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Santa Clarita Valley natives abound in pro ball

Posted: July 13, 2013 9:16 p.m.
Updated: July 13, 2013 9:16 p.m.

Hart High graduate James Shields may have only four wins on the season, but he remains the ace of the Kansas City Royals staff with a 3.12 ERA, 112 strikeouts and two complete games under his belt.

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As we head into the halfway point of the Major League Baseball season, it comes time to take inventory of the Santa Clarita Valley products in the professional ranks.

Those already in the Majors continue to hold their own, while a few at the highest levels of the minor leagues seem to be knocking on the door. Injuries have gotten in the way of the advancement of local prospects like Chris Valaika, Danny Worth and Zach Britton.

On the other hand, players like Steve Susdorf seem to be on the rise in the minors.

The four local draft picks from this year, along with one other undrafted free agent, have all signed on with their respective Major League clubs and begun their pro baseball careers.

As we head into the All-Star Break, here is the overall SCV pro baseball breakdown.


Major Leagues

Tommy Milone – Oakland Athletics, pitcher

Milone’s second full season as a Major League starting pitcher has been an up-and-down one thus far. He’s 8-8 with a 4.24 ERA in 116 2/3 innings pitched. Milone, a Saugus High graduate, has struck out 87 and he’s settled into the starting rotation for the defending AL West Champion Oakland Athletics.


James Shields – Kansas City Royals, pitcher

In the first year of his big-money, four-year contract with Kansas City, Shields is doing his best to prove why he’s the staff ace. Shields had a stellar start to the year before dropping off slightly in the last month. Still, he maintains a 3.12 ERA with 112 strikeouts in 122 2/3 innings pitched in 19 starts. His record sits at 4-6 due mostly to a lack of run support, but the Royals have won the last eight games in which the 31-year-old Hart High graduate has pitched.


Chris Valaika – Miami Marlins, infielder

Though he moved from the Cincinnati Reds to the Miami Marlins this year, injuries continue to plague Valaika, as he broke his wrist on May 8 during a game against the San Diego Padres and has yet to return to the Majors. On Monday, The Marlins transferred him from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster. This week, for the first time since his injury, he’s been back on the field playing with the Class-A Advanced Jupiter Hammerheads as part of his rehab. Prior to the injury, Valaika was hitting .219 with the Marlins with a home run and nine RBIs in 22 games played.


2013 draft picks

Cody Harris — Rookie Marlins (Miami Marlins), Rookie Gulf Coast League, pitcher

After being drafted in the 24th round of the MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins out of The Master’s College, Harris signed with the Marlins on June 20 and headed to South Florida to start playing for the Rookie Gulf Coast League Marlins. In four appearances and 7 1/3 innings pitched, Harris is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA.


Kyle Hooper — Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers), Rookie League, pitcher

Hooper signed on June 16 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who drafted him in the 25th round and assigned him to play for the Rookie Pioneer League Ogden Raptors. In five appearances with the Raptors, Hooper is 2-0 with a 7.00 ERA in nine innings of work.


Pat Valaika — Tri-City Dust Devils (Colorado Rockies), Class-A, shortstop

Six days after helping his UCLA Bruins win the school’s first-ever College World Series title, Hart High graduate Valaika signed July 1 with the Colorado Rockies, who drafted him in the ninth round of the MLB Draft a few weeks prior. Valaika landed with the Tri-City Dust Devils, where he has one hit in seven at-bats in his first three games.


Trey Williams — Rookie Phillies (Philadelphia Phillies), Rookie Gulf Coast League, infielder

After playing a season at College of the Canyon, the Valencia High graduate Williams was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh round of the June MLB Draft. He then signed with the Phillies on June 14. In 10 games with the Rookie Gulf Coast League Phillies, Williams is off to a 5-for-34 start at the plate.


