Pro Rustlers – Signed Players
On this page, we pay tribute to the Cheltenham BC players who have signed pro-contracts.
We have a few players who have come through the club as professionals and former signees who are not listed below; on this page we are focusing on guys who signed when active Cheltenham players.
Players listed below (players are presented in alphabetical order) – scroll down the page to read about the player:
- Nathan Aron – New York Yankees
- Adam Blackley – Boston Red Sox
- Travis Blackley – Seattle Mariners
- Tom Ellis – Seattle Mariners
- Matthew Gourlay – Toronto Blue Jays
- Andrew Gribbin – San Diego Padres
- Kable Hogben – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Ben Leslie – San Francisco Giants
- Lachlan Madden – Houston Astros
- Brandon Stenhouse – New York Yankees
Nathan Aron: New York Yankees (2008)
Nathan was signed by the world-famous New York Yankees in 2008. He was signed as a position player, with the Yankees viewing him as an outfielding hitter in the organisation.
He played all of his junior baseball at Cheltenham, starting at the club in 2002, and was an outstanding junior and senior player for the club.
– making Victorian representative teams at all levels
– going to the VIS baseball academy program
– going to the MLB Australian Academy on the Gold Coast for the best up and coming players in the country
– playing for the Melbourne Aces in their inaugural 2010-11 season
He was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Yankees in his injury-affected Minor League career
- ABF article about Nathan
- Age story about Nathan
- Chelt interview with Nathan – great reading!
- Nathan’s MiLB stats
Adam Blackley: Boston Red Sox (2003)
In 2003, Adam was signed to the Boston Red Sox. After a very successful 2003 U18 National Championships with the Victorian team, Adam was signed to a professional contract with the Red Sox organisation.
– won the Chelt Club Junior Champion Award in 1999, 2001 and 2003
– won the Club Champion Award at Cheltenham in 2001-02 and 2002-03
– Victorian and National team representation
– In 2007, Adam along with brother Travis, was selected in the Australian Team to play
in the Intercontinental Cup in Taiwan and was awarded Pitcher of the Tournament
– Played professionally in the US and the Netherlands
– Played in the inaugural Melbourne Aces squad in the ABL in season 2010-11
– They must be doing something right in the Blackley house, brother Travis also went to the US on a professional contract and is now with the Oakland A’s organisation.
- Adam’s Wikipedia page
- Adam’s Melbourne Aces stats page
- Take a look at Adam’s stats in the States at the soxprospects page
- Read about Adam’s signing with L&D Amsterdam
Travis Blackley: Seattle Mariners (2000)
2014 Rakuten Golden Eagles
Travis signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Pacific League of Nippon Pro Baseball for season 2014.
Originally signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2000, the roller-coaster ride for Travis Blackley continued in 2013 with his pickup by the Texas Rangers. Travis had previously re-signed with the San Francisco Giants in 2012. Following a superb 2011 season with the Kia Tigers in Korea and then with the Melbourne Aces in the ABL 2011-12 season, the Giants came knocking. Following that, on May 15, Travis was claimed off waivers by the Oakland A’s, where he joined fellow Aussie hurler Grant Balfour.
At the start of the 2013 MLB season Travis was placed on waivers by the A’s and picked up by the Houston Astros. The Astros placed him on waivers in August 2013 and the Rangers came knocking remembering his efforts against them as an Oakland A.
Travis, older brother of Adam, was signed first picked up by the Seattle Mariners in 2000. In a great lesson in perseverance, Travis gained selection in the Victorian U18 State team — the first Victorian State team he had managed to get into. He had an excellent tournament and was subsequently chosen to represent Australia at AAA level in the World Championships. It was while playing for Australia that he was signed by the Mariners to a pro contract.
His pro career has seen him with a few MLB teams, he also played in Korea, played in the ABL and, a couple of months before being called up to the Giants in April 2012, he was pitching for Chelt at Altona.
– Signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2000.
– Named to the World Squad in the 2003 All-Star Futures Game and was also named the Mariners minor league pitcher of the year by the organisation.
– 2004: made his Major League debut against the Texas Rangers, pitched 5 innings, won the game and came off the diamond to a standing ovation from the 65,000+ crowd.
– Missed the whole 2005 season while recovering from shoulder surgery.
– Travis and brother Adam represented Australia in the World Cup in 2007.
