Bulls in the Minors: Jeff Baisley off to strong start
It's that time of year again, when minor-league baseball seasons have started again and we can start catching up with former USF players and updating how they're doing and where. The short-season league won't begin their seasons until June, after another draft has helped stock their rosters, but for now, seven Bulls have started playing, with others joining them soon. ...
Jeff Baisley, 3B, Salt Lake Bees (AAA, Angels): Baisley, 28, seems poised for another call-up to the majors, off to a ridiculous .511 batting average in his first 11 games, with 24 hits in his first 47 at-bats. (We actually pulled the stats Sunday night and had him at a measley .472, but upon checking this morning, a 5-for-6 night Monday has boosted him above a .500 line you don't see much after high school). Baisley played 14 game with the A's in 2008, but had seen his numbers drop off the past two seasons, and he signed a minor-league deal with the Angels last month. Of course, his average leads the Pacific Coast League, but his four home runs tie for third in the league, as do his 16 RBIs.
Addison Maruszak, 1B, Trenton Thunder (AA, Yankees): Maruzak, 24, has a chance with a promotion to the Eastern League after hitting .284 in Tampa in the Florida State League last season. He's off to a rough start -- 1 hit in his first 19 at-bats, but he has three straight 1-for-3 games to raise his average to .143. He also has four RBIs in his last three games -- the Yankees, according to this blog, are training him as an "eight-position superutility," though his future might be in the outfield.
Dan Otero, RP, Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA, Giants): Quick story: My son Riley played little league baseball for a team called the Connecticut Defenders two falls ago -- cool submarine logo -- and Otero played for them the same season. Riley was actually among the last players to wear a Defenders jersey, because the team had already moved to Richmond after that '09 season, acquiring a mascot much cooler for an 8-year-old to proudly wear. And after losing a year to Tommy John surgery, Otero is again showing the strong form that had him earning 34 saves in 2008. He bounced back with a 2.25 ERA and a 5-0 record late last season and is now back at Double-A -- he has a 5.40 ERA in four appearances out of the Squirrels' pen. Otero's always had insanely good control, so no surprise he has six strikeouts and just one walk.
Myron Leslie, C, Trenton Thunder (AA, Yankees): Leslie, 29, earned the same promotion as Maruszak after hitting .262 in Tampa, and he's played sparingly so far, with a .200 average on one hit in his first five at-bats. Leslie was playing in independent leagues two years ago, so he's done well to earn a spot in the Yankees' system.
Devin Ivany, C, Harrisburg Senators (AA, Nationals): Ivany, 28, had two hits Monday to raise his average to .227 -- he spent the first part of 2010 in Harrisburg, hitting .289 and earning a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse, but he hit just .197 in 47 games there.
Shawn Sanford, RP, Augusta Greenjackets (A, Giants): Another great mascot for Sanford, still just 22, who has a sharp 1.74 ERA in his first five appearances, throwing 10.1 innings as a reliever. He's moving up a level after pitching in the Northwest League last year, with a solid 2.14 ERA for Salem-Keiser in Oregon.
Braulio Pardo, C, Cedar Rapids Kernels (A, Angels): Get it, Kernels? Pardo, who finished his college career at Saint Leo, is hitting .200 for the Midwest League team. He has already matched his total at-bats for all of 2010 when he was limited by injuries.
WHO'S MISSING: USF's 2010 draft picks like Stephen Hunt (Reds) and Eric Sim (Giants) haven't started their 2011 seasons yet -- they hit .170 and .108, respectively, in their brief pro debuts late last summer. ... Haven't seen anything on Johnny Raburn, 32, who played his last two seasons in Nashville for the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate. ... Another erstwhile Bull was drafted in 2010 -- infielder Ryan Soares, who finished his college career at George Mason, will start this season in Lakeland with the Flying Tigers. ... Pitcher Daniel Thomas, 25, is sidelined as he recovers from shoulder surgery. He pitched just nine games last year at Stockton, Oakland's team in the California League.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Former USF pitching coach Lazer Collazo is back in Miami, where he is the president of Miami Sports Consulting, which represents athletes in several sports. ... Former Bulls outfielder Mike Consolmagno, always a fan favorite for his hustle, is now a college coach, in his first season a an assistant at Wagner College. The Staten Island school is also where former Bulls receiver Marcus Edwards is coaching. ... Former Bulls assistant Bryan Peters is in his third year coaching at High Point, and last year's hitting coach, Bryant Ward, is off to a 20-13 start at Loyola Marymount in California.