The Saltdogs have signed RHP Esmerling De La Rosa and RHP Ricky Knapp, the club has announced.

Both players will begin their first season of independent baseball after spending a healthy chunk of time in affiliated baseball.

De La Rosa, 27, spent each of the last nine seasons in the Miami Marlins organization after he was signed as an international free agent in 2010. The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native has a career 21-27 record with a 3.56 ERA over 240 professional appearances – which includes 13 appearances in the Puerto Rican and Dominican Winter Leagues.

De La Rosa posted 376 strikeouts and 149 walks over 399.2 innings of work, and reached as high as Double-A Jacksonville in four separate seasons.

Last year, De La Rosa went 0-4 with a 4.80 ERA across 33 appearances in High-A and Double-A.

The ‘Dogs also signed RHP Ricky Knapp, a former 8th-round pick of the New York Mets out of Florida Gulf Coast University in the 2013 MLB Draft.

Knapp, 26, spent each of the last six seasons in the Mets organization, reaching Triple-A Las Vegas in two different seasons.

Knapp, a Florida native who was also drafted by the Mets in the 44th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Port Charlotte High School, has a career 35-33 record with a 3.88 ERA in 123 appearances and 95 starts across his six seasons of pro baseball.

Knapp posted sub-3 ERAs in his separate stints at the High-A and Double-A levels, and had a 3.52 ERA in 43 appearances at the Single-A level. Knapp struggled during his two seasons of AAA baseball, with a 5.92 ERA across 28 total appearances across two seasons.

Knapp excelled at Florida Gulf Coast, earning A-Sun Pitcher of the Year in 2012 and consecutive first-team A-Sun All Conference selections in 2012 and 2013. Across those two seasons, Knapp had an 18-7 record with a 2.23 ERA in 29 appearances (28 starts).


The Saltdogs begin their 19th season on May 16th at the Sioux City Explorers. The team opens the 2019 home schedule at Haymarket Park on Thursday, May 23rd. For more information on the ‘Dogs, follow the team on Facebook and on Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball.