OFFSEASON MOVES TO HELP BOLSTER PITCHING STAFF
October 9, Augusta, NJ – The 2018 Can-Am League Champion Sussex County Miners announced that they made a pair of trades today. First, the team sent catcher Christian Correa to the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association to complete an earlier transaction between the two clubs. That was followed up by the Miners trading outfielder Jayce Ray to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the American Association as part of a three-team deal that yielded right-handed relief pitcher Brandon Barker from Fargo-Moorhead as well as right-handed starting pitcher Geoff Broussard from the Lincoln Saltdogs, also of the American Association.
Correa is returning to the team that he played eight games for in the 2017 season. The Miners acquired him to join forces with veteran backstop Luis Alen, and the 25-year old Long Island, New York native did not disappoint. Christian hit .292 in 50 games for the Miners. During the Can-Am League Playoffs, Correa hit at a .357 clip (5-for-14) with a double and two runs batted in. Christian was also known for his defensive prowess behind the plate, with the pitching staff sporting a 3.89 ERA while Correa was catching. .
“CC (Correa) was good enough to be the starter and was the league’s best defender at his position,” said Miners manager Bobby Jones. “Just a laser for an arm and gave us solid at bats all year. A great team guy that will be greatly missed.”
Ray was acquired by the Miners this past February in a deal that sent Jay Baum to the Sioux City Explorers. Jayce became the Miners everyday centerfielder, as he hit .279 for Sussex County, with 5 home runs and 55 runs batted in. His 31 stolen bases was good for third on the Miners as well as being a key contributor to the club’s record 239 stolen bases that paced all Major and Minor League Baseball this year. Jayce had seven outfield assists during the season, and contributed to three double plays defensively, which led the Can-Am League.
“Jayce Ray was a perfect fit from a player/character standpoint,” Jones would say about the Miners centerfielder. “Hell of a player, that really brought a toughness that rubbed off on everyone. Tough as nails but just as nice as you can be! Love him!”
In return, the Miners receive a pair of right-handed pitchers who are candidates to join the team’s starting rotation and back end of the bullpen next year.
Barker started 12 games for Fargo-Moorhead last season, finishing with a 3-6 record and a 4.85 earned run average. Brandon demonstrated remarkable command by striking out 54 batters and walking just 15 in 68 2/3 innings pitched. During his time in affiliated ball, Barker had reached as high as AAA on two occasions. The first time around, it was for Atlanta’s affiliate in Gwinnett (International League) in 2015, and the second time was for Baltimore’s affiliate in Norfolk (International League) in 2017.
Broussard, who was dealt to Lincoln by the Redhawks to make the three-way portion of the trade work, appeared in 23 games for Fargo-Moorhead this past season, earning 5 saves and sporting a 2.66 earned run average. Over 27 dominant innings, Geoff struck out 27 batters while walking just 7 while opponents hit .225 against him. Previously, Broussard had also pitched as high as AAA on two occasions, for Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim affiliate in Salt Lake in 2016 and for Cincinnati’s affiliate in Louisville in 2017.
After completing both trades, Jones took a moment to reflect on the Miners’ championship run..
“So many great memories with this group but I guess my greatest memory will be the excitement of winning the championship with these guys,” Jones would add. “Just the grind and the willingness to do whatever was asked of them no matter the situation for the greater good of the team. The selflessness that centered around them and the group as a whole. I will always smile when I think about them…. I’m going to miss them both and so will Sussex County.”