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Pro baseball: Midway in minors

Local minor leaguers are halfway through the season

Posted: July 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Hart High graduate Mike Montgomery is in his second season with the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers of the Kansas City Royals organization.

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The long list of local products in the minor leagues just got a little bit longer.

Of the eight players taken in June’s MLB First-Year Player Draft with Santa Clarita Valley ties, five of them have signed with their respective clubs and have been assigned to minor league teams.

The other three — Trey Williams (Valencia), Zach Vincej (Saugus High/Pepperdine) and Chipper Smith (Golden Valley High/Cumberland University) — have yet to sign. Williams and Vincej may not sign this year due to college commitments.

One other notable name missing from the list is Hart High graduate Trevor Bauer, who made his Major League debut on June 28 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was called up from Triple-A Reno.

As for the rest of the list, it’s a combination of success stories, struggles and lots of moving from place-to-place in search of one common goal — a shot at the big leagues.

Eric Blackwell – Washington Wild Things, Frontier League (independent), pitcher

After spending a brief period with the El Paso Diablos, Blackwell, of The Master’s College, was moved to another independent team in Washington, where he has gone 2-5 with a 9.26 ERA in eight starts.

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

The Hart High graduate is 0-2 with a 5.27 ERA in eight appearances and just one start.

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

The former Canyon High player has spent this season recovering from shoulder inflammation after he became a regular Major League starter last year with the Orioles. It’s possible Britton could make a return to the Majors on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, when Baltimore will need a starter after the team demoted Brian Matusz. Britton has made six starts for Norfolk since joining the team on June 5, going 2-1 with a 4.96 ERA.

Trevor Brown — Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (San Francisco Giants), Low-A, catcher

The former Hart High and UCLA player was drafted in the 10th round in June’s MLB First-Year Player Draft, and he was assigned to Salem-Keizer on June 29 after wrapping up his junior season at UCLA in the College World Series. So far, the catcher is 0-for-6 in two games.

Jared Clark — Modesto Nuts (Colorado Rockies), High-A

The stellar season continues for the Valencia High graduate at the plate. He now has 56 RBIs (eighth in the California League), 14 home runs (sixth in the Cal League) and 64 hits, while batting .246 in 73 games.

Josh Corrales — Clinton Lumber Kings (Seattle Mariners), Single-A

Corrales is 3-1 with 1.97 ERA in 20 relief appearances, totaling 26 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched during his first season with the Lumber Kings.

Kyle Eveland — Traverse City Beach Bums, Frontier League (independent), shortstop

After moving to the independent Frontier League in May, Eveland is batting .148 with 41 games with 10 RBIs and 20 hits. The College of the Canyons product began the season playing for the Chicago White Sox organization at the Single-A level.

Charlie Gillies — Connecticut Tigers (Detroit Tigers), Low-A, pitcher

Gillies signed with the Tigers on June 13 after being selected in the 10th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft earlier in the month. The former West Ranch High, College of the Canyons and The Master’s College pitcher is 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts with Connecticut.

Tyler Glasnow — GCL Pirates (Pittsburgh Pirates), Rookie League, pitcher

After returning from an abdominal injury to make his first minor league start in June, the Hart High graduate who was picked by the Pirates in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft has had a rough start to his career. In three starts and 8 2/3 innings, the right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA.

Brian Hernandez — Arkansas Travelers (Los Angeles Angels) Double-A

Hernandez got a promotion to Double-A Arkansas on June 21 after starting the year with the High-A Inland Empire 66ers. The College of the Canyons product is batting .276 with eight hits in eight games for Arkansas.

Virgil Hill – Quad Cities River Bandits (St. Louis Cardinals), Single-A, outfielder

The Valencia High graduate has spent the entire season with Quad City, and in that time, he’s accumulated 22 RBIs, four home runs, and 28 runs to go with a .204 average in 46 games.

Michael Hur – Rockford River Hawks, Frontier League (independent), outfielder

In 39 games this season, the Valencia High graduate is batting .304 with 23 RBIs, eight home runs and 45 hits for the River Hawks.

Cory Jones — Johnson City Cardinals, (St. Louis Cardinals), Rookie League, pitcher

The College of the Canyons product has a 4.50 ERA and seven strikeouts after his first two starts in Johnson City. He signed with the Cardinals on June 17 after being taken in the fifth round of this year’s MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Christian Lopes — Bluefield Blue Jays, Rookie League, shortstop

The former Valencia High shortstop who transferred to Edison High in Huntington beach after his sophomore season is batting .186 in 11 games. He has two home runs and two triples and six RBIs.

Timmy Lopes — AZL Mariners (Seattle Mariners), Rookie League, shortstop

The sixth-round pick in this year’s MLB First-Year Player Draft signed with the Mariners on June 13. Lopes, a former Valencia High player, is batting .342 with 13 hits and three triples in nine games so far in the Arizona League.

Casey McCarthy — GCL Marlins (Miami Marlins), Rookie League, pitcher

As a 28th-round pick in June’s MLB First-Year Player Draft, McCarthy signed with Miami on June 18. He’s off two a rough start in the Rookie Gulf Coast League, allowing three earned runs in three innings during his first two appearances.

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

In his second straight season at Triple-A Omaha, the Hart High graduate and 2008 first-round pick is 3-6 with a 5.67 ERA in 16 starts, striking out 61 in 85 2/3 innings pitched. The 2008 first-round pick of the Royals has surrendered 19 runs (12 earned) in his last two starts.

Juan Perez — Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds), Single-A

A recent surge has helped Perez, a College of the Canyons product, elevate his batting average to .252 with 33 RBIs, 32 runs and 37 walks to raise his on-base clip to .387.

Chris Seddon – Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians), Triple-A, pitcher

As his first season with the Cleveland Indians organization continues, the 28-year-old Canyon High graduate is 7-5 with a 3.61 ERA in 15 starts. His 79 strikeouts are eighth best in the International League.

Will Savage — Albuquerque Isotopes (Los Angeles Dodgers), Triple-A

The former College of the Canyons player is 10-3 with a 5.38 ERA in 19 appearances, 14 of which have been starts this season.

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

A promotion to Triple-A from Double-A Reading in late May has proved successful for Susdorf, who is hitting .297 with 18 RBIs and 38 hits in 40 games. He finished his stint playing Double-A with the same .297 mark in 33 games to start the season.

Casey Stevenson — Charleston River Dogs (New York Yankees), Single-A

A strong season continues for the Saugus High graduate, who is batting .303 with 37 hits, 23 runs and 10 RBIs in 37 games with Charleston.

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

Valaika had to undergo a second surgery in June to repair a torn ligament in his right knee from last September. Though Valaika appeared healthy from the September surgery, the injury flared up again and has kept him out of action since May 21. Prior to that, Valaika batted .244 with 16 RBIs in 42 games. He’s expected to miss three to four weeks, according to MLB.com.

Joseph Zeller – Peoria Chiefs (Chicago Cubs), Single-A, pitcher

On Tuesday, Zeller made his first start of the season on the same day he was promoted to Peoria from Low-A Boise. The knuckleballer tossed five innings and allowed two earned runs off six hits, but took the loss against the Kane County Cougars. The Master’s College product has now made 21 combined appearances this season for a total of four different minor league clubs. His previous 20 appearances were all in relief, for a combined 3.26 ERA in 38 2/3 innings.

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