Amarillo Thunderheads Tale: May Update
The Amarillo Thunderheads had some key spots to fill on the 2015 roster, and so they spent the last few weeks of April doing just that, looking to rise to the top of the American Association. The club struggled to get into a groove last season, but with the key moves they have made this off-season there is no doubt that the Thunderheads have what it takes to compete in the South Division this season.
On April 16, Amarillo signed OF Logan Vick and INF Danny Stienstra. Vick was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2012, and spent the last three seasons with the club’s affiliates. Last year he split time with Mid-A Lake County and High-A Carolina, where he combined to hit .193 with 4 home runs and 34 RBI in 98 games. He also stole 13 bases and scored 51 runs. Logan has an outstanding eye at the plate, drawing 69 walks last year.
Stienstra is returning to the diamond after being out all of last season. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, and spent three seasons with the organization. In 2013 he played at High-A Palm Beach, where he appeared in 117 games, hit .276, knocked in 38 runs and homered four times. He can play first, second and third, with first base being his more natural position.
One day later the Thunderheads signed RHP Billy Petrick. The right-hander is a former Major Leaguer, appearing in eight games for the Chicago Cubs in 2007. He last appeared in the North American Baseball League in 2012, splitting time between Abilene and Edinburg. He made 19 total appearances, 13 of which were starts. The right-hander was 5-3 with a 4.32 ERA.
On April 21, Amarillo signed OF Drew Heid. Heid was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels organization in 2010, and has been with them for all five of his professional seasons. He split time in 2014 between AA-Arkansas and AAA-Salt Lake. Combined he appeared in 106 games, hitting .250 with 2 homers and 32 RBI. Heid has a career .289 average in 427 games.
One day after signing Heid, the Thunderheads inked RHP Kamakani Usui to a deal. This will be the right-handers third season of professional baseball. He played for the Toronto Blue Jays organization the last two years. Last year he split time between Rookie league Bluefield, L0w-A Vancouver, and High-A Dunedin. Combined he was 3-1 with a 5.76 ERA in 20 appearances.
By Robert Pannier