For the third time in the 2017-18 off-season, the Wild Things have announced the extension of a position player from the 2017 roster. Outfielder Hector Roa is the first outfielder and the 10th Wild Thing to re-sign for next season, as his deal was announced by the team today.
Roa, who was born in Washington, D.C., before moving to the Dominican Republic, played his first season in the Frontier League with the Wild Things in 2017, and had several flashes of brilliance, on his way to a .247 batting average. He hit 15 home runs, a total good for a tie for second on the team and a tie for seventh in the league, and drove in 62 runs. He added 14 doubles and seven triples to his extra-base hit total. Defensively, he had a .973 fielding percentage in the outfield and had six assists.
Going undrafted, Roa signed with the Houston Astros organization in 2012 when he was 17, and played five seasons between three levels in the farm system. He was released following the 2016 season, and picked up by Washington. Now, the 22-year old, who will be 23 by the start of the season, is set to return for another season.
“It was quite impressive to see Hector produce at such a high level, considering he was one of the youngest players in the Frontier League. He learned so much about himself as a hitter and we saw enormous growth with his mental game,” said general manager Steven Zavacky. “Hector comes from great bloodlines and his tools make him a standout in our league. Roa had a career year in 2017, playing with such passion, and we have complete faith in his ability to drive us moving forward.”
With the personal and team-success Roa enjoyed in 2017, he said he is excited to return.
“I think we are going to be a great team again like last year,” said Roa. “I’m sure everyone is going to come back knowing the league more. [Personally] I saw great success on both sides to be honest. I worked on a lot like working counts, seeing the ball better, being patient and lots more. As a team, we managed to work together. Everyone got along great on and off the field.”
He continued, “We were such a great team. We always had each other’s backs [and were] always picking each other up and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
In terms of differences between the Frontier League and affiliated ball, Roa said the pitches he saw in Washington were a big difference.
“My experience in Washington definitely made me a better off-speed hitter, which I think was a major difference in Washington,” said Roa. “I would see more off-speed [pitches] than I saw in Houston, which made me want to adjust more.”
Roa joins catcher Kyle Pollock and infielder Mike Hill as position players to re-sign. Seven pitchers have re-signed for 2018 as well. All of them, including Roa, are excited to return to Washington.
“Everyone in Washington was great last season,” said Roa. “I definitely felt the love everyone had to show.”