Looking Back Uncategorized

Crawdads Strikeout History

(The following story is based on records I have at my disposal since 2005, as well as sporadic records kept by the Crawdads prior to that season. If others have further information, I welcome their inclusion here and will update.)

At Thursday’s home-opener win over Kannapolis, the Hickory Crawdads tied a club record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game. The trio of Jake Latz (8), Tai Tiedemann (5) and Nick Snyder (4) struck out 17 hitters during a 4-1 win.

With that game in mind, I thought Crawdads fans might want a look back at some of the other big strikeout games in the team’s history.

Hickory first registered 17 Ks in a nine-inning game back on May 25, 2009 in a game at Hagerstown, Md, when a pair of future major leaguers turned the trick. Right-hander Jake Brigham twirled the first five innings of shutout baseball, striking out eight and allowing three hits. Martin Perez then came in and upstaged him. The 18-year-old left-hander, then one of the pitching prospects in the minors, struck out nine over four innings and finished off a seven-hit shutout in a 6-0 win.

The individual pitcher with the most strikeouts in a single game was right-hander Jason Lakman, who on July 31, 1997 struck out 16. During that contest, he became one of the few pitchers in baseball history to struck out five in one inning when he turned the trick in the fifth.

The all-time single-game record for the team in a came back in August 2000 as part of a game that set the South Atlantic League record for most combined strikeouts in a game. Asheville and Hickory played 20 innings that day and rang up 53 strikeouts. In what was a loss, the Crawdads pitchers set 23 down on strikes. Unfortunately, the Hickory hitters set the league’s record for most whiffs in a game when they fanned 30 times.

The Crawdads got close to catching that mark a couple of times. During a 17-inning affair on May 9, 2015, Brett Martin (4), Trey Lambert (2), Adam Parks (7), David Perez (6) and Kelvin Vasquez (3) combined to strikeout 22 against Savannah. Their chance to catch and break the club mark ended on Crawdads walk-off homer by Jose Cardona.

The Crawdads has two other extra-inning games during which they struck out 20 or more batters. In a home game on May 4, 2010 against Asheville. Two future major league pitchers were among a quartet of Crawdads hurlers that fanned 20 during a 13-inning game. Starter Joe Wieland (8) and closer Josh Lueke (5), both of whom would go onto the big leagues, collected 13 with Braden Tullis (5) and Hector Nelo (2) filling in for seven others.

The other 20+ strikeout contest came during a loss in 19 innings to Rome (Ga.) on May 15, 2016. Peter Fairbanks had a pedestrian four over six innings with Blake Bass added two more in the seventh and eighth. Reliever and future big leaguer Jeffrey Springs had five over three innings before Omarlin Lopez dominated the Braves with eight in five innings. Sitting at 19 after 16 innings, the club record was in reach. Matt Ball tallied just one more in the 17th and 18th innings. With the Crawdads out of fresh arms, position player Dylan Moore threw in the 19th and was not able to register a K.

Series Preview Uncategorized

Series Preview: Augusta (S.C.) at Hickory Crawdads June 24-26

Augusta GreenJackets (San Francisco) (39-32 overall, 2-1 second-half T-2nd SAL South), at Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (30-41, 0-3 7th SAL North)

If You Plan to Go:

GAME TIMES: Sunday 5 p.m., Monday 7 p.m., Tuesday noon.



Sunday – Mascot Mayhem

Monday – Make a Difference Monday, YMCA Hit and Spin


TICKETS: $9 dollars for regular seats, $14 for VIP section.

WHERE IS IT?: Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

CONCESSIONS: L.P. Frans Stadium has two main concession areas plus the Crawdads Café. The concession stands have your basic ballpark food: Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwich, BBQ, etc. Here is that menu

The Crawdad Café has a menu that features more diverse items, including the Mac & Crawdog, Banana Foster Bites, Fried Pickles, Sloppy Burger, and more. Click here for the menu


PROBABLES (West Virginia/ Hickory)

Sunday: RHP Aaron Phillips vs. RHP Tyree Thompson

Monday: LHP Joey Marciano vs. LHP Martin Perez (rehab start)

Tuesday: RHP Jose Marte vs. RHP Tyler Phillips


Recent Series History:

Augusta and Hickory split a four-game series at L.P. Frans Stadium in the only series played by the two teams in 2017. The Crawdads have had trouble with Augusta at home during both the current affiliation with the Rangers and during the previous affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since the San Francisco Giants hooked up with Augusta in 2005, the GreenJackets are 47-35 overall, 28-18 at L.P. Frans. Since 2009, which is the start of the Crawdads/ Rangers affiliation, Hickory has won just one series at home, that coming in April of 2011. Since then, Augusta is 15-7 at Hickory. Oddly, the Crawdads have not played at Augusta since winning 2 of 3 there in 2016.


About the Crawdads:

Hickory started the season 0-6 and it is in danger of starting the second half in similar fashion. The Crawdads were swept in three games by West Virginia to open the second half and have lost five in a row stretching back to the all-star break. The team is also hoping to avoid losing records in both half-seasons, which hasn’t happened since 2009… Now 10-12 in June, the Crawdads are looking to snap out of a funk on all facets of the game. This month, Hickory is last in the SAL in team ERA (4.67) and next to last in batting average (.231). Stout defensively much of the year, the team had five errors the last three games. They currently are fourth in fielding pct. Up the middle, the Crawdads shortstops and second basemen have combined for just 20 errors.

Prospects to watch- Hickory (rankings are by

OF Bubba Thompson (No. 6): 2018 stats: .240/.307/.408, 8 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 11 BB, 40 K, 7 SB. Last series vs. West Virginia: 0-for-13, BB, 3 K. First-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of McGill-Toolen High, Mobile, AL.

OF Pedro Gonzalez (No. 9) 2018 stats: .222/.276/.403, 10 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 12 BB, 60 K, 6 SB, 1 CS. Last series vs. West Virginia: 2-for-12 2B, BB, 3 K. Obtained by the Rangers in 2017 from the Colorado Rockies for Jonathan Lucroy. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R.

RHP AJ Alexy (No. 16): 2018 stats: 12 games (10 starts), 53.2 IP, 43 H, 33 R (27 ER), 3 HR, 7 HB, 34 BB, 70 K, 4.53 ERA, .223 OBA, 1.43 WHIP. Last series vs. West Virginia: 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R (4 ER), 1 HR, 2 BB, 4 K. Joined the Crawdads after a trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers. Originally 11th round pick of Dodgers out of Twin Valley HS, Elverson, Pa. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 3rd walks, T-5th hit batters.

C-1B Sam Huff (No. 24): 2018 stats: .240/.299/.417, 12 2B, 8 HR, 10 BB, 62 K, 1 SB Last series vs. West Virginia: 2-for-11, HR, BB, 3 K. Seventh round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of Arcadia HS (Phoenix, Ariz.). Named to the SAL All-Star Game.

RHP Tyler Phillips (No. 29): 2018 stats: 12 games (12 starts) 70 IP, 7-5 H, 30 R (28 ER), 3 HR, 1 HB, 7 BB, 61 K, 3.60 ERA, .274 OBA, 1.17 WHIP. Last start 6/15 at Lakewood (NJ): 6 IP, 11 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 HR, 5 K. Sixteenth-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Bishop Eustace HS, Pennsauken, N.J. Native of Lumberton N.J. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st walks-per-9-inning ratio among starters (0.90). Named to the SAL All-Star Game.

Others to watch – Hickory:

LHP Martin Perez: 2018 stats at Texas: 5 games (5 starts), 22.1 IP, 41 H, 25 R (24 ER), 7 HR, 12 BB, 13 K, 9.67 ERA, .398 OBA, 2.37 WHIP. Making an injury rehab start on Monday, it will be his first game action since being placed on the disabled list on April 30th with discomfort in his right (non-pitching) elbow. Perez made 22 appearances (14 starts) for Hickory) in 2009. Started a combined, 7-inning no-hitter for Hickory on 4/11/09, just one week after his 18th birthday.

RHP Tyree Thompson: 2018 stats: 12 games (11 starts), 58.2 IP, 60 H, 33 R (26 ER), 7 HR, 3 HB, 20 BB, 33 K, 3.99 ERA, .262 OBA, 1.36 WHIP. Last start 5/16 at Lakewood (NJ): 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 HR, 3 BB, 6 K. Twenty-sixth-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Edna Karr HS, New Orleans.

RHP Alex Eubanks: 2018 stats: 12 games (12 starts), 63 IP, 76 H, 45 R (44 ER), 11 HR, 4 HB, 17 BB, 69 K, 6.29 ERA, .298 OBA, 1.48 WHIP. Last start 6/17 at Lakewood (NJ): 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 HR, 3 BB, 6 K. Fourteenth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Clemson. Attended Byrnes High in Moore, S.C. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-3rd earned runs allowed, 4th home runs allowed, 8th runs allowed, T-9th hits allowed.

C Yohel Pozo: 2018 stats: .265/.309/.420, 11 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 14 BB, 29 K. This season vs. West Virginia:7-for-30, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 K. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2013. A native of Maracaibo, Venezuela. Named to the SAL All-Star Game. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 5th plate appearance to strikeout ratio (8.14).

