WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Goldeyes announced several transactions this week, including the acquisition of Frontier League Most Valuable Player James Harris and former American Association All-Star Dylan Thompson.
Harris, an outfielder, was acquired from the Frontier League’s Washington Wild Things in exchange for infielder Jordan Ebert. The Oakland, California native finished tied for 11th in the Frontier League in batting average (.305), tied for eighth in home runs (16), ninth in RBI (64), and fourth in stolen bases (26). Harris led the league in both runs scored (75) and triples (8), while ranking tied for eighth in doubles (22) and fifth in slugging percentage (.529). Defensively, the 25-year-old Harris committed just two errors in 92 games played in centre field. Harris batted .405 in 84 at bats with runners in scoring position, and helped Washington reach the Frontier League Championship Series. On May 17th versus Gateway, Harris hit for the first cycle in Wild Things franchise history.
“I’m very excited to add James,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “I feel like he will bring an exciting blend of athleticism to our club. He’s a dynamic offensive player, and can cover a lot of ground on defence.”
Harris was drafted out of Oakland Technical High School (Oakland, California) in the first round (60th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, and is heading into his ninth season of professional baseball. A right-handed batter and fielder, Harris is a lifetime .262 hitter in 625 games played. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Harris has averaged 90 runs, 30 doubles, 12 home runs, 67 RBI, 34 stolen bases, and 68 walks per 162 contests during his career. In addition to his time in the Rays’ farm system, Harris spent parts of three seasons in the Oakland Athletics’ organization where he reached Triple-A in 2015.
Thompson, a right-handed pitcher, was acquired from the Sioux Falls Canaries in exchange for right-handed pitcher Alex Boshers. The Snow Camp, North Carolina native was 5-9 in 21 starts last season with a 5.13 ERA. Thompson finished tied for eighth in the American Association in innings pitched (121.0), 14th in strikeouts (88), and held the opposition to three earned runs or less in 14 of his 21 starts. In 2017, Thompson represented the Canaries at the American Association/Can-Am League All-Star Game, and finished that season with a 3.66 ERA in 46.2 innings.
“Dylan has proven to be a quality arm in the American Association,” said Forney. “He was a real weapon two years ago out of the Sioux Falls bullpen, which led to him being named an All-Star. I’m hoping a return trip to the pen will bring back similar results for the Goldeyes.”
Thompson is heading into his sixth season of professional baseball, and is 19-21 in his career with three saves and a 4.85 ERA in 134 appearances, 36 of them as a starting pitcher. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Thompson has struck out 251, walked 131, and yielded 24 home runs in 332.0 professional innings. Thompson, 26, was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 31st round in 2014 out of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Greensboro, North Carolina).
Ebert played two seasons for the Goldeyes, helping the club win the 2017 American Association championship. Ebert combined for a .295 batting average in 128 games for Winnipeg while seeing time in both the infield and outfield. Boshers was 3-10 last season with a 5.55 ERA in 21 starts and two relief appearances after the Goldeyes acquired him during spring training.
Additionally, catcher Tyler Baker has elected to retire from professional baseball. Baker signed with the Goldeyes in July and hit .244 with five home runs and 22 RBI over 56 contests. The Topeka, Kansas native ranked fifth in the American Association with a 37 percent caught stealing rate.
The Goldeyes also exercised the option on 15 players (full list below). By exercising the options, the Goldeyes retain the rights to these players for the 2019 season. Each player must still be signed to a new contract.
2019 Winnipeg Goldeyes Player Options
CF Reggie Abercrombie
LHP Brennan Bernardino
RHP Brandon Bingel
LHP PJ Browne
RHP Victor Capellan
RHP Jack Charleston
C Kevin Garcia
OF Grant Heyman
LHP Mitchell Lambson
3B Josh Mazzola
IF Matt McCann
LHP Kevin McGovern
IF Tucker Nathans
OF Josh Romanski
SS Andrew Sohn
The Winnipeg Goldeyes begin the 2019 season next May, and expect their schedule to be released in the coming weeks.