12/05/2018 7:52 AM
CLEBURNE, Texas (Dec. 5, 2018) – The Cleburne Railroaders announced Wednesday the completion of their first trade of the offseason, a three-team deal with the Lincoln Saltdogs and the Sussex County Miners of the Can-Am League. A full breakdown of the trade is as follows:
Cleburne Receives: Outfielder Zach Nehrir from Lincoln, right-handed pitcher Edward Cruz from Sussex County
Lincoln Receives: Utility Trevor Sealey and right-handed pitcher Austin Boyle from Cleburne, left-handed pitcher Kevin Grendell from Sussex County
Sussex County Receives: Right-handed pitchers Tyler Kane and James Campbell from Cleburne, outfielder Angel Reyes and left-handed pitcher Trevor Lubking from Lincoln
“This is a deal we’re very excited about on several different levels,” manager Brent Clevlen said. “Nehrir is an all-star caliber outfielder who we believe is only going to get better, and Cruz is a power arm with the kind of stuff that could play very well in our bullpen. We hated to part ways with the guys we gave up, but we feel Nehrir and Cruz will be important pieces for our success this season.”
Nehrir (pronounced NARE-ee-er) put together a brilliant 2018 season with the Wichita Wingnuts in his first American Association campaign. The native of Orange, Calif., notched career highs in every meaningful statistical category, posting a .312 batting average with 20 doubles, four triples, seven home runs, and 61 RBI. The speedy centerfielder also led the American Association with 38 steals in 42 attempts, setting a new Wichita franchise record in the process.
In addition to his offensive exploits, the 25-year old proved himself one of the best defensive outfielders in the league. His 11 outfield assists led the league, giving Nehrir 25 career assists in only 245 professional games.
Prior to his independent league debut last year, Nehrir spent parts of three seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, most recently with Class-A Kane County. The right-handed hitting outfielder was a 2015 16th round pick by the Diamondbacks out of Houston Baptist University, where he hit .333 as a senior to earn All-Conference honors. Arizona assigned Nehrir to short-season Hillsboro for his professional debut, and the Orange, Calif., native impressed immediately with a .297 average with 15 doubles over the course of 40 games. He was tabbed a Northwest League Mid-Season All-Star for his performance.
Nehrir was promoted to Kane County the following season, and once again got off to a blistering start, hitting .299 before a hand injury and mid-season swoon left his final average at .242 for the Cougars. Nehrir was still selected as a Midwest League All-Star, and received a callup to High-A Visalia for 18 games midway through the 2016 season. The Diamondbacks released Nehrir 17 games into the 2017 campaign, split between Kane County and Visalia. For his professional career, Nehrir is a .272 hitter with nine home runs and 63 stolen bases in 80 attempts.
Cruz, 28, also had a brief appearance in the American Association last season with the Gary SouthShore RailCats. The right-hander made two scoreless relief appearances for Gary before being released, then finished out the season with Sussex County. A native of The Bronx, New York, Cruz had six outings for the eventual Can-Am League champions, finishing 0-1 with a 2.38 ERA in 11 innings. The 6’2, 175-pounder struck out 13 with seven walks and only six hits allowed while with the Miners.
Cruz played his college baseball for Junior College powerhouse Western Oklahoma State, helping the Pioneers to the NJCAA Division II World Series in 2012. He was selected by the Miami Marlins in the 34th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, and played one season for the Marlins Gulf Coast League affiliate. He also made one start for the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League in 2016. All told, Cruz owns a career mark of 1-4 with a 5.30 ERA in 37.1 innings.
The 3rd season of Railroaders baseball and the club’s pursuit of its first division title kicks off with a four-game home series against the Sioux Falls Canaries, beginning on Thursday, May 16. For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders main office at (817) 945-8705, or visit the Railroaders official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.