Birds Sign Two Impact Arms

Posted: 5/8/2020

slider_image.pngLeft photo courtesy Ry Tupper Photography. Right photo courtesy Hartford Yard Goats.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Sioux Falls Canaries have added two more arms to an already impressive pitching staff in the lead-up to the 2020 season.

The Canaries have signed former Bird Ryan Fritze and lefty Ty Culbreth, the club announced Friday.

Fritze rejoins the Canaries after spending 2019 in the Arizona Diamondbacks' system. The right-hander last suited up for the Birds in 2018, earning a call from the Diamondbacks that December.

The Woodbury, Minnesota native rose from Rookie ball to High-A in the Diamondbacks' system, posting a 4.32 ERA in 31 relief appearances.

Fritze had an outstanding season with the Canaries in 2018, leading the team with a 3.06 ERA in 42 relief appearances. His form improved as the year went on; he finished the season with seven straight scoreless appearances, allowing only three hits in 7.1 innings of work.

"Fritze was as good as they came a couple years ago out of our bullpen," Canaries manager Mike Meyer said. "Not only is he a great back-end bullpen guy, he's an outstanding young man and a great addition to our clubhouse as well."

Fritze signed with the Canaries in 2018 after spending part of the 2017 season with the Gary SouthShore RailCats. Fritze made 19 appearances for the RailCats in 2017, striking out 19 batters in 21.2 innings pitched.

A graduate of Valparaiso University, Fritze made 25 appearances for the Crusaders his senior year in 2016, finishing with a team-high seven saves.

Culbreth comes to Sioux Falls with an impressive pedigree. An eighth-round draft choice by the Colorado Rockies in 2016, the 26-year-old lefty has four years of minor league experience with a 4.52 ERA.

"I'm really excited for Ty," Meyer said. "We're really excited to have him, and I think he's going to be one of those guys fighting for a spot at the top of our rotation."

Culbreth spent the 2019 season with Double-A Hartford in the Rockies' system. He finished the year with a 4.26 ERA and 1.43 WHIP over 18 appearances (17 starts). 2019 was a bounce-back year for Culbreth after posting a 5.87 ERA with High-A Lancaster in 2018.

The Bryan, Texas native had an impressive 2017, earning a 3.09 ERA and 1.13 WHIP across 31 appearances (17 starts) at the Class A and Advanced-A levels. He proved to be a durable arm, going at least six innings in his final eight starts of the season.

Culbreth has impressive control, owning a walk rate 1.9 BB/9 over his four minor league seasons.

Culbreth pitched for four years at the University of Texas, earning Second-Team All-Big 12 honors his senior year. He finished his Longhorns career with a 3.47 ERA and 14-9 record over 171.1 innings.

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