Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Review: April Update
With the 2015 American Association season rapidly approaching the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks upped their game in March, making a series of moves to prepare the team for the upcoming season. The addition of Joe Dunigan in February really bolstered the team’s offense, as did the signing of Drew Muren, and some key pitching moves have made the RedHawks a force to be reckoned with.
On March 3 Fargo-Moorhead signed Joe Dunnigan to a contract for this upcoming season. They also traded LHP Joe Harris to York of the Atlantic League. The lefty had been a key piece of the RedHawks bullpen in 2014, posting a 4-3 record in 36 appearances with a 2.31 ERA.
The following day the club acquired RHP Ty Kelley from New Jersey of the Can-Am League in exchange for cash and a player to be named later. The right-hander was a solid performer in the Jackals bullpen last season, posting a 2-3 record in 39 appearances with a 3.33 ERA. In 54 innings pitched he showed masterful control, walking just 10 while striking out 48.
The addition of Kelley was a big one for the RedHawks bullpen in the eyes of manager Doug Simunic. “Ty did a nice job with New Jersey last year and we think he can pitch major innings out of our bullpen this season. He has closing experience and the ability to pitch on back-to-back days, which are both things we really like.”
One day after the Kelley acquisition, LHP Brandon Mann was signed by the club. Mann will be entering his tenth season in professional baseball in 2015. Last year he split time between Lancaster of the Atlantic League and Altoona, the Pittsburgh Pirates AA team. He pitched well, combining to go 3-6 in 34 appearances, including 8 starts, with a 3.61 ERA. The lefty can bring the heat, striking out 82 in 84.2 innings pitched.
The Fargo-Moorhead manager sees Mann as a premier starter for the club. “We feel Brandon can come in and be the ace of our rotation. He has put together a very solid career, including pitching in the Japanese Major Leagues, and think he can have a lot of success in the American Association.”
On March 17, the RedHawks added two pitchers to the staff. RHP Taylor Stanton was re-signed by the club. In 2014 the righty was 6-11 with a 4.90 ERA in 20 starts. In 2013 the right-hander was the American Association Pitcher of the Year after posting a 9-4 record and a 2.43 ERA in 19 starts.
LHP Tyler Fletcher was also signed on the same day. Fletcher was a standout at the University of South Carolina-Sumter.
On March 19, the RedHawks brought in two new additions, including the signing of OF Drew Muren. Muren had a phenomenal season last year, splitting time between Gary and Sioux Falls. He struggled with the Canaries, hitting .192 in 19 games, but after coming to the RailCats was a hitting machine. In 67 games he batted .311 with 7 home runs and 37 RBI. He also posted an outstanding .363 on-base percentage and scored 40 runs.
LHP Alex Sogard also was signed by Fargo-Moorhead, and he should be a big arm for the team’s bullpen. Last season he split time between Mobile, the Arizona Diamondbacks AA team, and Corpus Christi, the Houston Astros AA organization. The lefty struggled at Mobile, posting a 9.82 ERA in 15 appearances, but at Corpus Christi he was dominant, going 1-1 with a 2.91 ERA.
On March 27, the RedHawks signed four players, RHPs Alex Powers and Michael Noteware, C Charlie Valerio, and INF Michael Garcia. Powers was with the Chicago White Sox organization his first two professional seasons. He pitched for Great Falls, the club’s rookie league team, and Kannapolis, their Mid-A club, in 2014. Combined he was 3-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 24 appearances, but was dominant at Great Falls, posting a 1.54 ERA in 11 appearances, including two saves.
Noteware pitched well for the Yankees rookie league team, going 3-0 in 19 appearances with a 3.03 ERA. He also pitched one game for the Yankees High-A team. He has good stuff and the righty has great control of his pitches. In 30.2 innings pitched he walked just 6, while striking out 30.
Valerio played five seasons for the Cleveland Indians organization. He began last season with their High-A Carolina club last season, before moving to AA-Akron. Between the two he hit .250 in 26 games.
Garcia was out all of last season, but in 2013 he played for Rio Grande Valley in the United League. There he hit .247 in 52 games with a homer and 13 RBI.
On April 6, RHP Steven Thompson was signed by the RedHawks. This will be the right-handers first season of professional baseball. The last two seasons he pitched for Lewis & Clarke State College where he was a combined 11-6 in two seasons with an outstanding 2.71 ERA.
Three days later RHP Bryan Bough was signed by the club. He has pitched for the Chicago White Sox organization the last four years, including splitting time between Winston-Salem (High-A) and Birmingham (AA) last year. Combined he was 3-6 with a 3.70 ERA.
By Robert Pannier