Other signing

Troy Neiman (Colorado Rockies), pitcher

Neiman, a former pitcher for College of the Canyons who went on to play at Chico State, signed with the Rockies earlier this month, according to COC baseball head coach Chris Cota. Neiman has yet to be assigned to a minor league team.


Minor Leagues

Scott Barlow – Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers), Rookie League, pitcher

In his second season playing in the Dodgers’ organization after missing the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, Barlow is trying to find his stride. The Golden Valley graduate and 2011 draft pick has a 6.65 ERA and a 0-2 record in his five starts and 21 2/3 innings this year.


Trevor Bauer — Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians), Triple-A, pitcher

The former Hart Indian and UCLA Bruin continues to look for consistency with the Clippers this season. The former No. 3 overall draft pick has a 4.06 ERA and a 4-2 record in 14 starts and 77 2/3 innings pitched. Earlier in the year, the 21-year-old started four games with the Cleveland Indians, going 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA in 17 innings. He’s on the Indians’ 40-man roster.


Zach Britton — Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles), Triple-A, pitcher

Britton has gone back and forth between Triple-A Norfolk and the Majors, most recently sticking with the Orioles for a five-start stint that stretched from mid-June to this past Tuesday. Britton was then optioned to Norfolk, where he’s spent the majority of the season. The former Canyon Cowboy is 3-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 11 starts with the Tides, while he sits at 2-3 with 4.76 ERA in six starts with the Orioles. He started one game on April 29 during a previous call-up to the Majors.


Trevor Brown — Augusta GreenJackets (San Francisco Giants), Single-A, catcher

The Hart High graduate and former UCLA Bruin is batting .267 with 32 RBIs and two home runs in 70 games in Augusta. The 21 year old who was picked in the 10th round of the MLB Draft by the Giants last year, is playing his first full-length season in the minors.


Jared Clark — Sioux Falls Canaries (Independent), first baseman

The ex-Valencia Viking is third in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball with 14 home runs this season, which also leads the team. The 27-year-old former Cal State Fullerton player is batting .242 with 35 RBIs in 54 games.


Charlie Gillies — West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers), Single-A, pitcher

Gillies, a former player for The Master’s College and West Ranch High, has clocked a lot of innings with the Whitecaps, going 61 1/3 with a 4.55 ERA and 41 strikeouts to go with a 1-5 record.


Tyler Glasnow — West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates), High-A, pitcher

The 2011 Hart graduate who was selected in the fifth round of the MLB Draft that same year is putting up strong numbers in West Virginia. His 2.48 ERA is sixth-best in the South Atlantic League and his 110 strikeouts are second best in the league. The top pitching prospect also has a 5-2 record in 17 starts.


Brian Hernandez — Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels), High-A, third baseman

The former College of the Canyons player and 27th round MLB Draft pick has seen a slight upturn in his batting totals after a strong June. He’s batting .280 with 56 RBIs and three home runs in his third year with the Angels’ organization.


Michael Hur — Rockford Aviators, Frontier League (Independent), outfielder

Hur, a 25-year-old Valencia High graduate, continues his run in the Frontier League with a .267 batting average, 17 RBIs and a home run in 44 games this season.


Cory Jones — Peoria Chiefs (St. Louis Cardinals), Single-A, pitcher

After joining the Chiefs late in the season due to extended spring training, Jones has been nothing short of stellar in his first seven starts this season. The former College of the Canyons standout and fifth round pick in last year’s MLB Draft is carrying a 5-1 records and a 1.02 ERA through 44 innings pitched.


Christian Lopes — Lansing Lugnuts, (Toronto Blue Jays), Single-A, shortstop

Lopes has had a productive year after moving from Low-A last year up to Single-A. The one-time Valencia Viking played in the Midwest League All-Star game in June and he’s batting .258 with 40 RBIs and four home runs in 83 games.


Timmy Lopes — Clinton LumberKings (Seattle Mariners), Single-A, shortstop

A strong start to July has lifted Lopes’ batting average to .260 this season with 22 RBIs. The former Valencia High player is batting .389 with six RBIs so far this month.

