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 Tri-City ValleyCats

Fan-Favorite Oscar Campos Returns to the 'Cats in Flurry of Roster Moves

February 5, 2024 - Frontier League (FL)
Tri-City ValleyCats News Release


TROY, NY - The Tri-City ValleyCats announced on Monday the newest Building the Roster Update with Curtis Lumber. C Oscar Campos has signed a contract extension, and will be suiting up for his fourth season with the ValleyCats after playing for the club in 2018, 2021, and 2023. Speedsters CF Jaxon Hallmark and INF Robbie Merced both signed extensions as well. Meanwhile, Tri-City signed two new pitchers; LHP Alfredo Ruiz, who played for three years in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, and RHP Nathan Medrano, who spent last season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the MLB Draft League.

Campos had a terrific season for Tri-City in 2023. He latched on with the ValleyCats on July 18, and was an instant spark plug for the team, belting a home run in back-to-back games in a twinbill sweep in Ottawa on July 19 with two consecutive multi-RBI performances. The Venezuelan backstop finished the season batting .322 with seven homers and 29 RBI in 38 games. In his career with Tri-City, Campos was part of the 2018 championship team, and has hit at a .289 clip with 13 long balls, and 78 RBI in 144 career games. The 27-year-old is entering his 11th professional season, nine of which have come in affiliated ball, splitting time between the Houston Astros and New York Mets organizations. Campos signed as a 17-year-old with Houston in 2014, and reached as far as Triple-A with the Syracuse Mets last year.

Hallmark claimed the starting center fielder job by mid-June after bouncing around between second, third, and left field. The Midland, Texas native showcased his wheels on the grass, demonstrating incredible range in the outfield and making highlight reel catches. The University of Nebraska product swiped a 'Cats single-season record of 33 stolen bases, surpassing Brantley Bell's 32 thefts during his 2022 MVP campaign. Hallmark also batted .276 with eight roundtrippers and 67 runs scored in 89 games. Before joining Tri-City, he spent two years in the Houston Astros organizations, and stole 20 bags for Single-A Fayetteville in 2022.

Merced made his professional debut with Tri-City last season. One of the biggest moments of the ValleyCats 2023 campaign was his two-run walk-off homer against the Schaumburg Boomers on June 29 in an 11-10 comeback victory. The Central Methodist University product played in 37 games, and racked up five homers and 11 stolen bases. The Springfield, Mo. native served as a utility player who received reps at every position with the exception of catcher, pitcher, and center field. Merced hails from baseball royalty, as both his grandfather, Bill Virdon, and father, Orlando, played in the Majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Virdon played on the 1960 World Series winning Pirates team, and was on the same club as Roberto Clemente, Robbie's namesake. Meanwhile, Orlando finished second in the NL ROY voting in 1991 to Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell.

Ruiz was selected in the sixth round (181st overall) by the Cardinals in 2021 out of California State University, Long Beach after spending his junior year in the rotation with the Dirtbags, which netted him second-team Big West Conference honors. The Santa Fe Springs, Calif. product climbed the organizational ladder each year. He reached as far as High-A Peoria in 2023, and closed out the season with five consecutive scoreless outings. Across 44 games (one start), Ruiz held a 5-2 record and 3.58 ERA in 65.1 innings in the Minor Leagues.

In 2023, Medrano spent his first professional season mostly as a starter with the Scrappers, a former New York-Penn League baseball club. The Texas State University graduate earned Pitcher of the Week honors after twirling seven shutout frames on 117 pitchers against the Williamsport Crosscutters on July 19. Prior to his tenure with the Bobcats, the Gilroy, Calif. native played at several other colleges in the Lone Star State including St. Edward's University, Temple College, and the University of Houston; he picked up second-team all-conference honors in 2019 and 2021.

Season 22 of ValleyCats baseball and entertainment continues as ticket plans and group outings are available to purchase. Each ticket plan includes multiple fireworks dates to enjoy. You can be a part of the excitement by logging on to tcvalleycats.com or by calling 518-629-CATS (2287).


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