Bryan Evans, who set the Lancaster Barnstormers’ single season record by striking out 130 batters in 2016, has been signed for a third season by the franchise, it was announced today by manager Ross Peeples.
In addition, left-hander Jonny Drozd has been signed by the Minnesota Twins organization, becoming the sixth player to finish the 2016 campaign in Lancaster that has joined a Major League system during the current off-season.
Evans, 30, has started the past two season openers for the Barnstormers, only the second pitcher to have made consecutive Opening Night starts in the history of the club.
The Mission Viejo, CA native made 22 starts and one relief appearance for the Barnstormers in 2016, recording the 130 strikeouts in 124 innings. His signature performance came on August 14, when the right-hander tied a club single-game record with 13 strikeouts in a complete-game, two-hit shutout at Long Island as Lancaster won, 12-0.
Evans also threw two shutout stints at Southern Maryland, winning the season opener on April 21 and picking up a 5-0 win in the opener of a scheduled doubleheader on May 22. The UC-Davis product also went four consecutive starts from June 24 thru July 9 without issuing a walk and only gave up 27 bases on balls for the season.
Overall, the right-hander went 4-9 with a 4.43 ERA in the 2016 campaign prior to his contract being purchased by the Seattle Mariners. He made three starts for Class AA Jackson (TN).
The preceding year, Evans was 1-2 in five starts with his lone win coming against Southern Maryland. His contract was purchased by Colorado in May, 2015, and he finished his season with Class AA New Britain, going 6-5.
Evans had previously spent seven seasons in the Miami Marlins’ system, peaking at Class AAA New Orleans.
“Evans has pitched well for us in the past,” said Peeples. “We look for him to come in and do the same this year. He brings leadership and experience to our rotation.”
Drozd, a former New York Yankees farmhand, is in the Twins’ minor league camp in Ft. Myers, FL. The 6’7” left-hander appeared in 21 games for the Barnstormers in the second half of the 2016 season. The Texas Tech product had spent two seasons in the Yankees organization, going 3-4 with a 1.89 ERA in 48 appearances, all in relief. He had recorded eight saves.
“Drozd is a sneaky lefty who can be tough against left-handed hitters,” said Peeples. “It’s great to see him get another opportunity with a Major League organization.”