The Brazos Valley Bombers announced today that the team has executed the first trade in franchise history. Florida State’s Casey Whitmer was acquired from the Duncanville Deputies in exchange for Wichita State pitcher Tyson Fugett. The Bombers also sign reliever Scooter Hicks from the University of Missouri to add to the Bombers bullpen for the inaugural season.
Whitmer has shown tremendous promise as a freshman with the Seminoles, who are currently ranked number two in the country by Baseball America. Sporting a fastball in the low 90’s and an excellent curve, Whitmer has appeared in 10 games out of the Florida State bullpen, more than any other freshman on the staff. His 4.50 ERA is a little deceiving, since he entered the game last night with a 3.27 ERA before allowing a pair of runs to the Florida Gators. In 12 innings pitched, Whitmer has allowed 10 hits and 9 walks while striking out an impressive 16 batters. His average of 12 strikeouts per nine innings is the best mark on the Seminoles staff.
Whitmer’s summer in the Brazos Valley will not be his first. The righthander began his prep career with two seasons at Texas A&M Consolidated High School, earning an all-district honorable mention as a sophomore outfielder. Whitmer blossomed after moving to Kilgore, Texas, twice earning all-state recognition. As a senior, he went 10-2 with a 1.38 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 78 innings, adding a .419 average, five homers, and a .750 slugging percentage at the plate. Whitmer’s talents helped lead Kilgore High School to back-to-back district titles and garnered him district MVP honors as a senior. With scouts in attendance at every start, it came as no surprise that the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Whitmer in the 35th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball draft.
Fugett is heading to Duncanville just a week after being announced as a Bomber. He has contributed to a Shockers staff that has won 24 of 31 games with an ERA of 3.12. In five appearances, the lefthander has allowed just seven hits and nine strikeouts in 8.2 innings pitched. Fugett made an impressive showing in his first collegiate start, a 17-0 whitewashing of Arkansas-Pine Bluff on March 21. In four innings he surrendered just one hit and no walks, striking out five. After giving up a leadoff single in the second inning, Fugett retired the last nine hitters he faced.
Hicks has acclimated quite nicely to his new surroundings this spring. A sophomore transfer to Mizzou, Hicks has appeared in 6 games out of the bullpen, throwing only 7.2 innings. But his effectiveness is exemplary; he has yet to allow a run, surrendering just 6 hits and no walks while striking out 6. Hicks also has a 2-0 record and on Saturday notched his first career save against Big 12 conference foe Kansas. His performance is all the more impressive because Hicks tore his ACL last year, wiping out any chance at playing in the fall and slowing early-season workouts with his new school.
Hicks boasts a very impressive resume that, like Whitmer, has brought him to Bryan-College Station before. Following a standout career at Houston Christian High School, Hicks committed to play for Tulane University, only to see that campus destroyed when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans shortly after his arrival in August 2005. Granted a release from his scholarship, he quickly found a new home at Texas A&M. The lefty was rarely used as a freshman though, picking up just 2.2 innings of work, and at the season’s end sought greener pastures with the Tigers.