Kings Add Cubs Draft-Pick, Ohio State Pitcher
When general manager Rick White began to put together the 2015 roster, there was an emphasis on bringing in players from Ohio and/or from various schools from around the Buckeye State. That goal, and a long-standing relationship with Ohio State head coach and Springfield native Greg Beals, led to the Kings signing a few Buckeyes, including right-handed pitcher Jacob Niggemeyer.
The 6-foot-4 pitcher from Powell, Ohio will play his first collegiate baseball season this Spring after a strong career at Olentangy Liberty High School, where he finished with a 9-2 record and a 0.53 ERA in his senior season. Niggemeyer was also named OCC-Central Player of the Year and First Team All-Ohio in his junior and senior seasons.
"He is going to be an amazing asset to our pitching staff," said manager Chris Perkovich. "He's is a big body that throws hard and is the type of pitcher that will have fans coming to games just to watch him pitch."
Following his senior season at Olentangy Liberty, Niggemeyer was selected in the 28th round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft by the Chicago Cubs, but elected to attend Ohio State instead of going pro. "After being drafted by the Cubs last year, I believe he will be one of the top pitchers in the Prospect League this upcoming summer," said Perkovich. "He's the type of a talent that will create a lot of buzz around Springfield!"
Earlier this offseason, the Champion City Kings announced that former player Chris Perkovich would manage the club in 2015. Perkovich is from Saginaw Valley State University and will have at least one familiar face with him when the Kings take the field in late May. SVSU junior catcher Luke Valutis has signed to play with the Kings this summer.
"Luke is the type of player every coach wants on his team," said Perkovich. "He hustles, is aggressive, and does anything for his team to win."
Valutis is coming off of a sophemore season in which he led the Cardinals in RBIs with 30 and doubles with 10. He also hit .295, slugged .386, and owned a .340 on-base percentage. Valutis was name to the GLIAC All-Tournament Team for his play during the postseason and earned GLIAC All-Academic Team honors.
"I am excited to be a Champion City King and play in the Prospect League for the first time," said Valutis. " I'm really looking forward to proving myself with an organization as highly competitive as the Kings."
The Shelby Township, Mich., native has an approach at the plate that Perkovich thinks will be successful, "He has a lot of gap-to-gap power and likes to work both lines."
Defensively last Spring, Valutis tallied 34 putouts and a .949 fielding percentage while catching for the Cardinals. "He's a very good catcher with a strong arm behind the plate," Perkovich stated.
While Valutis is excited to play baseball for the Kings, he knows that playing in the Prospect League also provides another opportunity. "I'm also looking forward to building my "baseball network" by meeting other talented players and managers," Valutis said. "Connections are extremely important in life and I am looking forward to making many more this summer."
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Prospect League Stories from November 14, 2014
- Kings Add Cubs Draft-Pick, Ohio State Pitcher - Champion City Kings
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