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2024 Season Preview

 

Spring training for the 2024 season is underway and Opening Night is just FIVE days away!  Chicago White Sox World Series Champion and new ThunderBolts' Manager Bobby Jenks takes over the new look Bolts.  Here's a complete look at our spring training roster in addition to some news and notes as we prepare for a fantastic summer on the Southside at Ozinga Field!

Coaches

Hitting Coach Alex Jones is a first year professional coach after he worked with Bobby Jenks in the collegiate Appalachian League last year. He began his collegiate coaching career at Florida Southern College in 2019 and since 2020, has been the hitting coach at Santa Fe College in Florida. He is the son of former MLB all-star Todd Jones.

Assistant Hitting Coach Kevin Santiago returns for his second stint as a Windy City coach. He also worked with the hitters here from 2019-2022. He has also had multiple turns coaching in Joliet, including in 2018, when he was on the staff of the Frontier League champion Slammers.

Assistant Pitching Coach Trevin Reynolds is getting his first taste of professional coaching after playing under Bobby Jenks on the 2022 Pioneer League champion Grand Junction Rockies. He closed out his playing career last year as a member of the bullpen for the American Association’s Milwaukee Milkmen.

Catchers

Ronnie Allen, Jr. is a three-year veteran who spent parts of his first two seasons in the Frontier League. Last season, in regular action in the Pioneer League, he hit .261 with six homers.

Gabriel Bersing, at just 21 years old, is already in his fourth professional season. He spent three years in the Dominican Summer League, playing for the Yankees. In 94 total games, he has a .242 batting average, 13 home runs and 12 stolen bases.

Austin Elder was with Bobby Jenks’s champion Grand Junction club in 2022. He enters this season with a career .285 batting average in 161 total games.

Tyler Sandoval was a three-year member of Grand Junction and also won the 2022 Pioneer League title. He is coming off of his best offensive season in which he batted .252 with five home runs and 28 RBIs.

Connor Olson is a rookie out of Illinois State spending two seasons with the Redbirds hitting .278 with 23 RBI in 60 games.

Infielders

Danny Crossen signed with the ThunderBolts out of the California Winter League, where he hit .340 in 16 games. He hit 13 homers and stole 25 bases over a five-year college career at Northeastern University.

Joe Encarnacion played his first two pro seasons with Rocky Mountain of the Pioneer League. In 80 combined games, he batted .265 with six homers and 54 RBIs.

Jose Gutierrez was acquired with the fifth overall pick in the Frontier League draft. He played collegiately at Dallas Baptist University, Jackson State and Ranger College.

Joe Johnson was named the Pioneer League’s top first baseman last year after drive in 106 runs and scoring 117 more. Entering this year, he has a career .346 batting average, including a .370 mark last year.

Alejandro Lara led the California Winter League this year with a .432 batting average and 16 RBIs. Last year, he spent his rookie season in the United Shore League.

Christian Kuzemka is a Chicago area native who began his pro career with the Schaumburg Boomers. He played in Canada during the 2023 season.

Ethan Lopez starred in the Pioneer League the last three seasons, hitting a combined .341. Last year he hit 12 homers and drove in 66 runs.

Alex Pup is a local product out of Chicago who played his first two campaigns in the United Shore League. Last year he was named the USPBL Defensive Player of the Year.

Trey Romay was a Division III All-American last year at nearby Elmhurst University. He was a .361 hitter throughout his college career.

Emmanuel Sanchez Mercedes spent three years in the Toronto Blue Jays organization before joining Billings of the Pioneer League last year. He hit .299 there in 36 games.

Outfielders

Anthony Abbatine is a rookie out of St. Peter’s University. He hit .310 there as a senior and stole eight bases in 44 games.

Paul Coumoulos is the only returning hitter from the 2023 ThunderBolts. He finished second on last year’s team with a .282 batting average and hit four home runs.

Cameron Phelts played in the Frontier League as a rookie before moving to the Pioneer League the last two years. He hit .327 in 2023 and swiped 40 bases.

