Beavers in the Pros Update, Part 1: MLB and AAA

Today we are talking a general look at how former OSU baseball players are doing in the minor leagues. We'll start by taking a look at players who are either in Triple-A or the Major Leagues, then move on to Double-A and Single-A. 

Andy Baldwin is 5-4 in 14 starts this season with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. This is now his second year in Triple-A, and he has yet to get the call to the major leagues like many of his teammates. His ERA is currently at 4.81, and he's struck out 49 batters in 82 innings. Two weeks ago, Baldwin got to start in PGE Park against the Beavers in front of family and friends... he allowed three runs, seven hits and one walk over seven innings for the win.

Brian Barden is back in the minor leagues after a short but somewhat fruitful stint with the St. Louis Cardinals. In the month of April with the Cards, Barden hit .385 in 21 games, with 19 of them coming at third base. For his efforts, he received National League Rookie of the Month honors. But when May rolled around, things changed for Brian. His batting average fell to .235 during the month, and when the Cardinals needed help in the bullpen to get ready for interlague play, Brian was the one sent down. Known for his defense, Brian seemed to be providing much more than the coaching staff was looking for with his stellar offense in April. Barden is currently  hitting .205 with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds in 39 at-bats.   Kenji Johjima

Jamie Burke is in the major leagues with the Seattle Mariners... for now. After a stint as back-up catcher to Kenji Johjima last season, Burke was again called up when Kenji broke his big toe earlier this month. However, Burke struggled offensively in eight starts while Johjima was gone, and currently carries a .122 batting average. Rob Johnson was also called up from Tacoma after Burke began to struggle, and has been playing the majority of innings in front of Burke. Johjima is expected to return to the Mariners today, which means Jaime is likely headed back to Tacoma. 

Jacoby Ellsbury continues to shine in Boston, although Terry Francona is still trying to find a role for the Madras, Ore. native. Ellsbury had been hitting in the leadoff spot before he recently dropped to No. 7 because he wasn't getting on base enough. But since the switch, Ellsbury's on base percentage is up near .500, and his average is above .300. In Tuesday's series opener against the Nationals, Ellsbury went 4-for-4 with a walk. Right now, it seems like the Red Sox are trying to not change Jacoby, and let him be what he is. If the number seven spot works best, they should be happy to leave him there.  

Cole Gillespie is well into his Triple-A career after making the jump from the Single-A Brevard County Manatees to the Nashville Sounds at the beginning of the season. After just 12 games with the Manatees, Cole was hitting .349. He is since hitting .223 in 56 games with Nashville, putting his combined batting average at .248. 

Eddie Kunz is still engaged in a lengthy audition to be the eighth inning set-up guy for the Mets, but he still has some kinks to work out. Kunz has struggled against lefties for some time-- righties are hitting .157 against him, while lefties are hitting .265. Scouts are worried that his "violent" delivery will damper his control, which means that he could be used only situationally in the big leagues against right handed hitters. He currently has a 4-2 record with the Buffalo Bisons, and has a 2.48 ERA. 

Aaron Matthews has methodically moved his way through the Blue Jays' minor league system, and is now playing with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51's of the Pacific Coast League. The John Day, Ore. native is currently batting .280 with the 51's in his fifth year as a professional baseball player. Matthews is a fan favorite in Las Vegas due to the effort he displays in the outfield and behind the plate. 

Mark McLemore is back with the Triple-A Round Rock Express after reconstructive elbow surgery kept him off of the mound for two years. He's 1-3 since his return on June 1 with a 4.21 ERA. 

--Jake (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)

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