SIOUX CITY EXPLORERS PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2023
X’S SIGN TOKAR AND MUNOZ
HOT STOVE BRINGS A PAIR OF RIGHT-HANDERS
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Sioux City Explorers have announced that the team has signed RHP Heitor Tokar and RHP Braunny Munoz for the 2024 season. The team adds two versatile arms and depth to the pitching staff with signing of the pair or right-handers.
RHP Heitor Tokar was a valuable part of the 2023 Explorers staff, working in both long relief and in the rotation as the need warranted during the season. He was originally signed by Sioux City on May 2, 2023, making his X’s debut on May 14. Tokar tossed two scoreless innings on May 14 in a 2-1 win over Kansas City, part of a three-game sweep to start the season. For the season, Tokar went 3-4 with a 5.95 ERA, allowing 54 ER in 81.2 innings pitched. He would strike out 69 with 35 walks and garner a 1.629 WHIP for the season.
Tokar would pitch in 12 games in relief and make 11 starts for the X’s in 2023. In the pen, Tokar worked 30.2 innings, surrendering 23 ER with a 6.85 ERA, and as a starter, he would pitch in 51 innings while giving up 31 ER posting a 5.47 ERA. The overall numbers are inflated due to one start on August 22 where he gave up 10 ER in five innings in a loss at home to Milwaukee. In his other 10 starts, Tokar would not allow more than four runs and only gave up 21 runs in 46 innings to drop his ERA to a 4.10 as a starter. Tokar had a key stretch for the Explorers the second time he was moved to the rotation in late July into August. Over four starts from July 28 to August 9, he worked 17.1 innings, giving up seven earned runs with a 3.68 ERA. The highlight during that run was a quality start for the righty on August 3. Tokar threw six innings, surrendering no earned runs in a 5-4 win over Fargo-Moorhead, completing a sweep of the RedHawks at Lewis and Clark Park.
Tokar’s value to the Explorers was also present early in the season during a three-game stretch in June. He would make the start on June 15 against Gary SouthShore and pick up the win, going five innings and giving up three ER on four hits. Three days later on June 18, he pitched one inning of relief at Lincoln and then would make his next start six days later, going four innings in game one of a doubleheader while also picking up a win at Fargo-Moorhead. He held Fargo to one run and did not allow a hit in the 8-1 win for the X’s.
Tokar, 23, a native of Marília, Brazil, was the youngest player on the team at only 22 years old when the season started in 2023. He started his professional career by signing with the Houston Astros and playing in the Dominican Summer League in 2018 as a 17-year-old . At the time he was considered the 50th best international prospects by Baseball America. His first season in pro ball he was 0-1 with a 1.66 ERA and 0.762 WHIP for the DSL Astros. Tokar would appear in one game for Team Brazil in the 2019 Pan American Games Qualifier, working one relief inning in a loss to Mexico. In 2019 he would go 1-0 with a pair of saves in 35 innings with a 2.83 ERA, making the move to the GCL Astros. He also struck out 29 batters while only walking 11 that year.
Tokar was set to appear once again for Team Brazil and was included on the 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier roster before that was one of the first baseball events to be canceled due to the pandemic. After the cancellation of the 2020 season, he would return to the Astros organization, making two stops at the rookie-level FCL Astros and at class A Fayetteville. He was 2-1 in the FCL with a 3.86 ERA with 18 punchouts in 14 innings, and he added another 40 innings in A ball with a 4.73 ERA with a 3-3 record with two saves. In 2022, Tokar went 3-4 for at High A Ashville in 20 games with a 8.02 ERA. Tokar threw 76.1 innings with a 1.755 WHIP and 64 strikeouts over 20 games with 11 starts.
Tokar was once again a member of the national team for the 2022 World Baseball Classic Qualifier for Brazil. He was second on the team in appearances, working in two of the four games. He would come into his relief appearance and preserve a 4-3 Brazil lead, working 3.1 innings and shutting down a rally by New Zealand after Brazil claimed a 4-0 lead early. Brazil would go on to win the game 12-7. He started in the finale against Nicaragua with a spot in the 2023 World Baseball Classic at stake but would suffer a hard-luck loss, giving up two runs while Brazil saw their bats go cold for the second game in a row in a 3-1 loss.
RHP Braunny Munoz was a mid-August addition to the Explorers roster after spending parts of six seasons in the Cleveland Guardians organization. Munoz was originally signed by the X’s on August 16, 2023 and would pick up the relief win on August 19 at Sioux Falls. The right-hander would work four innings, scattering four hits and a pair of earned runs in a 12-5 win over the Canaries. In his short stay in the Siouxland, the native of the Dominican Republic worked in four games and made one start during the final series at Chicago. He pitched in 13.2 innings with eight strikeouts and eight walks with a 1-0 record and a 6.58 ERA.
Munoz finished strong with Sioux City. Following his second outing where he went four innings and gave up eight runs, he would not surrender a run over his last 5.2 innings, and he held opponents to just three hits. His spot start on September 4 at Chicago was the highlight moment of the season for Munoz with Sioux City: he held the Dogs hitless through three innings and tossed four shutout innings in a no decision with a pair of strikeouts and just one hit in a 10-3 loss.
Munoz spent the early part of the 2023 season with Single-A Lynchburg, pitching in 21 games, including five as a starter before being released August 8. He totaled 68.2 innings including a four-inning scoreless relief appearance on July 1. He opened the season with a stellar five-inning shutout start where he allowed no hits and walked just one batter on April 11.
In 2022, Munoz split time between Class-A Lynchburg and High-A Lake County. At High-A Lake County, he pitched in two games, including a four-inning relief appearance on July 9 where he allowed two runs on three hits. At Class-A Lynchburg, he performed well over 65 innings, starting two games and posting a 3.60 ERA. He also put up a 1.246 WHIP while striking out 59 batters across 28 appearances, including four innings of shutout ball to finish the game and earn a win July 24 for the Hillcats.
2021 was Munoz’s first full season of professional ball, pitching in 15 games and making 11 starts for Class-A Lynchburg. He pitched 57.2 innings, posting a 6.55 ERA while striking out 48 batters. On August 10, he started against the Delmarva Shorebirds (Baltimore), going six innings while allowing just one unearned run on one hit. Two weeks later on August 24, he had another solid performance, pitching six innings while allowing one run on two hits but striking out nine batters.
In 2019, Munoz spent the season with the Indians Red rookie club, pitching in 52.2 innings across 11 starts while posting a 2.91 ERA and striking out 56 batters. The previous year was his first in professional baseball, pitching in the Dominican Summer League as a 17-year-old, going 63.1 innings while posting a 2.84 ERA with a 1.153 WHIP. Cleveland signed Munoz out of Cotui, Dominican Republic. For his career, Munoz has a 21-15 record in 326.2 innings with a 4.24 ERA with 285 strikeouts with a 1.350 WHIP.
2024 Players signed:
RHP Heitor Tokar
RHP Braunny Munoz
RHP Kyle Bloor
C Jake Ortega
C Wilfredo Gimenez
OF Scott Ota
INF Daniel Lingua,
INF Daniel Pérez
RHP John Sheaks
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.