Jayhawks in the Pros: Mid-Summer Update

LAWRENCE, Kan. – With the middle of summer quickly approaching, 13 former KU baseball players find their name on various Major League affiliate team rosters vying for a chance to display their talents at the highest level of baseball, the Major League.

Alex DeLeon finds himself playing a level higher in 2015 for the Peoria Chiefs, a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate in Class A Full Season (A) ball. With his second full season underway, DeLeon has appeared in 64 games for the Chiefs while compiling a .223 batting average to supplement his .294 on-base percentage. DeLeon is off to a hot start in July, belting home runs in back-to-back nights (July 5-6) while plating four runs to help his club win both games. The two homers bring his total to eight on the season, tying him for first place on the Chiefs’ roster. Peoria is currently riding a two-game win streak and looks to continue it behind DeLeon’s hot bat as they begin a three-game road trip (July 10-12) against the Clinton LumberKings.

Jordan Piche’ finds himself in (A) closing for the Burlington Bees, a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim affiliate. Like DeLeon, Piche’ plays in the Western division of the Midwest League .He has earned relief appearances in 22 games and has converted 3-of-4 save opportunities for the Bees. The right-hander currently has an ERA of 3.27 to go along with 39 strikeouts.

Starting-pitcher Frank Duncan plays for the Bradenton Marauders, a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate out of the Florida State League in Advanced-A (Adv.-A) ball. Duncan has started 14 games on the bump this season while making an appearance in two games from the bullpen. In his last outing (July 6), Duncan went seven innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five batters in a 3-0 Marauders win against league foe Jupiter. Bradenton won its last five games and sits solely in first place at 9-3 in league play.  Duncan owns a 5-4 record on the season with a 4.81 ERA, and is third on the team in total innings pitched (82.1).

Two Jayhawks have spent their time in Triple-A (AAA) this year. Brett Bochy has pitched in 23 games logging 29 and one-third innings for San Francisco Giants affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats. Bochy’s relief efforts have awarded him a 2-0 record and a 4.30 ERA. Like Bochy, former KU teammate Colton Murray makes his presence known in relief situations. Murray has split time between the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA) and the Reading Fightin Phils of Double-A baseball, both affiliates of the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Currently pitching for the Fightin Phils, Murray has amassed 24 strikeouts to eight batters walked in 15 games. In his best outing of the season, Murray tossed three scoreless innings in a 12-7 win against the New Britain Rock Cats (July 3). He has recorded one save in as many opportunities and currently holds a 1-0 record.

Former Kansas pitchers Sam Freeman and Tom Gorzelanny have been seeing action in the MLB this year. Freeman hurls for the Texas Rangers who currently sit in third place in the American League West Division. In 24 appearances, Freeman has struck out 15 batters while walking six, and has an ERA of 4.15. The left-hander Gorzelanny pitches for the third-place Detroit Tigers of the American League Central Division. He has thrown 24 innings while appearing in 30 games this season. Gorzelanny hold a 1-2 record with a 6.37 ERA on the year.

Two 2015 KU graduates are getting their feet wet in the minors. Connor McKay, coming off an All-Big 12 First Team selection, inked a free agent deal with the Texas Rangers and has seen action in 11 games for the Spokane Indians in Class A Short Season ball. McKay has belted two home runs and has two doubles out of his 10 total base knocks. Blair Beck’s defensive versatility helped him sign a free agent deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Beck has played in 10 games for the Gulf Coast League Rays in Rookie ball. Most recently, Beck tallied a double in a loss to the Gulf Coast League Red Sox (July 7).  

To keep up to date with the Jayhawks in the pros, check back throughout the course of the summer for more stats and information on the former KU players.

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