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Getting to CHS Field

Ski-U-Mah: Saints Ink Two Former Gophers, Pitcher Jordan Jess, Re-Sign Outfielder Dan Motl

ST. PAUL, MN April 8, 2019

The success of the University of Minnesota baseball program under head coach John Anderson is evident by the number of former Gophers across the Major League and Minor League landscape.  The St. Paul Saints have tapped into that pipeline in the past and once again are doing it for the 2019 season as manager George Tsamis signed left-handed hurler Jordan Jess and re-signed outfielder Dan Motl.

 

          The 26-year-old Jess spent all last season with the High-A Bradenton Marauders in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  He was 4-5 with a 4.71 ERA and three saves in 33 relief appearances.  In 49.2 innings pitched he walked just 11 and struck out 54 while opponents hit .264 against him.  It was how he finished the season that was most encouraging allowing just two earned runs over his final 11 appearances (17.2 IP) lowering his ERA by more than two runs.  Jess struck out at least one hitter in 11 straight appearances from May 6-June 23 and fanned a career high six in 2.2 innings on June 5 vs. Florida Fireflies.  He had eight multi-inning shutout appearances.  Lefties hit just .228 against him.

 

          Jess was a 31st round selection by the Pirates out of the University of Minnesota in 2016 and spent that year at Low-A Bristol in the Appalachian League.  He was 2-2 with a 2.55 ERA and seven saves in 17 relief appearances.  Jess finished tied for first in games finished (14) and tied for second in saves.  In 24.2 innings pitched he walked seven and struck out 27 while opponents hit .274 against him.  He struck out a hitter in 13-straight from June 30-August 20 and fanned a hitter in 15 of his 17 appearances.  He only allowed an earned run in three of his 17 relief appearances. 

 

The 2017 season was an All-Star caliber year for Jess as he began with the Single-A West Virginia Power.  He went 0-4 with a 2.92 ERA and two saves in 30 relief appearances.  In 49.1 innings pitched he walked 11 and struck out 59 while opponents hit .242 against him.  He was also stellar against lefties who hit an even .200 against him.  Once again Jess put together a string of consecutive games with a strikeout, setting a career high with 15-straight from April 10-June 8.  He struck out three or more 10 times on the season.  Jess’ numbers earned him a spot in the All-Star Game where he faced three batters, struck out all three, and threw 16 pitches, all for strikes.  He was promoted to Bradenton on August 3 and went 0-0 with a 9.24 ERA in eight relief appearances.

 

Jess finished fourth all-time in single-season Gopher history with 10 saves during his senior season and his 23 appearances that year were 13th best in program history.  As a junior Jess was named the George Thomas Most Improved Player.  He finished his Gopher career going 4-11 with a 4.76 ERA and 13 saves in 74 appearances (18 starts).  In 134.1 innings pitched he struck out 119.

 

A graduate of Ripon High in Wisconsin, Jess was named the 2011 FOX 11 Large School Player of the Year and the Oshkosh Northwestern All-Area Player of the Year.  He helped guide his school to the Division 2 State Championship going 10-0 with a 1.14 ERA and struck out 117 in 65.0 innings pitched.

 

The 25-year-old Motl joined the Saints in a trade with the Sioux Falls Canaries on August 24 for a player to be named later (Nathaniel Maggio).  Upon joining the Saints, Motl hit .200 with two RBI in nine games.  Overall, he hit .258 with two homers and 25 RBI in 67 games.  In 233 at bats he scored 32 runs, had eight doubles, five triples, swiped 24 bases in 32 attempts, a .352 on base percentage, and a .361 slugging percentage.  He swiped a base in back-to-back games twice and stole a bag in three-straight from May 20-23.  Motl also stole two bases four times.

 

Motl began his professional career in 2017 with the Canaries where he hit .256 with no home runs and 41 RBI in 93 games.  In 320 at bats he scored 52 runs, ripped 14 doubles, smashed nine triples, stole 37 bases in 41 attempts, had a .352 on base percentage, and a .356 slugging percentage.  He led the league in triples, was third in stolen bases, and was tops among outfielders with a perfect fielding percentage.  The season was highlighted by two, four-hit games on June 17 at Cleburne and July 29 vs. Lincoln.  On August 6 vs. Texas he collected a career high four RBI.  Motl stole two bases on seven occasions and had a career high three steals on July 22 at Texas.

 

          Motl spent four years at the University of Minnesota and was a Second Team All-Big 10 as a senior in 2016.  He led the Golden Gophers with 19 doubles and 42 runs scored and was second on the team with 77 hits.  During his junior season he had a 17-game hitting streak and reached base safely in 21 consecutive games, the longest streak in four years.

 

          Motl is a graduate of Burnsville High where he was a Mr. Baseball Finalist and was All-Conference as a junior and senior.  He also played quarterback on the football team and was selected All-Conference.  His father Kevin played football at the University of Wisconsin and his grandfather was a part of the 1941 National Championship Basketball team at Wisconsin.

 

The Saints have 13 players on their roster.

 

Roster

RHP Landon Beck

RHP Mitch Brown

LHP Ken Frosch

LHP Jordan Jess

RHP Jake Matthys

RHP Eddie Medina

RHP Todd Van Steensel

INF Josh Allen

INF Devon Rodriguez

INF Blake Schmit

INF Joey Wong

OF Dan Motl

OF Max Murphy

 

          The Saints begin the 2019 season with a 10-game homestand.  Opening Day is Thursday, May 16 at 7:05 p.m. against the newest member of the Milwaukee Milkmen.