SIOUX CITY, IA – The Sioux City Explorers announced today that the club has re-signed RHP Ryan Zimmerman and LHP Hobbs Johnson to 2017 American Association contracts. The 2017 season will mark Zimmerman’s 5th season in professional baseball, 3rd as a member of the X’s and Johnson’s 2nd season with the Explorers, 5th in professional baseball.
Zimmerman had one of the best single seasons in Sioux City franchise history in his first season with the X’s in 2015, going 14-2 and leading the American Association in ERA at a miniscule 1.80 mark. Zimmerman finished near the top in almost every major pitching statistical category in the American Association that season, including holding opponents to a league best .190 batting average against him. His 14 wins were tied for 3rd most in the league, tossed 3 complete games (tied for 5th) and 2 shutouts (tied for 2nd), while compiling 96 strikeouts (9th most) to only 37 walks. Zimmerman logged a career high 120.1 innings, surrendering only 81 hits. During his fantastic season, Zimmerman was named the American Association Pitcher of the Month for June after winning all 5 of his starts in the month.
Last season Zimmerman made 18 starts for the Explorers, tossing 87 innings while striking out 62 batters. Zimmerman is 2nd in Sioux City Explorers franchise history in both single season wins (14) and lowest single season ERA (1.80), and is currently tied for 10th in career wins with the X’s at 17. Prior to joining the Explorers, Zimmerman pitched collegiately at Northwestern State University and was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 30th round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He signed with the D’Backs but never appeared in a game due to injury and started his professional career pitching in the United Baseball League and the Frontier League.
Johnson signed with the Explorers late last season on July 29 and appeared in 9 games with the X’s, pitching 17.2 innings, collecting 18 strikeouts. Johnson was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 14th round of the 2013 MLB Draft and split his first professional season at the Rookie level and Single-A, posting a combined 0.86 ERA in 11 appearances. In 2014, Johnson spent the entire season impressing at the Advanced-A level where he was among the Florida State League leaders in wins (12, T-3rd), ERA (2.93, 4th), opponent’s batting average (.221, 2nd), and innings pitched (147.2, 4th). For his efforts, Johnson was named an organizational All-Star for Milwaukee and was also ranked as the #23 prospect. In 2015 Johnson was selected as a Southern League mid-season All-Star while pitching for the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers. Prior to pitching professionally, Johnson played collegiately at the University of North Carolina and in 2013 pitched 8.1 shutout innings in a College World Series win.
The Explorers 25th season of baseball in Siouxland gets underway on Thursday, May 18th when they welcome the Sioux Falls Canaries to Mercy Field at Lewis & Clark Park. Reserve your season tickets, flex tickets, and group tickets now by calling 712-277-9467 (WINS).