Canaries re-sign Landon and Wood
The Canaries' 2020 "MVP," who last season lived in the Sioux Falls house he grew up in, will continue to call The Birdcage his baseball home in 2021.
Former Lincoln High standout Logan Landon was one of the American Association's most reliable hitter/fielder combos in 2020 -- his first season of indepedent baseball after five years in the Dodgers' farm system (see highlights and more info), and the dynamic outfielder has signed back with the Canaries.
The Birds also on Tuesday made official the re-signing of veteran pitcher Grady Wood, who will serve as the squad's pitching coach for a second consecutive campaign.
Both Landon and Wood are former 10th round Major League Baseball Draft picks and were major parts of the Canaries' run to the 2020 American Association Finals -- their first postseason berth in a decade.
Landon, 27, played 56 of the Birds' 60 games and owned the league's second-best batting average (.333) and fifth-highest RBI total (43). He led the team in batting average and OPS (.909), and was second in home runs (10), hits (76), RBI (43), slugging percentage (.526), and on-base percentage (.383). His 37 runs and 253 plate appearances were both third-highest on the squad, and his 12 doubles were the fourth most.
"To say I'm thrilled to have Logan back would be an understatement," fifth-year Canaries manager Mike Meyer said.
"In my opinion, he was the MVP of our team last year, and possibly the league. He's an elite centerfielder that not only can go and get them in the outfield but also has one of the best throwing arms in the league. His maturity at the plate last year was a big part of his success offensively and I really believe he has just barely scratched the surface of his potential. You can be sure he will be leading off for the Birds this season."
After earning All-State and 2011 South Dakota Gatordade Player of the Year honors in his senior season with the Patriots, the pitcher-converted-outfielder thrived at both Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and Texas-Pan American University. The Dodgers selected Landon in the 10th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, and he reached the Triple-A level briefly during his half-decade in affiliated ball.
The signing of Landon continues to solidify a lineup that already returns two veteran sticks in outfielder/DH Jabari Henry and utility player Mike Hart, and has added former St. Paul Saints home run threat Troy Alexander, 6'5 veteran independent sluggger Nate Etheridge and former Double-A middle infielder Zane Gurwitz.
Wood, a 10th round pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2012, pitched four years of affiliated ball and spent the 2016 season in the Atlantic League before coming to the Canaries in 2017, when he posted an 8-3 record, the American Association's third-best ERA (2.71) and an astounding 117 strikeouts (fourth in the league) to just 24 walks in 19 starts and 132.2 innings.
The 30-year-old Portland, Oreg., native and Western Oregon alumnus injured his pitching elbow in his first start of the 2018 season and tried to throw through the pain, posting three more starts before deciding to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Wood sat out all of 2019 season to recover, then came back to Sioux Falls in 2020, when in 33 innings as both a starter and reliever, he went 2-1 with a 5.45 ERA and struck out 27 batters while giving up 11 walks and serving as pitching coach.
"Grady was a big reason why we had the best staff we've had in 10 years," Meyer said. "On the mound, Grady has the ability to throw everyday and became a huge asset by the end of the season, pitching in the seventh or eighth inning. He's dominant against right-handed hitters and we will be counting on him in the highest leverage situations this season."
The Birds also recently announced the re-signing of veteran pitcher Kevin Folman and strikeout machine "combo" reliever Robbie Gordon. To hear extensive conversation about the team's 2021 roster building so far -- and the transactions Meyer has in the works -- check out the latest "Inside the Birdcage" podcast.
The American Association plans on returning to a 100-game slate starting this May after a pandemic-shortened 60-game slate in 2020.
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