June 13, 2013
By Daniel Tappana, Mizzou Strategic Communications Assistant
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Yesterday we took a look at what former Mizzou baseball players in Major League Baseball were doing and today, we will look at what former Tigers are doing in the minors. Several former Mizzou standouts are very close to being called up to big league rosters by the end of the year, including Matt Stites and Brett Nicholas. Check out the player updates below.
Brock Bond - San Jose Giants - San Francisco Giants A+
After tearing it up at AAA in 2012 - including an All-Star appearance and rumors of a call-up to The Show - the former Tiger infielder started the season injured. He is currently playing for the San Jose Giants, the A+ affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Although he is currently hitting .214, you can expect Bond to get back on track and back to AAA in no time.
Blake Brown - Rome Braves - Atlanta Braves A
In his first full season, the former Mizzou standout outfielder and 2012 fifth-round pick for the Braves is struggling at the plate in 2013. He has 62 strikeouts in 144 at bats and is hitting .194 on the season. On a positive note, Blake has .333 BABIP (batting average on balls in play), so you can expect is batting average to rise throughout the season.
Tyler Clark - Erie SeaWolves - Detroit Tigers AA
Evan Frey - Reno Aces - Arizona Diamondbacks AAA
The hard-throwing pitcher has a 5.02 ERA so far on the season, which is inflated due to a career high 7.53 BB/9 and an uncharacteristically high .391 BABIP. He also has an 8.16 K/9 on the year. You can expect his walks to digress to his career norm (4.9 BB/9) and his K/9 to increase as the season rolls on.
Despite being blocked at the MLB level,>Evan Frey
is tearing it up in AAA. He's hitting .440 in his last 10 games and is currently hitting .286 on the season. Frey has 21 walks to 23 strikeouts and continues to make things happen on the base paths with eight steals on the year. The speedster celebrated his 27th birthday on June 7th with a two-hit performance, including a huge RBI triple.
Eric Garcia - Rome Braves - Atlanta Braves A
The former Mizzou infielder is currently hitting .292 on the season. Known for making highlight-reel plays as a Tiger, Garcia has a perfect fielding percentage as a second baseman for the Rome Braves. Garcia also has 14 walks in 65 at bats to bring his OBP (on-base percentage) to .425, good for third on the team.
Blake Holovach - Clinton LumberKings - Seattle Mariners A
The guy who closed it out for the 2012 Big 12 Champions has done it all for the Clinton LumberKings during his first full season in pro ball, starting twice and coming out of the bullpen in 8. Despite struggling as a starter, the big lefty has been lights-out as a reliever, posting a 1.88 ERA in 14.1 innings. He has also held lefty hitters to a .238 average on the season.
Ryan Lollis - Richmond Flying Squirrels - San Francisco Giants AA
After hitting .306 in AAA for the Fresno Grizzlies during their playoff run, the former Mizzou outfielder started the season in AA as the everyday CF for the Flying Squirrels. Lollis is hitting .282 on the season and is fourth on the team with 30 RBIs. He also leads the team with 3 Sacrifice Flies.
Doug Mathis - New Orleans Zephyrs - Miami Marlins AAA
After ending the 2012 season overseas with the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, former Tigers ace>Doug Mathis has hooked on with the New Orleans Zephyrs, the AAA affiliate of the Miami Marlins. The journeyman pitcher has 11 starts on the year and leads the team in innings (61.2). He also has a 3.50 ERA on the season.
Phil McCormick - Richmond Flying Squirrels - San Francisco Giants AA
In just his second full season in pro ball, the former Tiger ironman reliever is currently pitching for the AA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. The submariner has posted a 3.34 ERA on the year, but has been superb against lefties. He's currently boasting a 2.25 ERA and .161 batting average against lefties, while striking out 25 in 16 innings.
Brett Nicholas - Frisco RoughRiders - Texas Rangers AA
The 2010 sixth-round pick is looking like a steal for the Rangers. Currently in AA, Nicholas leads the team in just about every offensive category, including home runs (13), RBIs (43), and batting average (.307). He also has 70 hits (including 15 doubles and one triple). You can expect Nicholas to challenge current MLB first baseman Mitch Mooreland for the starting job in the near future.
Aaron Senne - Jupiter Hammerheads - Miami Marlins A+
The former Tiger hitter-extraordinaire is in the midst of an injury-plagued season for the Jupiter Hammerheads and has been on the disabled list since April 15th. He has a .080 batting on the season. When healthy, you can expect Senne's batting average to rise.
Matt Stites - San Antonio Missions - San Diego Padres AA
The former Tiger pitcher is dicing up AA hitters for the San Antonio Missions. In 30 games, the Padres prospect boasts a 1.64 ERA and has 34 strikeouts to just seven walks in 33 innings. Stites hasn't allowed an earned run since May 18th, racking up 10 Ks in 12 innings during the streak. As Stites continues to dominate, you can expect a promotion to AAA soon. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Padres call up Stites in September.
Ben Turner - Augusta Greenjackets - San Francisco Giants A
After sustaining a freak injury in 2012, the former Tiger catcher is enjoying a nice year at the plate in 2013. Turner is hitting .253 in 170 at bats. In his last 10 games, Turner is hitting .324.>Ben Turner is also throwing out would-be base stealers at a 33% rate. In comparison, Buster Posey (the 2012 MVP and current catcher for the San Francisco Giants) is only throwing runners out at a 19% rate.
For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.