The Calgary Inferno, who have won 2 of the last 3 Bull Cup Championships, appear to be on the cusp – or even the midst, some might argue after 3 straight AEL championships – of a dynasty. With some of the top offensive players in the league riddling their batting order, they can also boast several top league prospects coming up through their farm system.
Their top three “specs” are all pitchers, including two heat-hurling power pitchers and a possible curveball craftsman. All should be on track for major-level success within four season, just about the time the rotation will have holes to plug.
First, there’s Jeremy Wright, who earned a Pitcher of the Year Award with the CAN-AM college league’s Jimmy Buffet Community College Parrots last season, capping a 12-2 college season where he had an incredible 1.86 ERA, and struck out 120 batters in 111.1 innings. The 21-year-old was not old enough for the draft in June, and went on to play for Team USA in the Summer College Tournament, before the Jimmy Buffet College was booted from the CAN-AM league in a reorganization.
Wright decided to hit the free agent market, and not complete school, when Calgary picked him up, signing him to a minor league deal and slotting him into their rookie-level Sarasota rotation.
The left-hander throws heat in the 95 mph range, and has nearly mastered a knuckle-curve, which he supports with a slider and a changeup. The 6’5″, 220 lb former college All-Star from Wisconsin has now set his sights on achieving the Calgary Inferno starting rotation, and hopes to be ready in 3 seasons.
Meanwhile, the Inferno are also percolating southpaw Mike Visser, a 19-year-old with great mechanics on his curveball, which many scouts predict will end up being big league quality very soon. The 2016 16th overall draft pick has so far been developing his game in A and Short Season A, with a stint in last winter’s brief Winter Rookie League in Florida. He has worked on his fundamentals mainly, not too concerned with the results just yet, which will come in due time.
Finally, right-handed reliever Clint Yonker is another future starter who for now has been used mainly in long and middle relief, with just two spot starts last year with Short Season A East Broughton Critters. Yonker ended 2017 1-1 with a save, a 3.89 ERA, and a decent 31 K’s over 39.1 innings. Two of his 16 games were starts, and though he didn’t go the distance for the decisions, both ended up in wins.
The 23-year-old from Los Angeles is a hard-thrower, clocked at 101 mph on the upper end, and can mix in a forkball and occasionally a usable slider, and he’s said to be working on a changeup.
While the top three prospects in the organization are all pitchers, the Inferno do have some position players worthy of notice.
Omar “Comin'” Williams, a 20-year-old first baseman who was a first-round draft pick in 2015, could be a top contact hitter with some speed. He may not have the thundering big swing, but scouts predict he will be a regular .300-plus hitter. Stationed at first base with A-level Lethbridge, he could also pass for a corner outfielder, and has a solid arm and good range for the outfield.
Currently, Calgary’s first base is occupied with Logans Run, who is expected to remain on the roster for at least a handful of years to come, so Williams’ flexibility in playing the outfield could be the key to seeing him brought up sooner.