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Pack in the Pros: August Baseball Edition

Checking back in on those former Wolfpack baseball players currently playing some level of pro ball

Toronto Blue Jays v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It’s been right at a month since the last check-in on former NC State Wolfpack baseball players and their current voyages in professional baseball, so now seems like a perfect time to check back in on our boys.

Let’s have a look (date of when they last played for NC State in parenthesis, current professional level to the right of that):

Major League Baseball

Cory Mazzoni (2011): AAA

Mazzoni had a pretty rough go of it in June, but turned it around in July earning him a one-day call-up to the big league club on July 28. He responded in kind by tossing a 1-2-3 inning with 2 K’s. Unfortunately, he was immediately optioned back down to AAA. His MLB line on the year includes a 1.04 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 3.29 FIP over 8.2 IP. He should get a September call-up back to the Cubs when rosters expand as he’s on Chicago’s 40-man roster.

Carlos Rodon (2014): MLB

Go on and have yourself a month there, ‘Los! In the month of July, Rodon went 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and a 3.55 FIP. His standard line: 28.2 IP, 15 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 12 BB, 27 K. He did allow a couple more dingers (never more than one in any start) and those walks need to be cut down (although 6 of them came in one start over 6.0 IP), but Rodon is pitching like the guy the White Sox expected him to be when they drafted him 3rd overall in 2014. Now, some will rightfully argue that this is being fueled by an unsustainably low BABIP (.212 on the season, .188 in July), and that’s an absolutely valid argument, but Rodon is still rounding back into form after injury, so seeing him at this level right now is only encouraging, even if the peripheral stats aren’t telling the same story just yet. A regression back to the norm in BABIP should be countered by better control and higher velocity, resulting in more non-contact strikes. Basically, I think this Rodon is the one that will continue to show going forward.

Trea Turner (2014): MLB

Aside from that whole thing that got spun up from the past, Turner has been doing pretty well since our last update. In the month since (July 3 - Aug 2), Turner is slashing .279/.318/.471 with 29 H in 25 G, including 3 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, while posting 20 R, 18 RBI, 5 BB, and going 8-for-11 in SB. Turner has also been on fire of late having hits in six of his last seven games (14-for-34), with five of those games being multi-hit efforts.

Minor League Baseball

Brett Austin (2014): AAA

Austin finally returned from whatever injury has sidelined him for the vast majority of the year. It’s been a rough return (expected - heck, even Major Leaguers usually don’t just hop right back into AAA ball off a long injury), and it looks like he’s being eased back into things with appearing in just four games over half a month.

Cody Beckman (2017): A

Beckman’s been rolling since our last update: 0-1, 0.79 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 11.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 11 K. Cody has pitched well in A ball and should be getting a move back up to A+ ball, the level at which he started the season.

Brian Brown (2018): A-

Brown posted a line of 0-1, 2.63 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 2.48 FIP, 24.0 IP, 24 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 5 BB, 19 K in July. He hasn’t thrown more than 5.0 IP in any single outing as it appears that the Red Sox are limiting his innings - not uncommon considering his workload for State this year.

Jake Buchanan (2010): AAA

In the last update, I was lamenting what a poor season Buchanan was having and how he was probably on his last legs. Well, July certainly turned that around. Jake went 3-1 with a 3.31 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 4.80 FIP in the month, with a line of 32.2 IP, 33H, 12 R, 12 ER, 7 BB, 16 K. In three of those five starts, he went 6.0+ IP allowing 1 or fewer runs. Buchananananan is not a strikeout pitcher, he never has been, but he could find himself another cup of coffee in the bigs before season’s end if he keeps up the recent run of successful outings.

Jack Conley (2018): Rookie

Jack jacked a couple jacks in his last game out for the Phillies GCL East squad. That’s not all he’s been doing lately, though. July was a good month for Conley. He finally got into the lineup on a regular occasion and responded... uhh... well: .415/.520/.610 slash line with 2 2B, 2 HR, 13 R, 7 RBI, 9 BB, and just 6 K in the month of July. On the season, Conley is slashing .383/.500/.553. Much like his fellow State draft classmates of 2018 who started off in Rookie ball, Conley has proven that he deserves a bump up in competition.

Andy Cosgrove (2017): Rookie

Cosgrove slashed .265/.375/.294 in 9 games over the last month. Not an everyday player, Cosgrove had been serving in a back-up role to Twins 2018 2nd round draft pick (and Raleigh native - Sanderson HS) Ryan Jeffers. Jeffers was moved up on July 25, so hopefully that should clear the way for more playing time for Cosgrove so he can prove his value.

Brock Deatherage (2018): A

Deatherage has slashed .294/.351/.373 over the last month with 4 2B, 2 3B, 14 R, 13 RBI, 8 BB, and 9 SB (in 10 attempts). He did strike out 30 times, though, but that’s nothing new for The Rage \m/. That 26.3 K% is right in line with what he did in his time at State, as is that (on a more positive note) XBH%.

Tommy DeJuneas (2017): A+

Tommy De J found himself right in the center of a 1-for-1 trade with between the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros. The Astros immediately promoted DeJuneas to A+ ball where the very short returns have been mixed. DeJuneas has definitely flashed potential - enough so that the Astros targeted him as the return piece for a pitcher, James Hoyt, who likely will finish the year in the majors for the Indians.

Chris Diaz (2012): AA

Diaz has seen his role with the Jumbo Shrimp diminish over the last month of the season, playing in just 10 games over that span, but he did make the most of those opportunities slashing .348/.423/.348.

Joe Dunand (2017): AA

While the last month has been kind to some former State players, it has not been so for Dunand. He has slashed just .157/.218/.304 over his 27 games in that span, but at least did pop 4 HR. However, a 7:40 BB:K ratio (against just 16 H) isn’t going to help things.

Will Gilbert (2016): A+

Omega’s baseball man-crush, Gilbert is just sitting out there waiting for a promotion in the Athletics org. Over the last month, Gilbert posted a 1-0 record with a 1.26 ERA, 0.28 WHIP, and 1.85 FIP. That included allowing just 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, and 1 BB over 14.1 IP with 18 K. Why this man is not in AA right now is beyond me.

Brett Kinneman (2018): A-

Kinneman is slashing .250/.320/.375 in 23 games over the last month. He did notch 8 2B and 18 RBI over that span, but the power he displayed to take the ball out of the park with the Wolfpack has not carried over to pro ball as Brett has just 1 HR on the year.

Andrew Knizner (2016): AA

Knizner, who was selected for the Futures Game as part of the MLB All-Star Week, has been showing out over the last month. In that time, he slashed .319/.381/.472 with 2 2B, 3 HR, 13 R, 12 RBI, 9 BB, and just 14 K. Knizner is, at this point, the top catcher prospect in the Cardinals organization.

Xavier LeGrant (2016): A-

LeGrant had a good month, slashing .284/.325/.405 with 6 2B, 7 R, and 11 RBI.

Scott Manea (2015): A

Manea slashed .263/.375/.425 with 7 2B, 2 HR, 6 R, 13 RBI, 11 BB, and 16 K in 24 G. He’s also thrown out 24-of-62 attempted base stealers this year. Not bad.

Josh McLain (2018): A

McLain had a horrid month, slashing just .259/.301/.294 with 3 2B, striking out 21 times in 23 games (vs just 4 BB), and going just 1-for-6 on SB attempts. Yeesh. Hopefully August is a better month for him.

Evan Mendoza (2017): AA

Mendoza has cracked a few Cardinals Top-15 prospect lists at the midseason, which is pretty awesome. While not killing it like Knizner, Mendoza is still showing enough that he has some future promise and potential to reach the big league club. Over the last month, he slashed .261/.318/.361 with 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 14 R, 9 RBI, and 10 BB (to 19 K) in 30 G.

Tim Naughton (2017): A

Naughton has had a pretty rough go of it since our last update with a line of 8.0 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 5 BB, 9 K. That’s a 7.88 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, and 4.71 FIP.

Jon Olczak (2015): AA

Aside from walks (and the defense behind him), Olczak has pitched well. 2-1 with 2 SV, a 2.53 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and 3.08 FIP over 10.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 7 BB, 14 K. Not shabby at all, just needs to cut down on the walks. That K% will play, though.

Preston Palmeiro (2016): A+

Palmeiro has cooled off of late (6-for-32 in his last 8 games), which has brought his overall numbers (as well as his numbers of the last month) down. Over the last month, he slashed just .236/.276/.358 with 1 2B, 4 HR, 13 R, 14 RBI, and 6 BB (to 25 K) in 28 G. Certainly not the all-star level numbers he was putting up over the first half of the year.

Logan Ratledge (2015): AA

If Ratledge doesn’t make it as a position player, he might still have a future in baseball as a knuckleball pitcher; he certainly wouldn’t be the first player to go that route. Ratledge had a pretty memorable game (in an otherwise forgetful game for his team) back on July 15 when he hit a HR and pitched 3.0 innings on the mound. Over the last month (really just a half a month) in limited playing time, Ratledge slashed .364/.467/.636 with 3 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, and the aforementioned HR.

Ryan Williamson (2016): Rookie

Williamson finally made his professional debut in the time since the last update post. His starts have been getting successively better, too. His first outing went okay as he allowed 1 R on 3 H over 1.2 IP (he did pitch a scoreless first, though!). His second start went 1.2 IP of scoreless ball, allowing 1 H, 2 BB, and striking out 3. In his last start, he went 3.0 IP, allowing just one unearned run on 1 H and 1 BB with 1 K. It’s great to see Williamson back out there and having some success on the mound. I can’t wait to see him back at full strength.

Independent Leagues

Sean Adler (2017)

Since the last update, appeared in seven games, registering 7 K in 4.1 IP, but also allowed 6 R (all earned) on 9 H in that span. Oddly, even though Adler appeared in a game for Evansville as recently as July 29, he’s nowhere to be found on their roster or in their recent transactions. Not sure if they released him, if he signed with an MLB organization, or if he was put on inactive duty.

Danny Canela (2012)

Still out there playing well in the Can-Am league for the New Jersey Jackals. Slashing .317/.363/.449 with 9 2B, 7 HR, 32 R, and 39 RBI in 60 G on the year.

Joel McKeithan (2015)

Playing for Lake Erie of the Frontier League. In 19 games this year, he’s slashing .305/.379/.508 with 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 R, and 7 RBI.

Chance Shepard (2016)

Shep, the Elder, has dropped in his productivity a bit since our last update, but he’s still playing very well for Southern Illinois of the Frontier League, splitting time between 1B and C. He currently sports a slash line of .256/.327/.512 with 11 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 36 R, and 41 RBI in 65 G.

Ryne Willard (2016)

Willard played for the Wichita Wingnuts (love it) of the independent American Association baseball league, but it appears that he’s been released after slashing .203/.281/.322 in 50 games this year.

Andrew Woeck (2014)

Since the last update, Woeck hasn’t pitched much for the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association (he’s been on-and-off the DL a bit - currently in an inactive status, but should return soon). He has pitched well when on the mound, though, tossing 5.0 IP with 4 K and lowering his ERA on the season from 1.80 to 1.44. Seriously, some MLB org: give this man another shot!

Gianni Zayas (2013)

Zayas was released by the Sussex County Miners of the Can-Am League on June 22 after going 2-3 with a 6.30 ERA 30.0 IP (6 G, all starts).