Oct. 27, 2004
Milwaukee, Wis. -- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball standout Ben Stanczyk added to an already impressive 2004 calendar year by signing a free-agent deal with Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers here Thursday (July 29). The 2004 Horizon League Player and Pitcher of the Year will report to Helena, Montana on Friday, the home of the Brewers' rookie league affiliate in the Pioneer League.
"Ben really deserves this chance and he probably should have been drafted in the spring," UWM assistant head coach Scott Doffek. "There is certainly something special about him. When you coach Ben you really learn to appreciate him and his abilities and I don't think it will take long for theBrewers to recognize this. Unfortunately the timing of this is tough and it puts us in a tough situation. It is just something we will have to fight through as a program."
Stanczyk, who led the Panthers in nearly every statistical pitching category in 2004, posted a 7-3 record in the spring with four saves and a 3.43 ERA. The righthander led the Horizon League and set UWM's single-season strikeout record with 95 K's in 94.1 innings pitched. In addition, the Waukesha-nativebatted .374, good for second-best on the team and in the league, while leading the squad in home runs (10), RBIs (43), and slugging percentage (.590).
"Obviously this was a very difficult decision for me because I've had such a great experience at UWM," Stanczyk said. "I owe so much to the coaches at UWM who gave me the opportunity to play college baseball and improve. I am sad to leave behind my teammates and coaches, but I am excited about takingthis next step in my life and baseball career."
The 21-year old finished his three-year career 13-3 with nine saves to go with a 3.01 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 140.1 innings of work. The two-time First-Team All-League performer leaves UWM first all-time in earned run average (3.05) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.765-to-1), second in strikeouts per nine innings (9.0), and fourth in saves with nine. Furthermore, Stanczyk posted a .336 career batting mark with 19 doubles, onetriple, 12 home runs and 78 RBI in 381 career at-bats.
In addition to his work on campus the versatile Stanczyk excelled in the Northwoods League each of the last two seasons while earning an All-Star berth each year. Stanczyk, who played for La Crosse in the NWL, currently leads La Crosse in wins (5) and ERA (2.03) while striking out 86 batters in 71.0 innings of work.
"The Milwaukee Brewers organization is very excited to add a player like Ben," Brewers area scout Harvey Kuenn, Jr., said. "This is really a feather in the cap of the UWM program. They took a local kid and developed him into a solid player during his time there. They not only turned out a qualityplayer but a big-time competitor as well."
Helena is currently 21-17 in the eight-team Pioneer League. In addition to Helena, the Brewer organization boasts Class A affiliates in Beloit, Wis., and High Desert, Ariz., along with their AA franchise in Huntsville, Ala., and Triple AAA squad in Indianapolis, Ind. Stanczyk will join former teammate John VandenBerg (High Desert) in the Brewers organization while2001 Panther alum Scott Gillitzer currently plays for the Class A Vero Beach Dodgers.