebels coming from Eastern Carolina University. He was picked by the Chicago Cubs in the 29th round of the draft. He just signed the contract with the Cubs this past week and has not yet been assigned to a minor league team. We look forward to seeing where he ends up!
Justin Crump pitched for the Rebels in 2016, coming from UNC Wilmington. He was selected by the San Francicsco Giants in the 30th round of the draft. He signed his contract on June 16th and was assigned to the Arizona League Rookie Giants. This league has not yet begun play, but their season starts tomorrow on July 1st.
While it was truly a joy to see seven Rebel names called during the draft, there were a few names this Rebel fan was disappointed not to hear. Happily, in the time since the draft, we have had some of these players sign contracts with Independent League teams. The opportunity to play in the Independent Leagues is the opportunity to continue living the baseball dream, and maybe even regain the notice of MLB affiliated organizations, so we’re truly happy to have our alumni sign with these teams! The players we’ve noted so far in the transaction listings are Luke Johnson (2017), Nick Cottone (2017-2018), John Cable (2016), and Chase Sudduth (2017-18).
Luke Johnson was a catcher for the Rebels in 2017. He played for Hartford Community College, Lander University and ended his college career at Wilmington University in DE. This month he signed a contract with the Eastside Diamond Hoppers of the United Shore Professional Baseball League in Suburban Detroit, Michigan. Luke is having a good season so far batting .324 in 34 at bats with two home runs!
John Cable was a catcher/infielder for the 2016 Rebels. He played for the University of Georgia as well as the University of New Orleans. He recently signed a contract with the Lake Erie Crushers in the Frontier League. He has so far appeared in 9 games for the Crushers and holds a .229 batting average.
Nick Cottone is a pitcher from Elmira College who played for us in both 2017 and 2018. He recently signed a contract with the Plattsburg Thunderbolts in the Empire League, and has since been traded to the New Hampshire Wild in the same league. He has not yet appeared in a game, but we’re really excited to see his career continue!
Chase Sudduth is an infielder from the University of North Georgia who again played for us in both 2017 and 2018. On June 21st, Chase signed a professional contract with the Washington Wild Things of Washington, PA in the Frontier League. So far Chase has had just one hit for the Wild Things, but he has only appeared in three games, so we fully expect to see that change in the near future!
■ Anna Lawrence