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Cleburne Acquires Batting Champ Lago

Photo: Erin Bormett/Sioux Falls Canaries
01/13/2020 12:38 PM

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CLEBURNE, Tex. (Jan. 13, 2020) – The Cleburne Railroaders announced Monday the acquisition of infielder Alay Lago from the Sioux Falls Canaries in exchange for infielder Ryan Brett, outfielder KC Huth, and left-handed pitcher Eudis Idrogo.

Additionally, the Railroaders have traded left-handed pitcher Braden Pearson to the New York Boulders of the Frontier League to complete an earlier trade. Pearson completes the deal from November 21 that sent right-handed pitcher John Shull to the Boulders in exchange for right-handed pitcher Landon Holifield. Shull has since elected to retire from professional baseball.

Lago delivered a memorable 2019 season in Sioux Falls, winning the American Association batting crown wtih a .339 average. In 92 games, the 28-year old blasted 30 doubles and 13 home runs, driving in 57 runs while adding 14 stolen bases. Lago was named a Midseason and Postseason All-Star for his efforts, going 1-for-4 in the All-Star Game and also appearing in the Home Run Derby.

The native of La Habana, Cuba, posted an impressive 36 multi-hit games in 2019, including 11 three-hit games and a pair of four-hit performances. All told, Lago finished the campaign with a .339/..386/.531 slash line, good for a .917 OPS that ranked 7th in the American Association among qualified hitters. His .393 wOBA checked in at 6th.

Lago's 2019 season included career-bests in virtually all major offensive categories. His 13 home runs with the Canaries represented one more than his previous eight professional seasons combined. In 399 plate appearances, Lago whiffed only 55 times, yielding a strong 13.7 strikeout rate, while improving his walk rate nearly four full percentage points from the 2018 season. Defensively, Lago served as the Canaries primary second baseman, though he also saw time at third base and shortstop.

Lago joined the American Association in 2018, signing with the Kansas City T-Bones on July 24. He contributed a .283 average over the final 37 regular season contests, then helped power the T-Bones to the title with a stellar postseason performance. The right-handed hitting infielder hit .303 in nine postseason games, going 7-for-15 in the Championship Series against St. Paul. He banged out four hits in the series opener, then added a go-ahead, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning of Game Four that proved to be the difference. Kansas City traded Lago to Sioux Falls on March 20, 2019 in exchange for the reversionary rights to right-handed pitcher Ryan Fritze.

Prior to signing with the T-Bones, Lago played professionally in his native Cuba from 2010-2015, signing as an international free agent with the Atlanta Braves in 2017. He hit .303 at High-A Florida that season, earning a call-up to Double-A Mississippi the following year.

Brett was signed by the Railroaders on June 26, 2019, after beginning the year with the T-Bones. The former Major Leaguer played in 63 games for Cleburne, hitting .257 with 13 doubles and a career-high eight home runs.

Brett was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 3rd Round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Highline High School in Washington, eventually making his Major League debut on April 18, 2015. Along the way, Brett showcased an elite combination of speed and bat-to-ball skills, swiping 20 more bases four times and hitting better than .300 in four of his first five seasons. His time at the game’s highest level lasted just three games, despite the fact that Brett reached base in three of his four plate appearances. His first Major League hit came against New York Yankees closer Andrew Miller, a ninth inning double on April 19, 2015.

Huth was the last remaining player from the original 2017 Railroaders roster, having been with the club since its inception. The former West Virginia Mountaineer put together his best offensive campaign to date in 2019, pounding out a .276 average with 14 doubles, six home runs and 43 RBI while playing his trademark strong defense. He departs as the Railroaders record-holder in several career offensive categories, in addition to outfield assists.

The 27-year old broke into professional baseball with the Joplin Blasters in 2016, hitting .276 in 58 games for the now-defunct American Association club. He also briefly spent time with the Gary SouthShore RailCats during the stretch run of the 2018 season, appearing in eight regular season games and one playoff game for the RailCats.

Idrogo posted a 9-5 record and 4.46 ERA in his debut American Association season with the Railroaders. The southpaw logged 113.0 innings, and became the first Cleburne hurler to record 100 strikeouts in a season, picking up 102 punchouts to only 42 walks. After a slow start to the year, Idrogo became one of the Railroaders most consistent arms over the final two months of the season, lowering his ERA from 7.71 more than three full runs. He notched a season-best 10 strikeouts against Kansas City on June 12, and fired six shutout innings in a pivotal late-season game against the Lincoln Saltdogs.

Idrogo was signed by the Detroit Tigers as a 16-year old international free agent in 2012, and made his professional debut that same year with Detroit’s Venezuela Summer League team. The left-hander dominated that level over the course of three seasons, forging a combined 13-5 record and 2.03 ERA in 37 games, 20 of which were starts. Idrogo struck out 111 while walking only 36 and allowing 114 hits in 133.0 innings. The 24-year old Idrogo was released by the Detroit Tigers organization on March 26 after seven seasons in their minor league system.

American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during Spring Training, which begins May 7.

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.



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