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Lake County Fielders pick expansion draft players
Daily Herald News Services

The name and logo of the new Lake County baseball team the Lake County Fielders.


Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

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Published: 10/22/2009 1:58 PM

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The Lake County Fielders, a Northern League expansion club that will begin play next June in Zion, completed its selections in the league's dispersal draft.

"We feel we selected 12 players that have the ability to make an immediate impact on our ballclub," says field manager Fran Riordan said Thursday in a statement released by the club.

The Fielders' first pick, Garry Bakker (RHP), joins the team after a successful stint with the Fargo Moorhead Redhawks. He is one of seven pitchers drafted by the Fielders on Thursday.

"Bakker is potentially a legitimate number one starter in the Northern League," Riordan said. "His experience and past success should be a great asset."

Two Schaumburg Flyers players were selected by the Fielders as well.

Here are bios on the top players drafted by the Fielders:

1. Garry Bakker, pitcher: Bakker was selected by the Chicago White Sox in 11th Round (329th overall) of 2004 amateur entry draft out of the University of North Carolina. Gary had 7 wins each of the last two seasons with the Fargo Moorhead Redhawks, while helping the Redhawks to a Northern League Championship in 2009.

2. Chris Lopez, catcher: Lopez was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 6th round of the 2003 draft. Lopez started the 2009 season with Charlotte of the Florida State League in the Rays system. Acquired on Aug. 8, 2009 by the Jackhammers, Lopez hit .212 with 1 HR last year in 19 games.

3. Jeff Helps, infielder: Helps played collegiately for Central Michigan University. He made his pro debut in 2009 with the Kansas City, hitting .253 for the T-Bones last season.

4. Cody Ehlers, first baseman: Ehlers spent five seasons in the New York Yankees system. He helped lead Trenton to consecutive league titles and earned league MVP honors in 2006 after leading the circuit in five offensive categories, including runs batted in, and extra base hits. He led all first basemen with a .994 fielding percentage. He hit .245 with 6 homers last year for the Goldeyes.

5. Anthony Esquer, catcher: Esquer hit .318 in 39 games in the regular season with the RailCats after being signed in early June, then went on to start seven of eight postseason games. The 24-year-old set a career-high with 41 hits but made his biggest impact behind the plate defensively. Esquer led all Northern League catchers throwing out runners, cutting down an impressive 54.1% of would be basestealers. Esquer was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 24th round out of Division II Cal Poly Pomona in 2006, where he was a two-time All-California Collegiate Athletic Association selection.

6. Jeff Dunbar, utility player: Dunbar was the ultimate utility player for the Flyers in 2009 when he hit .286 with 6 home runs while also posting a 1-1 record in 25.1 innings out of the bullpen. Jeff was originally selected by Seattle Mariners in 11th Round (345th overall) of 2007 amateur entry draft.

The final six players selected by the Fielders are:

7. Matt Mossey, right -handed pitcher (Fargo)

8. Chad Blackwell, right -handed pitcher (Joliet)

9. Dustin Bolton, right -handed pitcher (Kansas City)

10. Chris Homer, right -handed pitcher (Winnipeg)

11. Brett Wallace, right -handed pitcher (Gary)

12. Kris Jiggits, right -handed pitcher (Schaumburg Flyers)