Year two in the Minor Leagues is in the books for three local pro baseball players.
Matt Whatley and Bryce Howe, teammates at Claremore High School and Oral Roberts Univerity, and Verdigris product Blake Battenfield, who played at Oklahoma State, all played for multiple Minor League clubs this past season.
Whatley, a third-round selection by the Texas Rangers, started the season catching for the Down East Wood Ducks in "A" ball. The former Johnny Bench Award winner later was moved to the Hickory Crawdads, also in "A" ball. He spent two stints on the disabled list, and ended the season hitting .179 with three home runs and 14 RBIs.
Howe, an 18th-round pick by the Miami Marlins, played for the Greensboro Grasshoppers and the Batavia Muckdogs, both "A" ball teams. He was 3-3 with a 2.66 earned runs average. He appeared in 29 games with 71 strikeouts and 28 walks in 74 innings pitched. Opponents hit .297 against him.
Battenfield had a solid season, going 10-5 for summer. The 17th-round pick by the Chicago White Sox played with the Class A Kannapolis Intimidators and the Winston-Salem Dash, a Class A Advanced team. He had a 2.98 ERA in 22 games. In 121 innings, she struck out 115 to just 29 walks. Opponents hit .227 against him.