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Hoos in the Pros: Halfway Point

With MLB at the all-star break, it seemed like a good time to take a quick look around the baseball landscape at all the former Hoos playing pro ball. We've got 1 new major league player, and a couple of new minor league guys.

2010 draftee Jarrett Parker is the latest Hoo to make his major league debut.
2010 draftee Jarrett Parker is the latest Hoo to make his major league debut.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

MLB is at the all-star break, which is official half-way point of the season. The short-season leagues have all started up and the draft is over. We all know that the Hoos won the 2015 College World Series. A few of those guys have already made their pro debuts. Most haven't. Beyond that, there's over 30 former Hoos playing pro ball. Let's take a look at how they're all performing to this point.

As always, we'll start with the Major League guys, in order of their ML tenure.

Javier Lopez, RP, San Francisco Giants – Over 24 innings, Lopez has given up just 11 hits and 5 runs. He’s struck out 15 and walked 7. His ERA is 1.88 and his WHIP is 0.75 and those are both outstanding numbers. Lopez is mostly just a LOOGY at this point (Left-handed One Out GuY). Lefties are just 6/48 against him, good for a 343 OPS against. Then againt, righties are just 5/31, for a 547 OPS against.

Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Washington Nationals – Currently on the DL with plantar fasciitis, Zimm is close to a rehab assignment and a return to the Nats. Sadly, that may not be good news for the Nats. Zimmerman is batting just .209 this year, with a 611 OPS. He has 5 HRs and 34 RBI. Zimmerman has been one of the worst first basemen in baseball this year.

Mark Reynolds, 1B, St Louis Cardinals – Amazingly, Reynolds has also been one of the worst first basemen in baseball this year. Reynolds is batting just .222 with a 681 OPS. He has 8 HRs and 32 RBI. Reynolds was signed to be the right hand side of a 1B platoon with Matt Adams, but Adams has been out with a quadriceps tear for nearly 2 months and Reynolds has been playing almost everyday. Though the Cardinals have the best record in baseball, they’ll likely look for an upgrade at 1B before the trade deadline. Reynolds may be shown the door in that case.

Brandon Guyer, OF, Tampa Bay Rays – Though not an everyday player for the Rays, Guyer is making an impact on the Rays season. He’s started 43 games for them (roughly half) and he’s batting just .260, but has a .360 OBP and 9 SBs. He’s also played very well at all 3 OF spots.

Sean Doolittle, RP, Oakland Athletics – It’s been a lost season for Doolittle this year. He began the season on the DL with a rotator cuff tear. He came back and pitched once, through a scoreless inning with 2 Ks (and 1 H). Then he immediately went back on the DL with a shoulder strain. His return for this season in still in doubt.

Phil Gosselin, 2B, San Diego Padres – After playing pretty well for the Braves in the early part of the season, Gosselin broke his thumb and went on the DL on May 21st. About a month later, he was traded to the Padres in a deal for a highly touted SS prospect (and veteran pitcher Bronson Arroyo). Gosselin hasn’t returned from his injury, and isn’t listed on the Padres 40-man roster. No word on what the Padres’ plan for him is. (Editor's note: Gosselin was actually traded to the Diamondbacks, which explains why I couldn't find him. He's on the DL.)

Kyle Crockett, RP, Cleveland Indians – For the first 3 years of a player’s career, his team can move him back and forth between the majors and minors as often as needed. (The rules actually quite a bit more complex, but that’s the gist of it.) For a guy like Crockett, that means he’s been shuttling back and forth between Cleveland and Columbus all year long. He’s made at least 3 trips down to the minors during the season. For the big league club, he’s made 6 appearances, totaling 4.2 IP and given up just 2 hits, while walking 3 and striking out 4. He has a 0 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. His minor league numbers, however, are troubling. He’s pitched in 25 games, for 27 IP and given up 19 runs. He has a 6.33 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP. He does ha w 24 Ks in the 27 IP. He is currently back in the bigs and threw a scoreless inning yesterday.

Chris Taylor, SS, Seattle Mariners – Taylor is another guy who’s shuttled back and forth between the majors and minors. Chris has made 2 trips down to the minors, and is also currently back with the big league club. Taylor’s numbers are basically the opposite from Crockett’s. In the majors, Taylor is batting just .167, with a 443 OPS. In the minor, he’s batting .289 with a 772 OPS and 13 SBs. Taylor is also a good defensive SS, so he has value to the big league club even when struggling at the place.

