Thompson and Waltrip Return For Second Season
SIOUX FALLS, SD- The Sioux Falls Canaries announced on Friday morning that the organization has come to terms with RHP Dylan Thompson and LHP Billy Waltrip for the 2017 American Association season.
Thompson, 24, appeared in 22 games for the Canaries last season, going 5-2 with a 3.31 ERA. The versatile young right-hander began the year in the Birds bullpen, posting a 1-0 record and 1.77 ERA in 14 relief appearances. His early season success earned him a shot at the starting rotation, where he finished the season going 4-2 with a 4.00 ERA in eight starts.
Thompson officially arrived on the scene on August 18th when he recorded a 2-1, complete-game victory against the Lincoln Saltdogs. It was easily his best performance of the season, holding the Saltdogs to one unearned run on four hits over nine innings. Thompson retired 18 of the final 21 Lincoln batters, earning his fourth win of the season, and third victory in his last four starts overall.
“Bringing Dylan back was a high priority for us,” said Canaries Field Manager Mike Meyer. “He features a power sinker and a big arm, which leads to a lot of ground balls. We think that will be very valuable at the Birdcage this season. He’s going to be a big part of our rotation in 2017.”
The Snow Camp, NC native was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 31st round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft. He holds a 9-8 record and 4.72 ERA in 64 career appearances. Thompson has been used primarily as a relief pitcher during his young career, but has made 14 starts in three professional seasons.
Waltrip, 24, enters his second season with the Birds after going 3-1 with a 3.69 ERA in 34 relief appearances last season. The hard throwing left-hander quickly established himself as one of the most dangerous arms in the bullpen, racking up 51 strikeouts while walking 29 batters over 39 innings of work.
“I’m extremely excited to work with Billy Waltrip this season,” add Meyer. “He’s a young pitcher with a very high upside. He has a high strikeout rate but needs to shore up his walks. If Billy can find a little consistency he has the stuff to be effective at any level.”
The Braggs, OK native was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 12th round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft, and selected again by the Colorado Rockies in the 12th round of the 2013 Draft. Waltrip spent two seasons in the Rockies farm system, registering 55 strikeouts and a 3-2 record in 52 2/3 innings of work.
The southpaw missed the entire 2015 season due to injury, but returned to the baseball scene in 2016, this time with the Pecos League’s White Sands Pupfish. Waltrip dominated Pecos League opponents, going 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA while racking up 41 strikeouts in just 22 2/3 innings of work. He enters the 2017 season with 147 strikeouts to go along with his 3-1 record and 3.69 ERA.
The Sioux Falls Canaries enter their 25th season on May 18th against the Sioux City Explorers at Lewis & Clark Park. The home portion of the 2017 schedule opens up on Saturday, May 20th at the Birdcage. For more information about season tickets and corporate opportunities, call the Canaries ticket office at (605) 336-6060 or visit www.sfcanaries.com.