Closer Karch, Falwell Return to Explorers
SIOUX CITY, IA – The Sioux City Explorers announced today that the club has re-signed RHP Tyler Fallwell and RHP Eric Karch to a 2019 American Association contract. The 2019 season will mark Fallwell’s 4th season and Karch’s 6th season in professional baseball.
Fallwell had been an incredibly reliable arm out of the bullpen for the Sioux City Explorers during the 2018 season. He was third on the team in appearances out of the bullpen with 23, along with a 2-1 record and a microscopic 0.64 ERA which ranked second on the team. Fallwell also picked up two saves for the Explorers this season and at one point during the season did not allow an earned run in 13.1 straight innings pitched, stretching over 10 appearances from May 30th to June 30th. Through 28 innings this season Fallwell allowed just 18 hits, struck out 33 and walked only 12 while opponents batted a mere .188 off of him.
Fallwell’s 2018 American Association contract would be bought out by the Philadelphia Phillies organization on July 16th. He would play for their A ball club the Lakewood Blueclaws. There he posted a 6.75 ERA over 12 appearances and 21.1 innings and walked just 6 batters in his time with Lakewood.
During these past winter months, Fallwell took his talents down under as he pitched for the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League. While there he dominated not allowing a single run over 14 innings. In fact he allowed only 8 of the 50 batters he faced to reach while also picking up 3 saves. Fallwell went on to punch out 17 hitters good for a K/9 of 10.9.
Fallwell was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB Draft from Cochise Community College (Douglas, AZ). Fallwell spent two seasons playing in the Royals organization, making it to Single-A in 2017. In rookie ball for the Royals, the righty owned a 2.35 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 15.1 innings pitched.
Fallwell played collegiately for two seasons at Cochise Community College where he went 6-4 with a 2.87 ERA, accumulating 103 strikeouts in 84.2 innings pitched. In 2016, Fallwell put together a scoreless streak that reached 30 consecutive innings which propelled him into being named an All-ACCAC First Team and a First Team All-Region selection. The righty had committed to continue his collegiate career at the University of Houston before being drafted and signing with the Royals.
Karch turned in a fantastic 2018 campaign for the Explorers, taking over as the teams closer in the beginning of June. Karch recorded 21 saves for the X’s, good for 3rd most in the American Association. The 21 saves are also good for 3rd most in Explorers single season franchise history. Karch had an impressive streak spanning from July 9th-August 9th where he recorded 12 consecutive saves in 12 appearances. Karch finished the season with a 2-3 record and an impressive 2.26 ERA in 41 games. He racked up 61 strikeouts in 43.2 innings pitched, good for a 12.6 K/9, while allowing just 16 walks.
The Minnesota Twins purchased Karch’s contract on January 11, 2019. He would report to spring training with the Twins and saw a couple of opportunities with the big league club. He would appear in two games throwing a perfect inning and third while punching out one. He even finished off a Twins victory on March 7th over the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.
Karch was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2014 MLB Draft from Pepperdine University. Karch spent two seasons in the Pirates organization before being signed by the Los Angeles Angels in 2016. Karch would pitch the 2016 and 2017 seasons in the Angels organization, reaching as high as Double-A in 2017. The Fresno, CA native appeared in 19 games for the Double-A Mobile BayBears in 2017, posting a 2-2 record with an impressive 2.06 ERA. In his first four professional seasons in affiliated ball, Karch has accumulated 127 strikeouts to just 35 walks.
Prior to being drafted, Karch enjoyed a stellar collegiate career at Pepperdine University. Originally he began his Pepperdine career as a two way player. Getting time both on the mound and at short his freshman year. He would play in 11 games, starting seven of them in the field as a freshman, batting .200 with 2 doubles, 4 runs and 3 RBI’s and holding down a .935 fielding percentage with the leather. But that would be the largest sample size of his collegiate position player career as he would end up seeing limited innings and at bats in his sophomore season before becoming just a pitcher entirely during his junior campaign. As a senior in 2014, Karch made 30 relief appearances as the Waves’ closer, going 4-2 with 16 saves and a 2.12 ERA, while holding opponents to a .185 batting average. The 16 saves on the season rank as the third most in Pepperdine single season program history. For his efforts, Karch was named to the All-WCC First Team and to the All-WCC Tournament Team. Karch also won a 2013 Cape Cod Collegiate Baseball Summer League championship, pitching for the Cotuit Kettleers, posting a 3-0 record in 10 appearances.
With the signing of Fallwell and Karch, the Explorers now have 20 players (12 pitchers, 8 position players) signed to 2019 American Association contracts.
The Explorers 2019 home opener will be Thursday, May 16th versus the Lincoln Saltdogs in a 7:12pm contest. Get in the game with the Sioux City Explorers by reserving your 2019 season ticket packages, flex ticket packages, or company group outing now by calling 712-277-WINS (9467).
By Conner Ryan