Sock Puppets Release 2023 Roster
Burlington, NC. The Burlington Sock Puppets unveiled their initial 2023 Summer Roster today, which looks to be loaded with high-potential talent. More talent is coming to Sockville coming off of a 38-win season in 2022 that saw the Sock Puppets win the East Division and finish runner-up in the MLB
Burlington, NC. The Burlington Sock Puppets unveiled their initial 2023 Summer Roster today, which looks to be loaded with high-potential talent. More talent is coming to Sockville coming off of a 38-win season in 2022 that saw the Sock Puppets win the East Division and finish runner-up in the MLB powered Appalachian League. The roster features 7 North Carolinian Universities, 7 returning players from 2022, and 26 prospects that were ranked in the Top 30 at their position in their respective home state.
“I am very excited about our roster,” Team’s Manager, Anthony Essien said. “We have a great blend of some familiar faces returning for the 2023 season, and new, highly rated college prospects. Myself, and the rest of the Coaching Staff, can’t wait to get back to Sockville and have these guys ready to play in front of the best fans in the Appy League.”
The Burlington Sock Puppets will start their season on the road on June 6, in Danville against the Otterbots, prior to their Home Opener on June 8. The 2023 season is presented by VisitAlamance.com.
Jake Beaty (Appalachian State) - A Left-Handed Pitcher for the App State Mountaineers, Beaty has already appeared in 12 games, logging 15.0 IP as a True Freshman. During his Senior season at South Point High School, Beaty posted a 0.74 ERA and struck out 71 batters in just 45.2 innings. He was the 17th ranked LHP in North Carolina, according to Perfect Game, prior to signing with the Mountaineers.
David Boisvert (Duke) - The first of two Duke University Blue Devils on the 2023 Burlington Sock Puppets roster is 6’5 Right-Handed Pitcher, David Boisvert. The 6th best pitcher in North Carolina, according to Perfect Game, Boisvert brings a powerful arm to the Sock Puppets pitching staff.
Will Burgess (High Point) - The 4th best Left-Handed Pitcher in the state of Maryland, ranked by Perfect Game, Burgess is a 6’4 Freshman at High Point University. He has appeared in 2 games so far this season.
Caleb Cockerham (Lenoir-Rhyne) - One of the seven returning Sock Puppets from the East Division Champions in the 2022 summer, Cockerham is currently in his Sophomore season at Lenoir-Rhyne University. As a Freshman, he appeared in 17 games and posted a 2.35 ERA in 15.1 innings, striking out 22 batters. Last year with Burlington, he appeared in 13 games, starting 2, and ranked top 25 in the Appalachian League in ERA (13th - 2.84), Ks (22nd - 41), and Batting Average Against (12th - .206).
Michael Colonna (North Carolina) - One of two Tar Heels on this initial roster, Colonna brings another big arm to the Sock Puppets staff. Standing at 6’3, the Freshman Right-Handed Pitcher has yet to appear in a game this season for the Tar Heels, but was ranked the 10th best RHP in North Carolina out of High School. He features a low-mid 90s fastball.
Carter Daniels (Chipola) - A top 50 Right-Handed Pitcher in the country for the 2021 class, ranked by Perfect Game, Carter Daniels is playing his Freshman year with Chipola College (JUCO). He’s currently made 15 appearances, logging 28 Ks in 26.2 IP. At 6’2, 200lbs, Daniels sits in the mid-90s with his fastball.
Lane Essary (East Carolina) - Essary is currently a Freshman for the top 15 ranked ECU Pirates. He has not yet appeared at the collegiate level, but is a high potential prospect being ranked in the top 300 Right-Handed Pitchers in the country for the 2022 class.
Robert Evans (Chipola) - Yet another big Left-Handed Pitcher, Evans is 6’2, 206lbs with a mid 90s fastball. In his 2022 class, he was ranked the 166th overall (23rd LHP) prospect in the country, and the 2nd best LHP in the state of New York. Currently in his first year with Chipola (JUCO), he has punched out 70 batters in only 56 IP (11.25 K/9).
