X's Offense Starting to Load Up
Sioux City, IA - The Sioux City Explorers today have announced a pair of signings. INF John Brontsema will be entering his fifth season in professional baseball and first with Sioux City and OF Chase Harris will be entering his sixth professional season and first with the Explorers.
Brontsema was first acquired by the Explorers in a trade in December. Last season he was fantastic for the Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am league. In 68 games he posted a .314 batting average and held a career high slugging percentage of .436. He also led the team with 18 doubles. He drove in 34 RBI, scored 39 runs and was second on the team in stolen bases with 14. He split time on the defensive side of the ball between shortstop and third base putting together a .922 fielding percentage between the two positions. He was also named to the Can-Am League All-Star team and converted the second longest hitting streak in the league at 15 games.
A 26th round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals in 2016 after a three year career at UC Irvine where he helped the Anteaters reach the College World Series in his freshman season. In college he hit for a career .253 average with an OBP of .334. He broke into the professional ranks in 2016 playing most of the season at the rookie level but earning the late season call up to High-A Wilmington. Between the two levels he hit for a .337 average and a .386 on-base percentage. He drove in 24 runs and scored 35 himself.
The following year, the offensively talented infielder split time between Wilmington and class-A Lexington. In 74 total games he hit for a .296 average, got on base at a .381 clip and slugged .435. He hit five home runs with 14 doubles, scoring 36 runs and driving in 23.
The 2018 season saw the Santa Barbara, California native reach his highest level with the Royals organization playing the bulk of that season in double-A Northwest Arkansas. He played in 37 games for the Travelers as well as another four for Wilmington. In his three seasons in the Kansas City Royals farm system he played in 165 games he put together a .296 average, collecting 28 doubles, scoring 90 runs, driving in 57 runners and swiping 20 bags.
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. He spent 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. Last season for the Rockland Boulders hit .218 but got on base at a .300 clip and wrecked havoc once he was on the base paths notching 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 last year that netted the Boulders RHP JD Busfield from the X's. Busfield went on to make 16 starts for the Boulders compiling a 7-3 record and a 4.45 ERA.
In other translations for Sioux City, RHP Tyler Newell, who was acquired in the same trade as Brontsema, has had his contract purchased by the Tampa Bay Rays. He becomes the first Sioux City Explorer to have his contract purchased by a major league organization in 2020.
With the additions of INF John Brontsema and OF Chase Harris the Sioux City Explorers have now signed 16 players (12 Pitchers, 4 position players) to a 2020 contract.
LHP Matt Marksberry
RHP Joe Riley
RHP Ryan Flores
RHP Liam O'Sullivan
RHP Tyler Cloyd
RHP Nate Gercken
RHP Ben Yokley
RHP AJ Nitzschke
LHP Jairo Labourt
RHP Matt Pobereyko
LHP Winston Lavendier
LHP Raudel Lazo
INF John Brontsema
OF Chase Harris
OF Sebastian Zawada
OF Ricky Ramirez Jr.
The Sioux City Explorers 28th season in Siouxland will begin on May 19th at the Kansas City T-Bones. The X's open up their home schedule on May 26th against the Sioux Falls Canaries. Season tickets, flex tickets, group tickets and luxury suites are now for sale for all 50 Explorers home games for the 2020 season. Simply call (712) 277-WINS (9467) to order your ticket package today.
• Discuss this story on the American Association message board...
American Association Stories from March 6, 2020
- Cleburne Signs Power Lefty Foriest - Cleburne Railroaders
- X's Offense Starting to Load Up - Sioux City Explorers
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.