Tyler Wilson, P, Baltimore Orioles – Here is one more guy who’s been shuttling back and forth between the majors and minors. Wilson came up to the big leagues in mid-May, for a few days, and then was sent back down. Then came back up on May 28th to start game 1 of a double-header against the White Sox. He pitched very well, going 6 innings and giving up just 2 runs on 5 hits. He was immediately sent back down. He came back up  few weeks later, and again stayed for a few days before being sent back down. He’s currently back in AAA. All told, in the majors, Wilson has thrown 17 innings over 5 games (just the one start) and has a 2.12 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He’s struck out just 4, but walked just 3 and he’s compiled a 1-1 record. In AAA, he’s got a 3-5 record over 70.2 innings, and has a 3.06 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He’s struck out 45, with 11 walks.

Jarrett Parker, OF, San Francisco Giants – The latest guy to get promoted to the top of this feature, Parker made his major-league debut exactly one month ago today. He played in 3 games before being sent back down to AAA. In his 3 games, Parker went 1/9 and struck out 5 times. However, for AAA Sacramento, he’s batting .266 with an 859 OPS and 13 HRs. He also has 12 steals and 2 triples. Plus, he’s a very good defensive OF.

That’s it for the major league guys. Now we’ll take a quick look at the minor leaguers, in alphabetical order. Please, if you can think of any other former Hoos playing pro ball, let me know and I'll add them. I've added a couple that weren't in the last update for one reason or another.

David Adams, 2B, Miami Marlins – Adams is playing well for AA Jacksonville, batting .293 with a 780 OPS. He has a .391 OBP, but just a .389 SLG. Adams is just a couple of years removed from playing in the majors for the Yankees, so being back down in AA has to be disappointing. It is nice to see him playing well. Perhaps he can get back to AAA before the season is out.

Branden Cogswell, SS, Oakland Athletics – Cogswell is playing for Stockton, in the High-A California league, and batting just .245 with a 674 OPS. He’s scored 32 runs and driven in 26, in 74 games. He’s alternated solid months and terrible months. In May, he batted just .198, but in June he was a .307 hitter. He’ll need more consistency if he’s going to advance through the minor leagues.

Stephen Bruno, 2B, Chicago Cubs – Repeating AA ball for the Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League, Bruno is putting up numbers very similar to last year. While his numbers are decent, you’d hope to see improvement from a prospect in his 2nd season at AA ball. Bruno has cut down in his Ks, while increasing his walk rate. Next, he needs to develop some power if he wants to get noticed.

Brandon Downes, OF, Kansas City Royals – After a nice half-season in Rookie ball last year, Downes is in full-season ball this year, at Lexington of the Sally (South Atlantic) League. He’s currently batting just .245 with a 707 OPS. He has 6 HRs and 11 SBs in 62 games, which isn’t bad. He also has a 66:11 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is bad.

Jeremy Farrell, 3B, Chicago White Sox – Farrell’s numbers have declined for each of the past 3 seasons, and he’s now sporting a .226 BA and 598 OPS for the Birmingham Barons of the AA Southern League. Ever since reaching AAA in 2012, Farrell has struggled. At nearly 29 years old, his status as a prospect is likely at about zero.

Derek Fisher, OF, Houston Astros – Here’s a guy who’s status as a prospect is very high. Fisher has already moved up once this year, from Low-A to High-A. He’s now playing for Lancaster in the California League, and batting .260 over 35 games. That may not seem very high, but he has an 805 OPS and 7 HRs. He also has 35 runs, 35 RBI and 12 stolen bases, while getting rave reviews in the OF.

Reed Gragnani, 2B, Boston Red Sox – Just about a week ago, Gragnani got moved from AA Portland to AAA Pawtucket. He’s played in 2 games so far in AAA (interestingly, both at 3B), and is 0/6 with a walk. It isn’t like he was tearing it up in AA either, sporting a .225 BA with a 571 OPS. He did have a .329 OBP, a product of 18 walks in just 35 games. He’s slick fielder, who can probably play all over the IF, but he’ll have to hit a bit more than this.

Shane Halley, RP, Colorado Rockies – Halley is getting his first taste of full-season baseball, and is pitching out of the bullpen for the Asheville Tourists of the Sally League. He’s thrown 13 innings over 8 games, and has a 5.54 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. He’s struck out 16 while walking just 3.

John Hicks, C, Seattle Mariners – After finishing out last season at AAA Tacoma, Hicks has spent the entire season there so far. He’s currently batting .232 with a 632 OPS. He has 4 HRs and 26 RBI in 55 games. He also has 4 stolen bases. None of those numbers are great, but he’s a very good defensive catcher, and these days offense is almost an afterthought for catchers.

Nick Howard, P, Cincinnati Reds – Pitching for Daytona in the Florida State League, Howard was struggled to the tune of a 6.63 ERA and a 2.18 WHIP. The FSL is a notorious hitter’s league, but those numbers are horrendous. Howard was moved from the rotation to the bullpen, but control has been his problem. He’s walked 50 in 38 IP, while striking out 31. After seeing him walk just 14 batters last year for the Hoos, one wonders if Howard is dealing with an injury.

