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SCV baseball players represented at all levels

Some local products are success stories, others are working their way through the minor league ranks

Posted: August 22, 2013 9:57 p.m.
Updated: August 22, 2013 9:57 p.m.

Hart graduate and Kansas City Royals pitcher James Shields is one of the area products in Major League Baseball.

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From Major Leaguers to rookies, to All-Stars and guys watching their stock slip, the Santa Clarita Valley is well represented in Major and Minor League Baseball in 2013.

Hart graduate James Shields remains the class of the valley at the Major League level, showing why the Royals acquired the veteran right-handed pitcher to be their ace in 2013.

He’s been a hard luck starter for most of the season and doesn’t have the win total to show for the success he’s had.

Behind Shields the results are mixed.

Saugus graduate Tommy Milone has shown his talent in flashes this season, spending most of his year with the Oakland Athletics, but he was also sent down to Triple-A for two starts earlier this month.

In the minors, Hart graduate Chris Valaika is still battling back from injury in the Miami Marlins organization, while the Santa Clarita Valley’s six 2013 MLB signees are getting their first hacks at professional baseball.

The stories, and results, are varied — so here’s a look at how Santa Clarita Valley products are doing in professional baseball.

Major Leagues

Tommy Milone – Oakland Athletics, pitcher

Tommy Milone made a brief stop with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats earlier this month, making two starts and allowing just two runs across 10 1/3 innings pitched. His time away from the big league club is now over, though, with Milone back in Oakland. He’s had an up-and-down year with the AL West defending champion Athletics, going 9-9 with a 4.30 ERA, 105 strikeouts and 34 walks in 138 innings pitched (23 starts).

James Shields – Kansas City Royals, pitcher

After being traded to the Kansas City Royals during the offseason in a deal that included minor league prospect and fellow Hart graduate Mike Montgomery, the former Hart Indian has so far lived up to the billing. He has a 3.22 ERA in 27 starts, with 145 strikeouts (11th in the American League) and 56 walks in 181 2/3 innings (second in the American League). He’s been hurt by a lack of run support, though, and is at just 8-8 on the season.

2013 draft picks

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

The Master’s College product signed with the Marlins on June 20 after being drafted in the 24th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. That came after helping the Mustangs reach the NAIA World Series in May. Harris, a right-handed relief pitcher, is 1-2 with a 5.24 ERA in 22 1/3 innings in 10 appearances with the Marlins.

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

The Saugus High graduate had a tough go of things in his last outing with the Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie League affiliate, the Ogden Raptors. After a strong outing by teammate and Golden Valley graduate Scott Barlow, Hooper took the blown save after allowing three runs in two innings on Aug. 19. On the season, Hooper is 3-0 with a 5.79 ERA in 23 1/3 innings pitched. Hooper has been strong at limiting free passes, though, walking just eight while striking out 29.

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

Valaika is following in the steps of brother’s Chris and Matt, both of whom played professional baseball. Chris is currently in the Miami Marlins organization, while Matt played in the St. Louis Cardinals organization until 2010. Pat, a Hart graduate and UCLA product, has spent 32 games with the Tri-City Dust Devils since signing with the Colorado Rockies shortly after helping the Bruins win the school’s first College World Series title in June. Valaika is batting .243 with 15 RBIs in 32 games with Tri-City.

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

Williams, a 2011 Valencia High graduate, decided against heading to Pepperdine or signing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 to spend a season at College of the Canyons. In doing so, he maintained his eligibility to re-enter the MLB First-Year Player Draft this year. In June, it paid off, as Williams was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies and is currently playing with the Rookie Phillies of the Rookie Gulf Coast League. In 35 games, Williams is batting .218 with two home runs and seven RBIs. In his last 10 games, though, Williams is picking things up, batting .343 with four RBIs.

Other signings

Tyler Elrod — Washington WildThings (Independent), pitcher

The Master’s College product, after helping the Mustangs reach the NAIA World Series in May, signed with the WildThings on Aug. 13. In two appearances with the WildThings Elrod has an 18.90 ERA in 3 1/3 innings pitched, with three strikeouts and four walks.

Troy Neiman Tri-City Dust Devils (Colorado Rockies), Class-A, pitcher

Former Chico State and College of the Canyons pitcher Troy Neiman signed with the Colorado Rockies in July and has been playing with the Tri-City Dust Devils in the Class A Short-Season Northwest League. He has made nine appearances out of the bullpen and has a 1-1 record with a 5.19 ERA.

