Wichita Wingnuts RHP Dakota Watts has appeared with two different American Association clubs in 2015, and now gets to add yet another destination for his career: Adelanto, Calif. Watts has been sold to the Texas Rangers, who will assign him to the Advanced-A California League’s High Desert Mavericks. The Mavericks continue a road series with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Tuesday evening at 10:05 p.m.
Watts had been a member of the Wingnuts since early July. He earned the American Association’s Pitcher of the Week award for the week ending July 19. Watts saved three games in four relief appearances for the Wingnuts that week. His first appearance came July 14 at home against the Joplin Blasters. In two innings of work, Watts struck out two batters with no hits or runs allowed. He earned the win as Wichita walked off 4-3. Watts then proceeded to save three games from Wednesday through Saturday. In the July 15 series opener at the Grand Prairie AirHogs, Watts worked an inning, allowing a hit and a walk, but striking out a batter and preserving a 5-2 win. The Wingnuts won again on July 17, and Watts capped it off by striking out the side in the ninth in a 7-4 triumph. Watts’ final appearance on the week was on July 18, when he worked another scoreless inning in the Wingnuts’ 4-2 win over Grand Prairie and earned the save.
He has saved eight more ballgames for the Wingnuts since that week, and has allowed just one run in a Wichita uniform. He is 3-0 with an 0.56 ERA for the Wingnuts, with 11 saves in 15 appearances. Over 16 innings, he has struck out 17 and only walked five. He has also pitched for the Grand Prairie AirHogs this season, going 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA in nine relief outings during the early portion of the season.
Watts was an AirHog in 2014, saving 21 games in 44 appearances. Over 49.1 innings, he was 0-4 with a 4.56 ERA. Watts struck out 46 last season and walked 17.
The Oroville, Calif. resident played five seasons with the Minnesota Twins’ organization out of Cal State-Stanislaus. Watts pitched with the Class AA New Britain Rock Cats in parts of four seasons, from 2010-2013. His best season was in 2010, when he was 6-3 with a 3.10 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 81.1 innings pitched. 2011 saw him save 10 games, his professional high until 2014. Watts was originally a 16th-round pick in 2009.
He becomes the third Wingnut sold in 2015, following LHP Jarret Leverett (San Francisco) and INF Alberto Gonzalez (Detroit).
Wichita continues their road trip through the Can-Am League on Monday and Tuesday, taking on the Ottawa Champions at 6:05 p.m. Central time. Those games will both be shown live and for free at www.canamleague.tv.