Minot High School and Minot Vistas alumni Ryan Bollinger signed a professional contract with the Chicago White Sox on October 7.
It was the second time in just over a year that Bollinger signed with a Major League Baseball club.
Bollinger was drafted as first basemen in the 47th round by the Philadelphia Phillies in the MLB 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
In August of 2009, Bollinger signed a seven-year deal with the Phillies, but the lefthander was cut before making it to their minor league system. He recently wrapped up a short stint with an independent baseball team of the Frontier League, the Windy City Thunderbolts. The Thunderbolts are located in Crestwood, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.
After working as a hitter in the Phillies organization, the 6-foot-5 Bollinger went back to the mound with the Thunderbolts. Bollinger was one of the top pitchers in the state in his final few seasons playing for the Magicians and Vistas.
While with the Thunderbolts, Bollinger said he came in late in the season and was able to keep his ERA under 1.00 after 10 innings on the mound.
He said that every time he saw action, White Sox scouts were at the games.
After the season was over, White Sox representatives asked him to come to U.S Cellular Field to throw a bullpen session. After 40 pitches, they agreed to pick up the rest of his contract he was due under the Phillies, for a total of five years.
Bollinger said there are no guarantees.
"I will have to work a lot harder, because I'm not a drafted guy. But, my goal is to go in there and make them look at me," Bollinger said.
With the White Sox, Bollinger will join fellow Magi and Vistas alum Charlie Shirek, who has been pitching at upper levels of the White Sox system for the past few years.
Bollinger will be working on his conditioning, fine tuning his mechanics, and making sure his arm is strong enough before spring training. After spring training, the White Sox organization will decide where Bollinger will go. Bollinger who is currently living in Minnesota said he will be working with a trainer in the offseason to tweak his pitching motion.
The White Sox have minor league rookie league affiliates in Bristol, Virg., and Great Falls, Mont.