Explorers Re-Sign OFs Chase Harris, Sebastian Zawada
The Sioux City Explorers have re-signed outfielders Chase Harris and Sebastian Zawada for the 2021 season.
Chase Harris will be entering his sixth professional season and first with the Explorers.
Harris should be a familiar name to some around the American Association as he has played for both the Lincoln Saltdogs and Gary SouthShore Railcats. During his time previously playing in the American Association during the 2016 and 2017 seasons he played in 159 games, hit for a .259 average, while driving in 45 RBI, 78 runs, hitting 19 doubles and six homers. He stole 38 bases in 51 attempts giving him a 75% stolen base percentage. In 2017 he led the Railcats in games played (96) and stolen bases (27).
A native of Boise, Idaho, the final two years of his collegiate career took place at the University of New Mexico where he put up incredible numbers. He played in 117 games hitting .348 with 13 home runs, 26 doubles, 111 RBI, 103 runs scored and stole 32 bases. It earned him District VIII Player of the year honors, first team All-Mountain West, and was named to three different All-American teams.
He was drafted in the 14th round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. Spending two seasons in Philadelphia’s farm system reaching as high as high-A Clearwater. In those two seasons he hit for a .250 average across 122 games, driving in 31 runners, scoring 45 times himself and stealing 28 bases.
Since leaving the American Association Harris has stayed in independent baseball playing in the Can-Am league. In 2018 with Ottawa he hit for a career high .296 average in another career high 101 games. The last time he played, in 2019, for the Rockland Boulders, he hit .218 but got on base at a .300 clip and wrecked havoc once he was on the base paths collecting 26 steals and 40 runs.
The speedy 28 year old outfielder over the last three seasons in independent baseball has shown durability playing in at least 92 games and has flashed his speed stealing at least 24 bases a season. He was acquired via trade from the now New York Boulders as the player to be named later from a deal in March of 2018 that netted the Boulders RHP JD Busfield from the X’s. Busfield went on to make 16 starts for the Boulders in 2019 compiling a 7-3 record and a 4.45 ERA.
Harris did not play in 2020.
The Sioux City Explorers have also announced the signing of outfielder Sebastian Zawada. This will be Zawada’s fourth season of professional baseball, his second with the Explorers.
Zawada was one of the first players to sign with Sioux City for the eventually canceled 2020 campaign. After the American Association dispersal draft, Zawada was signed as a free agent by the St. Paul Saints. Zawada played in five games for St. Paul before landing on the injured list, he was later placed on waivers and claimed by Sioux Falls where he went on to play in three games for the Canaries. In total Zawada appeared in eight total games in 2020, hitting .364 with a home run, a double, three RBI as well as drawing three walks.
Playing for Sioux City in 2019, he was one of only two X’s hitters that hit double digit home runs, with Jose Sermo being the other one. In 77 games, Zawada, hit for a .263 average with 48 RBI, and 37 runs scored. He showcased more of his power with 20 doubles.
Zawada briefly made a stop in the Frontier League in 2017, playing in only five games, registering just two hits in 12 at bats with one of those knocks being a double. Zawada’s brief professional debut came after he left Arizona State during his senior year. He had seen a good amount of playing time his junior year, hitting eight homers and six doubles with 20 RBI in 47 games. But the following season saw his playing time reduced, playing in only five of the Sun Devils first 19 games of the season. Realizing his diminished role on the team he decided it was best to leave and move on to professional baseball.
Zawada’s most successful collegiate season came when he was a sophomore at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. There he hit for an incredible .394 average, crushing 18 home runs, 13 doubles and recording five triples. In 55 games he drove in 65 RBI and scored 51 runs. Of his 87 hits, 12.3% of them were home runs and 41.4% went for extra bases. Zawada was responsible for 18 of the Cougars 29 homers during a season in which they went 34-25. Those numbers earned him First-Team All Conference and All-Region honors.
With the signings of Zawada and Harris the Explorers have two players signed to a 2021 contract.
by Connor Ryan, Sioux City Explorers