– Traded by the Mariners to the San Francisco Giants, then to the Phillies, D’Backs, Mets and then to the A’s.
– Spent part of 2011 playing professionally in Korea with the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organisation.
– Pitched for the Melbourne Aces in the 2011-12 ABL season and had the honour of starting Game 1 of the ABLCS against the Perth Heat.
It was through his performances in the ABL (and with Chelt!) that Travis was able to get re-signed to an MLB contract with one of his former clubs, the Giants, in 2012.
Assigned to the Giants Triple A affliliate Fresno Grizzlies to start season 2012. After 3 superb outings for 3 wins and a 0.39 ERA, April 30 2012, Travis gets the long-awaited call up to ‘The Show’ with the Giants.
– May 2012 claimed off waivers by the Oakland A’s – placed on active roster.
– May 28, 2012, gets his first MLB start in a number of years against the Minnesota Twins; goes 5 innings for 1 earned run
– June 21, 2012, goes the deepest he has ever been into an MLB start with 8 innings against the LA Dodgers in A’s 4-1 win
– July 1, 2012, beats Japanese star Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers 3-1, gets 2nd win
– 2013 spends Spring training with the A’s, gets placed on waivers by the club, then gets picked up by the Houston Astros
- Travis’ MLB stats page
- Travis’ MiLB stats page
- Travis’ Wikipedia page
- Interview by Greg Blaskett with Travis
- Travis on YouTube
- MLB article on Travis’ 2012 callup to the Giants
- Pregame interview on 620 WTMJ Milwaukee Radio May 2012
- A’s bring up Travis May 2012
- Daniel Harford SEN interview with Travis May 31 2012
- Post-game interview after A’s walkoff win vs Rangers July 18 2012
- Bay Area.com videos of Travis
- Herald Sun article 10/10/12
- 4 April 2013 Travis traded by A’s to the Houston Astros
- Astros story about Travis throwing with son Tristan watching 15/6/13
Two of Travis’ baseball cards (click on images to enlarge)
Tom Ellis: Seattle Mariners (2005)
Tom signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2005 as a pitcher.
He wasn’t always a pitcher though: Tom started playing at the age of 7 and was a catcher. He woke up one morning when he was 15 and decided that he would like to pitch! And the rest is history.
Tom was the 2nd Rustler to sign with the Mariners after Travis Blackley.
– invited to the VIS Academy program for outstanding young baseballers
– invited to attend the Australian Academy for elite national talent two years running and made Australian teams in both years
– selected for Australia for the U19 World Championships in Cuba in 2006
– was approached by 5 Major League teams to sign & chose the Mariners
– was able to play at Rookie ball level, A, AA and AAA levels all in one season and meet and mingle with some of the best players in the game: what an experience!
Matthew Gourlay: Toronto Blue Jays (1996)
All respect here: this guy really is the Cheltenham ‘Godfather’ of our signed players. Big Mattie G was the first Chelt player signed to a professional contract. He was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1996 as a pitcher.
– Matt represented Victoria at all junior levels from U13 to U18 as well as senior Victorian baseball in the Claxton Shield
– Matt also played 5 seasons in the Australian Baseball League with the Waverley Reds (see link below) and won a National Championship with them! Check out the photo of a young Matt in his Reds cap!
– Matt spent a few years in the States in the Blue Jays’ system, including two seasons with a team called the Medicine Hat Blue Jays (brilliant name!), two with a team called the St Catharines Stompers (another brilliant name!) and some time with the Hagerstown Suns (pretty good name too): have a look at his cards below.
– Matt also spent some time with the Minnesota Twins organisation.
– Matt’s also been a Cheltenham club coach and, with brother Steve, has been a key feature of Chelt senior teams for years.
Quite simply, he’s also one of the nicest guys you’d want to meet.
Awards and Honours
- Vic U14 1993
- Vic U16 1994, 1995 (Australian Team Captain)
- Vic U18 1996
- Div 2 Batting Title 0 .412 2003/4
- DBA Batting Title 0.475 2008
- DBA Home Run Title (9) 2008
- DBA Triple Crown ( BA, HR, RBI) 2008
- VPBL All Star 2008
- BV Div 1 Home Run Title 2010/11
- NY Times note about his signing
- Matt’s stats in the US at Baseball Cube
- Matt on the Waverley Reds tribute page on the Waverley website
(There are a couple of other faces in the gallery that will be recognisable too; see if you can find Clarko!)
Some of Matt’s baseball cards (click on photos to enlarge)
Andrew Gribbin: San Diego Padres (2006)
Andrew “Chedda” Gribbin signed a professional contract with the San Diego Padres in 2006 as a pitcher.
He currently plays with the club in our summer section.
Like most guys who sign a pro deal, Chedda was a junior star.
2004 U16 Victorian team
2005 U18 State League Premiership with Rustlers
2005 U18 Victorian team
2005 VIS Academy program
2005 U19 Australian team
2006 U18 State League Premiership with Rustlers
2006 Professional contract with the Padres
Clearly a successful player: a couple of flags there with Rustlers junior teams.
Kable Hogben – Arizona Diamondbacks (2007)
Kable was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as a 16 year old in 2007. He was in the Victorian Institute of Sport program for elite young players when signed.
Kable is a long time Cheltenham person; son of Trevor (‘Hoggy’) a player from way back, and Robyn who has scored for the club for ages.
2005: State League U18 Premiers with Cheltenham
2006: VIS Scholarship; Vic U18 team, won MVP as bottom age player
2007: signed professional contract with the Diamondbacks
2009: represented Australia in the series against Chinese Taipei
2009: started professional US career with the Missoula Osprey in the Pioneer League (Rookie Ball).
2010: played with Yakima Bears in the Class A Short Season North West League
2011: played with the South Bend River Hawks Class A Midwest League long season and the Yakima Bears
2012: assigned to the South Bend River Hawks Class A Midwest League
- South Bend Silver Hawks website
- Kable’s stats on the Hawks website
- Read the story of his signing
- Chelt club website interview with Kable
- Age article on Kable pitching for Victoria in 2008
- Article about Kable on the Yakima Bears website: the “Y Files”
- ABL article on Kable’s 2011 season progress in the US
- Kable’s Australian 2011 World Cup team profile
- Picks up his 1st win for the Silver Hawks in 2012
Pics of Kable – click on images to enlarge
Ben Leslie – San Francisco Giants (2012)
Ben inked a deal with the San Francisco Giants after a very productive 2012 National Youth Championships.
Ben, a ‘born-and-bred’ Rustler, has played all his junior and senior baseball at the club, and now can look forward to the huge challenge of forging a career in his chosen sport in the crucible of the game; the US MLB.
Ben, a big hitting leftie, was signed as an outfielder by the Giants and has played much of his baseball there, but also manages to throw pretty well off the mound.
Cheltenham BC wishes Ben all the best with his pro career; we’ll be following it closely and bringing you all the news.
– Victoria State selection under 14s, 16s and 18s
– Debuted in Rustlers summer 1sts as a 16 year old in 2010-11 season
– Selected for Australian Schoolboys team 2011
– Selected for Australian AAA team 2012
– 2012 MVP Cheltenham U18s; Batting award 1sts; Junior Champion Award
Lachlan Madden – Houston Astros (2014)
Lachie Madden signed a contract with the Houston Astros in 2014 on the back of a great showing at 2014 Nationals in Canberra.
Lachie, a right hand pitcher, follows a long line of Cheltenham talent to go pro, becoming the 10th active Rustler to ink a professional deal.
He is a bright talent, a great young bloke from a solid family, and the club wishes him all the very best in his professional career in the USA. We will follow it with interest.
– Selected for Victorian State teams U16 to U18
– Went to the MLB Academy program on the Gold Coast
– Represented Australia at U18 level at the World Championships held in Taiwan 2013
Pictured below, Lachie signing with Houston scout Greg Morriss.
Brandon Stenhouse – New York Yankees (2014)
Brandon Stenhouse signed a contract with the New York Yankees in 2014 becoming the 9th Cheltenham player to sign pro, and the 2nd Rustler after Nathan Aron to sign with the world famous franchise.
Brandon, a long time Cheltenham player, signed with the world famous Yankees at the completion of the National U18 Championships as a pitcher, where he impressed with his velocity and projected development potential.
Brandon has been an outstanding junior and senior player at Chelt and has impressed many with his application, dedication and continued improvement.
– Selected for Victorian State teams U14 through to U18
– Went to the MLB Academy program on the Gold Coast
– Represented Australia at U18 level at the World Championships held in Taiwan 2013
– Becomes the first player from the Little League Southern Mariners program to sign a pro contract
Pictured below with Yankees scout John Wadsworth