Bulls in minors: Sanford, Manz make debuts
Another month, another check on former USF players now in minor-league baseball. I could be missing someone, but I count 11 former Bulls in the minors -- I'd previously overlooked catcher Braulio Pardo, who played at USF in 2006-07 before transferring to Saint Leo, so he gets his first update this month.
Busy month, with promotions, demotions, cuts and careers starting. I'll start with one USF pitcher no longer in the minors -- David Austen, 28, was released by the Angels after getting a 7.17 ERA in eight starts with the Salt Lake Bees in Utah. Opponents were hitting .330 against Austen, who released on July 8 and has not latched on with another team yet.
Johnny Raburn, 2B, Class AAA Nashville: A promotion from Double-AA Huntsville has the 30-year-old one step away from the majors, and he's hitting the ball well for the Sounds. Raburn is hitting .545 in six games, with six hits in 11 at-bats, this after hitting just .233 in Huntsville. The Brewers just added Felipe Lopez via trade and have two elite middle-infield prospects in Nashville in Alcides Escobar and Hernan Iribarren, but it's a promising step for a veteran in his 10th minor-league season.
Dan Otero, RP, Class AA Connecticut: Otero's arguably having the best season of any USF player in the minors -- he's third in the Eastern League with 18 saves, with a 1.22 ERA despite already playing in 37 games. He hasn't given up a run in his last 10 outings, with 29 strikeouts and just nine walks.
Jeff Baisley, 3B, Class AAA Sacramento: He's slowly bringing his average up from a rough start, but in the last month, he's only up from .217 to .225, with four home runs and 21 RBIs on the season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio isn't a good sign, with nearly three strikeouts for every walk he's earning.
Chase Lirette, SP, Class A Lansing: We led the roundup with Lirette last month, but he's struggled since. After opening the season with a 1.87 ERA in his first six appearances, he has an 8.44 ERA in his last four outings. Lirette's overall numbers still aren't bad -- 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA, with 31 strikeouts against just eight walks. Opponents are hitting just .244 against him.
Casey Hudspeth, SP, Class A Lancaster: Hud's struggles at Double-A Corpus Christi (4-6, 6.23 ERA) led to his demotion to the California League at the start of this month. He hasn't fared much better in his first four starts with the JetHawks, going 1-3 with a 6.46 ERA. Hudspeth is giving up too many hits -- 31 in 23.2 innings -- but he's improving his control, with seven walks against 15 strikeouts.
Daniel Thomas, RP, Class A Kane County: After two months on the disabled list with shoulder issues, Thomas is a step down in the Midwest League, where he has a 15.43 ERA in four relief appearances. After giving up eight runs in his first three innings, he followed with no runs in 1.2 hitless innings on Wednesday. This story from a month ago expected him to be done with the season with a torn labrum, so he'll certainly proceed with caution.
Brian Baisley, 1B, Class A Tampa: Baisley was promoted from Charleston in May, but hasn't hit well since, with a .170 average and just six RBIs in 106 at-bats in Tampa. By comparison, he hit .339 with 23 RBIs in 109 at-bats in Charleston before his promotion.
Addison Maruszak, SS, Class A Charleston: Maruszak and Baisley have been oppostes all season -- they traded teams the same week, and since Maruszak was sent down to Charleston, his bat has thrived, with a .310 batting average. His production at the plate is coming around -- after just three RBIs in his first 22 games in Charleston, he has four in the last five games.
Walter Diaz, OF, Class A Lake County: Intrigue! Diaz was dropped from the Captains' roster after July 3 and hasn't shown up anywhere else in the Indians' system. Diaz was hitting .218 in 58 games with 10 RBIs and six steals. I'll put a call in to the Indians and see what's up ...
Braulio Pardo, C, Rookie Pioneer League Orem (Utah) Owlz: Pardo, playing in his second pro season after being drafted in the 12th round, has a .200 average for the Owlz. He went 3-for-4 on July 7, but is 1-for-22 since then. He's earning a solid reputation defensively, throwing out three baserunners in one game this month.
Shawn Sanford, RP, Rookie Arizona League Giants: Sanford's had a strong first month as a pro, with a 1.13 ERA in his first seven appearances. He has two saves, with 11 strikeouts and just two walks.
Trey Manz, C, Rookie Pioneer League Billings: Manz is still waiting for his first hit as a pro, with an 0-for-7 start for the Mustangs. He does have a walk, but was caught stealing.
I'll also mention that former USF star Myron Leslie continues to play well for the New Jersey Jackals of the independent Can-Am League. He's hitting .304 with team highs of eight home runs and 37 RBIs.