Familiar faces set to return to diamond for Aviators in 2015

Online Staff Report

LOVES PARK, Illinois — The 2015 Rockford Aviators will have a familiar feel as nine players from last season’s squad will return this upcoming season.

Outfielders Edgar Corcino, Dusty Robinson and Jeff Kremer, along with infielders Elijah Trail and Brian Bistagne have signed extensions through the 2016 season.

The Aviators have also exercised the options on pitchers Kyle Brueggemann, Michael Schaub and Josh Smoker as well as outfielder Michael Hur for the 2015 season.

Edgar Corcino — Corcino will be entering his third season with the Aviators in 2015 after appearing in all 95 games a year ago.

During the 2014 campaign, Corcino posted a .302 batting average and led the team in home runs with 11 and RBIs with 51. He also managed to finish second on the team in stolen bases with 10.

Dusty Robinson — Robinson provided much-needed power to the Aviators’ lineup last season after joining the team on July 22 through a trade with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the American Association.

In 45 games with the Aviators, Robinson cranked out nine home runs and 27 RBIs. His best game came on July 31 against the Washington Wild Things when he blasted two home runs while driving in five runs and scoring three himself.

Jeff Kremer — Kremer will also be entering his third season with the Aviators in 2015. In 2013, Kremer finished second in the Frontier League Rookie of the Year race and continued to shine in 2014 before an injury left him sidelined for much of the second half of the season.

A career .335 hitter, Kremer appeared in 61 games last season and tallied 17 RBIs.

Elijah Trail — Trail returns to the Aviators after joining the team in the second half of the season in 2014.

A rookie out of Campbell University, Trail posted a .197 batting average and found his stride late in the season. He finished the final month of the year earning his first professional hit, home run, and RBI, and will look to continue to develop this season.

Brian Bistagne — Bistagne is another familiar name on the 2015 roster, as he will be returning for his third stint with the Aviators.

He has been with the team at different points since the 2013 season, and last year played in 75 games with a .255 average. He also recorded three home runs and 27 RBIs for the Aviators.

Kyle Brueggemann — The Aviators exercised the option on Brueggemann’s contract for the 2015 season. Brueggemann will be entering his third season with the Aviators.

Brueggemann finished the 2014 season with a very strong month as he won his final five starts. He ended the season with a 7-8 record with a 3.83 ERA in 20 starts.

Michael Schaub — Schaub established himself as one of the best relievers in the league in 2014, which is one of the reasons Aviators Manager James Frisbie wanted Schaub back for the 2015 season.

The former Milwaukee Brewers prospect finished the year with a 1-6 record and a 4.73 ERA, but had an impressive 56-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio that allowed him to be one of the most reliable bullpen pitchers throughout the season.

Josh Smoker — A former first-round draft pick by the Washington Nationals, Smoker was acquired by the Aviators through the Frontier League Draft in 2014 and the team has picked up his option for the 2015 season.

Smoker, who can throw at speeds into the mid to high 90s, appeared in 28 games for the Aviators last season and posted a 1-0 record with a 4.03 ERA.

Michael Hur — Another fan-favorite, Hur, will be returning to Rockford for his fifth season. Hur came to Rockford in 2012, and other than a brief stint in the American Association, Hur has been with the team since.

Hur returned to the Aviators after the all-star break last season, but posted all-star-type numbers in the second half of the season. He finished the year with one of the highest batting averages in the league at .346 and tallied two home runs and 20 RBIs.

Other transactions

Declined option for pitcher Michael Ormseth.

2015 season

The Aviators begin their 2015 campaign May 15 on the road against the Gateway Grizzlies and Opening Day at Aviators Stadium will be May 19 as the Aviators host the Traverse City Beach Bums.

For the most up-to-date information about the Aviators, like the team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RockfordAviators or follow the team on Twitter at @RockAviators.

Posted Jan. 5, 2015

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