The baseball season is officially upon us. Even though it is snowing in parts of the country and the Chicago Cubs home opener was postponed because of the snow, baseball is back!
The Major Leagues have been back for over a week now and in the last few days the different levels of the Minor Leagues have kick started their seasons as well. Within the first week of the 2018 season five Cardinal 9 alumni were on Major League rosters and contributing to their teams. As the season continues look for more and more to make their way to the show as 12 others have begun this season in either AA or AAA.
At the A level Blake Tiberi is back from injury and dominating the pitching in the early going and arguably the best college baseball player ever, Brendan McKay, is back and doing Brendan McKay things. Since the 2007 season the University of Louisville baseball team has become a collegiate juggernaut with an impressive pipeline into the professional ranks. Kudos to Coach Mac and his staff, along with the hard work and determination of these individuals.
Players are listed by their level of play and statistics are through 4/10/2018
Adam Duvall: The “Louisville Slugger” has already slugged 2 homeruns with 6 RBI’s. He is struggling a bit at the plate right now with 11 strikeouts while slashing .107/.133/.357/.490. The Reds have four serious outfield options which may limit Duvall a bit going forward if he continues to struggle. As the weather continues to heat up look for Duvall to do the same.
Adam Engel: His defense and a strong spring at the plate earned him the starting job in Center Field for the reloading White Sox. He has cooled down just a bit with this cool spring but he is competing at the plate with 4 hits and 3 RBI’s hitting in the 9 hole. So far he is slashing .174/.286/.217/.503.
Chad Green: “Jolly” is off to a strong start again having thrown 5 innings out of the Yankees bullpen, striking out 11 and posting a WHIP of 1.20.
Kyle McGrath: Butler High School’s pride has appeared in two games so far with very different outcomes. In his first appearance in Colorado he got touched up for 2 earned runs on two hits and a walk. However, he bounced back against the Milwaukee Brewers in his next appearance facing one batter and collecting the strike out. To start he has 1 inning pitched with 1 strike out and an ERA of 18.00
Matt Koch: Koch was up briefly with the Diamondbacks to throw 2 innings where he struck out 3 while not surrendering a baserunner. On April 8th he was sent down to AAA Reno.
Tony Zych: Just before the start of the regular season the Mariners released Zych.
Nick Burdi: The Pirates have placed Nick on the 60 day Disabled List to start the season
Chris Dominguez: After a scorching spring training the Nationals have started Dominguez in Syracuse with the Sky Chiefs where he is slashing .200/.167/.200/.367 with 2 total hits.
Josh Rogers: The ever talented and passionate lefty from just north of the Ohio River has started one game for the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders where he completed 5 innings surrendered 2 runs and struck out 4. His ascent through the Yankee’s system is continuing on a strong pace.
Zack Burdi: The Burdi brothers are starting this season on the Disabled List as they recover from Tommy John Surgery.
Dean Kiekhefer: The Reds sent the Oldham County native down to the Pensacola Blue Whaoos. So far through 1 inning the southpaw has 2 strikeouts along with 1 hit surrendered.
Derek Self: At the early point of the year with the Harrisburg Senators, Self has 2 innings pitched and 1 strikeout for the Washington Nationals farm team.
Jeff Thompson: Coming out of the pen in the early going for the Detroit Tigers AA club, the Erie Seawolves, Thompson has totaled 3 innings with 2 strikeouts and 0 runs surrendered.
Grant Kay: Due to an injury Kay will start the season on the 7 day DL.
Joe Filomeno: The “Cicero Express” has started the year off going 1.1 innings pitched surrendering 1 run on 1 hit with 1 strikeout for the Texas Rangers, Frisco Roughriders.
Cole Sturgeon: One of the hottest Red Sox hitters in spring training has continued his strong approach at the plate with the Portland Sea Dogs. He is currently slashing .286/.375/.429/.804 with 2 doubles.
Kyle Funkhouser: Funk joins Jeff Thompson with the Erie Seawolves totaling 1 start, going 3 innings, striking out 2 and giving up 2 earned runs.
Nick Solak: “Nicky Baseball” is back and on fire to start off the Montgomery Biscuits season slashing .500/.588/.667/1.255 with 2 doubles through the first week.
Will Smith: The Los Angeles Dodgers started Smith with the Tulsa Drillers where he has opened up the season with a hit in each of the first 3 games. Smith also has a stolen base to go along with 2 RBI’s.
Corey Ray: One of Chicago’s Simeon High School’s finest has started the season with the Biloxi Shuckers and through 4 games has a hit in each contest. To go along with a triple and a homerun, Ray is slashing .222/.300/.500/.800 to start the season.
Jeff Arnold: His 9th season in professional baseball (all with the San Francisco Giants) has started with the San Jose Giants. 3 games in to the season he is batting .250 with 1 double and a pair of RBI’s.
Jared Ruxer: After being traded in December of 2016, Ruxer is beginning his second years in the Kansas City Royals system with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. In 4 innings pitched out of the bullpen, Rux has 3 strikeouts and has been touched up for 4 earned runs.
Drew Ellis: Through 4 games Ellis has 2 games with multiple hits and 2 games with no hits. He has 3 doubles and 3 RBI’s and is slashing .250/.294 /.438/.732 for the Visalia Rawhide.
Blake Tieri: After a year of injury in 2017 Tiberi is starting this year absolutely on fire for the Columbia Fireflies in the New York Mets system. He is slashing .524/.545/.714/1.260 so far with 11 hits, 1 double, 1 home run 3 RBI’s.
Drew Harrington: The Rome Braves have used Harrington out of the pen twice this year where he has gotten touched up a bit giving up 4 earned runs in 4.2 innings pitched, but he did record all 3 of his strikeouts in his most recent outing.
Kade McClure: The White Sox selected two UofL pitchers last year and both McClure and Lincoln Henzman are together again to start the season with the Kannapolis Intimidators. McClure has started one game so far, going 6 strong innings with 7 strikeouts. He did give up 3 earned runs but totaled a batting average against of .182 and a WHIP of 1.00.
Lincoln Henzman: The other of the two UofL pitchers taken by the White Sox also has one start under his belt with the Intimidators. In 5.2 innings he struck out 4 and allowed 2 earned runs.
Colby Fitch: Philadelphia is starting Fitch with the Lakewood BlueClaws where he has played in 1 game and in 2 at bats has zero hits.
Brendan McKay: Shohei Otani has taken the Major Leagues by storm but the Angels won’t be the only team with a potential two way star. The Tampa Bay Rays have a two way star of their own in McKay. Offensively he is off to a blistering start hitting .556/.733/.667/1.400 with 1 double, 5 RBI’s and 6 walks to just 2 strikeouts. On the mound he has 1 start compiling 2 innings and striking out 4 without giving up a hit.
Devin Hairston: The Brewers are starting Hairston this year with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers but he has yet to play in any games.
Logan Taylor: The White Sox have assigned Logan Taylor to start the season at Rookie Level but he has not played in any games to this point.