SIOUX CITY EXPLORERS PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28, 2023
ORTEGA AND BLOOR ADDED
KEY RETURNER JOINED BY ROOKIE
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Sioux City Explorers have announced that the team has signed C Jake Ortega and RHP Kyle Bloor for the 2024 season. Sioux City adds depth at catcher and picks up a true rookie for the bullpen with the two moves.
C Jake Ortega returns to Sioux City where he played in 70 games in 2023, hitting .265 with four home runs and 26 RBI. Ortega would slash a line of .265/.368/.368 while catching in 41 games and would add another 18 games at third base for the X’s. Ortega got off to a fast start to the season with a six-game hitting streak, going 9-for-25 and hitting .346 in the month of May. In June, he would hit .282 with a home run and 12 RBI, including a season-high nine-game hitting streak (14-for-37) from June 9 to June 18.
Ortega finished fourth on the club with 14 multi-hit games for the Explorers. He had two three-hit games in a pair of wins for Sioux City during the season. He would go 3-for-5 on June 7 in a 12-9 win over Sioux Falls at Lewis and Clark Park, and on July 14 he would go 3-for-5 in the X’s 8-5 win at Fargo-Moorhead, adding a homer and two more RBI. The California native would record back-to-back two-hit games on July 27 and 28 part of his 15 two-hit games, a stat good for third on the team. Defensively, Ortega was forced to play 18 games at third base during the season and would have a 1.000 fielding percentage. In his 41 games behind the plate, Ortega would throw out 11 runners in 59 attempts for a 19% caught-stealing percentage.
Ortega originally came to the Explorers after taking the year off baseball in 2022, inking with the team on May 2, 2023. Ortega spent four seasons with Cal State-Bakersfield before being drafted by the Mets in the 28th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. He spent 2019-2021 in the minors, reaching AA in 2021 with the Mets organization.
In 2021, Ortega split time between AA and rookie ball, playing in 19 games at the rookie level and batting .269 with a .713 OPS. with AA Binghamton, he saw action in five games and had 12 plate appearances. Before that, he split his first full professional season at Low-A and High-A in the Mets organization. Between the levels, he played in 32 games and held a .242 batting average with a .307 OBP. In his two pro seasons with the Mets organization, he threw out 27 runners in 71 stolen base attempts for a 39% caught stealing percentage.
Ortega was drafted by the Mets in 2019 after having an outstanding senior season at Cal-State-Bakersfield, batting .326 with a .418 OBP and .818 OPS in 53 games that year. In 2018 he hit .245 in 47 games with 14 RBI. During his 2017, sophomore season, he batted .322 with a .390 OBP over 41 games after hitting .286 in his freshman season in 44 games. Ortega is a career .273 hitter across 364 games between professional and college ball. Behind the plate, combined in his career he has a 31% caught-stealing percentage. Ortega is a 2015 graduate of Capistrano Valley High School and hails from Mission Viejo, California. He was selected to the 2013 and 2014 Perfect Game Underclass honorable mention All-American list and was named to the 2013-14 Southern California Top 20 All-Star Team.
RHP Kyle Bloor will make his professional debut in 2024 with the Explorers. Bloor, a native of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, spent his last two college seasons with Tennessee Wesleyan in Athens, Tennessee. In 44 games over two seasons, the right-hander would spend all but nine games in the pen for the Bull Dogs. Bloor would post a 13-0 career record with a 5.06 ERA in 94.1 innings with 110 strikeouts and eight saves. In his final season at Tennessee Wesleyan, he would pitch in 30.1 innings with 40 strikeouts with a 1.484 WHIP. His seven saves led the team, and his 21 appearances also were tops on the team. The righty posted a 11.9 strikeout per innings ratio with a 3-0 record. Following his final season with the Bull Dogs, Bloor was selected to the All-Appalachian Athletic Conference team as the relief pitcher while tying for the conference lead in saves with seven.
In 2022 Bloor pitched in 23 games, making eight starts with a 5.06 ERA with 70 strikeouts. He pitched in 64 innings with a 1.500 WHIP with 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Bloor worked primarily as the set-up and late-inning situational arm in the pen where his 70 punchouts were second on the relief staff during the season.
Bloor would spend parts of three seasons at Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas from 2019 to 2021. He would pitch in 79 innings over that time span with 76 strikeouts in 34 games. Bloor would make 11 starts while making 23 relief appearances. Bloor would come to Colby Community College as a catcher but would convert to pitcher in his first season. Bloor played in his native Alberta during the summer of 2021 with Lethbridge in the Western Canadian League and played last summer for Falmouth of the Cape Cod League. In five games in Lethbridge, he pitched 7.1 innings with seven strikeouts and no earned runs. In Falmouth he would add another 8.1 innings with four earned runs, nine strikeouts and one save.
The Explorers are set to open their 31st season in the Siouxland at home Friday night, May 10th at 7:05 p.m. against the Kansas City Monarchs. Ticket packages for the 2024 season are on-sale now, including Full and Half-Season Tickets as well as 10, 15 and 25 game Flex Packs. More information is available by calling the Explorers front office at 712-277-WINS. Stay tuned to the Explorers social media channels and the club’s website xsbaseball.com for off-season news and updates.