Area Players Competing in Major Leagues


Published on August 2 2017 8:53 am
Last Updated on August 3 2017 7:06 am
Written by Millie Lange

It's always been a dream of young boys to reach Major League Baseball or the "big show" and several area players are striving to make that dream come true.

Effingham High School graduate Chad Green is pitching for the New York Yankees. The 26-year-old was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 and by the Detroit Tigers in the 11th round of the 2013 Amateur Draft from the University of Louisville. He holds the school record at the University of Louisville in career ERA at 2.38.

He made his debut May 16, 2016 against Arizona and threw four innings, allowing eight hits, one walk and striking out five. He exceeded rookie limits during the 2016 season.

His major league totals for the Yankees through July 30 include a 3-4 win/loss record, a 3.29 earned run average, 114 strikeouts and one save. This season, though, Green's numbers are eye-popping. He's been in 24 games, pitching 44 innnings and striking out 62 while posting a 1.83 ERA. He's allowed just nine runs on 21 hits and has walked just 12 batters.

Effingham St. Anthony graduate Dan Winkler is, once again, coming back from an injury. He was drafted ty the Chicago Cubs in 2010 and the Colorado Rockies in the 20th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur draft from the University of Central Florida.

The 27-year-old, had Tommy John surgery and rehabbed from that to play for the Atlanta Braves. Then on April 10, 2016, as he was facing the St. Louis Cardinals, he fractured his elbow. He is still rehabbing from that and May 5 of 2017 was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

He is likely to remain out of action until the middle of August.

Two other players, Nick Gardewine and Sam Thoele, are playing in the Minor Leagues.

Thoele, a Dieterich High School graduate, was drafted in the 14th round in 2015 by the Colorado Rockies. He is playing for the Lancaster JetHawks in the California League.

He has a 1-1 record with a 6.46 ERA. He's thrown 15.1 innings, allowed 21 hits, 11 runs and had 12 strikeouts.

Nick Gardewine, an Effingham High School graduate, is throwing for the Frisco RoughRiders. He was taken in round seven of the 2013 draft by the Texas Rangers.

This season, the 23-year-old has an 0-1 record with a 2.39 ERA. He's gone 26.1 innings, allowed 28 hits, eight runs, 11 walks and struck out 36. In his career in the minors, he has a 20-16 overall record.

St. Anthony graduate Ben Hecht was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round June 14, 2017. He just finished his junior year at Wichita State and is 22 years old. He was drafted once before by the New York Mets in 2013.

Hecht went to Illinois State before moving to Lincoln Land College. After his sophomore season there, he went to Wichita State. He now competes for the Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League. He has a 1-1 record with 0.96 ERA in six games. He's allowed seven hits, two runs, three walks and struck out 10 in 9.1 innings.

The final area player is South Central graduate Spencer Patton. The 29-year-old graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 24th round of the 2011 Major League Draft. He was traded to the Texas Rangers in July of 201 and from there to the Cubs.

Patton made his Major League debut for the Cubs September 4, 2014. He made 16 relief appearances for the Cubs and finished 1-1 with a 5.48 ERA. Patton did not participate in the playoffs  last year but was still on the 40-man roster when the Cubs won the World Series.

He signed with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball where he is now competing. He has a 4-3 record with a 3.86 ERA.