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Explorers Infield Takes Shape

April 15, 2021 - American Association (AA) - Sioux City Explorers News Release

Sioux City, IA - The Sioux City Explorers have announced the signings of INF DJ Burt and C Mitch Ghelfi.

The 2021 season will be Burt's seventh season of professional baseball and his first with the Explorers.

Burt was a fourth round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals back in 2014 out of Fuquay-Varina High School in North Carolina. He has spent all six seasons in professional baseball with the Royals, reaching as high as Double-A.

Burt in his career has showcased elite speed and base stealing ability. In 533 affiliate minor league games, the 25 year old has 160 stolen bases. Other than his rookie year in 2014, in which he played in only 49 games, Burt has stolen at least 18 bases in a season. He has finished in the top ten each year in stolen bases since 2015. In three straight campaigns from 2016-18, Burt stole at least 32 bases, including a career high 43 in 2016 with Single-A, Lexington.

In 2018, Burt was named a Carolina League All-Star when playing for the High-A, Wilmington Blue Rocks. In 111 games he hit at a .280 clip, scoring 72 runs, with 14 doubles and seven triples and swiping 32 bags.

The North Carolina native's final season with Kansas City was in 2019 with Double-A, Northwest Arkansas. Reaching his highest level in the farm system, he appeared in 80 hames hitting .226. He scored 24 times, driving in 13 with seven doubles and 26 stolen bases.

Over his career with the Royals, Burt hit .253, scoring 295 runs with 63 doubles and 27 triples.

Burt spent two winters playing in the ABL with the Melbourne Aces. In 55 total games with Melbourne between 2018 and 2019, Burt hit for a .338 batting average with 21 stolen bases, 38 runs scored, and 22 RBI. He played alongside current Explorers, Nate Samson and Patrick Ledet in 2019 helping guide the Aces to the Claxton Shield and an ABL title.

Burt will slide into the vacant second base spot on the X's roster, a position he played 372 games at during his career.

Mitch Ghelfi will be entering his seventh season of professional baseball and his first with the Explorers.

Ghelfi received his first taste of independent baseball in 2020 while playing for the St. Paul Saints. In 30 games he hit for a .263 average with three homers, 20 RBI, five doubles and ten runs. Defensively playing in 28 games as a catcher, Ghelfi threw out eight runners. He finished second in the American Association among qualified candidates throwing out 24% of base stealers.

The switch hitting backstop was drafted out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee after his junior season by the hometown Milwaukee Brewers in the 28th round of the 2015 MLB draft.

He spent four seasons in the Brewers farm system. In his second season while playing for the Class A affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Ghelfi was named a Midwest League All-Star. And after hitting a scintillating, .456 during the month of July was named Brewers minor league player of the month.

Ghelfi reached as high as Double A Biloxi in 2018 before being released by Milwaukee. He was quickly picked up by the Angels and sent to Double A, Mobile where he played out the remainder of the 2018 season before being released by the Halos and picked up by the Mets.

The Mets have been Ghelfi's last affiliated stop despite a successful campaign. In 2019, Ghelfi played in 57 games, hitting .240 with 21 RBI, and 24 runs scored. He threw out a career high 21 runners, catching base stealers at an incredible 51% clip.

In five minor league seasons Ghelfi hit for a .270 average with ten home runs, 112 RBI, 117 runs scored and 47 doubles while defensively throwing out 36% of base stealers.

Mitch comes from a talented baseball family. His Father, Andy Ghelfi, was a 1985, 2nd round draft pick out of Indiana State by the Cleveland Indians and spent five seasons primarily as a starting pitcher for the Tribe. His older brother Drew pitched at the University of Minnesota and was also drafted by the Brewers and played for the Saints back in 2014. His younger brother Zach played collegiately at UNC-Pembroke.

With the signings of INF DJ Burt and C Mitch Ghelfi the Explorers have now signed 24 players to a 2021 contract (15 pitchers, 9 position players)

LHP Brett Adcock

RHP Tyler Beardsley

RHP Nick Belzer

RHP Brandon Brosher

RHP Nate Gercken

RHP Kent Hasler

RHP Dylan Hecht

RHP Danny Hrbek

RHP Max Kuhns

LHP Jairo Labourt

LHP Patrick Ledet

RHP Matt Quintana

RHP Joe Riley

RHP Carlos Sierra

LHP Jose Velez Jr

C Justin Felix

C Mitch Ghelfi


INF Nate Samson

INF Jose Sermo

INF Jared Walker

OF Chase Harris

OF Eury Perez

OF Sebastian Zawada

The Sioux City Explorers 29th year in Siouxland will begin at MercyOne Field at Lewis and Clark Park on May 18th versus the Houston Apollos. There will be an open house for our brand new box office and team shop on April 23rd beginning at noon. Tickets purchased that day at the box office will be 50% off and new team merchandise purchased at the team store that day will be 20% off.

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