Well, it’s almost September already. Summer leagues have wrapped up their seasons, minor leagues are almost done and believe it or not the Cubs haven’t given up the NL Central in the MLB.
Over the next week or so, I thought I’d take a look at how some of the former and current Illini have done in Summer of ‘15 in their respective baseball ventures.
Let’s start at the top with those Illini baseball players drafted in past years.
After a breakout season in 2014 (15-10, 2.85 ERA) for the Washington Nationals, Roark is having an up and down 2015 year. He started out in the pen, was put in the rotation in late May then relegated back to the pen again after six starts. All in all, he hasn’t done too bad and the season isn’t over yet. He has a 4-4 record and 4.54 ERA but most importantly he still exhibits the control that he is known for (18 walks in 79 1/3 innings). From the beginning of the season, Roark has accepted his role with grace which most likely endears him to Manager Matt Williams.
The durable reliever drafted last year started out with Burlington in the Class A Midwest League. He kept opposing hitters baffled as he sported a 1.93 ERA while going 2-2. He made the jump to Advanced A and went to Inland Empire 66ers in the California League. While his ERA has gone up a little (that’s expected at a higher level), he’s actually not doing too bad either. He’s 3-0 with a 4.67 ERA with 41 Ks in 34 2/3 innings.
As mentioned recently, our own volunteer coach Kyle Hudson was picked up by the Dodger organization. He was used in a purely base running role for the AZL Dodgers in the Arizona League and Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the California League. Combined, he scored 7 runs and stole 11 bases. I can only guess that the Dodger organization placed him because of his leadership and coaching talents (because we all know he has those).
Pitcher Matt Milroy has had a solid year in the Class A Advanced Florida State League with the Jupiter Hammerheads. The Marlins seem to be transitioning Matt to a reliever role; he started just one game this year. So far, that is working well. With a 6-2 record and a nice 3.09 ERA, Matt has struck out 77 opposing batters in 58 1/3 innings. He seems to be hot as of late… he’s 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA in his last 10 games.
Kevin finally saw some action in 2015 after the A’s activated him from the disabled list. It’s been a long road for Mr. Johnson. Now with the Beloit Snappers in the Class A Midwest League, the starting pitcher is beginning to get his innings in. Kevin appeared in 31 games and started 7 games. With a 2-6 record, he sported a 4.79 ERA for the Snappers.
I’ll pick up later in the week with those Illini in the minors who were just drafted in 2015. We’ll see then how they’ve fared in their first year in the pros.