Getting to CHS Field

Right, Left, Right, Saints Re-Sign Pitchers Nittoli and Frosch, Sign Triple-A Reliever Wheeler

ST. PAUL, MN March 16, 2018

Two hard throwing righties and an extremely solid lefty.  Those are the three pitchers St. Paul Saints manager George Tsamis has signed to begin the ascent back to the top of the North Division.  On Friday he re-signed right-handed reliever Vinny Nittoli and left-hander Ken Frosch and signed Triple-A right-handed reliever Beck Wheeler.


          The 27-year-old Nittoli went 2-3 with a 3.33 ERA and three saves in 34 relief appearances.  In 46.0 innings pitched he walked 19 and struck out 55 while opponents hit .244 against him.  He recorded a strikeout in 15 consecutive relief appearances from June 14-July 30, notching 25 K’s in 20.2 innings pitched during that span.  He then struck out multiple batters in nine straight appearances from August 8-September 2.  Nittoli tossed 2.0 or more innings in 10 of his 34 appearances and didn’t give up a run in six of those 10 appearances. 


Nittoli was a 25th round selection by the Seattle Mariners in 2014 out of Xavier University.  In 12 relief appearances that season at Low-A Everett he went 1-1 with a 4.03 ERA.  He was placed on the disabled list late in the season and didn’t begin 2015 until July 28.  Nittoli pitched in just seven games in 2015 and was 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA.


Nittoli was impressive in 2016 between Single-A Clinton and High-A Bakersfield.  Between the two stops he was 5-5 with a 3.88 ERA in 40 relief appearances.  In 65.0 innings pitched he walked 23 and struck out 74 while opponents hit just .231 against him.  He recorded at least one strikeout in his first 20 relief appearances at High-A Bakersfield.  He did not give up an earned run in 18 of his 31 appearances at Bakersfield and pitched at least 2.0 innings 18 different times.


The 28-year-old Frosch was a reliable lefty out of the pen for the Saints last season.  In just his second professional season he went 4-1 with a 3.61 ERA and one save in 35 relief appearances.  In 42.1 innings pitched he walked 18 and struck out 42 while opponents hit just .239 against him.  He went nine consecutive appearances, a span of 14.0 innings pitched, without allowing a run from July 2-August 4.  Frosch proved how reliable he could be early in the season when he pitched the final 3.0 innings, on May 29, of a 15-inninng contest, allowing just one hit, and got the win on the road at Cleburne.  He went multiple innings 10 times and didn’t give up a run in nine of them.  Along with the May 29 appearance he also went 3.0 shutout innings on June 8 at Kansas City.


Frosch had a tremendous rookie campaign in 2016 with the Evansville Otters in the Frontier League.  He went 5-4 with a miniscule 1.50 ERA in 47 relief appearances.  In 48.0 innings pitched he walked just 21 and struck out 37 while opponents hit a minute .144 against him.  In his professional debut on May 18 he tossed 2.0 perfect innings of relief against the Normal CornBelters.  Overall he tossed 36 scoreless appearances and had a string of eight consecutive appearances without allowing a run from May 28-June 14 and didn’t allow a run in 13 straight appearances from July 16-August 11.  He was a workhorse throwing on four consecutive days on two separate occasions and three consecutive days three times.  He finished third in the Frontier League in games pitched and helped guide the Otters to the championship allowing one run in 6.0 innings of relief over six appearances.  He was traded to the Saints on November 21 for a player to be named later.


          Frosch is a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University and led the team in appearances during his senior season with 19.  He finished 2-4 with a 4.72 ERA in 26.2 innings of work.  He walked just eight and struck out 17.


          During his first season at Palm Beach Atlantic University Frosch went 5-0 with a 3.45 ERA in 18 relief appearances.  In 28.2 innings pitched he walked 10 and struck out 22.


          Frosch began his collegiate career at Pasco-Hernando Community College where he was chosen as the Suncoast Conference Fireman of the Year, given to the top reliever in the conference. 


          The 29-year-old Wheeler has spent his entire career in the New York Mets organization and last year was at Triple-A Las Vegas where he went 4-5 with an 8.18 ERA in 41 games (two starts).  In 58.1 innings pitched he walked 35 and struck out 51 while opponents hit .321 against him.  Wheeler struck out at least one batter in 13 consecutive appearances from June 1-July 24, fanning 21 over 24.1 innings pitched. 


