The Lincoln Saltdogs have been busy this offseason. The reigning Central Division champs have been involved in four trades and have signed five new players.
9/25: Traded INF Tommy Mendonca to FM in exchange for LHP Will Solomon
10/17: Released RHP Brad Orosey, LHP Brian Smith, RHP Alex Bee, INF Juan Martinez
10/25: Signed RHP Jacob Condra-Bogan
11/1: Traded RHP Michael Wagner, RHP Parker Frazier, RHP Fabio Martinez and a player to be named later to Sussex County (Can-Am) in exchange for OF Jay Austin
11/2: Traded OF Jay Austin to Sioux City to complete the Orosey trade from August.
11/6: Traded LHP Bennett Parry to Long Island (Atlantic) in exchange for a player to be named later
11/16: Signed RHP Evan Boyd
11/21: Signed INF Leon Byrd, RHP Tyler D. Wilson and C Michael Rizzitello
Jacob Condra-Bogan: The Saltdogs signed right-handed pitcher Jacob Condra-Bogan on October 25th. The 23-year-old pitched for the Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League in his rookie campaign last season. He went 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA over 11 appearances. He struck out 15 batters in 15.1 innings pitched.
Condra-Bogan pitched for Wofford University for three seasons. He got the most action in 2016 when he started 15 games and compiled a 6-5 record. The righty struck out 61 batters compared to just 12 walks.
He graduated from Wofford and transferred to Georgia Southern for his final year. Condra-Bogan went 5-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 19 appearances for the Eagles. He was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2017 MLB Draft before catching on with the Wild Things.
Evan Boyd: Career indy-leaguer Evan Boyd signed with the Saltdogs on November 16th. The right-handed pitcher has played in the Pacific Association and the Frontier League over four seasons.
The Georgia-native was a dominant reliever for the Schaumbug Boomers the past two seasons. He was 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in 28 games in 2016. He didn’t allow an earned run in 12.1 innings pitched in 2017.
Boyd played with RHP Seth Webster in Schaumburg in 2016. Boyd went to Mercer University where pitched and played shortstop. He was a teammate of RHP Dimitri Kourtis at Mercer in 2012 and 2013.
Leon Byrd: The Saltdogs announced the signing of former Mets farmhand Leon Byrd on November 21st. Byrd’s versatility will be valuable to the Saltdogs as he is a switch-hitter who has played six different positions professionally.
Byrd was drafted in the 25th round out of high school in Cypress, Texas but opted to go to Rice University instead. He hit .259 with 72 RBIs over three seasons for the Owls. Byrd earned a 10th round selection by the Texas Rangers in 2015.
The utility man played just one season in the Rangers’ system before bouncing to the Texas AirHogs of the American Association in 2016. He hit .284 with three home runs in 54 games with the AirHogs.
His performance in the Lone Star State caught the eye of the Mets who purchased his contract. He played in 48 games between Low-A and High-A last season.
Tyler Wilson: The Saltdogs acquired a nine-year veteran with the signing of RHP Tyler Wilson. The hurler was a 13th round pick of the Boston Red Sox out of high school in 2008. He reached as high as Single-A before moving to the independent Can-Am League.
Wilson was one of the most productive pitchers in the Can-Am League over his four seasons. He posted a 3.15 ERA in 2015 and followed it up with a 2.08 ERA the following season. Wilson caught the eye of the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks who made a trade to acquire him. The Georgia-native was 2-2 with a 5.47 ERA over 24 games with the Ducks last season.
Michael Rizzitello: Catcher Michael Rizzitello signed with the Saltdogs on November 21st to begin his second season in the pros.
The 5’9” righty is coming off a Rookie of the Year season with the San Rafael Pacifics of the independent Pacific Association. He hit .280 with five home runs and 40 RBIs over 65 games in the California-based league. He stole 12 bases and drew 34 walks in his debut season.
Before the Pacifics, Rizzitello played college-ball at Division Two Dowling College in New York. He hit .328 with a team-leading 34 RBIs as a senior in 2016.
The Saltdogs are the reigning Central Division Champions. The 18th season of Saltdogs baseball begins on Thursday, May 17th. For offseason information on the Saltdogs, follow the team on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball.