UNCP southpaw inks MLB deal

Wes Helsabeck

OGDEN, Utah – Former University of North Carolina at Pembroke southpaw Wes Helsabeck has arranged to continue his playing career on the professional level as the Rural Hall native recently signed a free agent contract with Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers.

With the signing, Helsabeck becomes the 21st player in the history of UNCP baseball to draw attention from professional scouts. A total of 13 former Pembroke State or UNCP baseball players have been drafted into the Major League Baseball system over the last 59 years. Jordan Edgerton was drafted in the ninth round by the Atlanta Braves of last year’s Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft and is currently playing in Atlanta’s farm system for the Rome (Ga.) Braves.

Helsabeck will begin his climb in the professional ranks with the Ogden Raptors, an advanced rookie affiliate of the Dodgers. The Raptors play their home games at Lindquist Field in Ogden, Utah.

A key member of the pitching rotation in 2015, Helsabeck made 16 appearances (six starts) for the Braves in 2015 and registered a 5-1 record, a 4.82 ERA and one save in 46-2/3 innings of work, while also striking out 62 batters and walking 16. He won each of his first four starts as a Brave and boasted a 5-0 record and a 1.57 ERA after working eight innings in a 12-1 win over Young Harris on March 28. He also matched a career-best with 10 strikeouts in a 3-1 win on March 15 over eventual Peach Belt Conference regular season champion North Georgia.

Helsabeck compiled a 6-2 record and a sub-2.75 ERA in his first two collegiate seasons at Surry Community College, and then tallied a 6-1 record and a 3.02 ERA in leading Winston-Salem State to an NCAA Tournament appearance as a junior in 2014.

Cuthrell joins the Frontier League

FLORENCE, Ky. – Former UNC-Pembroke all-American third baseman Collins Cuthrell has opted to continue his playing career on the professional level as the Rocky Mount native recently signed a contract with the Florence Freedom out of the Frontier League, the organization announced.

An all-American selection by three different organizations this season, as well as the 2015 Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year, Cuthrell led the league in 10 statistical categories, including home runs (25), RBIs (75) and runs scored (75), while also finishing second among conference leaders in batting average (.443).

A three-time PBC Player of the Week and two-time region hitter of the week selection by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), Cuthrell led the Braves with 28 multiple-hit games and 20 multiple-RBI outings. The Rocky Mount product was also a semifinalist for the Tino Martinez Award, given annually to the top hitter in NCAA Division II baseball.

Cuthrell compiled a .296 (132-for-445) career average during his first three collegiate seasons at Barton and complemented that with 46 extra-base hits (15 HR) and 66 RBI. He earned all-Carolinas Conference recognition following each of his last two seasons in Wilson, including a sophomore campaign that saw him hit .331 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs.

Cuthrell is hitting .429 with two doubles and a pair of RBI in three games with the Freedom already. Former all-American second baseman Daniel Fraga inked a deal with the Freedom in May.