Sioux City Explorers Examiner: May Update
With the ability to carry only 22 players on the active roster, every space has to be masterfully selected to gain maximum value. No one gets that better than Sioux City Explorers manager Steve Montgomery, who has used the last three weeks to fill his roster with players that will have the ability to affect the team in a way that most benefits the success of the club.
Montgomery signed players at positions all over the diamond in April, but no position got more attention from the Sioux City manager than catcher. There is outstanding depth at the position now, maybe too much, which could lead the club to make another move.
On April 14, the Sioux City Explorers signed 3B Ryan Court and OF Eliezer Mesa. Court is entering his fifth season of professional baseball. The first four he spent in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. Last season he split time between High-A Visalia and AA-Mobile, where he played in 107 total games. Court hit .259 with 6 homers and 37 RBI. At also showed the ability to reach base at a solid clip, posting a combined on-base percentage of .345.
Mesa returns to Sioux City, after playing quite well for the Explorers in 2013 when he hit .293 in 91 games. Last season he played in the Dominican Winter League as well as at Cuidad del Carmen in the Mexican League. In Mexico he appeared in 49 games, hitting .308 with 26 runs scored and 19 RBI. He also showed that he is a guy that can get on base, posting a .345 on-base percentage as well.
One week later C Joe Staley was acquired from Sioux Falls to complete an earlier trade. Staley was with Florence and River City of the Frontier League last season. He showed he can swing a quality bat, hitting .269 with 12 home runs, 57 runs scored and 58 RBI in 90 games played. Staley is an outstanding defensive catcher as well.
On the same day INF Noah Perio and RHP Jose Flores were also signed by Sioux City. Perio already has six years of professional experience, all with the Miami Marlins organization. Last season he was with High-A Jupiter, where he played in 96 games with 35 runs scored and 29 RBI. Perio can play all over the infield and the corner outfield positions.
Flores is a big right-hander who enters his ninth season of professional baseball. Last season he was with the Oakland A’s organization, splitting time between AA-Midland and AAA-Sacramento. Combined he went 3-3 with a 3.86 ERA. The right-hander was especially effective at Midland where he posted a 2.96 ERA and allowed just 26 total runners in 24.1 innings pitched. He also saved 12 games there.
On April 23, RHP Gerardo Sanchez was signed by Algondoneros of the Mexican League. Sanchez had a monster year at Rockford of the Frontier League last season. In 36 appearances he saved 18 games and posted a 1.54 ERA. He also struck out 55 in 41 innings pitched.
One day later OF Matty Johnson was signed by the Explorers. Johnson began his professional career in 2010 with Gateway of the Frontier League. Following that season he was signed by the Boston Red Sox organization for whom he played the last four years. Last year he was with High-A Salem, where he hit .276 in 132 games. Johnson has great speed, scoring 104 runs last season, while stealing 40 bases. He also posted an outstanding .377 on-base percentage, and will be a monster at the top of the Explorers lineup.
On April 29, C Matt Koch signed with Sioux City. He had been acquired by the Explorers earlier in the off-season, but had signed a deal with the Los Angeles Angels on April 10. Koch had been with the Minnesota Twins organization before joining Sioux City. The catcher played six games this season for the Angels’ Inland Empire (High-A) club before rejoining Sioux City. He hit .278 in those games with a run and an RBI.
By Robert Pannier