William Gagnon (Reedley) - A two way player for Reedley College (JUCO), Gagnon has batted .300/.364/.400 in 20 ABs as a hitter, and has pitched 70.1 IP with 72 Ks. Currently a Freshman and in his first year at the JUCO level.
Connor Hegan (North Carolina) - The second of two Tar Heel arms, this 6’5 Right-Handed Pitcher is in his Freshman year at UNC. He has yet to appear in a game this season, but was a top 125 RHP in the country for the 2022 class. Connor Hegan comes from a long lineage of baseball players, with both his great-grandfather, Jim Hegan, and grandfather, Mike Hegan, being All-Stars at the Major League level and World Series Champions (Jim Hegan with the Indians in 1948, and Mike Hegan with the A’s in1972).
Ben Jacobs (UCLA) - A 6’1 Left-Handed Pitcher, Jacobs is in his True Freshman season with the Bruins. He has appeared in 6 games, logging 3.2 IP with 5 Ks. Prior to his collegiate career, Jacobs was a nationally ranked LHP prospect, a First-Team All-State selection, participant in the 2022 MLB Draft Combine, and record holder for Huntington Beach High School in strikeouts (99) and innings pitched (68.0).
Kasen McCawley (UNC - Pembroke) - A Haw River, NC native and Eastern Alamance alum, Kasen McCawley will be returning to the Sock Puppets after appearing twice (once in the Appalachian League Championship) and posted a 3.00 ERA, as a recent High School graduate. Now, in his Freshman season at UNC - Pembroke, McCawley has been nearly unhittable in his 3 appearances posting a .059 Batting Average Against, 1.80 ERA, 7 Ks in 5.0 IP, and picking up one save.
Brogan Napier (Chipola) - Another 2022 Burlington Sock Puppet, Napier was primarily used as a position player/hitter last summer, before transitioning to a full-time pitcher at Chipola (JUCO). In his Sophomore campaign, he currently is sporting above a 14 K/9 (24 Ks in 15.1 IP). Brogan did make 2 appearances as a pitcher last summer and had a 3.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP with 5 Ks in 3.00 IP.
Howell Polk (High Point) - A True Freshman from the state of Alabama (Top 20 RHP in State), has made his way to Central North Carolina where he is playing collegiate ball for the High Point Panthers. He has currently logged 17.1 IP with 14 Ks.
Timothy Reeve (San Jose State) - Reeve is a Redshirt-Freshman and in his last year with San Joaquin Delta (JUCO). He has made 10 appearances so far this spring posting a 10.95 K/9 (15 Ks in 12.1 IP). Reeve is committed to play at San Jose State.
Mason Ruh (Northern Illinois) - The reigning Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year is making his return to Sockville after posting a 2.66 ERA with 56 Ks in 47.1 IP for the 2022 East Division Champion Burlington Sock Puppets. Ruh is now in his Sophomore year with the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Dalton Williams (High Point) - The third of three pitchers from High Point (third of four total players from the university), Dalton Williams was a top 20 overall prospect from Maryland before joining the pitching staff for the Panthers. Williams is yet another towering arm standing at 6’5. He has appeared in 17 games this season for High Point, striking out 13 batters over 16.0 innings.
Koby Kropf (USC-Upstate) - Kropf is a Junior transfer playing in his first year with the University of South Carolina - Upstate. He spent his first two years at Reedley College and was named First Team All-Central Valley Conference as a Sophomore. He posted a .338/.446/.554 line with 34 runs, 11 doubles, 5 home runs and 33 RBIs that season. Koby is the step-son of Burlington Sock Puppets Manager, Anthony Essien.
Matthew Martinez II (High Point) - Martinez II was the 7th ranked Catcher, by Perfect Game, in the state of Pennsylvania before he committed to High Point University. He is currently in his Freshman campaign for the Panthers, playing in 8 games (starting 2) and hitting .333/.444/.571.
Tommy Walker (Appalachian State) - Walker is in his Freshman season at Appalachian State. A native of Charlotte, NC, he was named Co-Conference Player of the Year and was selected to the North Carolina 4A All-State team his senior year at Providence High School. During that year, Walker helped the Panthers complete an undefeated season (34-0) en route to a 4A State Championship, that they won here at Burlington Athletic Stadium.
