Mathes enters his fourth season in professional baseball, and third overall with the Wingnuts. Last summer, the right-hander posted a 4.50 ERA for Wichita while earning one save in 31 appearances. In late July, Mathes was traded to the Frontier League's Florence Freedom where he made 20 more appearances, and pitched to a 2.54 ERA with five saves. A native of Oklahoma City, OK, Mathes totaled 59 strikeouts in 74.1 innings between the two clubs. Mathes' rights were re-acquired from Florence at the end of the season.
"We are very excited to have Brandon back for the upcoming 2012 season," said Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper. "When we traded him away the last month of the season, I demanded that he be the player that we got back at the end of the year. Hopefully he will come in, earn a spot in our bullpen, and become a big peice of our puzzle. He is just going to get better and better each and every year with experience."
After making one appearance for the Northern League's Joliet JackHammers late in 2009, Mathes' first full professional season came with Wichita the following year. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Mathes became a key contributor out of the Wingnuts' bullpen, striking out 46 in 51.2 innings with a 4.35 ERA. Mathes, who will be 25 on opening night, was a two-way star at Kansas Wesleyan University where he earned KCAC Player of the Year honors in both his junior and senior seasons. During his senior campaign in 2009, Mathes went 8-1 on the mound with a 1.38 ERA, and hit .335 with 21 doubles and 21 stolen bases as the Coyotes' leadoff hitter.
Joy also pitched in the Frontier League last season, going 6-4 with a 3.92 ERA in 18 games for the Southern Illinois Miners. The Topeka, KS native logged a career-high 105.2 innings in what was his second year with the Miners, and third straight in the Frontier League. On August 11th versus Rockford, Joy pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout. Joy walked one, struck out four, and did not allow a hit over the final eight and two-thirds innings. The Wingnuts acquired Joy to complete the April 2011 trade that sent Sean Teague to Southern Illinois.
"Shawn is a left-hander from the state of Kansas," said Hooper, "and I like to have that local flavor around as much as I can. We were very happy in obtaining him in a trade when the season ended. He will compete for a spot in our bullpen and is also very valuable because he has starting experience under his belt. I'm excited to see what he can do on the mound to contribute and help us win ballgames."
The 25-year old Joy is 16-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 240.2 career innings over 92 appearances. Joy has averaged just 2.54 walks and 0.67 home runs per nine innings as a professional. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound lefty was originally signed by the New York Yankees in 2008 out of Southern Illinois University. Joy debuted for the Yankees' Rookie-level Gulf Coast affiliate later that summer. During his junior and senior seasons at Southern Illinois, Joy combined for an 11-5 record and a 4.26 ERA in 31 starts. Joy also played two seasons at Cloud County Community College.
American Association teams can carry up to 28 players on their roster during spring training, which begins in early May.
The Wichita Wingnuts open the 2012 season at home on May 17th versus the Lincoln Saltdogs.