The ultimate goal of any professional baseball player is to earn a shot at playing in the major leagues, and several players who used to wear Lincoln Saltdogs uniforms moved closer to reaching that goal in 2008. Two ex-Saltdog pitchers performed well at the highest level of minor-league baseball, while an infielder who began the season in Lincoln ended it with a good impression in affiliated ball.
Left-hander Lindsay Gulin, who in 2006 recorded the greatest season ever by a Saltdogs pitcher, spent 2008 in his first full season with Nashville, the AAA affiliate for the Milwaukee Brewers. The changeup artist made 23 starts for the Sounds, and although his record stalled at 7-7, his 3.54 ERA ranked second overall among pitchers in the 16-team Pacific Coast League. Gulin was twice named the PCL Pitcher of the Week (May 12-18 and August 18-24), and appeared in the 2008 AAA All-Star Game. Lindsay held opposing batters to a .219 average in 2008, and struck out 120 hitters in 137.1 innings pitched. He was signed by the Brewers organization after his outstanding 2006 season in Lincoln, when he went 13-2 with a 2.10 ERA and led the Saltdogs to North Division titles in both halves of the season.
Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas, whose terrific first-half numbers in 2007 earned him a place in the Seattle Mariners organization, continued to impress in 2008. He began the season with AA West Tennessee, but a 3-0 record and an 0.83 ERA in five starts earned Chris a quick promotion to AAA Tacoma. Jakubauskas went 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA in his first eight starts for the Rainers, although an injury sidelined him for most of the second half of the season. He returned in late August, picking up his fifth win and lowering his ERA to 2.59—which would have led the Pacific Coast League by a wide margin if he had pitched enough innings to qualify for the title. Jakubauskas, who hopes to become one of the few players to begin his career in independent baseball and make it all the way to the big leagues, led Lincoln to the first-half North Division title in 2007. He went 6-0 in seven starts for the Saltdogs with a 2.42 ERA before the Mariners organization came calling in mid-June.
Infielder Anthony Contreras, like many players who come through the American Association, used his brief time in Lincoln to earn a second chance with a major-league organization. Anthony signed with the San Diego Padres in late June after an outstanding first half with the Saltdogs, and spent the rest of his summer with Class A Fort Wayne. He hit .304 in 36 games for the Wizards, including one four-hit game and five different three-hit games. Contreras also displayed his versatility in Fort Wayne, playing 15 games at third base, nine at shortstop and nine at second base. The left-handed hitter earned his trip to Class A by hitting .312 for Lincoln in 44 games, all as the Saltdogs’ starting shortstop. Anthony’s 58 hits as a Saltdogs had him in the top five in the American Association before he was acquired by the Padres organization.
For more team information, go to www.saltdogs.com.