WALDORF, Md. – The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs announced on Tuesday morning that Joe DeLuca and Jordan Howard, members of the Blue Crabs in 2021, both are joining MLB organizations. DeLuca’s contract was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds organization, while Howard is headed to the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system. Neither DeLuca nor Howard had reached higher than the Atlantic League prior to their recent signings.
Joe DeLuca, a 26-year-old catcher from Cicero, New York, is entering his sixth season of professional baseball. Prior to 2021, DeLuca played in the American Association and the Frontier League, but had never caught more than 36 games in a season. In 2021, DeLuca started 105 games behind the dish, while playing in 116 of the team’s 120 games. Despite the heavy workload, the switch-hitter played a big role in the Crabs playoff push, snapping off a 17-game hit streak to end the season. During that stretch, he went 26-54 at the plate, hitting at a .481 clip, leading the Atlantic League by over .080 during that stretch. The Blue Crabs won 10 of their final 15, and 6 of their final 7 games to make the playoffs.
Jordan Howard, an infielder, is joining the Arizona Diamondbacks organization after his first year as a professional. The Georgia native began 2021 with the Gastonia Honey Hunters, but was traded to the Blue Crabs in early September. Jordan made an instant impact in Southern Maryland, hitting .333 with four homers in 21 games. Notably, Howard kept the Blue Crabs’ playoff hopes alive late in the season, hitting a late game three-run go ahead homer, a swing of that would ultimately secure Southern Maryland’s playoff spot.
“We are incredibly happy for both Joe and Jordan. Both of these ballplayers wear their heart on their sleeve, and we expect to see them continue to succeed,” said Blue Crabs General Manager, Courtney Knichel.