Sioux City Explorers Examiner: April Update
The Sioux City Explorers are ready to go to war in the American Association this season and to do so they are making sure that they are well armed. The team has spent the last three weeks focused on improving their pitching staff and, as a result, have brought in several big arms to help them compete in the tough Central Division. The additions should really strengthen their staff and make them a true contender this season for the American Association title.
RHP Patrick Johnson was re-signed by the club on March 20. Johnson posted a 9-7 record with a 4.59 ERA last season. The right-hander has a live arm, striking out 106 in 111.2 innings pitched, and will be a top line starter for the coaching staff to further develop.
On March 25 Sioux City signed two right-handed pitchers, Eric Wordekemper and Jeff Marquez. Wordekemper has been a New York Yankees prospect from 2005 to 2011. Last season he was out of baseball, but in 2013 he pitched for Camden of the Atlantic League. He posted a 3.65 ERA in 10 appearances.
Marquez was a first round draft pick of the New York Yankees in 2004, and is a former Major Leaguer. He has nine years playing affiliate ball in his career, and has posted a 64-70 career record.
Explorers’ manager Steve Montgomery is excited to have the two additions to his staff. “Getting two great arms is a huge boost to our pitching staff, as we have received great scouting reports on both of these guys. Both of these guys have a great deal of experience pitching at a very high level and throw a lot of strikes and I cannot wait to see both of them compete during spring training.”
One day laterm RHP Rob Wort was re-signed by the Explorers. The right-hander was just ridiculously good last season. He split time between Sioux City and Hillsboro, the Arizona Diamondbacks Low-A Hillsboro squad. He appeared in 31 games combined, posting a 0.99 ERA with a 5-1 record and a save. Wort struck out 71 batter in 45.1 innings pitched, including 58 in 37 innings pitched for Sioux City. He should get a shot to close out games this year.
On April 2, two more RHPs were signed. Dustin Loggins was also in Hillsboro last season. In 27 appearances he, too, had an incredible season. He posted a 1.18 ERA with a 1-1 record and 4 saves. In 38 innings he allowed 39 total base runners and struck out 47. With Loggins and Wort in the backend of this bullpen don’t expect many late rallies.
Billy Bullock sat out last season with an injury. He has five seasons of professional ball under his belt, with a career 11-11 record and 50 saves in 190 appearances. He will get a shot to close out games as well.
On April 8 the Explorers signed C Matt Koch. Koch was a Minnesota Twins prospect from 2011 to 2014, and was ready to take over the duties behind the plate for Sioux City, however, the Los Angeles Angels purchased his contract two days later. He is at their Inland Empire club.
Needing a new catcher, the club signed Isaac Wenrich on April 9. Wenrich played in independent baseball last season for the Vallejo Admirals of the Pacific Association.
The same day that Wenrich was signed, LHP Will White was added to the staff. White was out all of last season, but pitched for the Miami Marlins rookie league team in 2013. He made five appearances and was 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA.
By Robert Pannier