The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they have signed former Normal CornBelters first baseman Chris Iriart to a contract for the 2019 season, adding an experienced, powerful bat to their lineup for next year.
Iriart was one of the premier sluggers in the Frontier League in 2018, blasting a league-best 25 home runs for the CornBelters in just 88 games along with 17 doubles, 59 RBIs and a .253 average to earn postseason all-star honors at first base. The Chino Hills, California native posted a .560 slugging percentage, good for second in the circuit, and was voted as the starting first baseman on the Experienced team at the All-Star game. He also made just six errors defensively for a .990 fielding percentage, ranking third-best among all Frontier League first basemen.
"We are very excited to add Chris to the Miners Family," Miners manager Mike Pinto said. "Chris adds a big-time, power bat to our lineup as well as strong defensive skills at first base. He has the kind of power that doesn't come around very often, and it's the kind that can impact the game in a hurry. Chris had a lot of places to choose from on where to continue his professional career, and we are thrilled that he chose to join us in Southern Illinois."
Prior to joining the CornBelters, Iriart played three years in the Oakland Athletics organization, advancing as high as Class A-Advanced Stockton while smacking 37 homers in only 234 games, including a 22-homer, 21-double, 63-RBI season across three levels in 2016. He was a 12th-round selection by the A's in the 2015 MLB Draft out of the University of Houston, where he hit .302 with 15 long balls and 40 RBIs in 63 games as a junior to earn Second Team All-American Athletic Conference honors.
Be sure to follow the Miners online at southernillinoisminers.com and on social media as they prepare for the 2019 season!
The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League's most-successful franchise since debuting in 2007, winning the 2012 Frontier League Championship as well as division titles in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.