July 12, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Major League Baseball season has reached the unofficial halfway point with the All-Star break, and Virginia Baseball alumni once again have been active at both the Major and Minor League levels. Here is a midseason update on some of the news and notes on UVA’s alums in the professional ranks.
11 Cavaliers in Major League Baseball
For the third straight season, 11 former Virginia baseball players have seen time at the Major League level. That is tied for the second most from any program in Division I Baseball and the most from any ACC school.
The UVA 11: Kyle Crockett (Cleveland), Sean Doolittle (Oakland), Derek Fisher (Houston), Phil Gosselin (Pittsburgh), Brandon Guyer (Cleveland), John Hicks (Detroit), Jarrett Parker (San Francisco), Mark Reynolds (Colorado), Chris Taylor (L.A. Dodgers), Tyler Wilson (Baltimore) and Ryan Zimmerman (Washington).
Zimmerman Earns ASG Start
After a tremendous first half of the season, Ryan Zimmerman won the fan vote to become the starter at first base for the National League in the MLB All-Star Game. Making his second All-Star appearance and first since 2009, Zimmerman batted .330 with 19 home runs and 63 RBI in the first half of the season.
He went 0-for-2 at the plate and played the first five innings Tuesday in the All-Star Game.
Reynolds Having Another Standout Season
Now in his 11th season in Major League Baseball, Mark Reynolds is in the midst of one of his best years, batting .284 with 19 home runs and 61 RBI. He is on pace for his most home runs and RBI since 2009.
He nearly earned his first All-Star Game nod and was one of five candidates for MLB’s All-Star Game Final Vote.
Taylor Emerges as Key Cog in Dodgers’ Hot Start
Chris Taylor has been a critical part of the Dodgers’ huge first half as they recorded the best record in baseball. Since being recalled from triple-A on April 19, he is batting .285 with 10 home runs, 18 doubles and 38 RBI ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Â¢’Â¬” all career highs. He leads all of Major League Baseball with three grand slams this season.
He has made himself into a do-it-all standout and has spent time at second, third and shortstop as well as left and center field.
Doolittle Strong at Back of A’s Bullpen
Sean Doolittle has been one of the top left-handed relievers in Major League Baseball this year. In 22 relief appearances totaling 20 1/3 innings, he has struck out 29 batters while walking just two as batters have hit just .164 against him. He also has recorded three saves.
Fisher Has Momentous First Half
Derek Fisher finishes a busy stretch Wednesday (July 12) when he plays in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Tacoma, Wash. In the last month, he made his MLB debut with the Houston Astros and also competed in the MLB Futures Game during All-Star Game festivities in Miami. He had two-run double in the Futures Game.
Fisher homered in his MLB debut on June 14 and played in five games in place of an injured Josh Reddick. He is having a tremendous season with triple-A Fresno, batting .306 with 19 home runs, 22 doubles, 56 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
Thaiss Promoted to Double-A
First baseman Matt Thaiss (Anaheim Angels) was promoted to double-A Mobile late Monday. A first-round draft pick of the Angels in 2016, Thaiss batted .265 with eight home runs and 48 RBI in high-A Inland Empire in 84 games.
In his debut with the BayBears Tuesday, Thaiss hit an RBI double in the sixth inning for the lone run in Mobile’s 1-0 win at Birmingham.
Six Cavaliers Make Pro Debuts
Of the six Cavaliers who were taken in the 2017 MLB Draft, five have made their pro debuts (34th-round pick Bennett Sousa is returning for his senior season). Robbie Coman was signed as an undrafted free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals.
– Adam Haseley (Philadelphia Phillies) is batting .440 with eight RBI in 13 pro games and was promoted to single-A Williamsport on June 30.
– Pavin Smith is hitting .333 in 15 games with the Hillsboro Hops, the short-season A-ball affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
– Alec Bettinger (Milwaukee Brewers) is 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA in four appearances with the Helena Brewers (Rookie affiliate).
– Tommy Doyle (Colorado Rockies) made his pro debut on July 2 with the Grand Junction Rockies (Rookie affiliate) and has appeared in four games out of the bullpen.
– Ernie Clement has played nine games with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the short-season A-ball affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, and is batting .156 (5-for-32).
– Coman hit his first pro home run Tuesday with the GCL Cardinals and is batting .364 in five games.
– John Hicks is having a strong season, hitting .299 in 21 games at the MLB level with the Tigers and also batting .308 at triple-A Toledo.
– Branden Cogswell (Oakland Athletics) was promoted to double-A Midland on June 28.
– Plagued by a broken hamate bone for much of the season, Brandon Downes (Kansas City Royals) has turned a corner and is batting .300 with nine home runs in 24 games with the high-A Wilmington Blue Rocks.
– Artie Lewicki (Detroit Tigers) is 7-3 with a 3.81 ERA in 16 starts at double-A Erie, but is pitching particularly well of late with a 2.89 ERA in his last 10 outings.
– Joe McCarthy (Tampa Bay Rays) is having a great year with double-A Montgomery, with a .296 batting average, 23 doubles, four triples, four homers and 33 RBI. He also has 14 stolen bases.
– Mike Papi (Cleveland Indians) is batting .248 between double-A Akron and triple-A Columbus this year.