Blue Crabs add more pitching depth
Baseball team signs four more pitchers to roster
With spring training starting in just three days, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs added more solid pitching depth to their roster for the 2016 season, which kicks off on April 21.
Tuesday, the Blue Crabs announced the signings of Brian Burres, Orlando Santos, local product Daryl Thompson and newcomer Brandon Poulson.
Thompson, a native of La Plata, returns to the Blue Crabs for his fifth season. The 30-year-old was originally drafted directly out of La Plata High School by the Montreal Expos and made his major league debut on June 21, 2008 with the Cincinnati Reds versus the New York Yankees at the old Yankee Stadium where he struck out two batters and stranded eight base runners.
Since his time with Southern Maryland, the right-hander has 26 wins, a 3.81 ERA and 406 innings pitched, most notably throwing a complete game shutout against the Lancaster Barnstormers in Game 1 of the 2015 Freedom Division Championship Series. Thompson had 11 strikeouts, did not walk a batter and threw 140 pitches, 94 of which were for strikes.
After a strong season in 2015, the left-handed Burres came back for his third season with the Blue Crabs. Burres was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2000 and made his major league debut with the Baltimore Orioles in 2006, recording an ERA of 2.25. For six seasons, Burres spent time in the majors for the Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays and the Pittsburgh Pirates organizations, appearing in 106 games.
As a key cog in the starting rotation for the Blue Crabs, Burres has earned 11 wins and a 2.68 ERA during his time in Southern Maryland. Last season he delivered 104 strikeouts.
“It feels good to come back, especially with the season that we had last year,” said Burres, referring to the Blue Crabs run to the Atlantic League championship series, falling to Somerset in four games, which included a Freedom Division firsthalf regular season and championship series title. “Our pitching will be really strong. We have some good arms and familiar faces.”
Poulson will be in his first season in the Atlantic League as the Blue Crabs signed him after playing a stint with the Minnesota Twins minor league organization.
The Santa Rosa, Calif., native was signed by the Twins as an undrafted free agent in 2014 out of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and played in the Appalachian and the Gulf Coast leagues.
Poulson, a former truck driver and junior college linebacker who stands 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, issued 32 walks in 27 2/3 pro innings with the Twins. They signed him out of the Golden State Collegiate League, where he pitched for the Healdsburg Prune Packers.
“I think it will be a great experience,” Poulson said. “I’m just working on fine-tuning my craft and from past players that have been with the Blue Crabs I’ve heard that it is just a great atmosphere and a great program and that just steered me in the right direction to sign with the organization.”
Poulson added that he needs to work on throwing more strikes.
“I just need to work on getting ahead of batters,” he said. “I want to blow it by them and work on my control, I had a little trouble with that in the past, but I’m excited for this season in Southern Maryland.”
Santos will be coming back to the Blue Crabs for his second straight season. In 2015, the 29-year-old posted a 2.91 ERA in 51 games for the Blue Crabs. Santos has played stints in the Chicago White Sox organization, while also pitching in the Frontier League.
The San Jose, Calif., native has posted a total professional ERA of 2.85 in 309 1/3 innings pitched.
“Adding depth to our rotation and bullpen is an integral part of our success this season,” said Blue Crabs manager Jeremy Owens in a Blue Crabs news release. “The signings of all these guys adds experience to our clubhouse. Signing Burres, Santos and Thompson also add familiar faces to the clubhouse and the fans. I am also looking forward to the new energy Poulson brings to our team.”