Wild Things Make Signings With Ian Walters and Jake Pilarski after Acquiring Them in Trades
WASHINGTON, Pa. - After acquiring right-handed pitcher Jake Pilarski from Lake Erie October 4, the Wild Things have officially signed the Fox Chapel native to his 2022 contract, the team announced today.
Pilarski made his pro debut during the 2021 Frontier League campaign with the Lake Erie Crushers after pitching his final collegiate season at The Citadel. He was 3-4 in 15 games (14 starts) with 66 innings pitched and 66 strikeouts.
The right hander fanned 93 batters in 87 innings at The Citadel in 2021 after pitching four seasons at Virginia Wesleyan, where he amassed 22 wins and got tagged with only six losses. He logged 91 or more innings twice.
Following the trade, Wild Things' skipper Tom Vaeth said he was impressed with Pilarski when he pitched against Washington.
"I really like the way he competed on the mound and how he attacked hitters. I'm looking forward to Jake being a big part of our pitching staff."
For the Wild Things, it's another Western Pennsylvania product to join a hometown team. Pilarski was a three-time first-team all-conference selection for the Fox Chapel Foxes in high school, garnering recognition as an outfielder his senior season after being recognized as a junior at designated hitter and as a pitcher as a sophomore. The righty adds to a long list of successful local products to lace up the cleats in the Wild Things' uniform.
"Over the past 10 years we have had great success with providing a professional opportunity to former WPIAL athletes. We look for Jake to follow on that path and be a meaningful piece of the rotation," said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. "His arm talent and efficiency stood out in our matchups, making his acquisition a priority for us. Hopefully Jake and his family are excited for his journey to continue right in his backyard and becoming part of the Wild Things community."
Pilarski said he remembers his parents taking him to a Wild Things game and his thinking it would be amazing to play there one day. His first pro appearance came at Wild Things Park and now it will come full circle playing for the Wild Things.
"This offseason I have continued to work on my strength and explosiveness on the mound while focusing on developing better command of all my pitches," said Pilarski. "Personally, I want to give the Wild Things the best opportunity to win games with me on the mound. As a team the goal is simple: win the championship."
WASHINGTON, Pa. (Dec. 15) - The Washington Wild Things have announced the official signing of third baseman Ian Walters, who was acquired to complete a previous trade October 6, 2021 with the Southern Illinois Miners.
Walters slashed .286/.376/.409 with the Miners as a true rookie in 2021, and clubbed 20 doubles, two triples, and five home runs in 89 games. He drove in 53 runs. That season came off three successful years at Southern Illinois University, where Walters slashed .270/.385/.433 for his career with 15 home runs and 93 RBI across the three seasons.
"Third base is annually the hardest position to address, with the offensive and defensive requirements we set," said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. Ian comes highly recommended and a year under his belt being one of the best players in the West Division. We will put him in a spot to continue to drive in runs and be that difference maker. [We're] excited to see the balance he provides to the returning pieces of our infield group."
The rookie season for Walters saw him rank among the RBI leads in the West Division and among third basemen in the Frontier League, and he said the year was valuable to his growth on the field.
"There were a lot of positives that came from my first professional season in 2021, and I have learned what I need to continue to work on and improve to find consistent success day in and day out at this level," said Walters.
He was traded to Washington to complete a previous trade from earlier in the season October 6, 2021. That same day, it was announced that the Miners would be leaving the Frontier League with the team's owners Jayne and John Simmons retired from pro baseball.
"I knew coming into professional baseball that it was a business and when I got the call that I was traded, I was told the situation and knew that it was out of my control but that I was going to a really good organization," said Walters. "Then the next day when I found out the Miners were shutting down, I realized how good of a position I was put in considering I had a home for the next season and didn't have to go out searching for somewhere to go. So I was super fortunate in that regard."
He continued, "Like I said, I knew what kind of organization Washington had, so I was super excited to get the ball rolling with them. As far as 2022 goes, I'm most excited to just get things going with a new team, get to know the guys, build relationships and have a lot of fun while winning a lot of games."
Walters said he just wants to be the best teammate, player and worker that he can, and that is he can take care of the things he can control, the numbers will take care of themselves.
The Wild Things will kick off their 20th Frontier League season May 13 at home against the New York Boulders. The full schedule is available at washingtonwildthings.com. Check out the roster as it gets announced.
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Frontier League Stories from December 15, 2021
- Wild Things Make Signings With Ian Walters and Jake Pilarski after Acquiring Them in Trades - Washington Wild Things
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