Former Torrington Twisters players head to Arizona Fall League action. Can a Major League Spring Training call be next?
When Ranco Cucamonga Quakes manager Keith Johnson called pitcher Steve Geltz into his office after a recent team meeting, the right handed flame thrower had no clue what was about to happen to him.
“I had been throwing well,” Geltz said, “I wasn’t sure what coach wanted to talk to me about.”
In classic, make-them-sweat before you give them the real news, Johnson had some fun with the former Torrington Twister of the New England Collegiate Baseball League and Buffalo, New York native.
“Really Steve, a 14-year old girl?,” a disgusted Johnson said.
Geltz almost fell off his chair, his shock must have been palatable and his manager had some fun with it.
“I didn’t know what was going on until he started to laugh and give me the good news,” Geltz said.
The news was good, Geltz was being promoted to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Double A affiliate, the Arkansas Travelers after posting a 3-1 record with the Quakes in 22 games.
With his heart now back where it should have been, Geltz packed his gear and headed to the next level of a journey that has seen him jump over more touted prospects on a regular basis.
“Yeah, I heard all the time how this guy or that guy was going to be in the Majors the next day,” Geltz said, “I just kept working hard on what they wanted me to do.”
What he did was become a very valuable set-up or middle relief pitcher, a huge asset in today’s game.
His strikeouts to innings ratio in the minors has been exceptional. In three seasons, he has struck out 87 in 52.2 innings while posting a 13-2 record over that span.
Geltz stands just 5’10’ and weighs in at 170 pounds, not the most imposing figure on the mound but his fastball (90 +) and breaking pitches have baffled hitters at every level.
His last stint, at Double A, may have been his most impressive yet.
In 18.2 innings, Geltz sent 36 batters back to the bench the hard way, with a K.
He has been rewarded for his hard work with an invite the play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, a league meant to showcase top prospects, like the one’s that were supposed to pass Geltz on his way up.
The former Twister will be joined by a few other faces who played in Torrington before the team left in 2009.
Stephen Parker, who was a teammate of Geltz during the two weeks Geltz was in Torrington, (the Angels signed the right hander at Fuessenich Park on June 20, 2008) was signed by the Oakland Athletics in the 5th round of the 2009 Amateur Entry Draft.
All Parker has done is tear up the California League with his team, the Stockton Ports to the tune of a .296 average, 21 home runs and 98 runs batted in.
The RBI total was tops amongst all A’s minor leaguers.
Parker may face off against Gletz at some point as a member of the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the AFL.
Another former Twister, Josh Zeid, who closed for the Twister in 2007, will be in the bullpen with Geltz when he’s not starting.
Zeid comes off a terrific season that saw him post an 8-4 record for the Lakewood BlueClaws, a Philadelphia Phillies South Atlantic League affiliate.
The former Twister posted a 2.93 ERA, in 43 games and was used as a starter, middle man and closer.
He earned eight saves while striking out 111 in 107.1 innings.
So if all goes well for these three players, they hope to get that next critical invite.
This time to a Major League spring training in 2011.
Rest assured Geltz will be ready for whatever they tell him if he gets called into the managers office again.