Jayhawks in the Pros Wrap-up Notebook
Oct. 3, 2007
During the course of the season, kuathletics.com has checked in with the 13 former Jayhawks who are currently playing professional baseball. Today, we highlight their accomplishments during the 2007 season.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
- After being drafted in the 16th round by the Chicago Cubs in June, Zach Ashwood had an impressive rookie campaign for the Boise Hawks of the Class A Northwest League. Ashwood went 4-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 18 appearances and collected 49 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-4 lefty made 10 starts, including a gem against <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Spokane in his next-to-last appearance of the season, where he worked 6 2/3 innings and held the Indians scoreless on five hits.
- Former All-American Don Czyz had an up-and-down season in Greensboro – his first full year as a professional. The 6-foot-2 righty finished with a 3-5 record and a 4.61 ERA for the Class A Grasshoppers. Czyz struggled in the second half of the season, but pitched well down the stretch, allowing just two runs in his final six appearances. His best month came in July, when he went 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA and eight strikeouts.
- After nearly becoming the first former Jayhawk to play in the major league All-Star game since Bob Allison, Tom Gorzelanny finished the 2007 season with a 14-10 record and a 3.88 ERA in 201 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-2 lefty’s best outing of the season came on Aug. 12, when he pitched nine scoreless innings at San Francisco to earn his first major league shutout. Gorzelanny has now made 44 major league starts and is 16-16 in his career.
- Sean Land battled injuries throughout the 2007 season and finished the year in Rookie ball with the Gulf Coast League Twins. Land started the season in Class A Beloit, and went 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in five appearances. However, injuries forced him out of action until mid-July, when he made two appearances in Fort Myers, before shutting it down after a July 17 game.
- Travis Metcalf made his Major League debut in May and spent the entire second half of the season with the Texas Rangers. After enduring the regular ups-and-downs of a rookie season, the former Jayhawk hit his stride in September. The 6-foot-3 third baseman hit .293 during the month with three home runs. He enjoyed a memorable night in Baltimore, belting his first career grand slam in Texas’ 30-3 rout in the first game of a doubleheader. He went 2-for-3 with four RBIs in the second game of the twinbill. Metcalf finished the season hitting .255 with five home runs, 21 RBIs and 12 doubles.
- Gus Milner enjoyed a strong season with the Lakewood BlueClaws of the Class A South Atlantic League. The 2006 Philadelphia Phillies’ draft pick hit .286 with 10 home runs and 66 RBIs. Milner started the season strong, hitting .309 with 35 RBIs in the first half of the season. He also showed power at the end of the season, hitting six of his 10 homers in the second half.
- Kyle Murphy struggled to find his stroke in his first professional season. After being drafted by the Texas Rangers in June, Murphy played in 16 games for the Spokane Indians, before being reassigned to Texas’ Rookie League affiliate in the Arizona League. Murphy hit .165 combined in both stops with 20 runs scored and six stolen bases.
- John Nelson made his Major League debut during September call-ups in 2006, but never cracked the major leagues in 2007. Nelson was traded from the Cardinals’ organization to the Cubs in June and played in 54 games for the Triple-A affiliate, Iowa. Nelson hit .244 with 10 home runs, 30 RBIs and 26 runs scored for the Iowa Cubs. The 6-foot-1 infielder’s best month was his first with the new club, when he hit .312 in 22 games with five doubles, four homers and 16 RBIs.
- Infielder Jared Schweitzer, a 2006 St. Louis Cardinals’ draft pick, also battled injuries throughout the 2007 season. However, he still managed to hit .290 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs in 72 games for the Swing of Quad Cities, a Cards’ Class A affiliate. Schweitzer hit .295 with five home runs and seven doubles after the All-Star break, despite playing in just 29 games during that stretch.
- A.J. Van Slyke came on strong down the stretch for the Palm Beach Cardinals, batting 30 points higher after the All-Star break. Van Slyke finished the season with a .283 average, three home runs, 31 RBIs and 18 stolen bases for the Cards’ Class A affiliate. The 6-foot-2 outfielder hit safely in eight of his final 10 games, including a seven-game hitting streak at the end of August.
- Les Walrond continues to mow down hitters in the Pacific Coast League for the Iowa Cubs. The 6-foot-3 lefty went 11-5 this season with a 4.77 ERA in 24 starts. Walrond struck out 93 hitters in 137 2/3 innings. The former Jayhawk, who has played in the majors for the Royals and Cubs in his career, enjoyed a productive August, going 3-1 with a 3.25 ERA in five starts during the month.
- Mike Zagurski also made his Major League debut during the 2007 season, but unfortunately will not be part of the Phillies’ playoff run due to injury. The 2005 draft pick appeared in 25 games this season for Philadelphia and compiled a 1-0 record with 21 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings pitched. Zagurski’s main responsibility with the Phillies was as a left-handed specialist and he excelled in that role. He allowed a .229 batting average against lefties, even retiring Barry Bonds a couple of times during his first week in the bigs.