It’s time for our monthly look at former Virginia Tech players who are playing professional baseball. We’ll start with the majors, where the Hokies currently have one player.
Major League Baseball
Jesse Hahn: Hahn remains Tech’s only player in the big leagues. The Oakland pitcher had a bit of a slow start, but he has rebounded and is putting together a solid season. He is 5-6 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.180 WHIP.
However, in his last seven starts, Hahn is 4-2 with a 2.54 ERA. Things are certainly trending up for the 25 year old right hander.
Austin Wates, New Orleans Zephyrs: Unfortunately, things have been trending down for Austin Wates ever since he was traded to the Miami Marlins organization. He hit .299 with a .396 on-base percentage with Triple-A Oklahoma City (Astros) last year. He also stole 31 bases. He hit a wall when he was traded to Miami, however.
In New Orleans this year, he is hitting just .231 with a .288 OBP in 169 at bats. He has stolen only three bases on the season as well. Wates will turn 27 in September, which makes him an unlikely future big leaguer at this point.
Tim Smalling, Albuquerque Isotopes: At the age of 27, Tim Smalling is also an unlikely future big league. However, he’s carved out a nice career in the Rockies organization. This year he is hitting .249 with four homers and 25 RBIs.
Justin Wright, Memphis Redbirds: Like last year, Justin Wright has spent time in Double-A and Triple-A. Like last year, he pitched well in Double-A, but hasn’t been as successful at the highest level of the minors. He has a 2.92 ERA in 12 appearances in Double-A Springfield, but only a 4.50 ERA in 13 Triple-A appearances.
Still, Wright has made it a lot further than most 47th round selections. Since he was taken in the 47th round in 2010, the MLB Draft has actually downsized to 40 rounds.
Ben Rowen, Norfolk Tide: In 20 games in Double-A, Rowen had a 2.28 ERA. In the six games since his promotion to Triple-A, he has compiled a 2.79 ERA and a 1.138 WHIP. Now with the Orioles organization, Rowen pitched in eight games in the Majors with the Texas Rangers last summer.
Joe Mantiply, Erie SeaWolves: The lefty reliever was in Spring Training with the Tigers, and he’s spending this season with the Erie SeaWolves. The former 27th round pick has a 3.49 ERA in 20 appearances in 2014. He is currently not on the 40-man roster, but he’ll have another chance to make the majors next spring.
Ronnie Shaban, Springfield Cardinals: Shaban was promoted to Double-A last year, but he struggled. This year he played three game at the Advanced-A level, and was then sent to Springfield. In 14 games in Double-A, he has a 2.41 ERA. He was a 33rd round pick back in 2012.
Chad Pinder, Midland RockHounds: The former second round pick is having a great year for the Midland Rockhounds, the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s. He is hitting .302 with seven homers and 40 RBIs while playing the middle infield. He was selected to the Texas League All-Star game. He will likely be in Spring Training with Oakland next season.
Pinder has improved his OBP this year. After drawing just 22 walks over a full season in Advanced-A ball in 2014, he’s already drawn 18 walks in Double-A this year. He was the #32 pick in the 2013 draft, and he stands a good chance of making a Major League roster in the next couple of years.
Devin Burke, New Britain Rock Cats: Burke has split his time this season between Double-A and Advanced-A for the Rockies organization. In 13 games between the two levels, he has a 6.39 ERA.
Eddie Campbell, Bakersville Blaze: Campbell was promoted to Advanced-A early this season, and things haven’t gone all that well. He has a 6.62 ERA in eight starts.
Tyler Horan, San Jose Giants: Horan’s season has been damaged by an injury. Last season he hit .284 with 25 homers and 81 RBIs between Single-A and Advanced-A. This year he’s hitting just .219 with six homers and 17 RBIs. Hopefully his numbers can improve as he puts his injury in the rear view mirror.
Mark Zagunis, Myrtle Beach Pelicans: Keep your eye on Zagunis. The outfielder was a third round pick of the Cubs in 2014, and he’s already playing Advanced-A ball. He’s hitting .312 with a .443 OBP at Myrtle Beach, and he has five homers and 34 RBIs. He has more walks (51) than strikeouts (41). He was a Carolina League All-Star in June.
Brad Markey, South Bend Cubs. Markey has appeared in 11 games for South Bend, posting an impressive 2.25 ERA in the process. He was a 19th round pick last summer by the Chicago Cubs.
Short Season A
Brendon Hayden, Williamsport Crosscutters: Hayden was assigned to the Short Season A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies after being drafted in the 16th round. He is off to a hot start, hitting .364 with a .405 OBP in nine games. He has one homer and four RBIs.
Sean Keselica, West Virginia Black Bears: Keselica was picked in the 33rd round by the Pirates. He had a 3.00 ERA in his first two appearances in the New York-Penn League.
Alex Perez, Elizabethton Twins: Perez recorded his first professional hit last night for Elizabethton. The short season leagues just started last week, so he has played in just five games so far. If you’re a New River Valley VT fan, you can watch him play in Pulaski when the Twins take on the Yankees later this summer.