Goldeyes Land High-Minors Talent
WINNIPEG, MB - The Winnipeg Goldeyes signed first baseman Dominic Ficociello and right-handed pitcher Parker French on Wednesday.
Ficociello (pronounced FEE-kuh-chell-oh) played all of 2018 for the Double-A Eastern League's Erie SeaWolves (Detroit Tigers), hitting .268 with 15 doubles, eight home runs, and 56 RBI in 97 games played. The Anaheim, California native hit .320 with runners in scoring position (103 at bats), and .295 with two outs and runners in scoring position (44 at bats). During the 2017 season, Ficociello earned All-Star honours with Erie, while finishing fourth in the Eastern League in batting average (.306) and second in on-base percentage (.379). Ficociello's 2017 campaign also led to his first promotion to the Triple-A level where he played 35 games for the International League's Toledo Mud Hens.
"I'm pleased that both Dominic and Parker have decided to play for us in 2019," said Goldeyes' manager Rick Forney. "Dominic is a switch-hitting, middle-of-the-lineup run-producer who could play as many as four or five positions for us."
Ficociello heads into his seventh season of professional baseball, and was originally drafted by the Tigers in the 12th round in 2013 out of the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, Arkansas). The 27-year-old is a lifetime .273 hitter with a .341 on-base percentage, and has averaged 79 runs scored, 32 doubles, 10 home runs, 71 RBI, and 59 walks per 162 games. Defensively, Ficociello has a career .994 fielding percentage at first base, and was voted Minor League Baseball's Gold Glove winner (encompasses all levels of the affiliated minor leagues) at the position in 2015.
A switch-hitter and right-handed defender, Baseball America voted Ficociello "Best Defensive First Baseman" in the Low-A Midwest League in 2014, and Ficociello led his league in fielding percentage at first base three consecutive years from 2014-16. Ficociello has also succeeded on defence at second base (.971 fielding percentage, 51 games), third base (.940 fielding percentage, 45 games), and left field (.979 fielding percentage and five assists, 57 games).
Ficociello has demonstrated consistency as a professional, collecting at least one base hit in 449 of 672 games played (67 percent). The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Ficociello hit a combined .294 with 108 RBI in 174 games for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 2011-13, and was selected to the US National Collegiate Team following his freshman season in 2011.
French has pitched exclusively for the Double-A Eastern League's Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies) the past two years, combining for nine wins and 188.2 innings of work. The Austin, Texas native made 24 starts for Hartford in 2017, walking two batters or less in 16 of them, and logging six or more innings on 14 occasions. French also posted a 1.47 ground-out-to-air-out ratio (2018 Major League average was 1.03).
French began his professional career by excelling in two of Minor League Baseball's toughest pitching environments. As a true rookie in 2015, French finished 13th in the Rookie level Pioneer League with a 3.72 ERA. The following season, French led the High-A California League with a 2.85 ERA. No qualifying California League pitcher has matched French's 2.85 ERA since. Combined with his four starts for the Low-A South Atlantic League's Asheville Tourists, French led all of Minor League Baseball with 177.2 innings in 2016.
"Parker will compete for a rotation spot, and I'm hopeful that we can get him throwing the ball the way he was back in 2016," said Forney. "Parker has good velocity and sink on his fastball, and I think he will keep our infielders quite busy."
In four seasons as a professional, French is 21-29 with a 4.69 ERA in 89 games, 70 of them as a starting pitcher. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound French has walked just seven percent of his career batters faced (414.2 innings pitched), and has a lifetime 1.66 ground-out-to-air-out ratio. French has held the opposition to three earned runs or less in 45 of his 70 career professional starts, and has walked two batters or less in 56 of them. The Rockies drafted French in the fifth round in 2015 out of the University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas). French was a combined 22-15 with three saves and a 2.60 ERA for the Longhorns from 2012-15, and served as the program's "Friday night starter" during his sophomore season in 2013. French carries valuable LS-3 classification in the American Association.
Additionally, the Goldeyes have traded left-handed pitcher Jose Jose to the Can-Am League's Sussex County Miners in exchange for cash. Jose was signed on February 4th, and was a combined 3-3 with 11 saves and a 3.96 ERA last season for the Lincoln Saltdogs and Atlantic League's Somerset Patriots.
Wednesday's transactions bring the Goldeyes to 26 players under contract for the 2019 season. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which begins May 4th.
2019 Winnipeg Goldeyes Signings
CF Reggie Abercrombie
RHP Mitchell Aker
LHP Joel Bender
RHP Brandon Bingel
RHP Victor Capellan
RHP Jack Charleston
3B Wes Darvill
1B Dominic Ficociello
RHP Parker French
C Kevin Garcia
OF Willy Garcia
RHP Tyler Garkow
OF James Harris
RHP Landon Hughes
IF Kevin Lachance
LHP Mitchell Lambson
SS Adrian Marin
RHP Kevin McAvoy
LHP Kevin McGovern
2B Alex Perez
1B Correlle Prime
RHP Devin Raftery
OF Josh Romanski
LHP Robby Sexton
RHP Dylan Thompson
C Louis Touron
The Winnipeg Goldeyes open the 2019 season on May 16th against the Texas AirHogs on the road. The Goldeyes' 2019 home opener is scheduled for Friday, May 24th versus the Kansas City T-Bones. 2019 season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group tickets are on sale now. For more information, call the Goldeyes' office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes' official website at www.goldeyes.com.
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