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Minor league baseball: MLB prospects await call

Players like Bauer are building hype and hoping for their first crack and the Majors this year

Posted: August 13, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 13, 2011 1:55 a.m.

It’s been quite a year for Hart High graduate Trevor Bauer.

The 20-year-old has already signed a lucrative Major League Baseball contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who selected him third overall in the First-Year Player Draft. He was given college baseball’s highest honor in receiving the Golden Spikes Award for his services as a UCLA pitcher.

He can go ahead and add a six-page spread in Sports Illustrated magazine onto that list.

The article is the most extensive SI feature on an SCV athlete in recent history. It appears in the latest issue of SI and documents Bauer’s highly-technical approach to the game and how young pitchers are changing the way they develop their skills.

The story, written by Lee Jenkins, also goes into the origins of Bauer’s strict training regimen and the people who have supported him along the way.

Bauer, like many other local products, is working in the minor leagues and trying to earn a spot on a big-league roster.

In his first three starts with the Class-A Advanced Visalia Rawhide, Bauer is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 17 strikeouts. Though the Diamonbacks haven’t yet indicated the intention to call up Bauer this season, he is on the team’s 40-man active roster.

Plenty of others are much deeper into the season with their respective clubs.

Tom Milone — Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals​), Triple-A, pitcher

He pitched a scoreless inning for the International League team at the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 13 and the Saugus graduate continues to strike out batters at a high rate. His league-leading 125 punchouts to go with a 3.52 ERA and 9-6 record in 20 starts has gotten the attention of Nationals manager Davey Johnson, according to an report.

“You want to get them the experience pitching to big league hitters, pitching in big league parks,” Johnson said in an article. “Being here is the key.”

Milone isn’t on the 40-man roster yet, but the article went on to say he has a good chance of being called up later this season.

Eric Blackwell — Rio Grande Valley White Wings​, North American Baseball League (independent), pitcher

In 13 appearances, all starts, Blackwell is 7-3 with a 3.22 ERA and 81 strikeouts in his first season with the White Wings. In his last seven starts, The Master’s College product has won six games.

Kyle Boggio — San Angelo Colts, North American Baseball League (independent), pitcher

After being traded from the Las Cruces Vaqueros to the Colts on July 15, the Hart High graduate has gone 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in nine appearances. He’s started just one game with the Colts.

Dana Eveland​ — Albuquerque Isotopes (Los Angeles Dodgers​), Triple-A, pitcher

The former College of the Canyons lefty continues his solid season with the Isotopes with his Pacific Coast League-leading 11 wins along with a 3.84 ERA, third best in the league. He pitched a perfect inning for the PCL team at the Triple-A All-Star game on July 13.

Virgil Hill — Batavia Muckdogs (St. Louis Cardinals), Low-A, outfielder

Since moving to the Muckdogs from the Class-A Quad City River Bandits earlier in the season, the Valencia High graduate is batting .253 with 20 RBIs and six home runs.

Tyreace House — Burlington Bees (Oakland A’s), Class-A, outfielder

House has had a difficult time at the plate this season, batting .188 with 17 RBIs but no home runs. The former College of the Canyons player has picked it up, hitting .290 so far in the month of August.

Michael Hur — White Sands Pupfish, Pecos League (independent), third base

Hur has been one of the most productive hitters on the Pupfish, carrying a .373 average and hitting a team-leading eight home runs this season. The Valencia graduate also has 37 RBIs in just 35 games played.

Mike Montgomery — Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City Royals​), Triple-A, pitcher

It’s been a productive season for the former Hart High pitcher, who has struck out 104 batters this season, which is fifth highest in the Pacific Coast League. In 23 starts, Montgomery is 5-7 with a 5.31 ERA.

Joe Zeller — Boise Hawks (Chicago Cubs), Short-A, pitcher

Working out of the bullpen, Zeller has collected a 2.40 ERA since joining the Hawks on June 30. The former The Master’s College righty moved to the team after a brief stint with the Cubs’ Arizona League rookie club.

Chris Seddon​ — Tacoma Rainiers​ (Seattle Mariners​), Triple-A, pitcher

It’s been a hit-or-miss season for Seddon, a former Canyon High pitcher, who despite his high strikeout total (94), has a 6.53 ERA on a 7-6 record in 20 starts and 23 appearances.

Chris Valaika​ — Louisville Bats​ (Cincinnati Reds​), Triple-A, infielder

The Hart High graduate has steadily increased his batting average to .252 thanks to a recent hot streak. Valaika is .395 with three home runs and eight RBIs since July 30 to bring his season totals to six homers and 32 RBIs.

Steve Vranau — Brockton Rox, Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball, (independent), third base

After putting up big numbers with the Las Cruces Vaqueros, Vranau, a former player for The Master’s College, was traded to the Rox on Aug. 1. He was hitting .331 with three home runs and 20 RBIs with the Vaqueros, but is off to a 2-for-20 start with Brockton.

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

Though he remains on the Tigers’ 40-man roster and played briefly in the Majors, Worth has spent most of his season with the Mud Hens. The Valencia High graduate is hitting .248 with seven home runs, 16 doubles and 36 runs scored.


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