FORT MYERS, Fla. – Just two months ago Ryan Williams, Jason Louwsma, and Justin Stiver were playing their final season of baseball at Florida Gulf Coast University. Now, all three are enjoying early successes with minor league baseball teams. Louwsma and Stiver were selected by the Cincinnati Reds and the Houston Astros respectively in the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft. Last week, the Cincinnati Reds signed Williams to a free agent deal.
Cincinnati designated Williams for assignment with their Rookie League affiliate, the Gulf Coast Reds, which is based in Sarasota, Fla. On Monday, Williams picked up his first minor league win in a 5-4 victory over the Gulf Coast Pirates. In his short minor league career, Williams has appeared in two games and holds a 1-1 record. In the two games, the former Eagle has only allowed two hits with five strikeouts and holds a flawless ERA of 0.00.
The Reds organization sent former Eagles’ slugger Jason Louwsma to another one of its Rookie League affiliates, the Billings Mustangs (MT). Louwsma is playing alongside Cincinnati’s top pick in the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft. Drew Stubbs, the No. 8 overall pick from the University of Texas joins Louwsma on the Mustangs. Billings is the top team in the Pioneer Baseball Rookie League with a record of 17-8. Louwsma has played in 20 games and has 28 hits with ten doubles, two homeruns, and 15 RBI. He is hitting .346 with a slugging percentage of .543.
Stiver was sent to the Houston Astros’ Class A affiliate, the Tri-City ValleyCats. The ValleyCats, which play their home games in Troy, NY, are one of three Houston Class A teams. In his first minor league appearance, Stiver pitched three perfect innings to pick up his first career win. He struck out two batters, without allowing a hit or a run, in his first career minor league decision.