About the GreenJackets:

Managed by Jolbert Cabrera in his first season with the team… Augusta was in the running for the first-half Southern Division title and were 3.5 games ahead of Rome (Ga.) after a win on June 1. Then the bottom fell out. The GreenJackets 11 straight as part of a 1-14 stretch and Augusta went on to finish tied for second, 2.5 games behind Rome. The GreenJackets got a minor measure of revenge to open the second half by taking 2 of 3 at home from the Braves… The offense disappeared much of the time during the losing streak and as a team they currently last in the SAL this month at .222. The GreenJackets scored just 46 runs during the 1-14 stretch, including seven games in which they scored two or fewer runs. The offense leads the SAL in strikeouts and is second in walks accepted. When the GreenJackets get on base, they are liking going. Augusta is second in the SAL in steal attempts (120) and third in successful steals (76)… For the most part, the pitching staff has held its own this season. The team ERA of 2.92 is second in the SAL and they have 10 shutouts. Augusta has allowed the second fewest hits, is second in strikeouts and have the third lowest WHIP (1.17).

Prospects to watch-Augusta (rankings by

CF Heliot Ramos (No.1, No. 74 overall prospect): 2018 stats: .240/.319/.384, 16 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 23 BB, 73 K, 4 SB, 6 CS. Last series vs. Rome: 2-for-12, 2B, 1 BB, 3 K. First-round pick of the Giants in 2017 out of Leadership Christian in Guaynabo, P.R. Native of Humacao, P.R. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-10 2Bs.

3B Jacob Gonzalez (No. 10): 2018 stats: .248/.305/.364, 11 2B, 6 HR, 15 BB, 61 K, 7 SB, 5 CS. Last series vs. Rome: 2-for-12, 2B, HR, 3 K. Second-round pick of the Giants in 2017 out of Chaparral HS in Scottsdale, AZ.

RHP Garrett Cave (No. 19) 2018 stats: 14 games (13 starts), 56 IP, 53 H, 32 R (27 ER), 2 HR, 6 HB, 38 BB, 59 K, 4.34 ERA, .248 OBA, 1.63 WHIP. Last start 6/22 vs. Rome: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 6 K. Fourth-round pick of the Giants in 2017 out of University of Tampa. Also played college ball at Florida International Univ. Attended South Sumter HS in Bushnell, FL. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st walks, T-7th HB.


Others to watch- Augusta:

RHP Aaron Phillips: 2018 stats: 6 games (5 starts), 30.1 IP, 33 H, 19 R (13 ER), 4 HR, 4 HB, 2 BB, 33 K, 3.86 ERA, .264 OBA, 1.15 WHIP. Last start 5/23 vs. Charleston (SC): 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 8 K. Making his first start since being place on DL June 1. Ninth-round pick of the Giants in 2017 out of St. Bonaventure Univ. Attended Cleveland Hill HS in Cheektowaga, NY.

LHP Joey Marciano: 2018 stats: 12 games (11 starts), 65.2 IP, 58 H, 22 R, 17 ER, 3 HR, 1 HB, 15 BB, 59 K, 2.33 ERA, .239 OBA, 1.11 WHIP. Last start 6/15 at Asheville: 5 IP, 10 H, 4 R (4 ER), 5 K. Thirty-sixth round pick of the Giants in 2017 out of Southern Illinois Univ. Also played college ball at John A. Logan CC (Ill.) Attended Roberto Clemente HS in Chicago. Related to boxing great Rocky Marciano.

RHP Jose Marte: 2018 stats: 13 games (13 starts), 61.2 IP, 59 H, 27 R (23 ER), 4 HR, 1 HB, 23 BB, 64 K, 3.36 ERA, .247 OBA, 1.33 WHIP. Last start 6/21 vs. Rome: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 HR. Signed as an international free agent by the Giants in 2015.

1B Ryan Kirby: 2018 stats: .228/.313/.443, 16 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 25 BB, 78 K, 4 SB, 1 CS. Last series vs. Rome: 2-for-8, HR, 3 BB, 2 K. Twelfth-round pick of the Giants in 2017 out of Univ. of San Diego. Attended Granada HS in Livermore, CA. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-5th HR, 7th Ks, T-10th doubles

RF Logan Baldwin: 2018 stats: .251/.309/.391, 12 2B, 6 3B, 3 HR, 13 BB, 76 K, 16 SB, 6 CS. Last series vs. Rome: 0-for-7, 2 BB, 6 K. Twenty-first round pick of the Giants in 2017 out of Georgia Southern Univ. Attended Ringgold (Ga.) HS. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-2nd SB, T-3rd triples, 9th Ks.

SS Manuel Geraldo: 2018 stats .277/.330/.410, 7 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 18 BB, 61 K, 176 SB, 7 CS. Last series vs. Rome: 2-for-13, 2 K. Signed as international free agent by the Giants in 2013. Native of Azua, D.R. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-10th SB.

Alumni Uncategorized

Former Crawdads on Opening-Day MLB Rosters

The 2018 Major League Baseball season has begun and across the landscape former Hickory Crawdads dot the big-league rosters. Thirty-two former players are on 16 different teams, including 11 with the Texas Rangers, the parent club of the Crawdads.

Below is an overview of where former Hickory players will start the 2018 season:


Texas Rangers:

Alex Claudio: The 2013 Crawdads reliever will bring his changeup to the Rangers for his fifth season at Arlington. Claudio posted 11 saves and a 2.50 ERA over 70 games (8th in the AL) last year. He again is expected to be a key member of the Rangers bullpen.

Claudio, Alexander

Joey Gallo: The Crawdads single-season home run record holder joins the Rangers for his fourth season in the majors. A third baseman for the 2013 team, Gallo will start at first for Texas. He is coming off a season in which he hit 41 homers (third in the AL) and slugged .537 (9th).


Keone Kela: Another Crawdads reliever from the 2013 club returns to the Rangers for his fourth big-league season. Kela is expected to be the closer for the Texas, one season after posting a 2.79 ERA and struck out 51 in 38.2 innings (39 games).

Keone Kela 3

Jose Leclerc: A third reliever off the 2013 Crawdads squad will be in his third season with the Rangers, but his first on the opening-day roster. He appeared in 47 games out of the Texas bullpen in 2017 and put up a 3.94 ERA. Opposing hitters hit just .145 against Leclerc, who struck out 60 in 45.2 innings.

Jose Leclerc action

Nomar Mazara: The Crawdads right fielder in 2013 and 2014 will be in his third season with Texas to start the season. Mazara posted a .253/.323/.422 slash in 2017 with 20 homers and 101 RBI (9th in the AL). He opens the season as the Rangers starting right fielder.

Nomar Mazara 2

Rougned Odor: The Crawdads 2012 second baseman suits up for Texas in his fifth season as the club’s starter at the same position. Though he hit 30 or more homers for his second straight season, Odor struggled at the plate with a .204/.252/.397 slash.

Rougned Odor2

Martin Perez: The 2009 Crawdads starting pitcher will begin the season on the disabled list (right elbow) but is expected to make his first start for the Rangers on April 5. Now in his seventh season, Perez went 13-12 in 32 starts in 2017. He’s looking to improve on a 4.82 ERA and a .301 opponents batting avg.

Perez 2

Jurickson Profar: The 2011 Crawdads shortstop is now in his fifth season with the Rangers after spending much of last year at AAA Round Rock. Profar hit .172/.294/.207 in 22 major league games in 2017. He will play a utility role for Texas.

Jurickson Profar

Drew Robinson: The 2012 Crawdads third baseman is in his second season with the Rangers after making his debut with the club last April. Sent down to AAA Round Rock shortly after his debut, Robinson returned mid-season and hit .224/.314/.439 in 48 games with Texas. He starts the season as a utilityman.

Drew Robinson

Ricardo Rodriguez: The 2014-2015 pitcher for the Crawdads will start the 2018 season on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Rodriguez made his big-league debut with the Rangers last August. In 16 relief appearances, he had a 6.15 ERA in 13 innings.

Ricardo Rodriguez

Ryan Rua: The 2013 Crawdads second baseman is in his fifth major league season with the Rangers and is the team’s starting left fielder. Rua split last season with Texas and AAA Round Rock. With the Rangers, he had a .217/.294/.333 slash with nine extra-base hits in 144 plate appearances.

Ryan Rua HR trot.jpg


Baltimore Orioles:

Richard Bleier:  A starting pitcher at the beginning of the 2009 season, the lefty is in his third major league season, the second with the Orioles. Bleier was called up to stay with the Orioles in May 2017 and became a key part of the team’s bullpen. In 57 games covering 63.1 innings, Bleier went 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA to go with an opponents batting average of .257 and a 1.18 WHIP.

Hickory Crawdads - Richard Bleier


Chicago White Sox:

Leury Garcia: The Crawdads shortstop from 2009-2010 is in his sixth major league season with 215 his 240 big-league games coming with the White Sox. Garcia hit for a MLB career high .270 in 87 games with nine homers and 33 RBI. He will play a utility role, mostly as a fourth outfielder.

Garcia, Leury


Cleveland Indians:

Rajai Davis: The Crawdads 2003 center fielder – he also played a handful of games with the team in 2002 – begins his 13th big-league season by rejoining the Indians. Signed by Cleveland to a minor league contract in the offseason, Davis had a strong spring to make the team. Davis stole 43 bases for Cleveland in 134 games in 2016 and his eighth-inning, three-run homer against Aroldis Chapman in game seven of the 2016 World Series tied the game at the time. He played in 100 games with Oakland last season before going to the Boston Red Sox in a late-season trade. Davis posted a .235/.293/.348 slash and stole 29 bases last year. He will be a fourth outfielder this year for the Indians.


Kansas City Royals:

Justin Grimm: A 2011 starting pitcher for Hickory is now in his seventh major league season, the first with Kansas City. The Royals signed him after the Chicago Cubs released him in spring training. Grimm went 1-2 with a 5.53 ERA in 50 relief appearances last year with the Cubs.

Grimm_Justin 2.jpg


Minnesota Twins:

Zach Duke: A starting pitcher for the Crawdads in 2003, Duke is now in his 14th season in the major leagues and will begin his tenure with the Twins this season out of the bullpen. Coming off 2016 “Tommy John” surgery, Duke made 27 relief appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 with a 3.93 ERA and a .197 OBA in 18.1 innings. He’s expected to be a left-handed specialist for Minnesota.


New York Yankees:

Neil Walker: The 2005 Crawdads catcher is in his 10th major league season, his first with the Yankees after signing a free-agent contract with the club in March. After seven seasons as the starting second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets, Walker moved around the diamond in 2017, first with the Mets and then with the Milwaukee Brewers after a midseason trade. At the plate, Walker posted a .265/.362/.439 slash with 14 homers and 49 RBI. He is expected to play first and second with the Yankees.



Toronto Blue Jays:

Steve Pearce: The 2007 Crawdads first baseman is in his 12th major league season, the second with the Blue Jays. Last year, Pearce was the right-handed part of the Blue Jays platoon in leftfield and is expected to play in the same role in 2018. He hit .252/.319/.438 with 13 homers and 37 RBI in 92 games last year.

Steve Pearce.JPG



Chicago Cubs:

Carl Edwards, Jr.: A member of the Crawdads starting rotation in 2013, Edwards is now in his fourth season as a reliever with the Cubs. In 73 games last season, Edwards had a 2.98 ERA with an opponents batting average of .134 on 66.1 innings. His 25 holds last year was second in the National League. He is expected again to be a key member of the Cubs bullpen.

CJ Edwards


Cincinnati Reds:

Jared Hughes: A starting pitcher for the Crawdads in 2006 and 2007, Hughes enters his eighth season in the big leagues, his first with the Reds after signing a two-year contract in the offseason. Last season with the Milwaukee Brewers, Hughes with 5-3 with a 3.02 ERA and one save. Hughes will pitch out of the bullpen for the Reds.

Hickory Crawdads - Jared Hughes


Los Angeles Dodgers:

Wilmer Font: A starting pitcher for the Crawdads in 2009 and 2010, Font is in his fourth major league season, the second with the Dodgers. Font spent much of 2017 at AAA Oklahoma City where he put together a strong season that led to his selection as the Pacific Coast League pitcher of the year. Font pitched in three games with the Dodgers after rosters expanded in September and gave up seven runs in 3.2 Innings. He’ll pitch out of the bullpen for the Dodgers.

Hickory Crawdads - Wilmer Font


Miami Marlins:

Lewis Brinson: The Crawdads starting center fielder in 2013 and 2014, Brinson has a full-fledged opportunity for the same role in the majors after Brinson was traded to the Marlins in the offseason. Brinson made his big-league debut last summer with the Brewers and went 5-for-47 in 21 games.

Lewis Brinson outfield dive.jpg

Tomas Telis: The Crawdads catcher from 2011 is in his fifth major league season, the fourth with the Marlins. He spent much of 2017 at AAA New Orleans but posted a .240/.279/.367 slash in 48 big-league games. Telis will be the starting catcher for the Marlins due to an injury to J.T. Realmuto

 TRACY PROFFITT | URASTAR IMAGES - Tomas Telis (13) - Hickory Crawdads

Philadelphia Phillies:

Jorge Alfaro:  The Crawdads catcher from 2012 and 2013 will be on his first opening-day roster after parts of two seasons with the Phillies. A midseason all-star at AAA Lehigh Valley, Alfaro hit .314/.360/.514 in 29 games at Philadelphia. He will split time with Andrew Knapp behind the plate.

Jorge Alfaro.jpg

Jerad Eickhoff: The Crawdads starting pitcher in 2012 is in his fourth season with the Phillies, though he starts the season on the disabled list with a strained right lat. In 24 starts last season, Eickhoff went 4-8 with a 4.71 ERA.

Jerad Eickhoff

Odubel Herrera: The starting second baseman for Hickory in 2011, Herrera is now cemented as the Phillies center fielder for the fourth straight season. In 138 games in 2017, he hit .281/.325/.452 with 42 doubles – the third most in the NL – 14 homers and 56 RBI.


Nick Williams: The 2013 starting left fielder for Hickory is in his second season with the Phillies after he made his major league debut for the team last June. Williams went on to hit .288/.338/.473 with 12 homers and 55 RBI in 83 games with the Phillies. He is the starting right fielder.

Nick Williams


Pittsburgh Pirates:

Jordy Mercer: The starting shortstop the second half of the 2008 season with the Crawdads is the final member remaining with Pittsburgh from the former Hickory affiliation with the Pirates that ended in 2008. Now in his seventh season – the sixth as the Bucs shortstop – he is likely on the move in what is his final contract year with Pittsburgh. With the Pirates in 2017, Mercer hit .255/.326/.406 with 14 homers and 58 RBI in 145 games.

Mercer, Jordy.jpg


San Diego Padres:

Robbie Erlin: The 2010 South Atlantic League’s ERA champ while with Hickory is now in his fifth season with the Padres. Tommy John surgery cost the left-hander much of the 2016 and all of the 2017 season. Erlin will likely be in the San Diego rotation.

Robbie Erlin

Christian Villanueva: The 2011 Crawdads third baseman made his big-league debut with San Diego last September in grand style after hitting four homers and going 11-for-32 in 12 games. Villanueva returns to the Padres as a utility infielder after he made his first opening-day roster.

Villanueva in field

San Francisco Giants:

Andrew McCutchen: The 2006 Crawdads center fielder is in his tenth major league season, but after an offseason trade, he’ll suit up for another club other than the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first time. The 2013 National League MVP now patrols right field for the Giants after nine seasons as the Pirates center fielder. In 156 games last season, McCutchen hit .279/.363/.486 with 28 homers and 88 RBI.

Andrew McCutchen

Tony Watson: A starter in his brief stint with the Crawdads in 2007, the left-hander is now in his seventh major league season as one of the game’s best left-handed setup relievers. After five full seasons with the Pirates, he was dealt in a midseason trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, with whom he made his first World Series appearance. In 71 games last season, he was 7-4 with ten saves and a 3.38 ERA in 66.2 innings. Watson signed a two-year contract with the Giants in the offseason.


Crawdads Alum Crawdads to the Majors Uncategorized

Former Crawdads Scattered throughout MLB Opening Day Rosters

As the 2017 season begins, 29 former Hickory Crawdads will dot major league rosters. That is up from 25 to start the 2016 campaign.

Ten of those are on the Crawdads parent club, the Texas Rangers. Among American League clubs, only Toronto has two former Hickory players. Thirteen former Crawdads are on National League teams, including three on the Pittsburgh Pirates, left over from the days of their affiliation with Hickory. The Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres each have two.

Three players on MLB rosters will start the year on the disabled list: Hanser Alberto (Texas), Robbie Erlin (San Diego) and Zach Duke (St. Louis).

Here is a synopsis of each player in the majors:



Hanser Alberto (’12): The infielder will begin the season on the disabled. He has played the last two seasons with Texas, posting a .194/ .204 /.226 slash over 76 combined games.

Hanser Alberto fielding
Hanser Alberto, shown in a 2012 game at Kannapolis, went on to win a minor league “Gold Glove” award in 2014. (Tracy Proffitt)


Jose Bautista (’02): The right-handed hitter will be in his 14th major league season, the ninth with the Toronto Blue Jays. Battling injuries in 2016, Bautista hit 22 homers in 116 and posted a .234/.366/.452 slash. He signed a one-year contract with Toronto during the off-season to remain with the club.

Alex Claudio (’13): The soft-tossing, lefty reliever will be in his fourth major league season with the Texas Rangers. In 39 games in 2016, he put up a 2.79 ERA over 51.2 innings with 34 Ks and 10 walks.

Claudio, Alexander
Alex Claudio (’13) now a middle reliever for the Texas Rangers (Tracy Proffitt)


Rajai Davis (’02-’03): The speedy outfielder will be in his 12th major league season, his first with the Oakland A’s after signing a free agent contract in the off-season. The right-handed hitter posted a .249/.306/.388 slash with Cleveland in 2016 and led the American League with 43 stolen bases. He is expected to start in centerfield for the Athletics, with whom he played for from 2008-2010.

Joey Gallo (’13): The left-handed hitter will be in his third major league season with the Texas Rangers. He has played in 53 games the previous two years, putting up a .173/ .281/.368 slash. Gallo will start at third in place of the injured Adrian Beltre.

Joey Gallo
Joey Gallo will be the opening-day third baseman for Texas (Tracy Proffitt)


Leury Garcia (’09-’10): The switch-hitter will be in his fifth major league season, most of those with the Chicago Cubs. Out of minor-league options, Garcia was kept on the big league club and will fill a utility role. He spent much of last year at AAA Charlotte.

Hickory Crawdads - Leury Garcia
Leury Garcia is expected to come off the bench for the White Sox (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Jose Leclerc (’13): The right-handed reliever will be on his first opening-day roster after he made 12 relief appearances for the Texas Rangers in his debut season last year. He put up a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings with 15 Ks and 13 BBs. He split last year at AA Frisco and AAA Round Rock.

Jose Leclerc action
Jose Leclerc is on his first major league, opening-day roster spot with the Rangers.


Nomar Mazara (’13-’14): The left-handed hitting outfielder will be in his second major league season with the Texas Rangers after playing in 145 games during his debut season. He posted a .266/.320/.419 slash with 20 homers and 64 RBI. Mazara will start the season in right.

Nomar Mazara
Nomar Mazara will start in RF for the Rangers (Tracy Proffitt)


Rougned Odor (’12): The left-handed second baseman will be in his fourth season with the Texas Rangers and recently signed a six-year extension with the club. Last year, Odor hit 33 homers and collected 88 RBI in 150 games. His posted a .271/.296 /.502 slash.

Rougned Odor2
Rougned Odor recently signed a six-year extension with the Rangers (Tracy Proffitt)


Steve Pearce (’07): The right-handed hitter will be in his 11th major league season, the first with the Toronto Blue Jays after signing a two-year deal during the off-season. Pearce split last year between Tampa Bay and Baltimore, posting a .288/.374/.492 slash over 110 games. He his expected to start in left.

Steve Pearce
Steve Pearce signed with the Blue Jays during the offseason (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Martin Perez (’09): The left-handed pitcher will be in his sixth major league season with the Texas Rangers. Perez went 10-11 with a 4.39 ERA over 33 starts in 2016. He is expected to be the No. 3 starter for the Rangers.

Perez 2
Martin Perez will be the No. 3 starter for the Rangers this season (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Jurickson Profar (’12, ’15): The switch-hitter will be in his fourth major league season with the Texas Rangers, but is on his first opening-day roster. Profar had a .239/.321/.338 slash over 90 games in 2016. He is expected to play a utility role for the Rangers this year.

TRACY PROFFITT | URASTAR IMAGES - Jurickson Profar (10) - Hickory Crawdads
Jurickson Profar looks to put his potential to use with the Rangers this season. (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Drew Robinson (’12): The left-handed hitter will make his major league debut with the Texas Rangers this season after spending last year at AAA Round Rock. Robinson will play a utility role with Texas.

Drew Robinson at 3B
3B Drew Robinson will make his MLB debut for the Rangers this season. (Tracy Proffitt)


Robbie Ross (’10): The left-handed reliever will be in his sixth major league season, the third with the Boston Red Sox. Ross posted a 3.25 ERA in 2016 and fanned 56 over 55.1 innings.

Hickory Crawdads - Robbie Ross
Robbie Ross looks to provide solid middle relief for Boston this year (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Ryan Rua (’13): The right-handed hitter will be in his fourth major league season with the Texas Rangers. Rua posted a .258//331/.400 slash over 99 games last year. He is expected to split time in left and at first.

Ryan Rua
Ryan Rua with split time in LF for Texas this season (Tracy Proffitt)


Chris Young (’01-’02): The right-handed pitcher will be in his 13th major league season, the third with the Kansas City Royals. Young went 3-9 in 34 games (13 starts) in 2016 with a 6.19 ERA. He lost out in a battle for the No. 5 spot in the rotation and will be a long-man out of the bullpen.



 Zach Duke (’03): The left-handed reliever will miss the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He is currently with the St. Louis Cardinals after the team acquired him from the Chicago White Sox in a 2016 trade.

Carl Edwards, Jr. (’13): The right-handed reliever will be in his third major league season with the Chicago Cubs. This will be his first opening-day in the majors. In 36 games last year, Edwards posted a 3.75 ERA with 52 Ks and 14 BBs over 36 innings. The National League hit just .123 against Edwards.

CJ Edwards
Carl Edwards, Jr. looks to a bigger role in the Chicago Cubs bullpen in 2017 (Tracy Proffitt)


Jerad Eickhoff (’12): The right-handed starting pitcher will be in his third major league season with the Philadelphia Phillies after he completed his first full year with the club in 2016. He went 11-14 with a 3.65 ERA over 33 starts, striking out 167 and walking 42 over 197.1 innings. Eickhoff will be the No. 2 starter for the Phillies.

Jerad Eickhoff
Jerad Eickhoff looks to take another step forward in the Phillies rotation this season (Tracy Proffitt)


Robbie Erlin (’10): The left-handed pitcher will begin this season on the disabled list with the San Diego Padres while he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2016. He hopes to return to the club this midseason for what would be his fifth major league season.

Justin Grimm (’11): The right-handed reliever will be in his sixth major league season, the fifth with the Chicago Cubs. In 68 appearances in 2016, Grimm went 2-1 with a 4.10 ERA and fanned 65 to just 23 walks over 52.2 IP. Grimm will pitch in middle relief.

Justin Grimm continues to pitch in middle relief this season for the Cubs (Tracy Proffitt)


Odubel Herrera (’11): The left-handed hitter will be in his third major league season with the Philadelphia Phillies after he took a big step as one of the National League’s best young centerfielders in 2016. During a season in which he represented the Phillies on the National League All-Star Team, Herrera posted a .286/.361/.420 slash and stole 25 bases in 159 games.

TRACY PROFFITT | SCOUT.COM -(2) Odubel Herrera - Hickory Crawdads
Odubel Herrera hopes to build on his 2016 all-star season (Tracy Proffitt)


Jared Hughes (’07-’08): The right-handed reliever will be in his seventh major league season and recently just signed with the Milwaukee Brewers after the Pittsburgh Pirates released him last week. Hughes went 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA over 67 appearances in 2016. He will pitch in middle relief for the Brewers.

Hickory Crawdads - Jared Hughes
Jared Hughes signed with Milwaukee to start the 2017 season (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Andrew McCutchen (’06): The right-handed hitter will be in his ninth major league season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. McCutchen struggled over 153 games last year and posted his career-worst slash (.256/.336/.430). He hit 24 homers, but stole just six bases in 13 attempts. After manning center his entire career, McCutchen will shift to right this year.

Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen looks to rebound with the Pirates after a tough 2016 season  (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Jordy Mercer (’08): The right-handed shortstop will be in his sixth major league season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played in 149 games last year and posted a .256/.313/.377 with 11 homers and 59 RBI.

Mercer action
Jordy Mercer returns to the Pirates lineup at shortstop (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Neil Ramirez (’09-’10): The right-handed pitcher will be in his fourth major league season, the first with the San Francisco Giants. Ramirez signed a minor-league contract with the club during the offseason and made the club out of spring training. Ramirez made 18 relief appearances with three clubs (Cubs, Milwaukee, Minnesota) and struggled to a 6.00 ERA over 24 innings. He did strike out 24, but walked 18 and had a 1.67 WHIP. He will come out of the bullpen for the Giants.

Neil Ramirez joins the San Francisco Giants after a strong spring. (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Luis Sardinas (’12): The switch-hitter will be in his fourth major league season, the second with the San Diego Padres after the team acquired him from Seattle during the 2016 season. Sardinas played in 66 combined games last year with a .244/.295/.356 slash. He will play some shortstop, but will start the season in a utility role.

Luis Sardinas bunt
Luis Sardinas will be in a utility role with San Diego (Tracy Proffitt)


Neil Walker (’05): The switch-hitting second baseman will be in his ninth major league season, the second with the New York Mets after resigning in the offseason. Despite battling a back injury, Walker still posted a .282/.347/.476 over 113 games with the Mets and blasted 23 homers.

Walker web
Neil Walker returns to the Mets for a second season as the starting 2B.

Tony Watson (’07): The left-handed reliever will be in his seventh major league season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. After the midseason trade of Mark Melancon, Watson took on the job of the Pirates closer in 2016 and will serve in the same role this year. He went 2-5 with 15 saves last year over 70 games with a 3.06 ERA. Watson struck out 58 and walked 20 over 67.2 IP.


Alumni Report Uncategorized

Crawdads Alumni Report March 28

Monday, March 28


Keone Kela (’13, P/ Texas) struck out two over a perfect inning of relief to close out the Rangers 5-4 win over Arizona.



Bryan Morris (’08, P) turns 29.

Steve Sparks (’99, P) turns 41.



Joe Wieland (’09-’10, P) optioned by the Seattle Mariners to AAA Tacoma.


ALUM IN THE NEWS:’s T.R. Sullivan writes that Martin Perez (’09, P) is primed for a big season with the Rangers.’s Greg Johns writes that Luis Sardinas (’12, SS) is getting some work at first base for the Mariners.’s Todd Zolecki writes that Odubel Herrera (’11, 2B) is returning to form after an injury earlier in spring training.



Arizona 4 Texas 5: Hanser Alberto (’12, 3B- SS/ Texas) 1-1, CS; Jairo Beras (’14-’15, OF/ Texas) 0-1, R; Jose Cardona (’15, OF/ Texas) 0-1, K; Rougned Odor (’12, 2B/ Texas) 1-4, K; Luke Tendler (’15, OF/ Texas) 0-1; Jimmy Reyes (’11, P/ Texas) 1/3 IP, 1 BB;



Chicago White Sox 13 San Francisco 9: Leury Garcia (’09-’10, SS/ Chicago) 0-1, R.

Kansas City 1 Oakland 10: Chris Young (’01-’02, P/ Kansas City) 4.1 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 4 K, 2 HR, loss (2-2).

Milwaukee 3 Cleveland 10: Alex Presley (’06, OF/ Milwaukee) 0-1.

Seattle 12 Chicago Cubs 9: Luis Sardinas (’12, SS/ Seattle) 0-2, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 K.



Atlanta 2 Washington 7: Sean Burnett (’01, P/ Washington) 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K.

Baltimore 5 Pittsburgh 3: Andrew McCutchen (’06, OF/ Pittsburgh) 1-3, BB, R, K; Jordy Mercer (’08, SS/ Pittsburgh) 2-2; Tony Watson (’07, P/ Pittsburgh) 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K.

Philadelphia 1 Boston 5: Odubel Herrera (’11/ 2B/ Philadelphia) 3-3, R; Jerad Eickhoff (’12, P/ Philadelphia) 5 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 3 K, 2 HR, loss (0-1).

St. Louis 2 Miami 4: Cody Ege (’13, P/ Miami) 1/3 IP.

Washington 4 New York Mets 2: Neil Walker (’05, C/ NY Mets) 2-3, 3B, R.



Massachusetts- Lowell 3 Maryland-Baltimore County 4 (10-10, 4-1 American East): Bob Mumma (’93-’93, C-1B/ Head Coach, UMBC)