BEACH BUMS ADD FOUR TALENTED PLAYERS TO THE ROSTER
TRAVERSE CITY, MI -- The Traverse City Beach Bums continue to prepare for the season by announcing the addition of four talented players, Steven Patterson, INF, Benjamin Libuda LHP, Jake Lanning RHP and Tucker Simpson.
“Steven Patterson is a great pick-up for us,” said Jason Wuerfel, Director of Baseball Operations. “We don't get many opportunities to find second baseman than can contribute offensively at a high level and that’s exactly what Patterson brings to the table. He battled through a hand injury last year but now he’s fully healthy and I think he has the potential to surprise a lot of people.” Patterson started his professional career with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the New York-Penn League in 2014, hitting .269 with four home runs and 26 RBI in 54 games. He tied for second in the league with 20 doubles and was 11th with 38 runs scored. Last year, he hit .191 with two homers and 17 RBI for the Lake County Captains in the Midwest League. The California native was the 10th round selection by Cleveland in the 2014 draft following a senior season at UC Davis where he hit .326 with seven doubles, a home run and drove in 24. He walked 21 times and struck out just 18, helping him to a .436 on-base percentage and Second Team All-Big West honors.
Benjamin Libuda went 5-2 last season with a 5.67 ERA in 16 appearances, splitting time between the Gulf Coast Braves and the Danville Braves of a Appalachian League. In 22.0 innings spanning 12 appearances with Danville, he struck out 17 batters. “Lefties are never easy to find in the Frontier League, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to get Libuda under contract,” said Wuerfel. “He’s a tall, imposing figure on the mound at 6’7” and I think he’ll have a lot of success pitching in our park.” The 6’7” right-hander was the Braves 26th round selection in the 2015 draft following his junior season at Worcester State College in Massachusetts. In just three seasons for the Lancers, he posted a 14-7 record with a 2.73 ERA. The win and ERA marks are both sixth all-time in school history.
Jake Lanning comes in to camp as a pitcher after spending last season in the Atlanta Braves organization as an infielder. He was the Braves 25th round pick in the 2015 draft and hit .273 with 16 RBI last year for the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League. Lanning went 9-2 with a 1.96 ERA in 11 starts for the Holy Cross Saints, an NAIA school in Indiana. He delivered nine complete games and four shutouts, striking out 80 batters in 78.0 innings. In 2014, he posted a 5-6 record with a 3.24 ERA. In 17 games (11 starts) he had five complete games and a shutout. He also saved three games and held opponents to a .246 average.
Tucker Simpson split time at three levels of the Marlins system last season with a 1.61 ERA and a save in 10 games. He saw the majority of his action with the Gulf Coast Marlins, where he posted a 1.33 ERA and struck out 21 batters in 20.1 innings. He also made a pair of appearances without giving up a run for the Advanced-A Jupiter Hammerheads. “Simpson was a key pickup for us this off-season,” said Wuerfel. “He was highly sought after by a lot of teams in Independent baseball and I expect him to be an excellent complement to some of our returning starters like Champlin and Shreeves. I’m excited to see what he can do in our league and I think our fans are really going to enjoy watching him pitch.”
The Traverse City Beach Bums are the 2015 Frontier League Champions and will be playing their 11th season of professional baseball in Northern Michigan starting May 2016. All home games are played at Wuerfel Park, a state of the art ballpark located in Blair Township, MI. The Beach Bums business offices are open from 8:30 am to 5:30 PM Monday through Friday. Sponsorships, Season Tickets, Group packages, patio tables and suites are all available for the 2016 season. For more information, please call the offices at 1-231-943-0100 or come on out to the ballpark for an off-season visit.