Baseball update: Bulls in the pros ...
Less than a week after the end of USF's baseball season and just a week before the draft, it's as good a time as any to catch up on former Bulls now playing professional baseball. I'm a big fan of MILB.com for its stats, and I won't claim this to be a comprehensive list, so if there's someone I'm overlooking, let me know ... I'll go in descending order by the level of the league they're playing in, even though Danny Otero's pitching so ridiculously well I should just lead with him ...
Ross Gload, Royals, majors: The 32-year-old Gload is the lone USF player in the big leagues, on pace for career highs in games and at-bats in his seventh major-league season. It's been a rough May, however, as Gload is hitting just .139 in 36 at-bats, down from .296 in April, and he has zero RBIs since May 7. Most of Kansas City's lineup has struggled at the plate as the Royals have the A.L.'s second-worst record ...
Jeff Baisley, AAA, Sacramento River Cats (Athletics): Baisley continues a steady rise through the A's system, batting .279 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs for Sacramento. It's not the torrid numbers he had two years ago as Midwest League Player of the Year, but it's a step up from the .257 he hit at AA last season, and on pace to easily exceed the 11 HRs and 46 RBIs he had with Midland.
David Austen, AAA, Salt Lake Bees (Angels): Austen spent much of last year in Class A ball, finishing with a 5.57 ERA in AA, but he's made a strong impression this season. After going 0-1 with a 4.61 ERA, he earned a promotion to Salt Lake, where he's 1-1 with a solid 3.80 ERA in five starts. Good control with 15 strikeouts and five walks in what has been a promising year.
Chris Heintz, AAA, Norfolk Tides (Orioles): Since Heintz was up in the bigs last year, he could probably lead off the AAA guys, but he's been hurt, on the disabled list since May 4 with a sprained left thumb. Before that, he was hitting well, with a .344 average and five RBIs in the first month of the season. Once healthy, it's reasonable to think he's an injury or hot streak away from returning to the show.
Myron Leslie, AA, Midland RockHounds (Athletics): Wherein Baisley has progressed steadily, moving up a level each year, Leslie has stalled a bit, returning for a second season in Texas. His .258 average is well down from .288 last season, but he's already hit more home runs (6) than last season, and his 24 RBIs put him on pace to exceed last year's total of 47.
Devin Ivany, AA, Harrisburg Senators (Nationals): Ivany played at four different levels last season, with two-thirds of his playing time in the high-A Carolina League. He played his first 11 games there, batting .250, then earned a promotion to Harrisburg, where he's also hitting .217 thanks to an 0-for-10 skid. Still, he's hit two home runs in his first 16 games and playing steadily enough that they must be happy with his play behind the plate.
John Raburn, AA, Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): Another great mascot, and Raburn's back at the same level he finished last season, He's hitting .269 with seven stolen bases, 15 RBIs, 14 runs, zero home runs. He's hit .219 in his last 10 games, but his average is still up from .241 last season.
Casey Hudspeth, advanced A, Salem Avalanche (Astros): Hud got a late callup to Salem last season and has pitched well there, with a 3-4 record and a 4.15 ERA. He hasn't given up a run in two of his last three starts, and check out his May 20 line at Lynchburg: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, one win.
Davis Bilardello, advanced A, Palm Beach Cardinals: Only three appearances so far, but he's 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 5.1 innings, having allowed only two hits and one walk against five strikeouts.
Brian Baisley, A, Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees): So one Baisley twin is a River Cat, the other a RiverDog. Brian's 2007 season was cut short about this time last year by a left quadriceps strain, but he's found a power stroke he didn't have last season. It'd be a lot to expect him to hit .341 as he did last year, but he's at .274 with five home runs and 13 RBIs, including a monster night on May 21: 5-for-6 with two homers and seven RBIs. It's the South Atlantic league, but the locals call it the "Sally League."
Daniel Otero, A, Augusta GreenJackets (Giants): No more of that Danny business, but Otero's pitching so well you hesitate to mention it, like jinxing a perfect game. He's made 19 appearances this year for 20.2 innings pitched, and he's yet to allow any runs -- earned or otherwise. He has 13 saves, with a ridiculous 21 Ks vs. two walks. He's allowed one hit in his last five games, all saves. Great, great mascot in Augusta, but I have to think he's due for a promotion soon.
I think that's everybody -- a few players like Chase Lirette, Yuri Higgins and Tim Mattison who played last year but aren't showing up on the radar anywhere. Could be they're done playing, or could just be an injury I can't find ... Check back tonight for a soccer update (!) ...