Evan Appelwick (Miami OH) - Coming into his second year as a Sock Puppet, Appelwick has spent his Sophomore season at Miami (OH) after transferring from the University of Indiana. In his first year in Burlington (2022), he ranked first in walks, 14th in OBP, and 21st in OPS. He also started that year with a 15-game hitting streak.
Isaiah Barkett (NC State) - Prior to his Freshman year at North Carolina State, Barkett was the 11th best middle infielder in the state of Florida (78th ranked nationally) , according to Perfect Game. He has appeared in 7 games, so far, for the Wolfpack. Isaiah is the son of former NC State First Baseman and Pittsburgh Pirate Andy Barkett.
Carson Crawford (Cal Berkeley) - A Sophomore at University of California Berkeley, Crawford has started in 64 of 71 games so far in his collegiate career. So far this season, 16 of his 30 hits have gone for extra bases and owns a .364 OBP. Crawford was ranked the 28th best SS in California coming out of High School, according to Prep Baseball Report.
Dante Girardi (Florida International) - Another former Sock Puppet returning to Burlington this summer is Florida International’s, Dante Girardi. Last summer, Girardi ranked 5th among all 2nd Basemen with 29 hits, despite appearing in only 24 games. Currently in his Junior year at FIU, Girardi is batting .288/.350/.416. He is the son of former MLB player and World Champion Manager, Joe Girardi.
Ty Hodge (Houston Christian) - Ty Hodge is a Sophomore for the Houston Christian Huskies, managed by World Series Champion and 15-year MLB alum, Lance Berkman. Prior to his collegiate career, Hodge was ranked the 6th best player in the state of Texas and 106th best in the country for the 2021 class, by Prep Baseball Report. Was also an exclusive invite to PBR’s jewel pre-draft event in 2021.
Ryan Kennell (Gardner-Webb) - Was ranked the 15th best player and 2nd best Shortstop in Michigan, by Prep Baseball Report, for the class of 2022. Kennell has already played in 13 games (6 starts) as a True Freshman at Gardner-Webb. So far this season, he owns a .375/.483/.417 line.
Troy McGirt (Elon) - One of two Elon University Phoenix players on the initial 2023 Sock Puppets roster, McGirt is in his first year (Redshirt Freshman) under Head Coach Mike Kennedy after transferring from Wake Forest. In high school, McGirt was the top-ranked First Baseman in North Carolina and 26th best First Baseman in the country.
Toussaint Bythewood (UCLA) - Bythewood, a True Freshman at UCLA, was a highly ranked prospect coming out of High School (368th in the nation, 40th in California), by Prep Baseball Report. Toussaint Bythewood was also a First Team All-California Preseason All-American in 2022. In his first year, Bythewood has already appeared in 19 games, starting 11 of them.
Vincent Fattore (Duke) - The 8th ranked player in the state of Pennsylvania for the class of 2022, according to Prep Baseball Report, Fattore is currently red-shirting for the #10 Blue Devils. Fattore is the first Duke position player to appear on a Burlington Sock Puppets roster.
Sam Gates (George Washington) - A 2021 Perfect Game Preseason All-American in his senior year of High School, Gates was a standout outfielder in New Jersey (8th best OF in state). Now at George Washington, Sam Gates is in his first full season with the Colonials after not playing due to injury in 2022. He is currently 3rd on the team in 2Bs, RBIs, Hs, and first in BBs, Rs and 3Bs.
Ethan Lizama (Gulf Coast State) - Another returning Sock Puppet from 2022, Lizama is in his Sophomore campaign with Gulf Coast State. He is currently batting .301/.367/.464 with 5 HRs, 13 2Bs, and 34 Rs. Last season with the Sock Puppets, Lizama appeared in 44 games and was tied for first on the team in HRs (6).
Kenny Mallory Jr. (Elon) - The second phoenix on this initial roster is a Sophomore, who played his first year with the Vanderbilt before transferring to Elon. Mallory Jr. was the 10th best player in the state of Georgia coming out of High School in 2021, according to Prep Baseball Report. He has appeared in 32 games so far this season, starting 23 of them, hitting .239/.352/.330.