Somerset Patriots Re-Sign INF Greg Hopkins

Hopkins-ReleaseBridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots have announced the re-signing of infielder Greg Hopkins.

“I’m definitely excited to come back to Somerset for the opportunity to repeat as champions,” Hopkins said. “The atmosphere there was great last year. I look forward to playing with some of the guys from last year’s team and meeting our new teammates in April!”

Despite missing close to three weeks worth of action last year, the Mansfield, Massachusetts native finished second on the Somerset Patriots in batting average (.266) and home runs (12), also contributing 51 RBI and five stolen bases. He also recorded three RBI during the team’s championship run in the postseason.

Hopkins was as versatile as they come defensively in 2015, playing every position defensively for the Somerset Patriots besides centerfield and catcher. Most of his time came in the infield, including 58 of his 96 games played at third base.

The former 24th round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers spent the first five seasons of his professional career in that organization, reaching as high as Double-A Huntsville in 2014. That year, he combined to hit six home runs with 27 RBI, 33 runs scored and seven stolen bases between Huntsville and High-A Brevard County.

Hopkins has 46 home runs, 292 RBI, 287 runs scored and 48 stolen bases in his minor league career.

“I was told before last year that Greg Hopkins is ‘someone you want on your team.’ Hopkins is exactly that,” manager Brett Jodie said. “There is no better way to describe Greg. He is a great clubhouse guy, a steady, versatile fielder and a clutch hitter. He brings so much to our organization and we are happy to have him back for 2016.”

The Somerset Patriots won their Atlantic League leading sixth championship during the 2015 season. The schedule for 2016 has been released and can be viewed at www.somersetpatriots.com. For more information about the 2016 season, stop by TD Bank Ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

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Somerset Patriots Sign LHP Brandon Sisk

Sisk-ReleaseBridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of left-handed pitcher Brandon Sisk.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about Somerset’s fans, clubhouse, facilities and quality of baseball,” Sisk said. “[Director of Player Personnel Jon Hunton and manager Brett Jodie] have been looking at me for a while and things never really matched up. I’m looking forward to playing in a very competitive environment. It’s going to be a real fun season!”

Sisk enters his first season with the Somerset Patriots and first in the Atlantic League with seven years of minor league experience, including five seasons in the Kansas City Royals organization. There, he reached as high as Triple-A Omaha in 2011 and 2012.

The southpaw went a combined 7-4 with a 2.17 ERA, 10 saves and 103 strikeouts over 99.1 inning pitched in his two seasons in Omaha. In 2012, Sisk led Omaha in games pitched (50), all in relief.

Sisk reached the Triple-A level again in 2014 with the Salt Lake Bees in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization.

Last year, the Palestine, Texas native appeared in 35 games for the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League, going 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA and 60 strikeouts over 46.1 innings pitched.

“Brandon has been extremely effective at all the levels of baseball at which he has competed,” Jodie said. “He has the rare combination of high strikeouts and low walks which is of extreme value in a pen guy. We have wanted the lefty to be a part of our organization for a while and we are now happy to have him.”

Sisk owns a career 25-22 minor league record with a 2.84 ERA, 44 saves and 468 strikeouts over 414.2 innings of work.

The Somerset Patriots won their Atlantic League leading sixth championship during the 2015 season. The schedule for 2016 has been released and can be viewed at www.somersetpatriots.com. For more information about the 2016 season, stop by TD Bank Ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

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Somerset Patriots Welcome Back C/ INF David Vidal

Vidal-ReleaseBridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots have announced the re-signing of catcher/ infielder David Vidal.

Vidal returns to Somerset for his second year with the Patriots. Last season, he hit .259 with 12 home runs and a team-leading 63 RBI. Vidal also led the team in games played (124), at-bats (471) and hits (122) during the regular season.

The San Juan, Puerto Rico native enjoyed success during the Somerset Patriots’ postseason championship run as well, batting .296 with a home run, seven RBI and five runs scored, including the game-winning run against Southern Maryland in Game Four of the Atlantic League Championship Series.

“I am real happy to be coming back to Somerset again for the chance to win back-to-back championships,” said Vidal. “I’m excited about playing catcher more this season and helping the team win any way that I can.”

Vidal split time playing third base, first base and catcher with the Somerset Patriots in 2015, recording a combined .979 fielding percentage.

Prior to joining Somerset, Vidal spent five seasons in the Cincinnati Reds organization, reaching as high as Double-A Pensacola in 2012 and 2013.

In 2011, Vidal hit .280 with 20 home runs, 85 RBI and a league-leading 37 doubles with Single-A Dayton. He followed up that campaign in 2012 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI spread across two levels, including 11 homers with Pensacola.

