The East Texas Pump Jacks today announced the first three players on their 2011 roster – and what a place to start.
Lee Orr, the reigning Texas Collegiate League Player of the Year and the TCL’s top professional prospect last year according to Baseball America, has signed to return to East Texas this summer. He will be joined by McNeese State teammates Seth Granger, a fellow outfielder, and pitcher Jaden Dillon.
The three players, all juniors, are expected to form a veteran core for the Pump Jacks in 2011.
Orr earned Player of the Year honors last summer by flashing a combination of power and speed that has major league scouts drooling. He finished second in the league in both home runs (5) and steals (24) while batting .284. He also led the TCL in runs scored (38), ranked second in extra-base hits (21), and finished third in doubles (14), triples (2), and slugging percentage (.518). One of the more impressive stats is that he compiled those 24 stolen bases and was caught only three times.
In the outfield, Orr displayed a cannon arm that earned three assists and changed the game plan of Pump Jacks opponents.
The Louise, Texas, native was one of seven Pump Jacks selected to play in the TCL All-Star Game last July in Victoria. In front of family and friends visiting from his hometown of Louise, Orr captured the pre-game Home Run Derby.
Orr was the first East Texas player to earn the TCL’s Player of the Year award. The Pump Jacks have earned the last two TCL Freshman of the Year awards: Matt Juengel in 2009, and Zac Fisher last summer. He was also one of a league-high five Jacks named to the 2010 All-TCL Team.
His professional outlook is also good, according to the top industry publication. Baseball America tapped Orr as the league’s top pro prospect following last season, one of three Pump Jacks in the top five and four in the top ten. The Cincinnati Reds agreed, drafting Orr in the 40th round last June – even before his standout summer campaign.
In eight games with McNeese this spring, Orr is batting .484 and slugging .645.
Orr earned third-team all-Southland Conference honors last spring, batting .286 and tying for the league lead with 17 home runs. His 23 steals in 28 attempts were third in the conference, and 56 RBI were seventh in the Southland.
In 2009, Orr was named a Freshman All-American after hitting .301 and leading the Cowboys with 15 homers, 56 RBI, and 18 steals. He became the first McNeese player since future major leaguer Ben Broussard in 1999 to lead the team in all three categories.
While Orr usually bats third in the McNeese batting order, Granger holds down the cleanup spot. The Iowa, La., native is batting .306 and leads McNeese with nine RBI through eight games.
Last spring, Granger’s first at McNeese, he batted .267 and led the Cowboys with five triples. He added three home runs, 38 RBI and 27 runs scored.
Granger’s collegiate career began at LSU-Eunice in 2009, where he batted .325 with seven home runs and 16 steals. In 57 games, he added 58 runs scored and 48 RBI while slugging .558. LSU-Eunice was ranked #1 in the nation entering the NJCAA Division II World Series, where the Bengals battled Jacks’ head coach Ben Taylor and Scottsdale Community College. Taylor’s Fighting Artichokes won both meetings at the World Series and finished second nationally, while Granger and LSU-Eunice ended up in third place.
Granger was twice named all-state in high school, where he batted .510 with 47 RBI as a senior. A four-year starter in football, he also earned all-state accolades as a linebacker.
If Dillon’s name sounds familiar to East Texas fans, it’s because he was originally slated to join the Pump Jacks last summer. He enjoyed a breakout 2010 season, going 8-0 with one save, finishing second on the team with a 4.61 ERA. He displayed his versatility by starting eight games and coming out of the bullpen for 12 more, finishing tied for the team lead in appearances.
Dillon’s first start last season was perhaps the team’s best of the season and earned him the Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week award. Facing Southeastern Louisiana, which entered the game ranked #17 in the country, Dillon picked up the victory with a ten-inning complete game. He allowed just two earned runs and scattered four hits. It was the longest outing of the year in the conference and the deepest a McNeese starting pitcher had gone in six years.
Dillon was as a pre-season all-conference selection this year and started McNeese’s season opener against Rhode Island.
As a freshman in 2009, Dillon struck out 23 in 22.2 innings over 11 appearances. He led McNeese freshman pitchers in all three categories.
Orr, Granger, and Dillon will take the field on June 1 in Victoria, when the Pump Jacks open the 2011 season. The Jacks return to East Texas for the home opener on Monday, June 6, in another championship rematch against the Generals. The complete 60-game schedule is available here.
Pump Jacks season tickets are available now, and at new, lower prices! The Jacks have cut Lower Box seat season tickets to $199 – which includes in-your-seat wait service – and just $150 for Upper Box seats. Grandstand season tickets are available for the low price of $105 for adults and $85 for children and seniors. For more information on season tickets, please click here.
To follow all the news and developments as the Jacks prepare for the 2011 season, visit the Pump Jacks official web site at www.pumpjacksbaseball.com.