Danny Hultzen, SP, Seattle Mariners – Hultzen pitched 3 times in May, and then was put back on the DL with shoulder fatigue. He’s coming off a missed season due to shoulder surgery, so the Mariners are taking it easy with Danny. He is actually expected to pitch in a rehab start today in the Arizona League. He’ll probably make a couple of rehab starts before returning to the high minors.

Nate Irving, C, Arizona Diamondbacks – Pitching for the short-season Northwest League Hillsboro Hops, Irving has played in 8 games and is batting .269 with a .683 OPS. Even those modest numbers are a big upgrade on Irving’s numbers in Hillsboro last year. It’s only 8 games, but the results are promising. Maybe he’ll get a shot at a full-season league soon.

Branden Kline, SP, Baltimore Orioles – In his 2nd stint at AA Bowie, in the Eastern League, Kline is pitching much better than last year. He’s currently 3-3, with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. He’s struck out 27 and walked 19 in 39.1 innings. Not great, but much better than last year.

Artie Lewicki, SP, Detroit Tigers – Lewicki has struggled in a return assignment to Low-A West Michigan in the Midwest League. He’s made 6 starts and has a 4.55 ERA in 31.2 innings to go along with a 1.45 WHIP and a 28/7 K/BB ratio. The peripherals aren’t bad, even if the overall numbers aren’t very good.

Whit Mayberry, RP, Detroit Tigers – Mayberry wasn’t pitching terribly in AA, but was sent down to Lakeland in the High-A Florida State League a few weeks ago. In 4 games there, he’s 1-1 with a 0.90 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He’s struck out 10 and walked 3 in 10 innings. Prior to that, he was 2-3 with a 3.06 ERA, a 1.56 WHIP and a 30/7 K/BB ratio in AA Erie. Not sure why he was sent down.

Joe McCarthy, OF, Tampa Bay Rays – Beginning his pro career with the Hudson Valley Renegades, Joe has a .273 BA and 703 OPS in 7 games. He’s got a .385 OBP, but hasn’t shown any power yet. He’s coming off a long, injury plagued college season, so nobody is paying much attention to his results this year. Just being on the field is important.

Robert Morey, P, Miami Marlins – Morey reached AAA for the first time last year, and didn’t pitch particularly well there. This year, he’s much improved, although the peripherals do not match the overall performance. He’s 1-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 41 IP over 12 games (6 starts). That’s the good news. The bad news is that he’s sporting a 1.55 WHIP and a 24/14 K/BB ratio. He’s had a high WHIP throughout his minor league career, largely due to high walk rates. If he can tone down the walks, he’s got a shot at an eventual call-up, but right now he’s too wild.

Mike Papi, OF, Cleveland Indians – Playing just down the road for Lynchburg in the High-A Carolina League, Papi is batting just .248  with 2 HRs and 24 RBI in 79 games. He does have a .383 OBP and a 745 OPS, so it’s not all bad. Obviously, the Indians were expecting a bit more power out of Papi, so they’ll keep him in High-A for a while to see how he adjusts.

Will Roberts, SP, Cleveland Indians – At the beginning of July, Roberts got called up to AAA Columbus after having a successful half-season at AA Akron. He’s made 3 starts in AAA, and has a 1-1 record with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. In AA, he was 6-2 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP to go along with 45/11 K/BB ratio in 86 innings.

Scott Silverstein, P, Toronto Blue Jays – Silverstein hasn’t pitched since May 12. I can’t find any mention of an injury, but considering his past, that wouldn’t be a surprise. Silverstein was 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA and a 2.21 WHIP when he stopped pitching.

Kenny Towns, 3B, Los Angeles Angels – Towns is playing for Orem in the Rookie level Pioneer League. In 5 games, Towns is 1/15 at the plate and has a 258 OPS. He hasn’t struck out yet, so it seems like maybe some bad luck.

Cody Winiarski, RP, Chicago White Sox – Cody has spent almost all of this year with AA Birmingham, and has a 1-0 record with a 1.54 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP over 23.1 innings. He’s struck out 28 while walking 7. He’s also picked up 6 saves. At this rate, Winiarski could see AAA this year.

Austin Young, RP, Los Angeles Angels – Young is back in Rookie ball, and is struggling. He’s thrown 10.2 innings over 8 games, and has a 5.91 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP. He’s struck out just 6 and walked 9.

Note that Nathan Kirby, Josh Sborz, Brandon Waddell, John La Prise, and Daniel Pinero haven't yet begun their pro careers.