American Association Dispersal Draft: Sioux Falls Canaries
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 examines the players picked by the Sioux Falls Canaries in the American Association dispersal draft held on Tuesday.
Return of Alay Lago Highlights Sioux Falls Picks
The American Association dispersal draft was Tuesday afternoon, with the Sioux Falls Canaries making seven selections. This included the return of infielder Alay Lago, who had been traded from the team to the Cleburne Railroaders just five months earlier. It was clear that Manager Mike Meyer wanted to improve the team’s pitching staff, as four of the seven picks and three of the first four were on pitchers.
A look at the team’s seven picks. (Team player was drafted from listed in parenthesis)
Alay Lago – IF (Cleburne)
Lago had a career year for the Canaries last season. He led the American Association in hitting (.339) and was third overall in hits with 125. That was just the tip of the iceberg, however. Lago appeared in 92 games, scoring 58 runs, hitting 13 homers, while driving in 57. He also stole 14 bases. The infielder ranked first or second in every major offensive category for the Canaries, including hitting 30 doubles, third most in the American Association.
Lago has just two seasons of minor league experience, never being drafted. After playing in the Cuban National Series for five years, he joined the Atlanta Braves organization in 2017. He reached AA-Mississippi in 2018 where he hit .247 in 80 games.
He was released later that season, joining Kansas City where he appeared in 37 games for the American Association championship team. Lago hit .283 before joining Sioux Falls last year. In his two seasons in the league, Lago has appeared in 139 games, hitting .321 with 16 homers and 83 RBI.
In January, Lago was traded to Cleburne in exchange for infielder Ryan Brett, outfielder KC Huth, and left-handed pitcher Eudis Idrogo.
Erik Manoah, Jr. – RHP (Texas)
Manoah started the season with Kansas City before being traded to Texas. He struggled in seven appearances for the T-Bones, but was rejuvenated in the Lone Star State. Manoah finish 2-6 with a 4.93 ERA in 12 appearances, 11 of which were starts. He struck out 70 batters in 69.1 innings pitched. For the season, the right-hander made 19 appearances, 15 of which were starts.
Manoah was selected in the 13th round by the New York Mets in the 2014 draft. He remained in the Mets organization until 2016 when he was acquired by the Los Angeles Angels. Manoah never reached higher than High-A, finishing with an 18-34 record in 95 career appearances in the minors.
Austin Boyle – RHP (Kansas City)
Boyle proved to be one of the most reliable relievers in the American Association last season. For Lincoln, the right-hander finished 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA in 40 appearances. He also saved two ballgames. Boyle tossed 48.0 innings, allowing just 30 hits and 25 walks while striking out a whopping 65 batters. That gave him a 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings mark.
Boyle has spent his entire career in independent baseball after graduating from Cal Poly Pomona in 2015. His first season was with Garden City in the Pecos League, where he was 8-3 in 13 starts with a 4.03 ERA. The right-hander then moved to the Wichita Wingnuts in the American Association in 2017 and 2018 where he posted sub-3.00 ERAs in each of those years.
In his four professional seasons, Boyle has a 15-6 mark with five saves and a 3.03 ERA. He has struck out 225 batters in 210.2 innings pitched and could very likely be the Canaries’ closer this season.
Michael Gunn – LHP (Cleburne)
Gunn turned things around in 2019, posting a 5-0 record in 15 starts with a 3.11 ERA. This after a disappointing 2018 season when he went 3-8 for the Railroaders with a 5.69 ERA. Gunn tossed 78.0 innings, allowing 67 hits and 30 walks, while striking out 63.
The left-hander was selected in the 16th round by the Boston Red Sox in the 2014 draft. He spent two seasons in the Red Sox organization, reaching High-A Salem in 2015.
In 2016, he made 33 appearances for River City (Frontier League) before moving to Pittsburg (Pacific Association) a year later. He has been with the Railroaders the last two seasons. In his four seasons in independent baseball, Gunn is 16-13 with a 4.47 ERA in 86 appearances, 41 of which have been starts. He has tossed 269.2 innings, striking out 238 batters.
Ryan Long – IF (Lincoln)
Long has spent the first three years of his professional career in independent baseball. Last season he split time between Evansville (Frontier League) and Somerset (Atlantic League). He appeared in 95 games for Evansville, clubbing 14 homers and driving in 78 runs with a .285 batting average. He appeared in just one game for Somerset.
All three of his professional seasons have primarily been played in Evansville. He has appeared in 277 games total, posting a .295 batting average with 35 homers, 180 runs scored, and 173 RBI.
Landon Holifield – RHP (Cleburne)
Holifield spent last season with Rockland (Can-Am League), where he was 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA in 27 appearances. Holifield worked primarily out of the bullpen, making only three starts. He tossed 42.0 innings, allowing 36 hits and 13 walks while striking out 53.
The right-hander was signed as an unrestricted free agent out of college in 2017 by the Milwaukee Brewers. He spent one season in the organization, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 17 appearances before an injury wiped out his 2018 season.
Ricky Ramirez, Jr. – OF (Sioux City)
Ramirez has two seasons of professional baseball under his belt, starting 2018 in the Pecos League with Trinidad before moving to Florence in the Frontier League. He appeared in 92 games last season for Florence, posting a .289 batting average was seven homers and 54 RBI. In his two professional seasons, the outfielder has appeared in 177 games, hitting 22 home runs with 121 RBI. He has also stolen 15 career bases.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes selections will be reviewed tomorrow.
By Robert Pannier