Drabek, who was an All-American player at The Woodlands High School, joins the Skeeters for his first season in Sugar Land and the Atlantic League.
Drabek was originally selected as the 18th overall pick of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. The Texas native graduated from The Woodlands High School in 2006 and as a starting shortstop and pitcher he earned AFLAC, USA Today and Louisville Slugger High School All-American honors. During his career for the Highlanders, he went 30-1 on the mound and hit 27 home runs. In his senior year for the Highlanders and playing alongside current Diamondbacks All-Star Paul Goldschmidt, Drabek hit .479 with six home runs as a shortstop and was 10-0 on the mound with a 1.18 ERA as the team’s starting pitcher. He was named the 2005 and 2006 Texas 5A Player of the Year and was selected by Baseball America as being a First Team All American.
The 6-foot-2 right-hander spent most of his major league career with the Toronto Blue Jays (2010-14). He pitched five seasons with Toronto appearing in 39 games, 30 as a starter. His most extensive time in the majors came in 2011 when he appeared in 18 games, 14 starts and compiled a 4-5 overall record. He made 13 starts the following season with the Blue Jays and was 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA.
The 29-year old, son of former major league Cy Young winner Doug Drabek, made his major league debut with the Blue Jays on Sept. 15, 2010, at Baltimore and earned his first major league win against the Minnesota Twins on April 2, 2011, working seven innings and striking out seven in Toronto’s 6-1 win. His father Doug also earned his first career win against the Twins in 1986. Kyle entered the 2011 season rated by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in the Blue Jays’ system. Baseball America also tabbed him as having the best curveball for five consecutive years (2007-2011 with the Phillies and Blue Jays).
Last season, the San Francisco Giants signed Drabek on July 17 to a minor league contract to play shortstop at Triple-A Reno, a position he played while attending The Woodlands High School. Kyle played in nine games at shortstop for the Triple-A Aces and pitched in 15 games, 11 as a starter.
Nix, Gleason and Prince return to defend championship
The Skeeters announced that the club has re-signed pitchers Michael Nix, Sean Gleason, and infielder Josh Prince for the 2017 season.
Nix was a member of the Sugar Land Skeeters in the inaugural season (2012) and will become the first Skeeter to play in all six seasons. The 33-year-old right-hander was first drafted in 2005 by the Atlanta Braves (11th round) out of Auburn University where he played with 2015 MVP Josh Donaldson (TOR) during the 2005 season. Nix spent four seasons in the Atlanta Braves system, advancing as high as Triple-A in 2008 with the Richmond Braves. He was signed twice out of Sugar Land, by the Chicago White Sox in 2013 and by the San Diego Padres the following year.
Nix began last season with Triple-A Saltillo (MEX) and Triple-A Aguascalientes (MEX), going 7-8 with 65 strikeouts in 107.0 innings pitched before returning to Sugar Land in August. Last season with the Skeeters he posted a 3.12 ERA and went 2-1 with six starts and 30 strikeouts after going 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA with the club in 2015.
Nix made one start in the playoffs with the Skeeters and picked up the win tossing six shutout innings in a 2-0 victory over the Long island Ducks, giving Sugar Land a 2-0 lead in the best of five series for the 2016 Atlantic League Championship. As a Skeeter, Nix has a career record of 20-15 (3.32 ERA) and an overall minor league career record of 83-57 (3.89 ERA).
Eight-year professional baseball veteran Josh Prince returns to the Skeeters after playing his first full season with the club last year. The Lake Charles, La., native began his college career at the University of Texas where he hit .371 and was a freshman All-American before finishing his career back home at Tulane University. While at Tulane, he led the nation in stolen bases (48) and hit .353, which helped him to his eventual draft by the Milwaukee Brewers (3rd round) in 2009. Prince spent five seasons in the Brewers system, making his major league debut with the team in 2013.
After splitting time with Double-A Erie in the Detroit Tigers system in 2015, he finished the last two months of the season in the Atlantic League with the Bridgeport Bluefish before joining the Skeeters last year. Prince was a catalyst for the Skeeters as the leadoff hitter last season, owning 24 stolen bases with a career total of 274. He was also an integral part of Sugar Land’s championship, leading the team with nine RBI in six playoff games including a grand slam in Game 3 of the Freedom Division Championship. The 8-6 extra innings win in the game solidified a three-game sweep against York to put the Skeeters in the championship round for the second time in franchise history. The Skeeters continued on to sweep the Long Island Ducks and win their first ever ALPB title.
Gleason, 31, returns to the Skeeters after joining the team late in the season last year. The right-hander was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox (25th round) in 2006 out of Lamar Community College (Lamar, Colo.) and by the Baltimore Orioles (20th round) the following year, advancing as high as Triple-A with the Norfolk Tides in 2012. In his first full season of professional baseball in 2008, he was 12-2 posting a 2.63 ERA with the Delmarva Shorebirds of the South Atlantic League (BAL). While with the Frederick Keys of the Carolina League (BAL) in 2011, Gleason had a career-high 32 saves in 50 games.
Gleason made his Atlantic League debut in 2015 with the Camden Riversharks primarily as a starter. Last year, he played the majority of the season with the New Britain Bees as a reliever before coming to Sugar Land in September.