In any other season, Sioux City would be all the rage in the American Association with the Explorers winning their last 13 games to improve to 55-18 with their .753 pace well ahead of the record set last season by Wichita at .730. Their division lead is up to 15 games.
Former Explorers players are getting in on the act, as well, with the likes of Justin Toole and Geoff Broussard making their presence known in major league organizations.
“Both (Anthony) Gallas and Toole have played well since they got here (from Class AA Akron),” Triple-A Columbus Clippers manager Chris Tremie told The Columbus Dispatch. “Toole has done a great job at second and given us great at-bats (.316 in six games).” After playing at the University of Iowa, the now 28-year-old started his pro career with Sioux City in 2009 and has been in the Cleveland organization ever since.
Broussard, only 24, got a second life on his pro career when he went 8-1, 3.26 at Sioux City last season, and has turned into a strikeout machine in the Los Angeles Angels farm system this season, At Inland Empire in the California League, the right-hander has struck out six hitters in his last two innings to increase his total to 63 in 38.2 innings over 32 appearances. Broussard is 2-2 with 13 saves and a 2.56 earned run average.
Former Wichita Hurler Wins PCL Honor
Onetime Wichita hurler Chris Smith (8-4, 3.55 in 2013) was Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week recently for 14 innings with 14 strikeouts and holding two opponents to a .192 average for San Diego’s top farm club in El Paso. The former Boston and Milwaukee hurler is 34, still he is among the league’s strikeout leaders and is 3-5 with a team-leading 3.54 ERA.
Previously the chief spokesman for Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site as well as writing his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.