WALDORF, Md. – The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs re-signed catcher Joe Deluca, and shortstop Michael Baca. Both players return for their second season with the Crabs, after playing over 100 games each in 2021.
Joe DeLuca returns to his place behind the plate at Regency Furniture Stadium in 2022. The Cicero, New York native was a stud with the bat in 2021, posting a stellar .304 batting average, and producing 70 RBIs. DeLuca went on a tear to finish the 2021 regular season, putting up an absurd .481 batting average, while collecting hits in each of his last 16 games plus a playoff game, tying the Blue Crabs hit streak record for the season. The 25-year-old continued his success in winter ball, he held a .368 batting average for Federales de Chiriqui, winning the Most Valuable Player award in the Panama Professional Baseball League. DeLuca is playing some of the best baseball of his life, and will look to roll that in to the 2022 season.
Michael Baca comes back to Southern Maryland after serving as the Crabs everyday shortstop since his original signing in June 2021. The Amarillo, Texas product is a lockdown defender, and proved that with flashy performances throughout the second half of the season. Baca not only shines in the field, he is also solid at the plate, posting a .368 on-base percentage for the Blue Crabs last season. The 29-year-old is experienced in the Atlantic League as he’s played for the New Britain Bees and High Point Rockers in previous years. The stalwart defending and consistent hitting production will be key for the Blue Crabs during the 2022 campaign.
“Joe DeLuca and Michael Baca were two key pieces to our 2021 playoff run. We are thrilled to have them back for 2022. DeLuca is unlocking something as a hitter that he had yet to tap into, and it is hard to find as a middle infielder as sure gloved as Baca,” said Blue Crabs General Manager, Courtney Knichel.