“Vidal quickly became one of our leaders last year. He brings so much value because he is so talented at many positions,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “He loves the pressure situations and we continue to see him rise up in those opportunities. Vidal is also great around the clubhouse. We are fortunate to have him back as a Patriot this season.”

The former 2010 eighth-round draft pick by the Reds has 64 home runs, 303 RBI and 135 doubles in his minor league career.

The Somerset Patriots won their Atlantic League leading sixth championship during the 2015 season. The schedule for 2016 has been released and can be viewed at www.somersetpatriots.com. For more information about the 2016 season, stop by TD Bank Ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

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Somerset Patriots Re-Sign Outfielder Aharon Eggleston

Eggy-ReleaseBridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots have announced the re-signing of outfielder Aharon Eggleston.

The 2015 Atlantic League all-star and one of the “Outfielders of the Year” returns to Somerset for his fourth season with the Patriots. Last year, he finished second in the league in on-base percentage (.390) and seventh in batting (.289), while also tallying five home runs and 46 RBI.

Eggleston continued his strong play into the postseason, leading the eventual Atlantic League champions with nine runs scored, including a .333 average, two home runs, three RBI and a team-high .529 on-base percentage.

“I am really excited about coming back [to Somerset] for my fourth year; this time to defend the Atlantic League title,” Eggleston said. “I am confident that [manager] Brett Jodie and [director of player personnel] Jon Hunton have put together another championship-caliber team! I know everyone will be looking at us, but we will be ready.”

The San Diego, California native also enjoyed an all-star campaign with the Patriots in 2013, hitting .294 over 120 games with eight home runs, 56 RBI, 12 stolen bases and a league-high 93 runs scored.

Eggleston has hit .282 with 14 home runs, 127 RBI, 29 stolen bases and 213 runs scored in 306 games over his three seasons with Somerset.

The Southern Arkansas University alum has a career .302 batting average in minor league baseball with 38 home runs, 454 RBI, 161 stolen bases and 653 runs scored over 929 games played.

The Somerset Patriots won their Atlantic League leading sixth championship during the 2015 season. The schedule for 2016 has been released and can be viewed at www.somersetpatriots.com. For more information about the 2016 season, stop by TD Bank Ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

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Somerset Patriots Re-Sign Record-Breaking Closer Jon Hunton

hunton-release-2016Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots have announced the re-signing of record-breaking closer Jon Hunton, who will also serve once again as the Director of Player Personnel.

“Even though I have a couple seasons under my belt doing both roles the preparation for the 2016 season is similar to any other except for this season we are defending champions. I want to make sure just like any other season that we have not only great players on the field, but great guys in the clubhouse. I’m excited to put together the 2016 roster with the goal of keeping the championship in Somerset,” said Hunton.

Hunton enters his fifth season with the Patriots, and third as the Director of Player Personnel. Two years ago, Hunton became the first player in professional baseball to hold the title of Director of Player Personnel while still playing.

“I am extremely excited to team up with Jon in a quest for another championship.  Jon takes extreme pride in his dual role with the Patriots.  He works tirelessly to find young men that will represent the Patriots well both on and off the field,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie.

The 6’9” closer finished second in the Atlantic League in saves last year with 32, marking the third-straight season he has recorded at least 30 saves for Somerset. He also carried a 3.09 ERA over his 50 appearances on the year.

Hunton broke the Atlantic League record for saves in a single-season with 49 in 2014. He finished that season as the Atlantic League’s “Closer of the Year” for a performance that also included a 2.08 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 56.1 innings pitched in 59 games.

Hunton is now just six saves shy of the Atlantic League career record set by Southern Maryland’s Jim Ed Warden with 134.

Hunton has recorded 119 saves with a 2.74 ERA with the Patriots over his four-year tenure.

“I feel as though we have the league’s best closer in Jon.  He has been very consistent in his pitching role with the Patriots and we have the utmost confidence in him.  He does so many things for our club that do not go unnoticed beyond what his titles demand.  I know Jon is excited about the challenge of the upcoming season and we are happy to have him as a huge part of our organization,” Jodie added.

The North Plainfield, New Jersey native has experience in the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s organizations, including a season at both the Double-A and Triple-A level.

Hunton joined Somerset late during the team’s championship run in 2008 and appeared in eight games. After his time with the Patriots, Hunton signed with the A’s, where he spent the next two seasons.

He also spent time in the Atlantic League during the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the Long Island Ducks, where he recorded eight saves.

Hunton has a minor league career 42-40 record, a 3.17 ERA, 201 saves, and 565 strikeouts over 640.2 innings pitched in 563 games.

The Somerset Patriots won their Atlantic League leading sixth championship during the 2015 season. The schedule for 2016 has been released and can be viewed at www.somersetpatriots.com. For more information about the 2016 season, stop by TD Bank Ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

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