Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Buckeyes in the Minors, Part 2

I must apologize for the extreme delay in getting this up. Did not anticipate a day would take a month, but life tends to throw curveballs, it is on us to be patient enough to drive it the other way. As we continue...

The minor league baseball regular seasons across America are now wrapping, if not already over. Though there is postseason action to be played throughout the 20 minor leagues, we can look back on this past season and see how a few more former Buckeyes played.

I left off with the 2007 draft class trio of Angle, Fryer, Luebke. Going back a year to 2006 we have two Buckeye infielders that were drafted. 3B Ronnie Bourquin in the round 2 by the Detroit Tigers, and SS Jedidiah Stephen, drafted in the 8th round by the Balitmore Orioles.

3B Ron Bourquin- The former hot corner All American spent the 2008 campaign with just one team in one league, this after playing in SS-A and Advanced A in 2007. Splitting the difference of last year, playing as a West Michigan Whitecaps in A ball action, Bourquin joined Luebke as the second former Buck in the Midwest League.

Though he posted a .235 BA, he did have a .339 on-base percentage with 25 extra base hits, that helped keep him in the lineup for 118 games. Bourquin played well in the second half of the season, in which he hit .269, and had a OBP/SLG/OPS line of .361/.358/.720, compared to .315/.269/.584.

SS Jedidiah Stephen-As did Ron, Jed spent the 2007 season in SS-A and Advanced A. This season however took a different path for Stephen, culminating being teammates again with another Buckeye alum. The Orioles as an organization felt it was in the best interest of both the team and player to keep Stephen in extended spring training to start the season. Though he wasn't required to learn a new position during his stay as Fryer was, Stephen worked on refining he swing and becoming a complete player.

Starting the 2008 season as an Aberdeen IronBird of the New York-Penn League, Jed provided a bit of power. In his 46 games in the NYPL, Stephen hit 8 Home Runs, and 9 Doubles to post a .445 Slugging Percentage. Though his strikeouts were a bit high, 55 in 173 AB's, the O's felt Stephen could handle a promotion for the last end of the season, and moved him up to the South Atlantic League, joining Matt Angle in the Delmarva Shorebirds' lineup. In his 7 games as a Shorebird, Stephen went 1-for-25, with 13 strikeouts to 1 walk.

Coming off of a 2005 Big Ten Tournament championship, and a trip to the Corvallis Regional, Mike Madsen was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 21st round. Former pitcher Trent Luyster was also drafted in 2005, by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 30th round, but Trent did not pitch this year in the minors.

P Mike Madsen-After pitching during MLB's All Star Weekend in 2007, as a player in the Futures Game, Madsen and the A's had high expectations for the 2008 season. Starting the season with the Midland RockHounds as a Texas Leaguer, Madsen was showing he had no trouble with AA hitters. In 2 starts spanning 12 innings, Madsen allowed just 3 earned runs on 7 hits and 3 BB's, posting a 2.25 ERA.

Unfortunately those 2 starts would be the only starts Madsen had this year with the RockHounds. An arm injury sidelined him for 2 months, before returning in rookie ball with the Athletics Arizona League in July. Playing with the AZL A's was step 1 in rehab process in returning to the mound, tough luck would have that the start would also be the end. Only able to throw just 1 inning before having the discomfort return, the A's decided to shut Madsen down for the year.

With 8 former players down and just 5 more professional ex-Bucks to go, tomorrow I'll recap the seasons of the 2002-2004 draft classes which saw the following Ohio State products drafted:

2004 Scott Lewis Cleveland Indians (3rd)
2004 Drew Anderson Cincinnati Reds (13th)
2004 Josh Newman Colorado Rockies (19th)
2003 Matt Davis Cleveland Indians (7th)
2002 Doug Deeds Minnesota Twins (9th)
2002 Nick Swisher Oakland Athletics (1st)

Updating the last post, Eric Fryer was name a South Atlantic League post-season All Star. Fryer finished the season winning the batting title, hitting a robust .335 in Sally League play. Also making an All Star team was JB Shuck, playing in the NYPL All Star game. Congrats to Eric and JB.

Hopefully by the end of the week we'll have a bit of information regarding the current Buckeyes as they start to return to campus and enter fall ball.


BaseballBucks33 said...

Nice to hear from you again Chris. I thought you left the state or something. LOL!! Nice write up on the former buckeyes. I am going to Cleveland on Wed. afternoon to see Swish and his White Sox play the Tribe. He sure is struggling on the south side this year. Nick has 4 hits in his last 34 AB's.

Anyway nice to hear from you. I did see Putnam did sign with the Tribe. He has not pitched very well for Mahoning Valley. He has walked 4 in 5 IP. JB Shuck has been awesome with Tri-City hitting around .300. That a boy JB!

Go Bucks!!

Todd Lamb said...

Trent Luyster was a volunteer assistant baseball coach for the Akron Zips last year, reuniting with former Ohio State assistant coach Pat Bangtson.

Great to see the update. I think fall should be starting up soon if it hasn't already. Thanks for your contributions.