Two familiar faces and a newcomer mark the first wave of signings
(Waldorf, Md., Feb. 5, 2016) - The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs have announced the signings of infielder Zach Wilson, catcher Gustavo Molina, and outfielder Kuan-Jen Chen.
The upcoming 2016 season marks the return of both Wilson and Molina, who were a vital part of the 2015 Blue Crabs team that earned the opportunity to play in the Atlantic League Championship Series. Kuan-Jen Chen brings depth to the outfield along with veteran presence.
Catcher Gustavo Molina returns to play for Southern Maryland for the second consecutive season. Molina, 32, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago White Sox and went on to spend seven seasons in the Chicago organization. He is the first signee of 2016 that has played at the major league level, spending parts of four seasons with the White Sox, Orioles, Mets, Red Sox, and most recently the Yankees in 2011. Despite struggling at times with injuries last season, Molina hit .285 with a team high 13 homeruns, and was second only behind Wilson with 52 runs batted in. He also posted an impressive .993 fielding percentage.
Along with Molina, infielder Zach Wilson returns to the Blue Crabs after a very successful 2015 campaign when he earned an All-Star appearance. Wilson, a Long Beach California native, finished last season with the fourth highest batting average (.291), and the sixth most hits (141) in the entire league. He hit .371 while driving in 22 runs in his final 42 games. The 25 year old is a former Arizona State product who was a two time MLB Draft pick, having most recently been selected by the New York Yankees in the 21st round of the 2011 draft.
Kuan-Jen Chen is a veteran outfielder from Yunlin County, Taiwan. Chen first entered professional baseball in 2006 after completing his military service. In his rookie season while playing for the Brother Elephants of the Chinese Professional Baseball League, Chen earned rookie of the year honors as well as snagging the league batting title after hitting .349. In 2008, Chen led the Elephants and registered the third most hits (141) in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. He will be playing in the Atlantic League for the first time in his career.
“Being able to bring back to players who were a vital part of last year’s success is a giant step forward for our 2016 club,” said Blue Crabs Manager Jeremy Owens. “Resigning Wilson and Molina add stability and familiarity to the clubhouse. They are both weapons offensively that could hit in the middle of the order. Chen is a big signing for us because of what he brings to the table offensively. He will be a key building block to our 2016 season.”
About the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
The Blue Crabs play 140 regular season games in the Atlantic League, considered the highest level of minor league baseball. Atlantic League players are “Major League-ready” and over the last 16 years, more than 600 players have advanced from Atlantic League clubs to Major League organizations, making the Atlantic League a preferred route for experienced players to be scouted by Major League Baseball. The Blue Crabs play at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland. The franchise will look to open its ninth season on Thursday April 21st, 2016. Please call 301-638-9788 or visit www.somdbluecrabs.com for more information and to reserve your seat at the ballpark today!