Jayhawks in the Pros
July 27, 2011
Throughout the course of the 2011 season, kuathletics.com will update the progress of the 15 former Jayhawks who are currently playing within the ranks of professional baseball.
Former Kansas pitcher Tom Gorzelanny is in his seventh major league season and his first with the Washington Nationals. The 6-foot-2 lefty, who played at KU in 2002, is 2-6 with a 4.46 ERA in 15 starts this season. He has tallied 75 strikeouts in 82 2/3 innings. In his seven-plus big league seasons, Gorzelanny has posted a 38-43 record and made 110 starts. He was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second round of the 2003 MLB Amateur Draft.
Left-handed pitcher Mike Zagurski, who pitched at KU from 2004-05, has had two stints this year with the Philadelphia Phillies, but has spent a majority of the season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. This year in the minors, Zagurski has a 2-0 record with a 2.45 ERA and 10 saves in 36 2/3 innings. He has tallied 49 strikeouts in 33 relief appearances and has held opponents to a .240 batting average. He was originally selected by the Phillies in the 12th round of the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft.
Left-handed pitcher Sam Freeman, who pitched at KU in 2008, was called up to the Double-A level in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization earlier this season. Freeman has pitched in 33 games for the Springfield Cardinals, compiling a 1-2 record with a 4.29 ERA with two saves. Freeman seems to have righted himself, making three-straight scoreless appearances after struggling early in the month. The 5-foot-11 lefty was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 32nd round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft.
Left-handed pitcher Shaeffer Hall, who pitched at KU from 2008-09, made one start in Triple-A, before being sent back to the New York Yankees’ Double-A affiliate, Trenton. Hall has won three-straight starts to run his record to 9-4 with a 4.07 ERA in 18 starts for Trenton. He pitched 6 1/3 innings on Sunday against Bowie, allowing three runs on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts. The 6-foot-1 lefty was a 25th round draft pick by the New York Yankees in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft.
Second baseman Erik Morrison, who played at KU from 2005-08, is currently on the disabled list with the Frisco RoughRiders – an affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Morrison missed the early part of the season due to a death in the family and has played in just one game for Frisco. He was a 48th-round draft pick of the Rangers in 2008.
Right-handed pitcher Paul Smyth, who pitched at KU from 2006-09, is pitching for the Midland RockHounds – an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Smyth is 5-2 with a 4.34 ERA in 30 relief appearances with 45 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. He earned his fifth victory of the season on Saturday, pitching a scoreless inning against San Antonio. Smyth was originally a 35th-round draft choice of the Oakland A’s in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft.
Left-handed pitcher Travis Blankenship is in his second season with the Tri-City ValleyCats, a Single-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. Blankenship has not recorded a decision and has posted a 2.57 ERA in 10 games with the ValleyCats. Blankenship tallied a season-high three strikeouts in back-to-back outings last week and has 17 K’s in 14 innings this year. He was a 31st-round selection by the Astros in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
Right-handed pitcher Brett Bochy is in his first season of professional baseball and is playing with the Augusta GreenJackets – a Single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Bochy, who pitched at KU from 2007-10, is 1-0 with a 1.82 ERA in 22 appearances for the GreenJackets. He has recorded eight-straight scoreless appearances, dating back to June 30. Bochy has six walks and 33 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-1 righty was a 20th-round draft choice of the Giants in 2010.
Outfielder Brian Heere is in his second year of professional baseball and first with the Lake County Captains – a Single-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Heere struggled early in the season, but has come around lately, going 11-for-28 (.393) over his last eight games. His season average is .248 with two homers and 24 RBIs. He was a 41st-round draft pick by the Indians in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
Right-handed pitcher Colton Murray is in his first season of professional baseball with the Williamsport Crosscutters – an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Murray, who pitched at KU from 2009-11, is 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in nine relief appearances this season. He has recorded seven strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. Murray was a 13th-round draft pick of the Phillies in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft.
Infielder Robby Price, who played at KU from 2007-10, is in his first year with the Bowling Green Hot Rods – an affiliate in the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization. Price has hit well lately, going 11-for-34 (.324) with four doubles and eight runs scored in his last 10 games. For the season, Price is batting .258 with 16 doubles, three homers, 57 runs scored and 11 stolen bases. He was a 13th-round draft choice by the Rays in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
Right-handed pitcher Cameron Selik, who pitched at KU from 2009-10, is in his second season of professional baseball and first with the Potomac Nationals. Selik has won his last two starts to improve his record to 4-6 with a 3.95 ERA in 12 starts for the P-Nats. He has recorded 38 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings and held opponents to a .260 batting average. The 6-foot-3 righty was a 22nd-round draft choice of Washington in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
Third baseman Tony Thompson, who played at KU from 2008-10, is in his second season of professional baseball and first with the Burlington Bees – an affiliate in the Oakland Athletics’ organization. Thompson is batting .283 with nine homers and 47 RBIs in 85 games for the Bees. The 6-foot-3 third baseman has reached base at a .358 clip and has a .410 slugging percentage. Thompson was a sixth-round draft pick of the A’s in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
Right-handed pitcher T.J. Walz, who pitched at KU from 2008-11, is in his first season of professional baseball and has dominated New York-Penn League hitters for the Vemont Lake Monsters this year. Walz is 4-0 with an 0.41 ERA in 11 relief appearances for the Short-season Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. He has recorded 27 strikeouts and walked just three in 22 innings and held opponents to a .182 batting average. Walz was a 15th-round draft pick of the Oakland A’s in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft.
Shortstop Brandon Macias is in his first season of professional baseball and first with the Arizona League Brewers, a Rookie League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. Macias is batting .235 so far this season with six doubles, two homers and 13 runs scored in 23 games. However, he recently went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer in a game against the AZL Indians on July 20. Macias signed as a free agent with the Brewers’ organization following the draft in June.