Birds bringing back starter Culbreth
Canaries pitcher Ty Culbreth. Photo by Josh Jurgens, Sioux Falls Canaries.
The Sioux Falls Canaries continue to reel back in some of their biggest fish from the 2020 American Association Finals team, and on Friday re-signed their most consistent starting pitcher of the first half of last season.
That's what manager Mike Meyer calls lefthander Ty Culbreth, a 2016 eighth-round MLB draft pick who went 3-2 in seven starts and pitched 37 innings of a season in which he spent almost a month on the injured list with shoulder tightness, but returned in time for the deciding stretch.
The 26-year-old Texas native's best start as a Canary was his first, when he threw six shutout innings and gave up just three hits and one walk in a 3-0 win over St. Paul on July 8 during the Birds' blistering start to 2020. Culbreth did not pitch from July 26 thru August 22 but delivered a doozy on Sept. 5, going seven full innings and giving up two runs in an 11-4 win over Chicago. The Canaries clinched their first playoff berth in 10 years the next day, with just a couple games remaining in the season.
Meyer expects Culbreth -- who started a Finals game -- to be a big-time Bird in 2021.
"I'm really excited to have Ty back," Meyer said. "He has the ability to go deep into games and give us a chance to win every time he ties the rubber."
An All-Big 12 selection in his senior season at the University of Texas, Culbreth struck out 78 batters in 16 appearances and posted a 4.58 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that 2016 campaign. The Colorado Rockies picked him up in the eighth round of the MLB Amateur Draft that June.
Culbreth reached as high as the Double-A level in his four seasons with the Rockies, appearing 81 times with 66 starts and posting a 21-23 record and 4.52 ERA while striking out 288 batters and walking only 80 in his 380 innings.
That's a 3.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and behind that are some valuable commodities Meyer hopes will last a full season this time.
"Ty has a good fastball from the left side and three solid offspeed pitches he uses in any count, plus the location to keep hitters off balance," Meyer said. "We will lean on him this summer and expect him to be even better for us."
The Birds have also returned big bats in Sioux Falls native Logan Landon, Jabari Henry, and Mike Hart, and added towering sluggers Troy Alexander and Nate Etheridge, plus reliable middle infielder Zane Gurwitz. Click to here to read more about the team's roster building.
The 2020 season schedule is out, so check it out! The Birds open the season and home slate at The Birdcage on May 18. For season ticket and group ticket information, call the box office at 605-336-6060.