Sioux City, IA (January 7, 2021) —The Sioux City Explorers today have announced the signings of C Justin Felix and INF Rhett Aplin to 2021 contracts.
The upcoming season will be Justin Felix’s second season in both professional baseball and with the Sioux City Explorers.
Felix was added to the X’s roster on June 15th of the 2019 season. Playing primarily as the backup catcher he appeared in 27 games. Twelve of those were as a catcher with the rest being played in the outfield as the rookie did whatever the team asked of him.
He hit for a .170 average but showed flashes of impressive power. In only 53 at bats he had nine hits and five of those were home runs. A pace of a homer every 10.6 at bats. He scored nine runs, drove in six, walked 11 times adding a double and a triple.
Prior to joining the Explorers the soon to be 25 year old was playing collegiately for the Arkansas State Red Wolves. In two seasons he hit for a .257 average, and an .886 OPS. In 107 games, with 18 homers, 26 doubles, 80 runs and 87 RBI. His two seasons in Jonesboro, Arkansas however were split into three years as he missed the 2018 season with an injury and took a medical redshirt. In both seasons led the team in homers and was either first or second in RBI.
The Nogales, Arizona native also spent two seasons at the New Mexico Military Institute. In his sophomore season with the Broncos he led the team in, batting average (.395), on base percentage (.465), slugging percentage (.811), home runs (18) and was second on the team with 64 RBI. He finished third in school history in career home runs. He was named All-Western Junior College Athletic Conference and the schools Most Improved Athlete for 2016.
His senior season at Nogales High School he was named the Spring Male Athlete of the Year and First Team All-Conference as he helped lead the Apaches to a Division II state runner-up finish.
2021 will mark the third season of professional baseball for Rhett Aplin, with it being his first with the Explorers.
Aplin was a 28th round draft pick in 2018 for the Kansas City Royals. He spent the last two seasons with the Royals rookie level affiliates.
There he played exclusively first base while appearing in 119 games. At the dish he hit for a .307 average, swatting 10 home runs and 20 doubles. He drove in 60 RBI while scoring 66 runs. A patient batter, he drew 60 walks in his two seasons with the Royals.
Most of his numbers came during the 2019 campaign where he hit .310 over 68 games. He hit all 10 of his professional home runs that season and collected 42 RBI and 14 doubles.
The 25 year old Florida native stayed in state collegiately, playing for the Florida State Seminoles. In those two seasons with the ‘Noles, Aplin played in 107 games, hitting .309 with eight home runs, 27 doubles, 59 RBI and 71 runs scored.
He was a part of the 2017 Florida State team that made it to the College World Series in Omaha used primarily as an outfielder before making the switch to first base for his senior season committing only two errors in 485 chances for a .986 fielding percentage.
With the signings of Felix and Aplin the Explorers have ten players signed to a 2021 contract (5 pitchers, 5 position players)
RHP Nate Gercken
RHP Danny Hrbek
RHP Max Kuhns
LHP Jairo Labourt
LHP Patrick Ledet
C Justin Felix
INF Rhett Aplin
OF Chase Harris
OF Eury Perez
OF Sebastian Zawada