A couple days we saw how a few of our former Illini are doing this summer in the minor leagues. Today, it’s time to take a look at the Illinois Draftee Class of 2015 and see how they are faring in their first year in the pros.
After Tyler Jay’s superb season for the Big Ten champs, he was promptly drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Twins and signed with a nice signing bonus. He spent the season with the Fort Myers Miracle in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. While his ERA isn’t what it was in the Big Ten (4.70), he’s showing signs of his potential by striking out 20 batters in 15 1/3 innings.
After a quick look at Kevin Duchene in the Arizona League, the A’s brought him up to the Class A New York-Penn Short League where he played for the Vermont Lake Monsters. Overall, Kevin started seven games and appeared in three more with a 0-3 record. For the season, his ERA had been hovering around 4.00 till his last appearance when he got hit hard. Now it stands at 4.26. Get that win, Kevin!
Since his Big Ten Player of the Year season for the Illini, David Kerian hasn’t stopped hitting. Washington must see the potential that we did as he has been getting plenty of playing time for the Auburn Doubledays in the Class A Short Season NY-Penn League. For the year, he’s hitting .245 in 159 at-bats with 18 rbis and 22 runs.
David is picking it up, too. In his last 10 games, he’s hit .323 with eight runs.
The durable starter for the Illini ended up playing for the Boise Hawks in the Class A Short Season Northwest League. So far, Drasen has had good stuff with a 2.81 ERA in 13 games and 4 starts. With a few more innings, Drasen would be fourth in ERA in the NWL. He’s got a 1-3 record but honestly, I think he’s used to that hard luck role.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have taken a chance on drafting junior Ryan Nagle. So far this year, he’s at least getting his ABs in for the West Virginia Black Bears in the Class A Short Season NY-Penn League. In fact, he made a considerable impression on the Bucs organization by hitting in five of his first six games including a triple in his very first at-bat. Overall in 92 at-bats this season, Ryan is hitting .239 with 14 rbis and five doubles for the Black Bears.
Rob McDonnell was drafted by the Dodgers and he’s spent the year with the Ogden Raptors in the Pioneer League. Father Dan McDonnell says that the first couple weeks were rough (5.14 season ERA) but Rob has settled down. His current stats bear that out. Rob has got a winning record at 3-2 and has struck out 34 batters in 28 innings.
John Kravetz has been moved around a lot in 2015. Surprisingly, John was not drafted in 2015 but signed by the Blue Jays as a free agent. He started out with GCL Blue Jays in the Gulf Coast League then moved to the Bluefield Blue Jays in the Appalachian League. For one game in between though, John saw an appearance in the Jay’s Class A Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays. For the record, John Kravetz pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings in that game so I hope he made an impression.
For the year, John’s ERA is 4.03 with a 2-3 record and 18 Ks in 22 1/3 innings.
The Illini are making themselves known! It’s the first year so there’s always work to be done. The one thing that all seven of these players have in common is that they know how to play on a winning team. That kind of experience is invaluable and I am sure not lost on minor league managers and GMs.
Good luck, guys!
Next up: I’ll take a look at some of the highlights from our current Illini and their performances in their respective summer leagues.