Sioux Falls Sign ‘Fixer’ Caleb Frare
Call him “Frare the Fixer.”
A recent Major League pitcher who specializes in getting teams out of tense late-game jams is coming to Sioux Falls to dawn Canaries yellow and blue.
Former Chicago White Sox left-handed reliever Caleb Frare has officially signed with the Birds. After working his way up through the the minors for six years, the 27-year-old appeared in 16 MLB games in 2018 and ’19, striking out 12 batters in 9.2 total innings.
“It’s a thrill to bring in a pitcher with the experience Caleb has,” Canaries manager Mike Meyer said. “He’s had two stints in the big leagues and will bring a calmness to our bullpen. Caleb will play a major role in the back end of our bullpen and in the team’s leadership.”
An 11th-round MLB Draft pick by the New York Yankees out of high school in 2012, Frare had an impressive rookie season before sitting out with Tommy John surgery in 2013-14 and moving up from the Low-A to Triple-A levels between 2015-18.
Prior to his Sept. 2, 2018, call-up to the big leagues, Frare posted absurdly dominant numbers that summer with the Yankees’ Double-A team, then — after being traded — with the Chicago White Sox’ Triple-A squad. He was 5-1 with a blistering 0.78 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 43 appearances (57 innings).
To better illustrate how dominant Frare was at the highest two levels of the minors in 2018, he struck out a career-high 12.1 batters every nine innings, an SO9 that would have been Top 5 in the majors behind No. 4 Justin Verlander that season, and Top 25 in MLB single-season SO9 rates of all-time.
“He’s a high punch-out guy who will be a perfect fit for our ballpark and will provide that stability in the highest-leverage situations late in games,” manager Mike Meyer said.
As in, Frare does most of his stellar work when the cauldron is the hottest: Late innings in tight games — tied or with a slim lead — with one or more runners on base. This is a perfect fit for The Birdcage, a hitter’s paradise and pitchers’ hell, where routine fly balls become home runs and seemingly safe leads can die hard.
“On the mound, I am very intense and competitive,” Frare said. “The situations that fit those qualities are high leverage situations. Those tough spots allow me to be who I am.
“As I have learned to pitch in differenct roles and situations, I have become more versatile in how I can be used.”
The White Sox released Frare in July of 2020, and the free agent had few landing spots in the minors, with affiliated ball shut down and rosters of independent league teams congested with affiliated players or those on loan from other independent squads who did not play due in 2020 to Covid-related reasons.
So, Frare went back to his hometown of Miles City, Mont., where he continued to train and live with wife Danielle and one-year-old son Michael.
“I bought a house, changed a lot of diapers, and got another golden retriever,” said Frare, who chose the Canaries for his return to pro baseball because Sioux Falls is close to home and he enjoyed the early conversations with Meyer.
“I am very excited to toe the rubber and compete. It has been a year since playing my last game (last spring training). And I am very eager to prove what I can do.”
Frare joins a pitching staff that includes potential “Snake Eyes” — a pair of potential aces and veteran minor league starters Carlos Pimentel and Angel “Ace” Ventura — plus 6’4 “Tower of Power” Trevor Simms (who can blast 97 mph on the radar gun), and young flame throwers Robbie Gordon and Jackson Maynard. Returning from the 2020 Birds staff are Kevin Folman, Ty Culbreth, and pitching coach Grady Wood.
To read more about all of these 2021 signings, plus the dangerous lineup of both new sluggers, and mashers who powered 2020’s most potent American Association offense, click here.
The Canaries recently announced their new ownership group, True North Sports, LLC, which plans to beef up the ballpark experience in 2021. The new season opens May 18 at The Birdcage against Winnipeg, the first of 56 games at home through the season finale on Sept. 6. Click here to see the schedule.
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By Sioux Falls Canaries Staff