Jayhawk Baseball Players Elevated in Pros
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Two former Kansas baseball players from the 2014 NCAA Louisville Regional team elevated themselves to Triple-A over the last week of the professional season and are closer to becoming the next Major League Baseball (MLB) Jayhawk following latest Colton Murray.
“When you work hard and go about your business in a professional manner, good things happen,” Kansas head coach Ritch Price said. “These men have worked extremely hard and have done everything right, and now they are being rewarded for their efforts.”
A 13th-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Frank Duncan was promoted to Triple-A May 10 after pitching mainly out of the bullpen in long relief after making his Double-A debut on April 16. Duncan made six appearances for Altoona (Double-A affiliate of the Pirates), making one start. In 20 and 2/3 innings, he posted a 3-1 record, struck out 20 batters and allowed just three earned runs off 16 hits for a 1.31 ERA.
Immediately after his promotion to Indianapolis (Triple-A affiliate of the Pirates), Duncan found himself in the starting rotation debuting May 13 at Scranton. The righty hurler tossed six scoreless innings, gave up one hit and struck out five batters – one coming against big leaguer Nick Swisher (A’s, White Sox, Yankees, Indians and Braves). Most impressively, he didn’t issue a walk and threw 71 percent strikes (48-of-68).
Duncan led the Jayhawks in 2014 with a 2.58 ERA in 16 starts and pitched five complete games. He tallied 82 strikeouts in 118 and 2/3 innings en route to All-Big 12 First Team honors. He ranks first in KU history with 360 and 1/3 career innings, second with 269 career strikeouts and third with 43 starts.
Outfielder Michael Suiter, another important piece of the 2014 team, found himself on a Triple-A roster Monday, May 16, after the Kannapolis Intimidators (Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox), promoted him to the Charlotte Knights.
Suiter rejoined the White Sox organization in early May and has appeared in six games with the Intimidators this season. He hit .238 in those games with a double and three runs scored. During his 2015 campaign, he put together an Intimidators’ record 23-game hitting streak from July 19 to August 14.
Suiter hit .322 in 2014 for Kansas with 11 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 47 runs scored and 42 RBIs. He started all 61 games and earned recognition from the league as a member of the All-Big 12 Second Team en route to a 24th-round draft pick by the Chicago White Sox.
“It feels awesome being at this level, even though it has just been a couple days,” Suiter said. “Going from Single-A to Triple-A, you get to see the nicer parts of the minor league system and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and trying to make the most of it.”
These two notable moves for Jayhawks in the pros come on the heels of right-handed pitcher Colton Murray continuing his MLB career with the Philadelphia Phillies. Murray made his MLB debut on September 2, 2015, as a late-season call up and hasn’t looked back.
So far in 2016, Murray has made six relief appearances for the big league club and thrown six innings with three strikeouts. He has 12 strikeouts in 13 and 2/3 career innings in the majors with a 3.29 ERA.
Throughout his minor league career, Murray made 218 appearances, saved 30 games and struck out 328 batters in 321 and 1/3 innings pitched for a 3.39 ERA. Murray is the fifth player during the tenure of head coach Ritch Price to make it to the big leagues and the 25th overall in Kansas baseball history.
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