SIOUX CITY – The Sioux City Explorers announced that the club has re-signed right-handed pitcher Ryan Flores to a 2018 American Association contract. The 2018 season will mark Flores’ second season in professional baseball, both in Sioux City.
The Explorers have also signed righty Marcus Jensen to a 2018 American Association contract. The upcoming season will be Jensen’s eighth season in professional baseball.
Flores began his professional career last season and turned in an impressive rookie campaign for the Explorers. Flores led the club in games pitched with 44 appearances out of the X’s bullpen, which was also tied for fifth most in the American Association. The hard throwing righty also led the Explorers pitching staff in strikeouts, accumulating 93 in just 78 innings pitched on the season. Flores finished the 2017 season with a 4-5 record to go along with two saves, owning a 4.27 ERA.
"Getting 'Flor' is huge for us," Explorers field manager Steve Montgomery said. "He’s a rubber-armed kid who throw from 91 to 94 from that dropdown slot (sidearmer). He’s a kid that took the ball in every situation we asked for last y ear and we’re hoping he can continue to grow with that one year of experience here under his belt. The biggest thing with Ryan is understanding the situations we bring him in to.
Prior to joining the Explorers, Flores pitched collegiately at Richland College in Dallas. In 2016, Flores also played for the Savannah Bananas in the Coastal Plain League (collegiate summer baseball league) where he impressed going 4-0 with three saves and a 2.21 ERA. In 36.2 innings pitched, Flores allowed only 29 hits while striking out 42 batters.
Jensen was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 30th round of the 2009 MLB Draft from Pinnacle High School in Phoenix. Jensen would make his professional debut as a 17-year-old in 2009 pitching in the Gulf Coast League for the Rays.
In 2012, Jensen was promoted to the Single-A Hudson Valley Renegades where the righty went 6-1, earning six saves, while owning a 3.58 ERA. For his efforts, Jensen was named a 2012 New York-Pennsylvania League Mid-Season All-Star.
Jensen last pitched in the Can-Am League in 2015 and went 8-2.
"He got the itch last year around August that he wanted to give it one last try again," Montgomery said. "So, he’s been working with his dad, who is an assistant hitting coach with the A’s. He’s building himself a good foundation, doing it the right way."
With the signing of Flores and Jensen, the X’s now have five players, all pitchers, signed to 2018 contracts.