Washington Wild Things' Striz Signed by Red SoxJune 18, 2012 - Frontier League (FL) Washington Wild Things
For Washington Wild Things reliever Nathan Striz, those dreams came one step closer to coming true after being signed by the Boston Red Sox organization on Saturday.
"I was excited that they picked me up," said Striz. "I'm also thankful that the Wild Things signed me and gave me the opportunity to pitch so I could get picked back up, so for that I'm thankful.
Striz joins the storied organization just five years after being crowned World Series Champions, and eight years after finally ending the Curse of the Bambino.
"I wish it was the big league club," Striz said with a laugh. "It will be one of the minor league teams. I drive down to Fort Meyers, Florida tonight to be there for Monday to pitch in front of their coordinators. From there they'll place me where they think I need to be."
From Washington, Pennsylvania, the 24-year-old hurler will make an 18-hour drive and pitch before members of the Red Sox coaching staff. Once he pitches, it's up to the coaches to place him in with one of their minor league organizations.
This, however; won't be Striz's first experience with the Major Leagues. He was drafted by the Twins in the 5th round of the 2007 Amateur Players Draft.
Instead of signing, Striz chose attend the University of North Carolina, and was drafted for the second time by the Cleveland Indians in the 22nd round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft. Striz joined the Wild Things in 2012, after playing in the Midwest League for the Cleveland Indians organization in 2011.
Striz has been the best arm on the Wild Things pitching staff, and a lock in the back end of the pen.
In nine appearances for the Wild Things this season, Striz has posted an ERA of 1.46, allowing just two earned runs in 12 1/3 innings pitched. More impressive, Striz has struck out 17 batters in those 12 innings.
With a fastball that tops out between 92 and 94 MPH, it's easy to see how he was able to compile those numbers.
"I throw it as hard as a can, whether the hitter knows its coming or not I just attack the hitters and hope that good things will come from it."
More often then not, they didn't know it was coming and were obviously overmatched.
"I try to overpower them. I just basically say 'here it is if you can hit it,' and if they do I go to the cutter and let them make the mistake," Striz said.
Through it all he remains humble and in-tune with his roots and was quick to credit the Wild Things organization for the opportunity that was placed in front of him when he signed his contract.
"It was a rough patch to get there, but they gave me the opportunity and the staff is a great group of guys," he said. "For them to have faith in me to close it out in games really helped me mentally. I owe it all to the coaching staff for signing me and putting me in that position."
And, like those little leaguers that share that dream of stepping onto a big league diamond, dad is the biggest reason why.
"My dad, he's always been there. He always has been there and pushes me. He reminds me why I do it and why I love the game," Striz said. "Growing up I followed the Cubs because my dad was born right outside of the Chicago. His family is from there so it was always Chicago sports, but I always cheered for them when they were playing the Yankees."
Unfortunately for Striz, his Red Sox debut got off to a little bit of a rocky start. While on his way back to Washington his bags weren't placed on the connecting flight back to Pittsburgh - hopefully a small hiccup in an otherwise smooth transition to becoming the fifth former Wild Thing in affiliated ball, something his coaches don't envision being a problem.
"Nathan is well deserving of this opportunity with the Red Sox as he was the best reliever in the Frontier League," said Manager Chris Bando. "He has the stuff and makeup to help them on their Major League level and should have a long and successful Major League career. It was a blessing to coach him as a Wild Thing."
Frontier League Stories from June 18, 2012
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- Slammers Drop Second Straight - Joliet Slammers
- Evansville Otters Walk-Off with Extra-Innings Win over River City - Evansville Otters
- Beach Bums Win Late - Traverse City Beach Bums
- CornBelters Hold on, Beat Southern Illinois Miners 5-4 - Normal CornBelters
- Grizzlies Drop Second in a Row to RiverHawks - Gateway Grizzlies
- RiverHawks Down Grizzlies 5-1 - Rockford RiverHawks
- Complete Game Drops Boomers - Schaumburg Boomers
- Rippers Thumped 11-5 - London Rippers
- Wild Things Rebound, Rip London 11-5 - Washington Wild Things
- Rippers Sign U of Michigan Standout - London Rippers
- Rascals Release "Arch Nemesis" to Begin Six-Game Home Stand - River City Rascals
- June 18 Joliet Slammers Game Notes - Joliet Slammers
- Slammers Announce "Sweet Suite" Deal for the Remainder of 2012 - Joliet Slammers
- Washington Wild Things' Striz Signed by Red Sox - Washington Wild Things
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