Jayhawks in the Pros #5

Aug. 28, 2008

Jayhawks in the Pros #5

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 look is Brock Simpson, who was selected to the New York-Penn League All-Star game recently.

Outfielder John Allman continues to show a productive stroke for the Gulf Coast League Indians – the Rookie affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Allman, who played at KU from 2005-08, is batting .315 with two homers and 10 RBIs. On Tuesday, the 6-foot-2 outfielder went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs against the Blue Jays’ Rookie League affiliate.

Left-handed pitcher Zach Ashwood pitched a scoreless inning of relief on Tuesday for the Peoria Chiefs – a Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Ashwood, who played at KU in 2007, has been a little uneven this season, sporting a 5.86 ERA with a 6-9 record. However, he still has 59 strikeouts to just 29 walks.

Left-handed pitcher Nick Czyz has put up solid numbers for the Pulaski Mariners – Seattle’s Rookie League affiliate. Czyz, who played at KU from 2006-08, is 6-5 with a 4.08 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings. The lefty was hit hard in his start on Aug. 22, but had pitched well in his previous starts. Prior to last Friday, he had allowed just three runs in his previous 16 1/3 innings, picking up three victories.

Right-handed pitcher Andres Esquibel has also been solid for the Pulaski Mariners. Esquibel played at KU from 2007-08, and has a 2.70 ERA in 16 appearances this year in Rookie ball. The 6-foot-1 righty is 1-0 with six walks and 20 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings. He gave up three runs in a relief appearance on Aug. 15, which snapped a streak of 13 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

After a rough start, Sam Freeman has ironed things out for the Johnson City Cardinals – St. Louis’ Rookie affiliate. Freeman, who played at KU this past year, has allowed just four earned runs in seven August appearances. Freeman is 4-1 for the Cardinals with a 4.44 ERA and two saves in 24 1/3 innings. He has 34 strikeouts and just 12 walks.

Left-handed pitcher Tom Gorzelanny was recalled from Triple-A to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 21 and made a start at Milwaukee on Aug. 23. Gorzelanny, who played at KU from 2001-02, spent just over a month in Triple-A and posted a 3-1 record with a 2.06 ERA for the Indianapolis Indians of the International League. With the Pirates this season he is 6-8 with a 6.82 ERA. He is scheduled to start against the Brewers again this evening.

Third baseman Travis Metcalf was sent back to Triple-A after nearly a month with the big league Texas Rangers. Metcalf responded to his demotion by collecting three consecutive multiple-hit games in his first three games back in the minors. Metcalf, who played at KU from 2002-04, is hitting .250 with 13 doubles, three homers and 29 RBIs in 67 games. He is a likely candidate to be called up when major league rosters expand on Sept. 1.

Outfielder Gus Milner continues to put up solid numbers for the Clearwater Threshers – a Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Milner, who played at KU from 2005-06, is batting .261 with 21 doubles, six homers and 53 RBIs. He also has 22 stolen bases and a .341 on-base percentage.

Infielder Erik Morrison has come on after a slow start for the Single-A Bakersfield Blaze – a Single-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Morrison, who played at KU from 2005-08, is batting .236 with a pair of homers, eight RBIs and 11 runs scored in 27 games in Single-A. However, he has collected four hits over his last four games.

Outfielder Kyle Murphy has come around in recent weeks, going 5-for-6 with a double and an RBI in a recent game for the Clinton LumberKings – a Single-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Murphy’s five hits also included a stolen base. He is currently hitting .240 with five steals, seven RBIs and a .328 on-base percentage.

Outfielder Ryne Price is looking to get back on track this week for the Arizona League Giants – the Rookie League affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Price started the season on fire, but is now batting .250 with a homer, 16 RBIs and eight doubles. Price played at KU from 2005-08.

Outfielder Brock Simpson has enjoyed a stellar first season in professional baseball. Simpson is with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers – a Single-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians – and recently played in the New York-Penn League All-Star game. Simpson, who played at KU from 2005-07, is batting .296 this season with two triples, two homers and 22 RBIs in 51 games.

After five major league games, left-handed pitcher Les Walrond was sent down to Triple-A by the Philadelphia Phillies to make room on the roster for Pedro Feliz. Walrond – who played at KU from 1996-99 – has put up respectable numbers in Triple-A with Lehigh Valley. He was 5-8 with a 3.31 ERA with two shutouts and 101 strikeouts in 108 2/3 innings.