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2013: Bases covered

Pro baseball: The SCV products represented the area well in Major League Baseball and minors

Posted: October 9, 2013 10:15 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2013 10:15 p.m.
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher and Hart High graduate James Shields Kansas City Royals starting pitcher and Hart High graduate James Shields
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher and Hart High graduate James Shields
Philadelphia Phillies left fielder and hart grad Steve Susdorf plays in Detroit on July 28. Philadelphia Phillies left fielder and hart grad Steve Susdorf plays in Detroit on July 28.
Philadelphia Phillies left fielder and hart grad Steve Susdorf plays in Detroit on July 28.

The Major League Baseball playoffs are in high gear and the minor league season is long over.

All of the locals who played professional baseball in 2013 have seen their seasons come to an end.

And it was another tremendous year.

The Santa Clarita Valley’s crown jewel, Hart High graduate and Kansas City Royals pitcher James Shields, reached 100 career wins in his final start of the season.

Saugus High graduate Tommy Milone’s Oakland A’s will be playing today for a spot in the American League Championship Series and he was a contributor to the team’s surprising A.L. West division title.

Hart graduate Tyler Glasnow became the next great name from the SCV in professional baseball with a stellar season.

Hart grad Steve Susdorf finally made his Major League debut for the Philadelphia Phillies.

There were ups and downs for our locals, comebacks and comedowns, trades and triumphs.

Here’s the final tally:

Major Leaguers

Tommy Milone – Oakland Athletics, pitcher

Saugus High graduate did not make Oakland’s American League Division Series roster, though he could be added if the A’s make it farther in the postseason. Milone had a solid argument to be selected, though. The lefty went 12-9 with a 4.14 ERA in 28 games (26 starts) and struck out 126 batters in 156 1/3 innings. However, he was sent down to play with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats earlier this month, making two starts and allowing just two runs across 10 1/3 innings pitched. His 25 victories over the last two seasons are tied for 13th in the American League.

James Shields – Kansas City Royals, pitcher

Before the season, the Royals traded their top prospect Wil Myers to Tampa Bay specifically to be in a better position to make a run for the playoffs. Shields did just that in a stellar first year with Kansas City.  The Royals’ ace had the team in the postseason hunt until the season’s final week. In his final start of the season, he earned his 100th career win, putting him five short of tying Hart grad Bob Walk for most victories by an SCV Major Leaguer. Shields went 13-9 (his seventh-straight double-digit win season), with a 3.15 ERA, 196 strikeouts and an American league leading 228 2/3 innings.

Trevor Bauer — Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians), Triple-A, pitcher

The former No. 3 overall draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks was traded to Cleveland during the offseason and spent a majority of the season with Triple-A Columbus. Bauer made four starts for the big league club and was 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA. For the Clippers, Bauer was 6-7 in 22 starts with a 4.15 ERA, 106 strikeouts and 73 walks in 121 1/3 innings.

Zach Britton — Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles), Triple-A, pitcher

Britton spent time at Triple-A Norfolk, as well as with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013. With the Orioles, the former Canyon Cowboy was 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA in 40 innings pitched. With the Tides, he was 6-5 with a 4.27 ERA in 19 starts, striking out 75 in 103 1/3 innings.

Steve Susdorf — Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies), Triple-A, outfielder

In his sixth year as a pro, Susdorf made his Major League debut with the Phillies in July when he was called up for three games to fill in for an injured player. He went 1-for-7 in those games. The rest of the year, the Hart graduate and 2008 draft pick put up a solid season at the plate with a .313 average, 36 RBIs, two home runs and 11 stolen bases in 101 games.

Chris Valaika – New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami Marlins), Triple-A, infielder

Valaika had an eventful season, first making the Opening Day roster out of Spring Training, in spite of being a non-roster invitee to Spring Training camp. He batted .219 in 22 games before breaking his wrist against the San Diego Padres on May 8. Valaika returned to the field on July 4 with the Jupiter Hammerheads for a rehab assignment that spanned 11 games where he batted .200 with a home run and four RBIs. In Triple-A New Orleans he batted .246 with three home runs and 11 RBIs. The Hart High graduate and 28-year-old was in position to get a callup to the Marlins after Placido Polanco was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Aug. 19. Instead, the Marlins called up Gil Velazquez after Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria vetoed Valaika’s call-up, the Miami Herald reported. That veto reportedly stemmed from a disagreement Valaika and other players had with former Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez.

2013 draft picks

Cody Harris — Rookie Marlins (Miami Marlins), Rookie Gulf Coast League, pitcher

The Master’s College product signed with the Marlins on June 20 after being drafted in the 24th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. That came after helping the Mustangs reach the NAIA World Series in May. Harris, a right-handed relief pitcher, went 2-2 with a 4.45 ERA in 28 1/3 innings in 13 appearances with the Marlins.

Kyle Hooper — Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers), Rookie League, pitcher

The Saugus High graduate and UC Irvine product was drafted in the 25th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Dodgers and reported to the team’s Rookie level affiliate in Ogden where he went 3-0 with a 4.82 ERA in 18 games, striking out 36 batters in 28 innings.

