Sioux City, IA– The Sioux City Explorers announced today that the club has re-signed C Dylan Kelly to a 2020 American Association contract. The 2020 season will mark Kelly’s 7th season in professional baseball, 4th with the X’s.
For a second straight season Kelly was the epitome of durable. A catcher’s version of Cal Ripken Jr. He led the American Association in games caught (93) for a consecutive year after catching in a league high 87 games in 2018. In those 93 games he helped the X’s throw out base runners at a league best 24% clip.
On the offensive side Kelly provided his usual consistent numbers hitting at a .287 clip, scoring 35 runs and driving in 29. In his 310 at bats he struck out only 37 times while drawing 31 walks.
In the three seasons that Kelly has played in Sioux City he has played in 242 games, hit for a .292 average, driving in 117 RBI and scored 86 runs. He has swatted 43 doubles, six home runs and has drawn 74 walks. He has also been a key contributor for the X’s in the postseason. Hitting a blistering .341 over twelve playoff games over the past two seasons. He has hit four doubles, driven in three RBI and scored five runs.
Kelly produced a solid 2018 season for the Explorers in which he hit .297 with a .358 on-base percentage, while knocking in a career best 65 RBIs. After a slow start to the season offensively, Kelly’s bat heated up mid-June, raising his batting average 117 points from .185 to .302 by mid-July.
Kelly was a mainstay for the X’s behind the dish, catching a league high 87 games, helping guide a pitching staff that finished the 2018 season ranked atop the league in several pitching categories.
In his first season for the Explorers in 2017, Kelly played in 50 games, producing a .294 batting average and owning the second highest on-base percentage on the team at a .375 clip. Kelly was hitting .304 with an impressive .397 on-base percentage before suffering an injury on July 6th which forced him to miss 38 games.
Kelly spent the majority of his first three professional seasons playing for the Normal CornBelters of the Frontier League. Kelly got off to a hot start in 2015 for the CornBelters, batting .350 before having his contract purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was assigned to the D-Backs rookie league affiliate and after just 6 games he made the jump to Triple-A, Reno Aces. Kelly returned to the CornBelters in 2016 and played in 91 games, hitting .311 with a .361 on-base percentage.
Kelly started his collegiate career at Middle Georgia junior college and led the Georgia Athletic Association in batting average, ranking among the top 15 nationally with his .429 clip. The Roswell, GA native transferred to the University of Missouri and in his final collegiate season in 2014 he boasted a team high .330 batting average, good for fourth best among SEC catchers. Kelly led the Tigers with 59 hits, 13 doubles, 27 RBIs, a .453 slugging percentage, and a .405 on-base percentage.
With the addition of C Dylan Kelly the Sioux City Explorers have now signed 21 players (15 Pitchers, 6 position players) to a 2020 contract.
RHP Carlos Sierra
LHP Jose Velez
RHP Jose Taveras
LHP Matt Marksberry
RHP Joe Riley
RHP Ryan Flores
RHP Liam O’Sullivan
RHP Tyler Cloyd
RHP Nate Gercken
RHP Ben Yokley
RHP AJ Nitzschke
LHP Jairo Labourt
RHP Matt Pobereyko
LHP Winston Lavendier
LHP Raudel Lazo
C Dylan Kelly
C Justin Felix
INF John Brontsema
OF Chase Harris
OF Sebastian Zawada
OF Ricky Ramirez Jr.
The Sioux City Explorers 28th season in Siouxland will begin on May 19th at the Kansas City T-Bones. The X’s open up their home schedule on May 26th against the Sioux Falls Canaries. Season tickets, flex tickets, group tickets and luxury suites are now for sale for all 50 Explorers home games for the 2020 season. Simply call (712) 277-WINS (9467) to order your ticket package today.