Cards In The Pros: Beginning of August Update
I have been on vacation for the last week and a lot has happened since the last update at the end of July. Adam Duvall was traded to the Braves, Kyle Funkhouser had surgery that has ended his season, Will Smith was promoted to AAA, Corey Ray continues to have an incredible season, and Adam Engel has made home run robbing catches in back to back nights against the Yankees.
We also can’t forget the tremendous job that Josh Stowers has done so far since he started his professional journey this summer; he is an All-Star Starter in the Northwest League. While I was in the Northwoods doing a lot of fishing and reading I took some time to reflect on the Louisville baseball program and just how far things have come in the last 10+ years since coach Mac was hired. He took a bottom feeder team with just a handful of professional baseball players in the program’s history and turned the program into a juggernaut in college baseball.
The number of individuals drafted every year is a testament to both the recruiting that is done getting the guys on campus, but also the tremendous ability of the coaching staff to develop players. There are a few guys up doing tremendous things in the Major Leagues right now but that is just the tip of the iceberg when you look at what is happening down in the minor leagues. Between AA and AAA the number of guys who are right on the cusp of the Big Leagues is amazing. Not every college baseball team has a list to write about like this. In fact, most teams have a few guys sprinkled throughout all of professional baseball. The Cardinal 9 Alumni are dominating at every level of professional baseball and it does not look like it is going to be slowing down any time soon.
Weekly statistics are from the week of 7/24-8/5/2018
Adam Duvall was acquired by the Braves on July 31st, in return for a handful of prospects as the Braves look to add a strong veteran presence on their bench and in the outfield for a playoff push this year. With his new team Duvall has 1 hit in 5 games but now he gets a chance at baseball in October.
Adam Engel on back to back nights against the Yankees has robbed 2 home runs making Sports Center and becoming a highlight reel on tons of social media platforms comparing his first catch to his second catch. In the last two weeks, Engel hit .241 with 2 doubles, 3 RBI’s and a stolen base.
Chad Green is starting to be relied upon more and more as the Yankees push to keep up with the Red Sox in the American League East. In the last two weeks, Green pitched in 6 games and totaled 4 strikeouts in 4.1 innings while only allowing 2 earned runs. He continues to be a rock for a very good New York Yankees bullpen.
Matt Koch was sent down to Reno on July 24th to rejoin the Aces starting rotation. In two starts he is 0-1 with 3 strikeouts in 7 innings. In his first outing he gave up 2 hits over 4 innings, but the second outing was not as stellar with 9 earned runs in 3 innings.
Kyle McGrath threw in 4 games, 3 were scoreless appearances and in the other, he gave up 2 runs on 3 hits. After 41.2 innings this year, McGrath has 35 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.46 and WHIP of 1.22.
Josh Rogers has had two quality starts since being traded to the Baltimore Orioles, the first outing was 7 scoreless innings with 3 hits, the second was 6 innings where he gave up 3 earned runs. In total, he is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 6 strikeouts in 13 innings.
Cole Sturgeon is currently on a 7 game hitting streak and in those 7 games that span back all the way to July 25th, he is hitting .286 with 2 doubles, 5 RBI’s and 2 stolen bases. It has been a slow start to his time in AAA but Sturgeon is starting to put up solid numbers again.
Dean Kiekhefer was busy over the last couple of weeks for the Sounds, appearing 6 different times out of the bullpen totaling 7.1 innings, 5 strikeouts and only 2 earned runs which came in the same outing on July 29th. It will be interesting to see the plans the Athletics have for Kiekhefer as September nears and with it a playoff hunt. Kiekhefer has Major League experience and the A’s can use him as a lefty specialist, especially with the expanded rosters almost here.
Chris Dominguez put together a strong couple of weeks hitting .333 with 6 doubles, 3 home runs and 16 RBI’s for the Syracuse Chiefs. The Nationals may want to give Dominguez a shot come September when they expand the rosters.
Will Smith was promoted to the Oklahoma City Dodgers on August 1st, making him the second of the trio of 2016 first round picks to make it to AAA, Zack Burdi being the other one, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that Corey Ray will be on his way up soon also. Since the promotion, Smith is 0-11 in 3 games, however, he did finish his time in AA this year slashing .264/.358/.532 with 14 doubles, 19 home runs, 53 RBI’s and 49 runs scored.
Kyle Funkhouser went down with a fractured foot after stumbling over a broken piece of sidewalk and unfortunately, his strong season has come to an end prematurely. Between AA and AAA this year, Funk was 4-7 with a 3.96 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and had 96 strikeouts in 97.2 innings.
Zack Burdi is on a rehab assignment in the Arizona League for the White Sox.
Jeff Arnold had 4 hits in 8 games for Richmond and seems to be getting a little more consistent playing time down the stretch run. Teams always need a consistent catcher and Arnold has been that for many teams in the Giants organization throughout his tenure in professional baseball.
Derek Self made 4 appearances out of the Senators bullpen totaling 4 strikeouts in 4.1 innings, and only allowing 1 earned run. He also did not walk anyone in those 4.1 innings. I’d be interested to see if Self gets moved up to Syracuse towards the end of the year.
Nick Solak hit .288 over the last few weeks and is currently on a modest 7 game hitting streak for the Biscuits. After 106 games, all at the AA level this year, Solak has powered his way to 14 doubles, 2 triples, 14 home runs, 62 RBI’s and 20 stolen bases while slashing .273/.371/.420.
Corey Ray is leading the Southern League in home runs with 23 and is currently 1 double and 7 home runs away from the 30, 30, 30 club; he already has 32 stolen bases on the year. Ray continued to have a powerful July as he finished the last two weeks with 2 doubles, 4 home runs and 9 RBI’s and hit .235 for Biloxi. The average is not way up but looking at other metrics Ray is still producing at a very high level with an On Base Percentage of .342 and Slugging of .505.
Nick Burdi has been placed back on the 60 day DL by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Grant Kay was placed on the 7 day DL at the start of the season.
Jared Ruxer was released on 5/23 by the Kansas City Royals
Joe Filomeno was released on 4/23 by the Texas Rangers.
Drew Ellis hit .257 with 3 doubles, and 2 RBI’s for Visalia. In the home stretch in his first full season in pro ball, Ellis has performed well bashing 32 doubles, 12 home runs, 62 RBI’s while hitting .251/.333/.437 in the Diamondbacks organization.
Lincoln Henzman started two games in the last two weeks, both being solid but brief starts. In the first start for the Dash, Henzman went 3 innings, struck out 3 without allowing a base runner. In the second start, he went 2.2 innings, gave up 2 hits, allowed no earned runs and struck out 3. In college, he was phenomenal out of the bullpen, but in pro ball, Henzman has been dazzling as a starter, it will be interesting to see how the White Sox use him as he makes his way up the ranks in their loaded farm system.
Devin Hairston tallied 8 hits in 13 games for Carolina. In 38 games with Carolina, Hairston is hitting .224/.278/.286 with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run and 9 RBI’s.
Brendan McKay the pitcher has been lights out since returning to the mound after he was put on the shelf earlier in the season for about a month with an oblique injury. In his last couple of starts he has not allowed a run and frankly not many are reaching the bases period. On the year with the Stone Crabs as a pitcher, McKay is 3-2 with a 3.06 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 43 strikeouts in 35 innings. As a hitter, McKay had 8 hits in 7 games with 1 double, 3 home runs and 7 RBI’s. In 23 games in Charlotte, McKay the hitter has 4 doubles, 4 home runs and 17 RBI’s. As his career progresses it is going to be interesting to see what his dominant position is.
Blake Tiberi recorded 6 hits in 13 games. Since his promotion to St. Lucie, Tiberi is hitting .151/.224/.264 with 1 double, 1 triple, 1 home run and 5 RBI’s.
Jeff Thompson was released by the Detroit Tigers on July 21st.
Colby Fitch had 6 hits in 8 games including 2 long balls and 6 RBI’s for the BlueClaws.
Drew Harrington had 3 starts over the last few weeks, where he went 1-1, allowed 3 earned runs total and struck out 10 in 18 innings. It seems that since his release from Atlanta, Harrington has found himself in a better place now that he is in the White Sox organization. He is 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and has 30 strikeouts in 46.1 innings of work.
Devin Mann continues to play well for the Loons and is now hitting .254/.340/.331 with 8 doubles, 1 home run and 14 RBI’s.
Logan Taylor was signed by the Reds on July 12th and assigned to the Dayton Dragons and then put on the 7 Day Disabled List.
Kade McClure was placed on the 7 day DL on May 14th.
Dace Kime retired from professional baseball on June 16th.
A Short Season
Josh Stowers started in the Northwest League All-Star game this past week after having a stellar start to his professional baseball career. 35 games into his professional career and the All-Star has 10 doubles, 4 home runs, 22 RBI’s and 10 stolen bases while slashing .298/.408/.479.
Adam Wolf is 1-1 with an ERA of 3.24, WHIP of 1.24, and has 22 strikeouts in 25 innings of work so far for the Connecticut Tigers.
Riley Thompson has 4 starts under his belt and is 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 4 strikeouts in 9 innings.
Liam Jenkins has totaled 17 innings, has 27 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.71 and WHIP of 1.47 for the AZL Indians.
Austin Conway has pitched in 15 games this year, is 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and has 24 strikeouts in 23.2 innings for the White Sox.
2018 Draft Picks
*Josh Stowers was selected in the 2nd round, 54th overall, to the Seattle Mariners.
*Adam Wolf was drafted by the Detroit Tigers at 135 overall, in the 5th round.
*Devin Mann was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers, 164th overall, in the 5th round.
*Riley Thompson was taken in the 11th round by the Chicago Cubs with pick number 338.
*Sam Bordner was drafted by the Miami Marlins, 477 overall in the 16th round.
*Liam Jenkins was drafted in the 17th round, 523 overall, by the Cleveland Indians.
*Austin Conway was taken 918 overall in the 31st round by the Chicago White Sox.
Bryan Hoeing was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 36th round, 1066 overall.
* players who have signed professional contracts