Jayhawks In The Pros #2

July 17, 2009

Throughout the 2009 season, kuathletics.com will check in on the 15 former student-athletes who are currently involved in professional baseball. Four former Jayhawks were selected in this year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and have all made their professional debuts, while veterans Tom Gorzelanny, Travis Metcalf and Mike Zagurski are looking to get back to the majors. A complete list of former Jayhawks currently in the professional ranks can be found here.

  • Catcher Buck Afenir made his professional debut for the Gulf Coast League Yankees on July 7, going 0-for-2. Afenir was signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees’ organization after playing four seasons (2006-09) at KU.
  • Outfielder John Allman got promoted to mid-level Class A ball in the Cleveland Indians’ organization at the beginning of July. He has gotten off to a rough start with the Lake County Captains, batting just .205, but has four hits in his last two games, including a 2-for-2 effort with a double and a home run against Asheville on Wednesday night.
  • Left-handed pitcher Nick Czyz has posted solid numbers this season at the Class A level for the Everett Aqua Sox – an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. Czyz suffered his second loss of the season on July 11, but struck out six in 6 1/3 innings pitched and did not allow a walk.
  • Right-handed pitcher Andres Esquibel was promoted to Class A Everett just before the All-Star break and has made two appearances with the Seattle Mariners’ affiliate. He has posted a 2.57 ERA in seven innings pitched thus far for his fourth team of the summer. He previously spent time at the Rookie and short season Class A levels.
  • Left-handed pitcher Sam Freeman has also been promoted this season after a stellar start. Freeman is currently pitching at Class AA Springfield, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. The lefty started the season with Palm Beach (A), and posted a 1.64 ERA and a 2-1 record in 26 games. So far his numbers in AA have been equally impressive; he has a save and a 2.93 ERA in 11 relief appearances.
  • Left-handed pitcher Tom Gorzelanny has bounced between Pittsburgh and Class AAA Indianapolis this season. He has posted solid numbers for the Pirates’ minor league affiliate, going 3-3 with a 2.77 ERA with two complete games in AAA this year.
  • Left-handed pitcher Shaeffer Hall has been sparkling in his first two professional starts for the Staten Island Yankees this summer, a New York Yankees’ Class A affiliate. Hall has posted a 3.86 ERA in 9 2/3 innings with no walks and 11 strikeouts. After being drafted in June, Hall made his pro debut on June 24.
  • Third baseman Travis Metcalf is looking to get back to the major leagues after spending time there with the Texas Rangers the past two seasons. After being traded to the Kansas City Royals’ organization in spring training, Metcalf has spent the entire 2009 season in Omaha (AAA), where he is batting .294 during the month of July.
  • Outfielder Gus Milner is looking to rebound from a rough first half for the Philadelphia Phillies’ Class AA affiliate, Reading. Milner was drafted by the Phillies in 2006 after playing the 2005-06 seasons at the University of Kansas.
  • Infielder Erik Morrison has enjoyed a superb season with the Texas Rangers’ high-level Class A affiliate, the Hickory Crawdads. Morrison, who was named to the South Atlantic League’s all-star team in June, is currently hitting .317 with 13 homers and 51 RBIs for the Crawdads. On Tuesday night, he collected a career-high five hits and scored three runs in Hickory’s game at Charleston.
  • Shortstop David Narodowski is looking to break out in the second half with the Missoula Osprey, an Arizona Diamondbacks’ Rookie-level affiliate. Narodowski was drafted by Arizona in the 15th round of this year’s MLB Draft after one season at the University of Kansas.
  • Catcher Ryne Price is coming off an injury suffered during spring training and has played seven games with Salem-Keizer, a Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Price played four seasons (2005-08) at the University of Kansas and holds the school’s career home run record.
  • Right-handed pitcher Paul Smyth has been dominant in his first month of professional baseball with the Vancouver Canadians, a Class A affiliate of the Oakland A’s. Smyth has not allowed a run in his first eight appearances for the Canadians and has just one walk and 16 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.

Left-handed pitcher Mike Zagurski is rounding back into form after missing the entire 2008 season with an arm injury. Zagurski has spent a majority of this year with Reading, a Class AA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. He is currently 1-2 with a 3.19 ERA and six saves in 26 appearances for Reading.