SIOUX CITY, IA – The Sioux City Explorers announced today that the club has signed LHP Ryan Horstman and LHP Hunter Ackerman to 2018 American Association contracts. The 2018 season will mark Horstman’s 6th season in professional baseball and Ackerman’s 8th season in professional baseball.
Horstman was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 4th round of the 2013 MLB Draft from St. John’s University. Horstman has spent all 5 of his professional seasons in the Mariners organization. The Coram, NY native has dealt with injuries throughout most of his career which limited him to just 16 games and 21.1 innings pitched in his first 3 professional seasons. Despite that, Horstman was selected to pitch for the Peoria Javelinas in the prestigious Arizona Fall League in 2015 where the lefty impressed, owning a miniscule 0.93 ERA in 9 games. For his efforts, Horstman spent the majority of the following two seasons at the Double-A level before being released by the Mariners in November. For his professional career, Horstman owns a 6-4 record with a 3.38 ERA.
Ackerman was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 4th round of the 2010 MLB Draft from Louisburg College. The Cubs selected Ackerman after just one collegiate season where the lefty posted an impressive 1.41 ERA, while surrendering only 38 hits in 57.2 innings pitched. The southpaw racked up 92 strikeouts en route to an 8-1 record. Ackerman made his professional debut at the age of 19 and would spend 3 seasons in the Cubs organization, making it to the short season Single-A level before being released by the Cubs during the 2013 season.
The Chesterfield, VA native has spent the last 4 seasons in independent ball pitching in the Frontier League. Ackerman enjoyed his best professional seasons in 2016 & 2017, pitching for the Evansville Otters, where he transitioned to a full time starter. Ackerman helped lead the Otters to the 2016 Frontier League Championship and was named the Championship Series Most Valuable Player after dominating in the winner-take-all game 5 by pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings, while allowing just 1 hit and striking out 5 batters. Last season Ackerman owned an 8-6 record in 15 starts, while racking up a career high 88 strikeouts to just 26 walks.
With the signing of Horstman and Ackerman, the Explorers now have 7 players (all pitchers) signed to 2018 contracts. In other team news, the Explorers have released LHP Cody Forsythe and INF Joe Bennie.
The Explorers begin their 2018 campaign on the road visiting the Lincoln Saltdogs on May 17th. The X’s 2018 home opener is scheduled for Friday, May 25th at Mercy Field at Lewis & Clark Park versus the Cleburne Railroaders in a 7:05pm contest. Get in the game with the X’s by reserving your 2018 season tickets or company group outing now by calling 712-277-WINS (9467).