Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Buckeyes in the Minors: Luebke & Bourquin provide All Star highlights

Two former Ohio State Buckeyes were at center stage in minor league baseball All Star games played last night across American. Cory Luebke the 63rd overall pick in the 2007 by the San Deigo Padres, Ron Bourquin the 50th overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Detroit Tigers were at the forefront of their team's ASG victories.

Luebke the 2007 Big Ten pitcher of the Year is currently playing for the High A Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League in the Padres farm system. Luebke leads the California League in wins with 8, ERA at 2.34, innings pitched with 88.1, WHIP at 1.02, and is third in strikeouts with 80. With the Carolina-California League All Star being played at Lake Elsinore's home field, Luebke being the starting pitcher was an obvious choice.

In the All Star game that pits the best from the California League against the best of the Carolina League, Luebke took the mound and was in control. Pitching 2.0 innings, Luebke allowed 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3, pacing the California All Stars as they would win the game 2-1 in extra innings.

Luebke's dominance in 2009 thus far combined with this being Cory's third stint with the High A team will likely make the Padres brass promote Luebke here shortly. The next rung on the ladder would be to see Luebke can do at the AA level playing for the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League.

Going from the California coast to the heart of the country, in Clinton Iowa, the Low A Midwest League All Star game was being played.

The 2006 Big Ten Player of the Year and current West Michigan Whitecap Ronnie Bourquin was equally as impressive as ex-teammate Luebke, this time providing a show with the stick.

Bourquin who was selected a Midwest All Star after hitting .304 in the first half of the season, along with 47 RBI that is 4th best in the league, and 21 doubles ranking 5th best, showed he belonged with the elite of the league. With the East All Stars already up 2-0 in the 4th, Bourquin took a 3-1 pitch and planted over the leftfield wall for a 3-run home run that would prove to be the gamewinning hit and RBI in the East's 6-4 victory.

Bourquin was quoted after the discussing the 3-run bomb...

"I'm not a guy that usually hits a lot of home runs, I'm usually a gap to gap guy and I've come close on a lot of balls that I've hit," he said.

"[I was] just looking for something up there that I could drive to the outfield and get that runner in," he said. "He threw me a changeup and I was able to get a pretty good swing on it."

Given that this is Bourquin's 4th professional season, and it appears he responding well to Low A pitching, the Tigers are probably considring making the move to bump Bourquin up a notch and see if he can compete at High A with the Lakeland Tigers for the Florida State League. Bourquin would then become the 5th Buckeye for the time being if promoted at the High A level, joining 2007 draftee Eric Fryer in the Florida State league with the Tampa Yankees, another '07 draftee Matt Angle in the Carolina League as a Frederick Key, JB Shuck a 2008 selection of the Houston Astros who like Luebke is in the California League.

Midwest League All Star Game

California League All Star Game

Check back on the Buckeye Nine as well discuss former Buckeyes in the Minors and Bigs over the next few days, as well as catching up with current Buckeyes in their respective summer leagues.

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