Jayhawks in the Pros #4

Aug. 11, 2008

Throughout the 2008 season, kuathletics.com will check in on the 14 former student-athletes who are currently involved in professional baseball. There are former Kansas players at virtually all levels of professional baseball. Highlighting this week’s update is former Jayhawk infielder Travis Metcalf, whom the Texas Rangers recalled last week.

The Texas Rangers recalled former Kansas infielder Travis Metcalf (played at KU 2002-04) on Aug. 1, and he delivered in all three games over the weekend. Metcalf went 4-for-11 in a series with the Baltimore Orioles with a solo home run Friday evening and a pair of RBIs in Sunday’s win. Metcalf went hitless in his first five home games since the call up. However, he has four RBIs in his last four games.

Left-handed pitcher Les Walrond (played at KU 1996-98) made a major league appearance over the weekend, taking the loss in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2-0, 12-inning loss to Pittsburgh. For Walrond, it’s his third stint in the majors with three different teams. He pitched in seven games for the Kansas City Royals in 2003, and made 10 appearances for the Chicago Cubs in 2006.

Left-handed pitcher Tom Gorzelanny is looking for an end of the year call up to the majors after being sent down prior to the All-Star break. Gorzelanny (played at KU 2001-02) has put up respectable numbers during his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate, Indianapolis. He’s 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 28 innings in AAA. Prior to being sent down, Gorzelanny was 6-7 with a 6.57 ERA in 17 starts with the Pirates.

Left-handed pitcher Zach Ashwood is looking to get back on track with the Peoria Chiefs, a Chicago Cubs’ single-A affiliate. Ashwood, who pitched at KU in 2007, is 6-8 this season with a 5.58 ERA in 71 innings pitched for the Chiefs. His last scoreless appearance came on July 21 against the Great Lakes Loons.

Outfielder Gus Milner is also looking to rise in the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization. Milner (played at KU 2005-06) is in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak, which includes five hits in last week’s series in Lakewood. Milner is batting .265 this season with six triples, six homers, 51 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. During the streak, Milner is hitting .360 (9-for-25) with a double, a triple and eight RBIs.

Outfielder Kyle Murphy recorded a three-hit game against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers last Tuesday. Murphy (played at KU 2006-07) has gotten some playing time for the Clinton LumberKings, a single-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. This season, Murphy has played in 27 games and is batting .218 with six runs scored, four RBIs and four stolen bases.

Outfielder Brock Simpson has put together a solid season for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, a single-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. In 39 games this season, Simpson (played at KU 2005-07) is batting .304 with eight doubles, two triples and two home runs. In his most recent game, Simpson went 2-for-5 with a double against Jamestown on Thursday.

Outfielder John Allman (who played at KU 2005-08) is looking to find his stroke again during the final month of the season with the Gulf Coast League Indians – Rookie League affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Allman collected a pair of hits on Thursday to snap out of an 0-for-14 slump. The 6-foot-2 outfielder is experiencing the typical highs-and-lows of a first-year player, batting .283 with a home run, six RBIs and three doubles in 18 games.

Left-handed pitcher Nick Czyz has also experienced mixed results during his first professional season. Czyz (who played at KU 2006-08) is 4-4 with a 4.15 ERA in 11 games for the Pulaski Mariners, the Seattle Mariners’ Rookie League affiliate. The 6-foot-2 southpaw picked up his fourth win of the season Wednesday, going 5 1/3 innings against Johnson City. He scattered seven hits, and allowed two earned runs while recording six strikeouts.

Right-handed pitcher Andres Esquibel (who played at KU 2007-08) has put up stellar numbers as a reliever for the Pulaski Mariners this season. Esquibel is 1-0 with a 1.73 ERA in 13 appearances for the Mariners’ Rookie League club and has 15 strikeouts in 26 innings. Esquibel has not allowed an earned run since July 12 and has only allowed his opponents a .227 batting average.

Left-handed pitcher Sam Freeman has come on strong down the stretch for the Johnson City Cardinals – the Rookie League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Freeman (who played at KU in 2008) has won his last four decisions and has a 2.77 ERA in his last 10 appearances. Freeman is 4-1 this season with a 4.19 ERA in 19 1/3 innings with 25 strikeouts in 16 games.

After hitting .318 in 17 games for the Arizona League Rangers, second baseman Erik Morrison was promoted to the Texas Rangers’ single-A affiliate, the Bakersfield Blaze. Morrison (who played at KU 2005-08) is hitting .250 in his first 12 games at the A level with a home run and seven RBIs. The former KU infielder went 21-for-66 in 17 games with nine doubles and two homers for the AZL Rangers.

Outfielder Ryne Price (played at KU 2005-08) continues to chug along for the Arizona League Giants, the San Francisco Giants’ Rookie League affiliate. Price is batting .270 with a home run, eight doubles and 15 RBIs for the Giants. In a recent game against the Cubs, Price went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs.