X'S LAND TWO MORE PITCHERS
SIOUX CITY, IA – With spring training right around the corner, the Sioux City Explorers continue to add more pitching depth as the X’s announced today that the club has signed RHP Graham Johnson and RHP Jason Townsend to 2016 American Association contracts. The 2016 season will mark Johnson’s 7th season in professional baseball and 2nd in independent ball, while the upcoming season will be Townsend’s 6th season in professional baseball.
Johnson was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 6th round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft from Westlake High School (Westlake Village, CA). Johnson received a scholarship offer and signed a National Letter of Intent to play collegiately at Fresno State in 2008 but chose to sign and play professional baseball with the Marlins. Johnson played his first full season in the Marlins organization at the age of 19 for the class A Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2009 where he made 20 starts and went 6-7 with a 4.83 ERA. Following that 2009 season, Baseball America ranked Johnson as the Marlins #22 prospect in their organization. The Los Angeles, CA resident would spend the next two seasons playing for the Advanced-A Jupiter Hammerheads and would collectively make 59 appearances, throwing 151 innings and accumulating 90 strikeouts. Johnson last pitched in 2013 for the Frontier Greys of the Frontier League where he tossed 70.2 innings over 15 starts allowing only 64 hits, while totaling 40 strikeouts.
Townsend was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft from the University of Alabama. Townsend made his professional debut in 2010 pitching for the Pirates affiliate in State College, PA and in 20 appearances led the team in saves. The Albany, GA native would serve as the class A West Virginia Power closer in 2011, leading the team in saves with 13 to go along with a 2.38 ERA, while compiling 46 strikeouts to just 14 walks. Townsend’s best season would come in 2012 as he would split time between the Advanced-A Bradenton Marauders and the Double-A Altoona Curve where the right-hander would collectively put together an 8-2 record in 40 games out of the bullpen, owning an impressive 1.94 ERA while just allowing 70 hits in 79 innings pitched. For his professional career, Townsend owns a 14-10 overall record with 27 saves and a 3.59 ERA with 161 strikeouts to just 83 walks.
With the signings of Johnson and Townsend, the Explorers now have 13 pitchers and 10 position players signed to 2016 American Association contracts.
Individual game tickets for all 50 games on the 2016 schedule including the 2016 Home Opener against the Sioux Falls Canaries on Thursday, May 19th are on sale now. Purchase your tickets to get in the game with the X’s by stopping down at the Box Office at Mercy Field at Lewis & Clark Park or by calling 712-277-WINS (9467).