PALM SPRINGS, CA–Former California Winter League (CWL) pitching stars Brian Fowler and Kevin Crimmel are now in the Frontier League, helping the Joliet Slammers (33-26), coached by Bart Zeller, to a division lead. Fowler and Crimmel both had great seasons for the Palm Desert Coyotes in 2011, proving to be the elite pitchers in the CWL.
Coach Zeller was at one of the CWL scout days, seeking a couple of pitchers for the first year independent baseball organization. One of the Palm Desert Coyotes coaches managed Fowler in the Pecos League, and gave him a shot to play with the Slammers, which currently resides in the Frontier League’s East Division.
The 6’7” lefty was traded to the Slammers from the Pecos League, which is a step up in pro ball. He then filled a void in the Slammers pitching rotation.
“This young man has done a great job and has been a great addition to our ballclub,” Zeller said.
Fowler, in 12 games with the Slammers, has registered a 7-1 record, accompanied with a 2.31 ERA. The 6’7” south paw out of Chico State University has done nothing but impress fans and coaches every time he toes the rubber, collecting 53 strikeouts and a complete game shutout.
The other player picked up by the Slammers at the tryout was Crimmel. A graduate from Villanova in 2010, he tied the school’s all-time appearance record at 71 games pitched. This made him a viable option for the first year team.
Crimmel has also had his fair share of stellar performances with the Slammers, going 3-3 in the win-loss column, and striking out 39 batters in 46.1 innings pitched.
It is rare to see a first year team lead their division at this point in the summer season, and Coach Zeller has been a big reason why this team has had success, recruiting some of the best players available. Both pitchers seem to have their success carried over from the CWL to the Frontier League.
In the CWL, over sixty percent of the players have received spring training offers in both 2010 and 2011. It is the premiere destination for top-quality instruction and a great opportunity to get noticed by Major League scouts.
“The players get first-class professional instruction, they are getting taught the right way to play the game, plus there is a lot of scouts from a lot of other leagues out here looking at them,” Zeller said about the CWL. “There is really no better place.”
The players build a relationship with the coaches that can help them obtain a roster spot for major league or minor league teams. Or in the case of Fowler and Crimmel, landing a spot in the pitching rotation in one of the most prestigious leagues in the nation.