Minor Leagues

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

The Golden Valley graduate missed the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, and made just two appearances in 2011 in which he allowed five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings with the Arizona League’s Rookie Dodgers. This season, with the Ogden Raptors, Barlow has started 12 games and has a 2-3 record with a 6.42 and 41 strikeouts.

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

The former No. 3 overall draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks was traded to Cleveland during the offseason and has spent most of the season in the minor leagues. Bauer has made four starts for the big league club and is 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA in Cleveland. For the Clippers, Bauer is 6-6 in 20 starts with a 4.14 ERA, 93 strikeouts and 63 walks.

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

Britton has spent time at Triple-A Norfolk, as well as with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013. With the Orioles, the former Canyon Cowboy is 2-3 with a 4.76 ERA in 34 innings pitched. With the Tides, he is 5-5 on the season with a 4.74 ERA in 17 starts, including a win in his last outing on Aug. 15 when he picked up the victory over Toledo with a 5 2/3 innings, six-hit, two-run performance.

Trevor Brown — San Jose Giants (San Francisco Giants), High-A, catcher

Trevor Brown, a Hart graduate and former UCLA Bruin, has spent time with both the Single-A Augusta GreenJackets and High-A San Jose Giants in 2013. This is his first full season in professional baseball after being drafted by the Giants in the 10th round of the 2012 draft. This season, currently in San Jose, Brown is struggling in his first five games, batting .048 with one RBI and four strikeouts in 21 at bats. On the year, Brown is batting .240 with 41 RBIs in 384 combined at bats between Augusta and San Jose.

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

After spending four seasons in the Colorado Rockies organization, Clark signed with the independent Sioux Falls Canaries of the 2013 American Association earlier this year. The Valencia High graduate is batting .223 with 19 home runs and 52 RBIs.

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

Gillies, a West Ranch graduate and former The Master’s College player, started the season with High-A Lakeland before being sent to the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps after one game. In 13 starts with the Whitecaps, Gillies is 1-5 with a 4.55 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 26 walks, but hasn’t pitched since July 10 and is currently listed on the seven-day disabled list.

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

After moving from Rookie ball to Low-A last season, the Hart graduate has now found himself with the Single-A West Virginia Power of the Class-A South Atlantic League in 2013, and has been lighting it up on the mound. Glasnow leads the league with 160 strikeouts and is 8-3 with a 2.29 ERA in 23 starts, while emerging as a top level prospect in the Pirates organization. In June, Baseball America declared Glasnow the Pirates’ No. 5 prospect. On Thursday, a day before his birthday, Glasnow was stellar once again, going five innings and striking out 13 before settling for a no decision.ahead of his Friday birthday.

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

The College of the Canyons product is having a career-best year with the Inland Empire 66ers. Hernandez is currently batting .291 with 75 RBIs, well ahead of his previous high of 52 last season. His 75 RBIs place him 13th in the California League and his 140 hits rank fourth.

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

The Valencia High graduate is in his third season with the Rockford Aviators. This year, he’s batting .255 in 78 games with 31 RBIs and two home runs.

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

The College of the Canyons product has continued to shine in his second season of minor league ball. So far this season, Jones is 7-1 in nine starts with a 1.58 ERA for the Peoria Chiefs — the lowest ERA in the Midwest League. He has also proven adept at keeping batters off base; his .895 walks-plus-hits-per-innings-pitched rate is good for third in the league.

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

The former Valencia Viking has hovered around the .250 mark for most of the season and is currently batting .249 for the Single-A Lugnuts with 59 RBIs and five home runs. In June, Lopes was selected to the Midwest League All-Star Game and was projected by Baseball America as the Blue Jays second baseman of the future in the publication’s 2016 roster predictions.

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

Lopes has continued to impress during the summer months, lifting his average to .272, while knocking in 36 runs. Since June 2, the former Valencia player is batting .306 with 23 RBIs. One knock, though, has been his baserunning struggles. Lopes began the season 3-for-3 on stolen-base attempts, but has since been thrown out in seven of his last 14 tries.

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

The Hart graduate opened the season with High-A Jupiter but has spent the majority of the season with the Low-A Batavia Muckdogs. In 27 2/3 innings with the Muckdogs, he is 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA and 18 strikeouts to eight walks. McCarthy appears to be getting stronger as the season moves along, too, holding a 2.30 ERA in his last 10 appearances.

