No-hitter helps James earn second shot with Pelicans

MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at St. Louis CardinalsAt this time last week, Chad James was pitching for the Frontier League’s Evansville (IN) Otters. Today he joins the Myrtle Beach Pelicans as the latest signee of the Texas Rangers.

The left-hander had his contract purchased by the Rangers on Sunday after James threw the first no-hitter in the 20-year history of the Otters on Wednesday. He struck out a career-high 14 batters in the 10-0 win over the Traverse City Beach Bums.

James (4-2) has 67 strikeouts, second most in the Frontier League, where he was trying to rejuvanate his once promising baseball career. He was a first-round pick of the Florida Marlins in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. He played three seasons with the Marlins, reaching as high as Jupiter (Advanced-A) in 2012. He is excited for the promotion back to affiliated baseball.

“It has been an amazing opportunity to play with the Otters,” said James. “I’m super pumped about starting my career with the Rangers.”

James was released just five years after being the 18th overall pick for the Marlins in the 2009 draft. James, who the Marlins saw as the next Jon Lester, never found his footing in professional baseball, as he peaked at high Class A Florida State League the past two seasons.

James posted a 5.74 ERA and a 4.55 FIP in 53 1/3 innings in Low-A last season. While he did strikeout 9.62 hitters per nine innings, his walk rate and hits allowed hurt him a lot. This was concerning as he struggled after a demotion from Advanced-A the two years before.

“Chad has done everything he needed to do to get this opportunity with the Rangers,” said Otters manager Andy McCauley. “He has worked hard to improve while he has been here and we couldn’t be happier for him. We wish him the best of luck.”

James returns to the Advanced-A level and will work his way into the Pelicans’ starting rotation and is expected to make his Pelicans debut on Friday.

Photo courtesy of Jupiter Hammerheads

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