Sugar Land Deals Make St. Paul, Kansas City a Lot More Formidable
American Association Daily provides insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier looks at the three players traded from the Sugar Land Skeeters over the last two days, making the Kansas City T-Bones and St. Paul Saints a whole lot more formidable.
Kansas City, St. Paul Add Talent to Rosters
Earlier this season, American Association Daily looked at the numerous players being sent from the American Association to the Sugar Land Skeeters in the Atlantic League. As part of these deals, no less than 16 players were to be traded back from the Atlantic League team as “players to be named later.”
It appears that the tide is getting underway and, so far, it is the Kansas City T-Bones and the St. Paul Saints that have been the recipients of some quality talent as a result, making both teams a whole lot more formidable.
The Kansas City T-Bones Bring in Two
On Tuesday, the Kansas City T-Bones acquired infielder Dylan Tice and RHP Cody Martin as the players to be named later from a previous deal. Tice has been in the St. Louis Cardinals system the first two years of his professional career, but last year he was with the Rockland Boulders in the Can-Am League. Tice his .327 in in Rockland last season, with 72 runs scored and 32 stolen bases in 96 games. His last season with the Cardinals, the infielder split time between three levels, finishing at High-A Palm Beach. Combined he hit .296 with 40 runs scored and 34 RBI in 68 games.
Tice will be a solid addition to the T-Bones lineup, but Martin could be a major difference maker. The right-hander has spent part of the last three seasons in the Major Leagues, including with the Seattle Mariners in each of the last two seasons. Martin is coming back from an injury that cost him most of the 2017 season, but he had a big year in 2016, going 10-7 with a 3.62 ERA at Tacoma and 1-2 with a 3.86 with the Mariners.
If he is healthy, he immediately moves to the top of the Kansas City rotation as the righty becomes another top talent that Manager Joe Calfapietra has added. The addition of Martin means the T-Bones have eight players on their roster who played at the AAA level last season and two who were on a Major League roster at some point during the 2017 campaign. Four others made it to at least AA. No doubt this team is going to make some real noise in the South Division.
Richard Prigatano Comes to St. Paul Saints
On Wednesday, the St. Paul Saints brought in former Wichita Wingnuts superstar Richard Prigatano by way of Sugar Land. Prigatano spent the first two seasons of his career in the Colorado Rockies organization before joining the Wingnuts in 2016. He hit .256 in 80 games that season but, last year, he had a breakout campaign. In 95 games, the outfielder hit .316 with 8 homers, 67 runs scored, 61 RBI, and 34 stolen bases. He posted a .406 on-base percentage and an .880 OPS.
Why an affiliate club has not snatched Prigatano up is a mystery, but the reality is that St. Paul has an unbelievably deep outfield right now. Kes Carter, who hit .271 with 31 runs scored and 32 RBI in 60 games for the Saints, returns and Manager George Tsamis added Jordan Smith earlier this year. Smith was a three-time all-star in the minor leagues for the Cleveland Indians. Last seasons, he split time between AA-Akron and AAA-Columbus, where he combined to hit .212 with 34 runs scored and 24 RBI in 97 games. Another acquisition, Chad Hinshaw, was also in AAA last season, at New Orleans (Miami Marlins), where he hit .229 in 81 games.
There are two other outfielders still in the mix as well. Max Murphy was signed this off-season. Last year he split time between AA-Chattanooga and High-A Fort Myers (Minnesota Twins), where he combined to hit .285 in 130 games, with 80 runs scored, 62 RBI and a .361 on-base percentage. He is also a great outfielder, which could mean that Murphy will be in the starting lineup come opening day.
There is also Harrison Kain still on the club’s roster. Kain has been a star in the American Association since 2011. The last three seasons he was with the Wichita Wingnuts. Last year, he hit .307 in Wichita, a year after hitting .358. it is unsure if the 29-year-old will return or is seeking other pursuits but, should he return, this outfield group will challenge any in the league.
The Talent Continues to Flow
The talent added in the American Association continues to reach a level that is unprecedented. The parity has become such that the division winners this season could have no more than 55 victories and the top four teams could be separated by four games. It should be exciting.
American Association Daily Notes
The Kansas City T-Bones traded OF Dillon Thomas to the Texas AirHogs for a player to be named later. Thomas is a former Colorado Rockies prospect, who split time between three levels last season, starting in High-A Lancaster, moving to AA-Hartford, while also playing three games at AAA-Albuquerque. Combined, Thomas hit .229 in 98 games. He has speed and is a top notch outfielder…The Chicago Dogs traded LHP Jim Fuller to New Britain (Atlantic League)… The Cleburne Railroaders signed three players on Wednesday. Catcher Blake Grant-Parks was with the Railroaders last season, hitting .261 in 52 games. Outfielder Cameron Monger was a late season acquisition by Cleburne in 2017, coming over from the AirHogs. RHP Tyler Wilson was acquired from the Lincoln Saltdogs on March 27.
By Robert Pannier
Member of the IBWAA