WHERE ARE THEY NOW
A weekly look at former Sioux City Explorers that had their contracts purchased by major league clubs and what they have accomplished since their Sioux City days.
Anthony Bender was the first member of the 2019 club to be purchased by a major league organization. The Milwaukee Brewers purchased the young right handed bullpen arm on May 24th. Possibly a not incredibly well known name to X’s fans seeing as he only appeared in two games for Sioux City. But when manager, Steve Montgomery, was asked what the Explorers had lost in Bender and he responded “the best fastball in the league.” That proved to be the case as Bender was dominant across three levels of the Brewers organization. Between the A, A+ and AA levels he had an ERA of 1.49 in 29 games out of the pen to go along with nine saves. In 36.1 innings of work he struck out 35 batters while walking only nine batters. The native of Petaluma, CA will be 25 years old when he rejoins the Brewers organization for the 2020 season.
Jason Garcia came to the X’s at the end of the 2018 season, and returned at the beginning of the 2018 season and performed like the X’s ace during that time. In his nine starts in 2019, Garcia went 8-1 with a 2.73 ERA. In total Garcia would make 12 regular season starts for the X’s and went 11-1 with a 2.39 ERA. Garcia had his contract purchased by the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He would spend the remainder of the 2019 season with their AA affiliate, Montgomery Biscuits. Garcia would make eight more starts going 7-1 with a 5.07 ERA. In 17 total starts this past season between Sioux City and Montgomery, Garcia put together a record of 15-2.
Parker Markel has been one of the most well known Sioux City alums during the 2019 season. Becoming the first player sold during the time in which Steve Montgomery has been manager to make it to the major leagues. Markel pitched for Sioux City in 2018 and was purchased by the Seattle Mariners during the off season and quickly made his rise through the Mariners organization. Dominating both the AA and AAA levels he would get the call to the show and make his major league debut on May 12th at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately for Markel his time with the Mariners did not find him much success. He appeared in only five games surrendering an ERA of 15.43, allowing a run in every appearance he made for the M’s. Seattle designated Markel for assignment on July 23rd. But it was only a brief four days later when he would find his new team. The Pittsburgh Pirates would pick up Markel and over the final two months of the major league season saw Markel bounce between the Buc’s and their AAA affiliate in Indianapolis. In 15 games with Pittsburgh in the big leagues Markel found more success. He struck out 21 batters in 17.1 innings and held down a more respectable 5.71 ERA. Markel, who just celebrated a birthday in September will be 29 when he reports to Pirates spring training this February.