Pat Valaika — Tri-City Dust Devils (Colorado Rockies), Class-A, shortstop

Following a spectacular run to the NCAA Division I national championship with UCLA, Valaika joined his brothers (Chris and Matt) in being drafted by Major League teams and playing professionally. He was selected in the ninth round of the draft by the Colorado Rockies. The Hart High grad batted .240 in 42 games for the Tri-City Dust Devils with a home run and 18 RBIs.

Trey Williams — Rookie Phillies (Philadelphia Phillies), Rookie Gulf Coast League, infielder

Williams was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh round of this year’s draft out of College of the Canyons. In 39 games, the Valencia High graduate batted .208 with three home runs and nine RBIs.

Other first-year signings

Tyler Elrod — Washington WildThings (Independent), pitcher

The Master’s College product, after helping the Mustangs reach the NAIA World Series in May, signed with the WildThings on Aug. 13. In five games (three starts), he went 2-0 with a 4.43 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings.

Troy Neiman Tri-City Dust Devils (Colorado Rockies), Class-A, pitcher

Former Chico State and College of the Canyons pitcher Troy Neiman signed with the Colorado Rockies in July and played with the Tri-City Dust Devils in the Class A Short-Season Northwest League. He made 12 appearances out of the bullpen and had a 2-1 record with a 3.86 ERA, striking out 22 batters in 23 1/3 innings.

Minor Leaguers

Scott Barlow – Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers), Rookie League, pitcher

The Golden Valley graduate missed the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, and made just two appearances in 2011 in which he allowed five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings with the Arizona League’s Rookie Dodgers. This season, with the Ogden Raptors, Barlow started 15 games and had a 4-3 record with a 6.20 and 51 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings.

Buck Britton — Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles), Triple-A, second baseman

The 27-year-old older brother of Zach Britton and former Canyon High player split time between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk and batted a combined .274 with 13 home runs and 79 RBI in 123 games this season.

Tyler Glasnow — West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates), High-A, pitcher

On Sept. 16, Glasnow was awarded the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park. Glasnow went 9-3 in 24 starts with a 2.18 ERA with 164 strikeouts (a club record) in 111 1/3 innings. He led the South Atlantic League in strikeouts and finished the season as the sixth-rated prospect in Pittsburgh’s minor league system.

Jerry Owens — Lancaster Barnstormers (Independent, Atlantic League), outfielder

Owens’ had a tremendous return to professional baseball after a series of injuries kept the 32-year-old out of the game for three years. He batted .341 with two home runs and 48 RBI with 32 stolen bases. He was also honored as the Barnstormers’ 2013 Community Man of the Year for his service. The Hart High graduate and former The Master’s College star spent parts of four big league seasons with the Chicago White Sox (2006-2009).

Mike Montgomery — Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays), Triple-A, pitcher

Montgomery was a piece of the Shields-Myers trade, going form Kansas City to Tampa Bay. The left-hander and former first-round pick had an up-and-down season, eventually settling at 7-9 with a 4.83 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 117 1/3 innings mostly with the Triple-A sqaud. He had a short stint in Single-A Charlotte. A positive for the Hart High graduate is that he was selected to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, which begins next Tuesday. Montgomery finished the season as Tampa Bay’s No. 8 prospect.

Zach Vincej — Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds), Single-A, shortstop

In his second professional year, the Saugus High grad made the Midwest League All-Star team and batted .263 with three home runs and 31 RBIs in 104 games for the Dayton Dragons. Vincej also stole 13 bases.

Danny Worth — Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers), Triple-A, infielder

The Valencia High graduate and 28-year-old played in three games for the Detroit Tigers and went hitless in two at-bats. His season came to an end after he injured his left shoulder making a diving stop at third base on Sept. 6. He was the final player cut in Spring Training, just missing the Tigers’ Opening Day roster. He spent almost the entire season in Toledo, but had a four-game run in Single-A Lakeland. Overall, he batted .220 with a home run, 20 doubles and 25 RBIs.

Trevor Brown — San Jose Giants (San Francisco Giants), High-A, catcher

The former Hart Indian and UCLA Bruin began his season with the Single-A Augusta GreenJackets and ended it with the San Jose Giants. After moving to the Giants in August, Brown played 14 regular season games and batted .172 with four RBIs. He turned it on the the playoffs and hit .345 with three RBIs in eight postseason games. The Giants lost in the California League championship series.

Jared Clark — Sioux Falls Canaries (Independent), first baseman

After spending the first four years of his pro career playing in the Colorado Rockies organization, Clark displayed his power with Sioux City, hitting 20 home runs (fourth in the American Association) to go with 59 RBIs and a .236 batting average in 98 games this season. The 27-year-old Valencia High graduate spent his entire season with the Canaries.

Charlie Gillies — West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers), Single-A, pitcher

Gillies was placed on the disabled list with elbow soreness on July 11 and he didn’t play for the rest of the season. The West Ranch High and The Master’s College graduate carried a 4.55 ERA and a 1-5 record through 61 1/3 innings pitched in 13 starts in West Michigan.

Brian Hernandez — Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels), High-A, third baseman

In his third year as a pro since being drafted by the Angels in 2011, Hernandez put up by far his best numbers this season with the 66ers. The former College of the Canyons player batted .294 in 140 regular season games with six home runs and 80 RBI’s, good for third best on the team. Hernandez hit .267 and tallied seven RBIs in eight playoff games as the 66ers won the California League championship.

Michael Hur — Rockford Aviators, Frontier League (Independent), outfielder

In his third season in a row playing for the Aviators, the 25-year-old outfielder and Valencia graduate put up strong hitting numbers with a .273 average, four RBIs and three home runs. He was fourth on the team in RBIs.

Cory Jones — Peoria Chiefs (St. Louis Cardinals), Single-A, pitcher

Jones joined the team late after Extended Spring training, but he was stellar in his 11 starts with an 8-2 record and a 2.04 ERA, which was the lowest on the team among regular starters. The former College of the Canyons pitcher and fifth-round draft pick in 2012 struck out 52 batters in 66 1/3 innings pitched.

Christian Lopes — Lansing Lugnuts, (Toronto Blue Jays), Single-A, shortstop

In his first season with the Lugnuts, Lopes finished with a .245 average, 66 RBIs and five home runs in 129 games. Earlier in the season, the 21-year-old former Valencia High player made the Midwest League All-Star Game.

Timmy Lopes — Clinton LumberKings (Seattle Mariners), Single-A, shortstop

Multiple websites and projections have Lopes as a top 15 prospect in the Mariners’ organization. At age 19, and after being drafted in the sixth round last year, the Valencia graduate finished a full season with the LumberKings by batting .272 with 36 RBIs and a home run in 92 games.

Casey McCarthy — Batavia Muckdogs (Miami Marlins), Low-A, pitcher

The Hart graduate spent most of the season in Batavia after moving over from the Low-A Jupiter Hammerheads after just one appearance. McCarthy finished 2-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 35 innings pitched in 23 appearances out of the bullpen.

Juan Perez — Bakersfield Blaze (Cincinnati Reds), High-A, shortstop

In concluding his third season in the Reds’ organization after being drafted out of College of the Canyons in 2011, Perez ended up batting .251 with 45 RBIs and eight home runs. He was successful in 31-of-42 stolen base attemps in 126 games.

Will Savage — York Revolution (Independent), pitcher

Savage spend the majority of the season with the Lancaster Barstormers before moving to the York Revolution, which also plays in the Atlantic League, late in the season. The 29-year-old played in four games and made three starts for the Revolution and finished 0-1 with a 3.37 ERA in 18 2/3 innings pitched. Overall, between both teams, the former COC player was 9-11 with a 4.58 ERA in 21 appearances in 108 innings.

Chipper Smith – Greensboro Grasshoppers (Miami Marlins), Single-A, pitcher

Smith pitched well enough out of the bullpen this season to eventually earn a starting spot in the final weeks of the season. The 23-year-old left-handed Golden Valley High and COC grad was 1-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings in his six starts. Overall, Smith was 8-3 with a 2.74 ERA, striking out 98 hitters in 88 2/3 innings this season.

Shawn Smith — Les Capitales de Quebec (Independent), pitcher

Though his season began with with Washington WildThings of the independent Frontier League, Smith was signed by Les Capitales de Quebec of the Canadian-American Association on July 31. From there, he turned in a strong stretch of seven appearances, six starts, where he went 3-1 with a 3.59 ERA in 42 2/3 innings of work. He helped the Capitales win a fifth straight league championship. With his stats from the WildThings included, the 2008 Saugus High graduate and former Tampa Bay Rays draft pick finished 6-6 with a 4.71 ERA and 93 srikeouts in 109 innings.

Casey Stevenson — Trenton Thunder (New York Yankees), Double-A, first baseman

The 25-year-old Saugus graduate played for three different minor league teams this season, but most of his time — 67 games — was with the Thunder, batting .228 with two home runs and 16 RBIs. He finished his season with Trenton and played a small amount as a pinch hitter during the team’s run to an Eastern League championship. Stevenson also had short stints with the the High-A Tampa Yankees and the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders this year.

Jenzen Torres — Normal Corn Belters, (Independent), Frontier League, catcher

The Hart High graduate was released by the Corn Belters on July 5. Before that, he was batting. .120 with a home run and three RBIs through 27 games.

Joseph Zeller — Frontier Greys (Independent), Florida State League, High-A, pitcher

Following very short periods with two other independent league teams, Zeller ended up signing with the Greys on April 10. The right-hander went on to finish 8-7 with a 3.22 ERA and 72 strikeouts through 16 starts and 106 innings. The 25-year-old, who was drafted in 2010 out of The Master’s College, also had one start apiece with the Gary SouthShore RailCats and the Sioux City Explorers earlier in the season.


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