June 11, 2010, Cotuit, MA
by Steve McCarthy
Toledo, Ohio native A.J. Achter (Michigan State) has always been a Detroit Tigers fan. On Wednesday, Achter learned that he may have to switch his American League Central division allegiance, as the Minnesota Twins selected the junior right-hander in the 46th round (1,395 overall) of the Major League Baseball Draft.
Achter was one of four members of the Cape Cod Baseball League’s 2010 Cotuit Kettleers that was finally able to relax Friday evening at the team’s annual Welcome Party, two days after the completion of the draft. The annual event held at the Horace Mann School in Marstons Mills welcomed the back-to-back league runners-up to town with a meal catered by the Outback Steakhouse. Players were introduced to the community and participated in skits.
Junior first baseman Paul Hoilman (East Tennessee State) was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 49th round (1,841 overall). Shortstop Taylor Black (Kentucky) went to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 28th round (859 overall), and outfielder Brooks Pinckard (Baylor) was an 18th round (550 overall) selection of the Chicago Cubs. Third-year Kettleer Kevin Patterson (Auburn) had yet to arrive in Cotuit since being picked by Tampa Bay in the 23rd round (701 overall).
Achter hoped to be called sooner after going 4-4 with a 4.20 earned run average and two complete games this spring for the Spartans. The 6-foot-5 hurler is a three-year starter at Michigan State.
“I’m just grateful to get picked and that the Twins saw enough in me to select me,” Achter said. “Even though it was late, I’m still honored and privileged.”
Achter went undrafted out of high school and is spending his first summer on the Cape. According to Michigan State’s athletics website, Achter tossed three no-hitters in high school.
“It’s a reward for what I’ve worked so hard for my whole life,” Achter said. “I don’t know what’s going to come out of it this summer but it’s definitely rewarding. It’s something that nobody will ever be able to take away from me.”
Hoilman belted a career-high 25 home runs for the Buccaneers this spring to go along with 24 doubles. He started all 60 games and finished with a .421 batting average. Hoilman has improved his power numbers and batting average in each of his three seasons for ETSU and like Achter, was hoping to be picked sooner but still grateful.
“It was definitely later than I expected, but still a good feeling,” Hoilman said.
Hoilman was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a Second Team All-American. He was also the conference’s Player of the Year and owns ETSU’s career records for home runs and RBI’s.
Patterson was selected to the Cape League’s Western Division All-Star team in 2008 and was slated to participate in last year’s Home Run Derby at Fenway Park but could not attend due to illness. The junior passed on a 24th round offer from the Chicago White Sox in 2007. He had career-high’s in home runs (16) and batting average (.315) this spring for the Tigers.
Black led Kentucky with 10 home runs in Southeastern Conference play this spring. He was a Freshman All-American at Charleston Southern before transferring to Kentucky. Black played for the Mankato Moondogs of the Northwoods League last summer.
Pinckard swiped a team-high 18 bases this spring for the Bears and was caught just twice. He also led the team with six triples.
The players will weigh their options in the coming weeks and hope to further impress their prospective Major League organizations.
“I’m happy to be here,” Hoilman said. “Hopefully I can get a little better while I’m here and help my stock a little bit.”
“I’m just looking forward to getting better and helping Cotuit win a championship,’ Achter said.