Casey McCarthy — Batavia Muckdogs (Miami Marlins), Low-A, pitcher

After just one appearance with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads, McCarthy was sent down to Low-A Batavia, where the 23-year-old Hart graduate has a 2-1 record with a 4.09 ERA in seven relief outings and 11 innings.


Mike Montgomery – Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays), Triple-A, pitcher

As the No. 8 overall prospect in the Rays’ organization, Montgomery is starting to show why at the Triple-A level. A recent strong stretch has got the Hart High graduate’s ERA with the Bulls this season down to 3.73 to go with a 4-3 record in 11 appearances, 10 starts across 60 1/3 innings.


Juan Perez — Bakersfield Blaze (Cincinnati Reds), High-A, shortstop

Perez is batting .245 with 24 RBIs and four home runs with Bakersfield this season in 83 games. This is the third year in the Reds’ farm system for the former College of the Canyons player.


Will Savage — Lancaster Barnstormers (Independent), pitcher

After separate three-year stints with the Philadelphia Phillies’ system and more recently the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization, Savage landed back in Lancaster, where the 28-year-old former College of the Canyons Cougar has a 6-7 record with a 5.40 ERA in 14 outings and 70 innings.


Chipper Smith – Greensboro Grasshoppers (Miami Marlins), Single-A, pitcher

The Golden Valley High graduate and ex-College of the Canyons player was promoted from Low-A last year up to Single-A, where he is excelling this season. Smith is 7-0 with a 2.52 ERA in 24 appearances, nearly all in relief. The 2012 38th-round MLB Draft pick has 57 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings pitched.


Shawn Smith — Washington Wild Things (Independent), pitcher

Despite an outstanding start to the season, the 22-year-old Saugus High graduate has hit a rough patch as of late, allowing 22 earned runs across his last four starts. His ERA shot up to 5.00 to go alongside a 3-5 record in 11 starts and 63 innings this year.


Casey Stevenson — Trenton Thunder (New York Yankees), Double-A, first baseman

Stevenson is back where he began the season after being moved to the Thunder in late June. The Saugus alumnus has bounced around three different clubs within the Yankees’ system this year, reaching as high as Triple-A for a short-lived stint with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. In 37 games in Trenton this year, Stevenson is batting .312 with 12 RBI and a home run.


Steve Susdorf — Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies), Triple-A, outfielder

Susdorf continues to swing a solid bat this season as he maintains his climb in the Phillies’ organization. The former Hart Indian is batting .349 with 24 RBIs in 64 games. The 27-year-old is enjoying his second straight positive season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.


Jenzen Torres — Normal Corn Belters, (Independent), Frontier League, catcher

It’s been a rough go this year for Torres, a Hart High graduate who is batting .120 with three RBIs and a home run for the Corn Belters.


Zach Vincej — Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds), Single-A, shortstop

A red-hot stretch for Vincej was cut short when the Saugus graduate was placed on the seven-day disabled list on June 28 with a strained abdominal muscle. He has yet to return from it, though the 22-year-old was 14-for-25 at the plate in his last eight games. That raised his average to .280 with 25 RBIs in 70 games on the year.Vincej was also selected to the Midwest League All Star Game in Dayton, Ohio this season.


Danny Worth — Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers), Triple-A, infielder

Though Worth has made Major League appearances before, a heel injury has kept him off the field for a good portion of 2013. After recently returning from injury, the Valencia graduate is batting .219 with seven RBIs in his 39 total games with the Mud Hens this year.


Joseph Zeller — Frontier Greys (Independent), Florida State League, High-A, pitcher

The 25-year-old and 2010 MLB Draft pick out of The Master’s College has a 6-4 record with a 3.64 ERA in 11 outings, nine starts across 59 1/3 innings this season with the Greys.



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