Jayhawks in the Pros
Sept. 8, 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, was moved to the bullpen at the all-star break and has compiled a 2-6 record this year with a 4.35 ERA in 25 appearances. In his seven 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, continues to put up impressive numbers for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs – an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. This year in the minors, Zagurski has a 4-0 record with a 2.65 ERA and 11 saves in 54 1/3 innings. He has walked 27 and struck out 63 in 46 appearances. He has pitched in four major league games for the Phillies this season, allowing two runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings. He was originally selected by Philadelphia in the 12th round of the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft.
Left-handed pitcher Sam Freeman, who pitched at KU in 2008, is on the rise in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization. Freeman was promoted to Double-A Springfield in early May and has posted a 2-2 record with a 3.03 ERA in 59 1/3 innings. He has walked 28 and struck out 52 batters in 52 relief appearances. Freeman has posted a 1.54 ERA with 11 strikeouts over his last ten outings. 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, is in his second season with the Trenton Thunder – an affiliate of the New York Yankees. Hall is 10-8 on the year with a 4.12 ERA in 24 starts for Trenton. He was called up to Triple-A for one start in early July, and won his debut for Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, allowing two runs on five hits with three strikeouts. The 6-foot-1 lefty was a 25th-round draft pick by the New York Yankees in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft.
Right-handed pitcher Paul Smyth, who pitched at KU from 2006-09, is currently playing for the Midland RockHounds – an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Smyth is 5-2 on the season with a 4.85 ERA in 40 appearances out of the bullpen. He has recorded 59 strikeouts to go with 29 walks in 65 innings. 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 is 1-2 on the season with a 3.90 ERA in 21 games with the ValleyCats. Blankenship has recorded 28 strikeouts and only eight walks in 30 innings this year. The 6-foot-1 lefty was a 31st-round selection by the Astros in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
Right-handed pitcher Brett Bochy, who pitched at KU from 2008-10, is playing for the Augusta GreenJackets – an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Bochy has made 35 appearances out of the bullpen and is 1-0 with 10 saves and an ERA of 1.38. In 39 innings of work, Bochy has struck out 53, walked eight and allowed just six runs on 22 hits. In his last 10 outings he has struck out 17 batters in only 11 1/3 innings of work. The 6-foot-2 righty was a 20th-round draft choice of the Giants in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
Outfielder Brian Heere, who played at KU from 2008-10, is with the Lake County Captains – an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. After a slow start, Heere is currently hitting .245 with nine doubles, three homers and 35 RBIs in 87 games. Heere was a 41st-round draft pick by the Indians in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
Right-handed pitcher Colton Murray, who pitched at KU from 2009-11, is with the Williamsport Crosscutters – the Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Murray has recorded scoreless appearances in nine of his last 10 games to lower his season ERA to 3.00. He is 1-2 on the year with 23 strikeouts in 30 innings on the mound. In his last 10 games, opponents are hitting only .185 against him with 15 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings. The 6-foot righty was a 13th-round draft choice of the Phillies in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft.
Infielder Robby Price, who played at KU from 2007-10, is turning his season around for the Bowling Green Hot Rods – an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. After a rough month of June, Price has found his stroke, hitting safely in four-straight games and batting .382 with seven runs over his last 10 contests. For the season, Price is hitting .283 with 25 doubles, five triples, six homers and 85 runs scored. He has also shown some speed on the base paths, swiping 16 bags in 23 attempts. The 5-foot-11 infielder 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, was called up in early May to the Single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, the Potomac Nationals. The former Jayhawk is 4-9 on the year with a 4.52 ERA in 16 starts. He has walked 26 and struck out 52 batters in 91 2/3 innings of work. 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 playing for the Burlington Bees – an affiliate of the Oakland A’s. Thompson has been hot and cold this season at the plate, batting .259 with 14 homers, 15 doubles and 59 RBIs. 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, was recently promoted within the Oakland Athletics’ organization to Burlington, where he joined former KU teammate Tony Thompson. Walz has pitched in 10 games with his new team, posting an 0-1 record and a 3.86 ERA in 18 2/3 innings while striking out 16. Prior to his promotion, Walz dominated the New York-Penn League, posting a 4-0 record and an 0.41 ERA in 22 innings with the Vermont Lake Monsters. Walz was a 15th-round draft pick of the Oakland A’s in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft.
Shortstop Brandon Macias, who played at KU from 2010-11, was recently promoted to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization. Macias is batting .264 with six doubles and three stolen bases in 22 games for the Rattlers. The 5-foot-10 infielder signed as an undrafted free agent with the Brewers organization in June.
Shortstop David Narodowski, who played at KU in 2009, is playing for the South Bend Silver Hawks within the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization. Narodowski is batting .254 with eight doubles in 32 games. The 5-foot-9 infielder was a 15th-round draft pick by Arizona in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft.