With Buckeyes scattered across the ranks from Short Season A all the way up to AAA, playing across America in places from Salisbury, Maryland to Omaha, Nebraska, and in leagues such as the New York-Penn League, or the Pacific Coast League, there are former Bucks making an impact in Minor League Baseball.
Today I'll provide the Buckeye Nine with a brief rundown of former Buckeyes that were drafted in the last 2 seasons, and how they are currently doing in their respective farm systems.
Jack "JB" Shuck- JB has been showing why the Astros made him a 6th round pick this past June. JB who is currently playing with the Tri-City ValleyCats, the 'Stros SS-A ball team, is currently in the top 15 in multiple New York-Penn League categories.
As a lead off hitter, be it by hit, or other means it is undeniable how important it is to get on base. JB shows he can handle batting at the top of the order, hitting at a .304 clip, good enough for 13th best in the league and by drawing 23 walks, good enough for 7th. His superb batting, combined with his strike zone discipline has his on-base percentage at a robust .392, which 9th in the league.
Getting on base isn't only where JB is getting it done, wth help from his ValleyCats line-up, JB has cross home more than any other player in the New York-Penn League, with his 35 runs. JB has collected 4 triples the 3rd most in NYPL, and has only committed 1 error in patrolling center field.
Dan DeLucia- It was a pleasant surprise when in the 35th round, the Detroit Tigers selected the only 3-time captain in Ohio State baseball history. Rebounding from an injury shortened 2007 season, DeLucia put together a solid final campaign that made scouts aware that the Lefty still has it in him. Like JB, Dan is playing in the New York-Penn League, with the Oneonta Tigers.
Working mostly out of the bullpen, with 8 appearances and 1 start, DeLucia has been lights out in posting a record of 2-1. Compiling 17 innings in those 8 games, Dan has allowed only 2 earned runs to cross the plate. That equates to a minuscule 1.06 ERA.
NYPL batters have managed only 1 hit an inning off Dan, for total of 17, are are only hitting .258 off him. He has shown good solid command in striking out 11 times, while drawing only 8 walks.
Matt Angle- The Buckeyes have produced two very good lead off hitting center fielders in the past two drafts. As many know, before JB, it was Matt Angle who roamed center field in Bill Davis Stadium. Angle was drafted in June of 2007 by the Baltimore Orioles in the 7th round after his Junior season.
After a slow start in which he hit .244 in the first 63 games, Angle, who plays for the Delmarva Shorebirds, has been on fire batting .339 in his last 43, to where he is currently hitting .284 on the season. Angle like JB, has outstanding strike zone discipline, and has drawn a South Atlantic League, or "Sally League" best 55 walks.
With the ability to obtain base on balls, he posts a .374 on-base percentage which is 14th best. Angle doesn't just stop with getting on best, the swift left-handed hitter has 30 stolen bases, 10th best, and 65 runs, which is 15th. His speed has enabled him to hit 4 triples at the plate, while in the field has led him to cover ground better than any Sally Leaguer, with just 1 error on the season.
Eric Fryer-The former Buckeye catcher, also selected in the 2007 draft, joins Angle as the 2nd player Ohio State has in the Sally League. Playing for the Brewers Class A affiliate, the West Virginia Power, Fryer has emerged as one of the top hitters in the league, even though he had a delay in starting his season.
Spending the start of the season in extended spring training, the Brewers organization wanted to see if Fryer could handle a position change. After his extended stay, and move from catcher to left fielder, Eric hit the Sally League with a force, and a sign he could more than handle the change. Fryer has spent time this season as both an outfielder and catcher, doing both well, but it is his bat that has opposing managers talking.
Fryer is hitting .337 for the second best batting average, has a on-base percentage of .401 3rd best, a slugging percentage of .512 6th best, and checks in at 6th as well in OPS, combined on-base plus slugging. He has put up gaudy power numbers with 18 Doubles, 4 Triples, and 8 Home Runs, in just 80 games, yet pitchers must pay attention to him on the bases, as he has stolen a surprising 13 bases in 15 attempts.
Cory Luebke- The third Buckeye drafted in the 2007 draft, was actually the first to come off the board. Coming off of an amazing season, in which he was name Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Big Ten Tournament Outstanding Player, and popping up on All American lists across the county, Luebke was selected with the 63rd pick overall by the San Diego Padres.
An impressive 2007 minor league season saw Luebke play in 3 different levels. Rising from SS-A to A+ in finishing with the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League for their playoff run. Lake Elsinore is where Cory started the 2008 season.
Though he at times showed the stuff that made him an incredible pitcher in 2007, 2008 started a bit rough as in 72.1 innings Luebke allowed 97 hits, and 55 earned runs, he did have an impressive 60 K's in those 72.1 IP. After a few tweaks in his mechanics, and a change of scenery, Luebke emerged as a Fort Wayne Wizard of the Midwest League in late July.
Be it pitching closer to home, or the changes his pitching coaches has helped him made, Luebke is pitching like the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year he was, and as he did a year before is getting it done in Class A. In 23.1 innings with Ft. Wayne, Cory has a 2-2 record, with a 3.47 ERA. In his 5 starts he has allowed 24 hits, 9 earned runs, 8 walks, while striking out 14.
As you can see, each athlete is playing great baseball and succeeding at their level of play. As they continue to climb the ranks of professional baseball, they are showing just how great of baseball players come from The Ohio State University, while representing the program with class. Good luck to all, and I'm sure the readers of the Buckeye Nine wish them the best, and a strong finish as minor league seasons across America wind down.
Tomorrow I will give an update on how the older former Buckeyes are doing for their respective teams and how their seasons are going.