Three Jayhawks shine in first half of 2018 pro season
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Two All-Star appearances and two promotions highlight the first half of the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) season for three former KU baseball players.
Lefty Wes Benjamin and righty Stephen Villines earned All-Star bids for their respective leagues, while southpaw Blake Weiman and Villines received promotions to Class A advanced, or High A, within their organizations.
Benjamin earned his bid to the Texas League Midseason All-Stars as a member of the starting rotation for the Frisco RoughRiders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. He compiled a 3.91 ERA in 10 starts on the bump en route to the honor, and struck out 53 batters in 53 innings pitched for a 3-4 record.
Villines was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Team after a strong first half as the Columbia Fireflies’ closer of the New York Mets’ Class A affiliate. Villines saw action in 24 games where he struck out 54 batters compared to five walks in 33 and 1/3 innings pitched. He struck out the only batter he faced in the All-Star game, and as a result, was promoted to St. Lucie Mets, New York’s Class A advanced team.
Weiman started out his second year of professional ball for the West Virginia Power, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A team. In 14 appearances with the Power, Weiman struck out 35 batters compared to two walks in 28 innings pitched. He compiled a 1.29 ERA during that span and as a result, on May 30, he earned a promotion to the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates’ Class A advanced squad.
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