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

After an offseason trade saw the Hart graduate move from the Kansas City Royals organization to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for another former Indian in James Shields, the pitcher remains a top prospect. He is currently listed as the Rays’ No. 8 overall prospect by MLB.com and is 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA to go along with 67 strikeouts and 45 walks this season between the Bulls and the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

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

The former College of the Canyons player is holding his own at the plate this season, batting .249 with 38 RBIs and seven home runs. He’s also been impressive on the basepaths, stealing 25 of 34 bases, good for eighth in the California League.

Will Savage — Lancaster Barnstormers (Independent), pitcher

Now with the independent Lancaster Barnstormers after three-year runs in both the Philadelphia Phillies’ and Los Angeles Dodgers’ systems, the College of the Canyons product is 9-10 with a 4.58 ERA in 20 starts. The 28-year-old pitcher has 79 strikeouts to go along with 28 walks.

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

After beginning the season 7-0 while appearing almost exclusively in relief, the Golden Valley graduate and former College of the Canyons player has lost his last three decisions — including a start on Aug. 11 against the Augusta GreenJackets in which he allowed three earned runs in four innings. Smith, selected in the 38th round of the 2012 draft by the Miami Marlins, has two saves on the season and has a 3.21 ERA in 75 2/3 innings pitched.

Shawn Smith — Les Capitales de Quebec (Independent), pitcher

After a strong start to the year with the independent Washington Wild Things, Smith moved to the Les Capitales de Quebec squad of the Canadian-American Association after a rough patch in June. In Quebec, the 22-year-old Saugus High graduate has thrown well, going 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA, but has allowed 15 walks to just 16 strikeouts.

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

Stevenson has been all over the map this season for the New York Yankees organization. He has spent time with the High-A Tampa Yankees, the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders and is currently with the Double-A Trenton Thunder. In 59 games in Trenton, the Saugus High graduate is batting .239 with 15 RBI.

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

In his sixth season in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, the Hart graduate finally made it to the Major Leagues for a short stint with the Phillies from July 25 through July 28 in which he recorded his first Major League base hit. Now, back with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, the 27-year-old is batting .326, third in the International League, with 31 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

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

The former Hart Indian is struggling in his second season of independent ball. So far in 2013, where he has spent the season with the Normal Corn Belters of the Frontier League, the 23-year-old is batting just .120 with three RBIs in 27 games.

Chris Valaika – New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami Marlins), Triple-A, infielder

In his first season with the Miami Marlins, Valaika started out the season on the big league club, batting .219 in 22 games before breaking his wrist against the San Diego Padres on May 8. Valaika returned to the field on July 4 with the Jupiter Hammerheads for a rehab assignment, and was on the field with the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs on July 18, but has yet to return to the Major Leagues. Things haven’t gotten much better for the 28-year-old off the field either. He was activated from the 60-day disabled listed on July 23 and was designated for assignment the same day. According to the Miami Herald, Valaika was in position to get the call up to the Marlins after Placido Polanco was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Aug. 19. Instead, the Marlins called up Gil Velazquez after Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria vetoed Valaika’s call-up, the Herald reported. In 39 games split between the Jupiter Hammerheads and the Zephyrs, the Hart graduate is batting .226 with 12 RBIs.

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

After a trip to the disabled list at the end of June cut short what had been an eight-game run in which the 22-year-old went 14-for-25, Vincej returned to action on July 24. Since that time, the Midwest League All-Star and Saugus graduate is batting .226 with six RBIs in 25 games. On the year, he is batting .265 with 31 RBIs and has stolen 13 bases in 95 games with the Dayton Dragons.

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

Worth made a brief stop at High-A Lakeland but has spent the vast majority of the season with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. Worth, who has spent parts of three seasons with the Detroit Tigers, has been hampered by a heel injury this season and missed most of April and all of May. In 72 games with Toledo, the Valencia graduate is batting .231 with 20 RBIs and a .320 on-base percentage.

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

The Master’s College product, selected in the 28th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs, has made 16 starts and 18 appearances for the Frontier Greys of the Florida State League. The 25-year-old pitcher is 8-7 with a 3.23 ERA and 72 strikeouts to 40 walks on the year.

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