By Lauren Jennings |Sports Editor|
As 40-man roster expansions take place in Major League Baseball (MLB), the minor league seasons come to a close. For Tyler Wells and Will Ouellette, former Coyote baseball players, this signals a wrap of their first seasons in professional baseball.
Wells and Ouellette began 2016 as members of the CSUSB baseball team and finished by playing in the minor leagues for two MLB teams.
“I miss playing with all of my good friends,” said Wells. “I’m gonna miss being a part of the new coaching era under coach Martinez, coach Hambright and Coach Villa.”
Over the past year, the two have battled through 51 college games, including two playoff games, the 2016 MLB First Year Player Draft and through a season of minor league baseball.
Wells was assigned to the Elizabethton Twins after being selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 15th round of the draft.
Wells led the team in strikeouts with 59 and was tied for most wins, with two other teammates, at five a piece.
“I had a few really good starts, but those don’t happen without listening to the coaches and learning as the season goes on,” said Wells. “I had a lot of good starts and a couple bad ones, but it kept me grounded and allowed me to learn from my mistakes.”
The Twins final record consisted of 36 wins and 31 losses, earning them a playoff spot. They lost to the Johnson City Cardinals in the first round.
“I want to improve my body and get in really good shape,” said Wells. “Improve my overall condition of my body and arm, as well as my flexibility.”
Ouellette was assigned to the Gulf Coast League (GCL) Blue Jays after signing a contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I thought my first professional season went well,” said Ouellette.
Ouellette earned a win and three saves, tied for second on the team, after pitching in 13 games. He struck out 15 players while pitching in relief for the Blue Jays.
“I would have to say that my biggest accomplishment was being able to stay healthy all year,” said Ouellette.
The Blue Jays finished the season with a record of 39 wins and just 17 losses, narrowly missing a trip to the playoffs.
“My goals for next season are to have a great spring training and be able to go to a full season [team] and climb through the minor leagues,” continued Ouellette.
Wells and Ouellette’s seasons may be over, but the learning doesn’t stop there. Both players have been invited to participate in instructional leagues to refine and sharpen their skills.
“I want to become more consistent with all of my pitches and control them a lot better, even when I’m exhausted later on in the season,” added Wells.
According to MLB.com, the instructional baseball league is a mid September through October league made up of lower level players from one major league organization.
“I’m definitely looking forward to being able to work with all the coaches throughout the organization,” said Ouellette.
The instructional league is used as a teaching league, to improve on current skills as well as add some new ones to a player’s repertoire.
“This is a great time to learn and really try to take that knowledge and apply it to what I’m doing,” said Wells.
The Coyote baseball season starts anew in early 2017, as does spring training for Wells and Ouellette.
“I want to be able to come back in spring training and throw my off speed more consistently for strikes,” added Ouellette.
Things may be different now for Wells and Ouellette, but CSUSB will always be a part of their journeys through professional baseball
“I miss being a part of the ‘Yotes, but I will always be a ‘Yote,” concluded Wells.
“They [Coyote teammates] are friends that I’ll always have and it was great,” finished Ouellette.