Meet the 2023 Schaumburg Boomers
The Schaumburg Boomers begin the quest for their fifth Frontier League Championship tonight at Windy City in a 6:35pm contest against the Windy City ThunderBolts. The team went through a long stretch of exhibition games to prepare for the season, posting a 7-1 record.
Kobey Schlotman will make the opening night start. Schlotman joined the Boomers last year and unloaded a 19-inning scoreless stretch in August. The left-hander is one of 15 returning players to Jamie Bennett’s roster from a club that lost in a thrilling four game championship series to Quebec.
Many of the returning players are on the pitching staff. Joining Schlotman in the rotation with be Luis Perez, Miguel Reyes and Aaron Glickstein. Perez started game one of the divisional series with Washington and game one of the championship series against Quebec. Perez is lined up to start on Friday night at Windy City with fellow returner Miguel Reyes positioned to start on Saturday. Reyes pitched in seven games last year as both a starter and a reliever. Aaron Glickstein struck out 99 batters last year, fifth most in team history, and is scheduled to open the series at Gateway on Tuesday. The lone newcomer in the rotation to start the year is rookie Jackson Hickert. Hickert is one of many players on the roster that will be making their professional debuts with the Boomers this season.
Jake Joyce returns for his seventh season in the back end of the bullpen. Joyce is third in league history in appearances and has been with the Boomers longer than any other player. Also returning in the bullpen is Kristian Scott, who embarks on a third campaign with the team after pitching in 43 games last summer, fourth most in team history. Dylan Stutsman will make a return after not having pitched since 2019 for his third year in the bullpen as well.
The newcomers in the bullpen include Merfy Andrew, who was clocked at 101mph while in the minor leagues with the Red Sox. Ben Strahm is a sixth-year pro and his brother, Matt, is on the pitching staff for the Philadelphia Phillies. Cristian Lopez has had a long journey to get to this point, converting from catcher to pitcher and throwing at UIC. Austin Kaplan is with the Boomers after pitching with the New York Boulders and features solid command as a converted position player.
Blake Grant-Parks returns behind the plate to handle the majority of contests with Nick Oddo joining the coaching staff. BGP hit .271 in 49 games for the Boomers last year. John Fiorenza joins BGP as a backstop and a true rookie from Flagler College.
Alec Craig and Chase Dawson will anchor the middle of the infield. Dawson is in his fourth season with the team and will have his own bobblehead night this year to commemorate setting the Frontier League record for triples last year with 24. Dawson is a returning All-Star. Craig owns Schaumburg’s career and single season record for both stolen bases and walks and returns for a third season.
Position players are where the most newcomers are located. Kyle Fitzgerald was a Frontier League Draft pick from St. Louis University, Will Prater comes from Western Carolina University and Travis Holt played all over the place during a decorated college career at Butler and High Point.
Brett Milazzo and Blake Berry return in the outfield. Milazzo will be in his third season with the team and is one of the top base stealers in team history. Berry helped round out the lineup last year after joining the team at the All-Star break and hitting .282 in 39 games. Drue Galassi logged a pair of All-Star seasons in the United Shore Professional Baseball League and Gaige Howard was a late arrival after opening the year in Class-A with the Dodgers and receiving an at bat in big league spring training. Miles Simington is another versatile rookie from Central Illinois who was an All-Big Ten choice at Purdue before spending his graduate transfer season as the top hitter in the Sunt Belt Conference.
Two players will open on the injured list in Zach Huffins and Isaiah Rivera, who returns to the team after time with the Twins. Antonio Frias, Juan Pichardo and Shumpei Yoshikawa will begin on the inactive list and join the team soon. Wyatt Stapp also will open the year on the inactive list. Stapp was added to the Schaumburg roster last year at the transaction deadline.