Birds Solidify Bullpen, Add Righty Hovis
The Sioux Falls Canaries have added a key piece to their bullpen. The Birds have signed hard-throwing reliever Reilly Hovis for the 2019 season.
Hovis, 25, brings three years of minor-league experience to the Birds, and is expected to compete for the team's closer role.
"Not only does Reilly have the stuff to succeed here, but he also fits the personality type that we're looking for here," Canaries manager Mike Meyer said. "All my conversations with him have been tremendous. He really wants to be here and get pitching again, which is just the attitude we're looking for."
Hovis comes with an impressive pedigree. The Gastonia, North Carolina native played for the powerhouse North Carolina Tar Heels in his college days, earning first-team all-ACC honors his junior year in 2014. The righty finished that season with a 9-1 record and a 2.25 ERA, striking out 81 batters in 64 innings of work.
Hovis' play earned him an invitation to the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League for the summer of 2014. Suiting up for the Orleans Firebirds, he would shine that season against the best college hitters in the country, posting a 1.54 ERA and 12.7 K/9 in 15 relief appearances.
"From pitching in some big-time games in the ACC to what he's been able to do in affiliated ball, he's definitely got the stuff to be a quality back-end bullpen arm in our league," Meyer said.
Hovis missed the 2015 season after Tommy John surgery, but still earned a 9th-round selection by the Miami Marlins in that year's MLB draft. He spent three years with four different teams in the Marlins' system before making the move to Sioux Falls.
That included a stint in his home state with the Class A Greensboro Grasshoppers, where he posted a 3.41 ERA across 25 appearances in 2017 and 2018. His success there earned him a promotion to Advanced-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville later in 2018.
Hovis is the latest impact arm the Canaries have signed for their 2019 bullpen. The Birds bring back crafty left-hander Luis Pollorena and former North Dakota State standout Trevor Jaunich from a season ago. They've also added righty Kevin Simmons, a contender for the team's closer role, and rookie Brian Heldman.
The Sioux Falls Canaries open their 2019 season May 16 on the road. Their home opener is scheduled for May 31, a Fireworks Night game against the Winnipeg Goldeyes at 7:05pm. For more information on season tickets, suites, group outings, and corporate opportunities, call the Canaries Front Office at (605) 336-6060, or visit the Canaries official website at www.sfcanaries.com.