Ducks bring back right-handed starting pitcher and two-way player
The Long Island Ducks have announced the signings of right-hander pitcher Travis Banwart and infielder/left-handed pitcher Clint Freeman. Banwart returns for his second season with the Ducks and 14th in professional baseball, while Freeman enters his second season on Long Island and seventh in pro ball.
“I had some of my favorite days of my playing career playing for the Ducks and Wally Backman last year,” said Banwart. “The winning atmosphere there is what draws players and fans to this first class organization.”
Banwart joined the Ducks in June of 2019 after making nine starts to begin the season with Pericos de Puebla of the Mexican League. In six starts with the Flock, he compiled a 3-1 record with a 1.91 ERA, striking out 36 batters and walking just 10 over 37.2 innings of work. The Wichita, Kan. native recorded five quality starts in that time and struck out 11 batters over seven innings of one-run ball in his Ducks debut on June 9 against High Point. Banwart’s contract was then purchased by the Fubon Guardians of the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan on July 16, and he went on to make six more starts with the club.
Prior to joining Long Island, the 34-year-old spent the first seven seasons of his career (2007-13) in the Oakland Athletics organization and then pitched for two seasons (2014, 2017) in the Cleveland Indians system, reaching the Triple-A level with both. During his time with the Athletics, he earned back-to-back Texas League Mid-Season All-Star selections in 2009 and 2010 with Double-A Midland. He also pitched for three seasons (2014-16) in the Korean Baseball Organization, including two years with SK Wyverns and one with KT Wiz. More recently, the Wichita State University alum spent the 2018 campaign with his hometown Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association, posting an 8-4 record with a 2.24 ERA in 20 starts. Banwart was originally selected by the Athletics in the fourth round of the 2007 amateur draft.
“It feels really good to be back with the Ducks organization,” said Freeman. “Let’s go back-to-back in 2020!”
Freeman, who can serve as both a position player and a pitcher, also came to the Ducks in June of 2019. In 28 games as a hitter, he accrued a .270 batting average with two home runs, 14 RBIs, 12 runs, three doubles and a .340 on-base percentage. Among his highlights at the plate were a game-winning homer in the ninth inning on August 9 at Lancaster and a streak of five consecutive games with at least one hit and one RBI in September. On the mound, the 28-year-old appeared in 15 games, striking out 13 batters over 17 innings of work.
Previously, the Johnson City, Tenn. native spent three seasons (2016-18) with the River City Rascals of the Frontier League. At the plate during that time, he posted a .264 batting average with 33 home runs, 138 RBIs, 137 runs, 66 doubles and 13 stolen bases over 266 games. On the bump, the East Tennessee State University alum pitched in 12 games, compiling a 2.79 ERA and 10 strikeouts to just one walk over 9.2 innings. He began his career in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, hitting .305 in 2014 with the club’s rookie-level Arizona League affiliate and pitching in 24 games during the 2015 season with rookie-level Ogden in the Pioneer League. Freeman was originally selected by the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2014 amateur draft.
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Bethpage Ballpark. For further information, call (631) 940-DUCK or visit www.liducks.com.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 42 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.