Thomas Rodriguez put up a .363 on-base percentage over three years at Vanguard University. He was the first man signed by new manager Bobby Jenks.

Garrett Sheffield is a former college national champion at Southeastern University and the son of former MLB star Gary Sheffield. He split time between the Atlantic League and Pioneer League as a rookie last year.

Pitchers

Will Armbruester  is a rookie who pitched for both Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico. As a senior last year, he had a 3.86 ERA for the Sun Devils.

Michael Barker was a steady rotation member for the Empire State Greys last year as a rookie, leading the team in innings, wins and strikeouts.

Greg Duncan has pitched for three Partner League teams over his first three professional seasons. In college, he was an all-conference performer at the University of Virginia-Wise.

Derrick Edington returns to the team after a great 2023 season in which he led the bullpen with a 1.64 ERA. He won four games and saved five more for the ’23 Bolts.

Eric Hildebrand played the last two years playing at the Rookie level in the White Sox system. Prior to that, he was a three-year player for Purdue University.

Tyler Johnson was a Pioneer Leaguer last year, splitting time between two teams as a rookie. He struck out 47 batters in only 43.1 innings.

Tyler LaPorte begins his first year with the ThunderBolts after joining the team late in the 2023 campaign. In nine appearances with the Bolts, he allowed only one earned run.

Jack Mahoney was a two-year member of the Milwaukee Milkmen of the American Association. Last year, he was a top man in their bullpen, compiling 55 strikeouts in 49.1 innings.

Justin Miller returns to Crestwood for his fifth year. In his best season with the Bolts last year, he appeared in a team-high 43 games and posted a 3.99 ERA.

John Mikolaicyk is a rookie out of Hofstra University. After graduating in 2023, he spent the summer in the MLB Draft League, starting eight games for the Williamsport Crosscutters.

Tyler Naumann is in his third professional season after playing the last two years for Great Falls in the Pioneer League. As a rookie in 2022, he led the team in strikeouts and ERA.

Buddie Pindel is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i, who pitched the last two years for Boise of the Pioneer League. Last year he went 3-2 over 14 starts.

Adrien Reese is back for year two in Windy City. As a rookie out of Murray State, he was one of the Bolts’ steadiest relievers last year and also started seven games.

Taylor Sugg is in his fifth Frontier League season and second with the ThunderBolts. Last year, his first as a full-time starter, he won five games and struck out 81 over 18 starts.

Michael Vochelli pitched as a rookie a year ago in the Pecos League. He attended the University of St. Francis in Indiana and won six games as a senior in 2021.

Carsie Walker joined the ThunderBolts late in the 2023 campaign and appeared in five games down the stretch. Before that, he played parts of two years in the United Shore League, winning three games.

Exhibition Schedule

Bobby Jenks decided to keep most of the spring's preseason workouts in-house.  While the spring will be filled with intersquad games, the Bolts will play only two official exhibition game and both will be on the road.  Schedule below...

Saturday, May 4 at 1 pm, at Schaumburg

Monday, May 6 at 6:45 pm, at Gary

Regular Season Schedule

This summer's 96-game season will feature 48 home games.  The unbalanced schedule will see the ThunderBolts open and close the 2024 season at home, both against the Evansville Otters.  Game times did not change.  All Tuesday through Friday night games will start at 6:35 pm.  Saturday nights stay at 6:05 pm and Sundays are still 1:05 pm.  School & Splash Days will be a big part our summer as usual.  2024 features nine 10:35 am starts between May and August.

Also as tradition our schedule will start out as very home heavy.  13 of our first 16 games will be in Crestwood.  However that will be immediately followed by the toughest road stretch of the summer.  15 of the next 18 will be away from Ozinga Field and none of them are local commuter trips.  Full details on our season schedule including promotional and group information can be found below:

Important 2024 Season Printable PDF Links

2024 Game Schedule  

2024 Full Promotional Schedule

2024 Hospitality Guide (Group Information) 

2024 Fundraiser Information



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