          Wheeler was a position player at UC Santa Barbara with only eight games pitched under his belt when he signed as a free agent with the New York Mets organization in 2011.  He was immediately turned into a pitcher and was lights out in his first season on the mound with the GCL Mets.  Wheeler went 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA and two saves in 14 relief appearances.  In 20.2 innings pitched he walked nine and struck out 20 while opponents hit a microscopic .121 against him.  He did not allow an earned run over his first 11 professional appearances.


           In 2012 Wheeler spent the entire season at Low-A with the Brooklyn Cyclones.  He was 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in 25 games.  In 28.0 innings he walked 13 and struck out 37 while opponents once again hit below the Mendoza Line against him at just .188.  He finished tied for third in the league in holds, with seven, and helped guide the Cyclones to the playoffs where they lost two-games-to-one in the semifinals to the Hudson Valley Renegades.  Wheeler went 10 consecutive relief appearances without allowing an earned run from July 16-August 19, a span of 14.1 innings pitched.  He struck out a career high six on July 29.  Wheeler did most of his damage on the road going 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA in 11 games away from Brooklyn.


          The hard work paid off for Wheeler in 2013 when he went 1-6 with a 2.32 ERA and 19 saves in 43 games.  In 50.1 innings pitched he walked 16 and struck out an astounding 74 while opponents once again hit below .200, at just .190.  He finished second in the league in games finished (35) and third in saves.  His impressive season earned him a spot in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game where he pitched 0.1 of an inning while striking out one.  He also helped guide the Sand Gnats to the South Atlantic League Championship and pitched in three games in the playoffs, earning a save, without giving up a run.  Wheeler had three separate stints of seven appearances or more without allowing a run.  The most impressive was an 11 appearance span from June 27-August 3, 11.1 innings pitched.  He also went 15 consecutive games with at least one strikeout from July 9-August 24, fanning 28 over 15 innings. 


          The ascent continued for Wheeler in 2014 when he played the entire season at High-A St. Lucie where he went 4-4 with a 5.88 ERA and nine saves in 33 relief appearances.  In 41.1 innings pitched he walked 24 and struck out 63 while opponents hit .226 against him.  He struck out at least one batter in 31 of 33 games including five in a 2.0 inning relief appearance on May 19 at Lakeland.  He put together two separate scoreless streaks of at least seven consecutive appearances. 


          In 2015 Wheeler spent the entire season at Double-A Binghamton and put up solid numbers going 5-1 with a 3.38 ERA and one save in 43 relief appearances.  In 58.2 innings pitched he walked 26 and struck out 56 while opponents hit .218 against him.  Wheeler finished fifth in the Eastern League in fewest baserunners/9.0 innings allowing just 73 runners over 58.2 innings (11.20).  He had three separate consecutive scoreless streaks of seven games or more including not allowing an earned run in 10 straight appearances from May 15-June 11, totaling 11.0 innings.  Wheeler also went 12 consecutive appearances with at least one strikeout from June 11-July 27, 19 strikeouts in 16.0 innings pitched.   


          Wheeler received his first taste of Triple-A in 2016 when he split time between Binghamton and Las Vegas.  In 28 games at Binghamton he went 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA and seven saves in 28 games.  In 32.0 innings pitched he walked 18 and struck out 47 while opponents hit .246 against him.  He was promoted to Triple-A on July 7 and went 0-1 with a 7.23 ERA in 19 games.  In 23.2 innings pitched he walked 16 and struck out 28 while opponents hit .284 against him.


          For his career Wheeler has struck out 376 in 313.0 innings pitched and opponents are hitting just .237 against him.


          Wheeler was a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and was primarily a position player.  He began his college career at the University of Pacific and then transferred to Orange Coast College.


          The Saints have now signed seven players this off-season.



LHP – Ken Frosch

RHP – Vinny Nittoli

RHP – Beck Wheeler

OF Kes Carter

OF Jordan Smith

INF – Josh Allen

INF Brady Shoemaker

The Saints had signed infielder Jake Hager, but he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers organization on February 20, and infielder Noah Perio, but he signed with the Colorado Rockies on March 3.


          The Saints begin the 2018 season on the road against the Gary SouthShore Railcats on Friday, May 18.  The Saints first game at home is on Monday, May 21 against the newest member of the American Association, the Chicago Dogs, at 3:05 p.m.