February 13, 2013
The Wichita Wingnuts re-signed first baseman C.J. Ziegler on Wednesday.
Ziegler dominated the American Association in 2012, hitting .320 with 18 home runs and 61 RBI in just 58 games played. The 18 home runs tied for third in the league, and stand as the third-highest single-season total in team history. Ziegler demonstrated strong plate discipline, walking 34 times and striking out only 37. The Tucson, AZ native finished the season with a .408 on-base percentage, and fell 10 plate appearances shy from topping the American Association with a .631 slugging percentage. Ziegler also appeared in 22 games for the Mexican League's Tabasco Olmecas during the middle of the season.
"We are obviously very excited to have C.J. coming back for the 2013 season," said Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper. "'Z' was on pace to break numerous league records last year before departing for Mexico. I see him feeding off of that production, and once again being another huge piece of our puzzle. He will be right back in the middle of our lineup contributing as a run producer."
Over his final 40 American Association contests, Ziegler cracked 16 home runs while driving in 45. A right-handed hitter and fielder, Ziegler went more than two consecutive games without an RBI just three times all season. From May 23rd through June 10th, Ziegler amassed a 17-game hitting streak (27 for 73, .370) which was the longest by a Wingnuts' player in 2012, and the fourth-longest in team history. On June 2nd versus Grand Prairie, Ziegler hit a game-ending, solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning that propelled Wichita to a franchise-best 10th conescutive victory.
Ziegler is entering his sixth season of professional baseball, and is a lifetime .275 hitter with 71 home runs and 296 RBI in 391 games. Ziegler also owns a .370 on-base percentage and a .494 slugging percentage for his career. The 27-year-old first baseman was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 16th round out of the University of Arizona in 2008. During his two seasons with the Wildcats, Ziegler batted .346 with 33 home runs and 123 RBI in 119 games. Ziegler spent three years in San Francisco's farm system before joining the independent ranks in 2010. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Ziegler has averaged 96 runs scored, 42 doubles, 30 home runs, 123 RBI, and 87 walks per 162 games over his professional career.
Ziegler gives the Wingnuts three players officially under contract for the 2013 season. American Association teams may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which begins in early May.
2013 Wingnuts Signings
RHP Mike Burns
SS Ryan Khoury
1B C.J. Ziegler
The 2013 season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 16th against the Kansas City T-Bones at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Prior to the game, a ceremony honoring the life of bench coach Brian Rose will take place.