American Association Daily provides insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, Aaron Gretz re-signs with the Sioux Falls Canaries, adding a key piece for the upcoming season.
Sioux Falls Canaries Re-Sign Aaron Gretz
There is really no relationship in sports that requires a greater amount of trust than that of a pitcher and catcher. A pitcher not only has to know that the catcher is calling the right game for him that will lead to the most positive number of results, but he also has to be sure that the guy behind the plate is going to keep runners from taking an extra base, and block pitches that bounce in the dirt, which could easily result in wild pitches.
For former pitchers who become managers, finding the right catcher for their staff is as much of an art form as it is a logic decision. Pitchers know what they liked in a catcher, not only his skills, but the personality as well, and this helps them to choose the two men that will be a friend, counselor, and confidante to each member of their staff.
Sioux Falls Manager Mike Meyer is a former pitcher and has spent a lot of this off-season putting together a pitching staff that he has confidence in knowing that when they take the hill they are going to get outs and keep his team in the game. He has also wanted a catcher who can handle that staff and get the very best results out of them. That is why it was no surprise that the team re-signed Aaron Gretz on Wednesday.
A Proven Success in the League
Aaron Gretz will be entering his third full season when the 2018 American Association kicks off on May 18. After graduating from Ohio State University, the catcher began his professional career with one games stints in both New Jersey and St. Paul in 2015, but became a regular with the St. Paul Saints in 2016, hitting .277 and 59 games.
The following season, the catcher was traded to the Sioux Falls Canaries, where he hit .244 in 65 games but proved to be outstanding behind the plate, making just two errors and only three passed balls in 53 games caught.
Gretz is smart behind the plate, calls a good game, and also knows how to calm his pitching staff down when they are struggling. It is his own cool demeanor under pressure that St. Paul Saints Manager George Tsamis commented was one of the primary reasons why he was intrigued to sign the catcher in the first place.
If there is an area to improve, it is that opposing baserunners were successful stealing bases 87 percent of the time last season. That was a seven percent increase over the previous year, and is one area where the 24-year-old will likely see some dramatic improvement after working with the same coaching staff for the second year in a row.
Mentoring as Well
Aaron Gretz will not be the only one handling the catching duties this season, as the team added Australian Michael Hart to the squad as well. Hart has only one year of professional experience playing in the Australian Baseball League (AUBL), so this is going to be a year where Gretz will be mentoring the 23-year-old as well.
The Sioux Falls Canaries have quite a chore ahead of them this season as they look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010. However, Meyer has already put together quite a quality squad, and the return of Gretz should really help to solidify both the pitching staff and the lineup.
Featured Image Courtesy of Brian Green.
American Association Daily Notes
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks announced the signing of RHP Christian Meister and that they had traded OF John Schultz to Sussex County (Can-Am League). Meister was a 29th round pick of the Cleveland Indians, and spent two seasons with the organization before pitching for Melbourne in the AUBL last year…The Kansas City T-Bones acquired RHP Tommy Collier from Sugar Land (Atlantic League) to complete an earlier deal. Collier was a 22nd round pick of the Detroit Tigers back in 2011 and spent six years in the organization. He last pitched for La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he has pitched the last two years…The Winnipeg Goldeyes signed RHP Marshall Pautsch. The right-hander pitched briefly last season for the Gary Southshore RailCats, where he was 1-0 in 4 starts with a 3.15 ERA…The Wichita Wingnuts signed infielder Jared Reaves and RHP Daniel Tillman. Reaves was signed by the Detroit Tigers after being drafted in the 25th round in 2012. He has spent the last five years with the organization, reaching AA-Erie last year. He is a career .253 hitter in 332 games. Tillman was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the second round in 2010. He last pitched at AA-Biloxi in 2016, where the right-hander was 3-0 with a minuscule 0.46 ERA in 14 appearances. He struck out 25 and 19.2 innings pitched before an injury ended his season.
By Robert Pannier
Member of the IBWAA