It has been a busy last thirty days in Texas as the Amarillo Thunderheads look to make a run for the American Association title in 2015. The club has restocked their pitching staff, and is ready to prove that they have as much talent as any other team in the South Division. With the quality arms the Thunderheads have added it would not be a surprise to see them make a run under the hot desert sun in Amarillo.
March 10 began the flurry of quality arms added to the team’s roster. First added were OF/RHP Brooks Pinckard and LHP Brian Del Rosso. Two years ago Del Rosso pitched in the Pecos League. He split time between three different clubs there, Raton, White Sands and Santa Fe, where combined he was 1-6 with a 6.52 ERA. The lefty appeared almost exclusively out of the bullpen, working 40 innings, allowing 47 while striking out 47.
Pinckard has been with the Cincinnati Reds organization since turning pro in 2011. Last season he pitched at High-A Bakersfield and AA-Pensacola. Combined he was 4-1 in 29 appearances with a 4.46 ERA. The right-hander struggled at Pensacola, posting a 6.21 in 22 appearances, but at Bakersfield he was nearly unhittable, allowing just one run in 13 innings of work.
Two weeks later RHP Anthony Figliolia and INF Zach MacPhee were signed by the club. Figliolia split time between Alpine of the Pecos League and Amarillo last season. Combined he made 15 starts and a relief appearance. He finished 8-4, including 2-1 in Amarillo, and posted a solid 3.31 ERA. The right-hander showed good command of his pitches, walking just 21 in 92.1 innings pitched.
MacPhee played for Camden of the Atlantic League last season, where he hit .200 in 125 games, with 2 home runs and 35 RBI. He also scored 58 runs and stole 20 bases. MacPhee was a member of the Cleveland Indians organization for three seasons before joining Camden last season.
On April 2, C Jordan Guida, one of the finer catchers in the American Association last season, formally signed a deal with the Thunderheads. Last year was his second in Winnipeg with the Goldeyes, and he showed that he had adjusted well to the American Association. Playing in 45 games, Guida hit .281, a nearly 100 point increase from the previous season, with 2 home runs, 22 runs scored and 10 RBI. He also did a fine job behind the plate, making just two errors and allowing only seven to steal a base successfully.
On April 6 the Thunderheads announced that LHP Jan Granado signed with Mexico City of the Mexican League. The left-hander has made two starts in Mexico City so far this season, and is o-1 with a 3.60 ERA.
Three days later Taylor Smart was inked to a deal by the Amarillo Thunderheads. Last season was the infielders first in professional baseball. Smart played for the Seattle Mariners Low-A team, where he hit .220 in 44 games with 11 runs scored and 12 RBI.
By Robert Pannier