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Locals abound in minor leagues

Santa Clarita Valley represented well by recent MLB draft picks

Posted: July 14, 2009 9:31 p.m.
Updated: July 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Tuesday night was the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, but with no local talent involved in the game, here’s a look at the players with Santa Clarita Valley ties who may someday wind up in the Midsummer Classic:

Michael Montgomery — The former Hart High pitcher was selected by the Kansas City Royals with the 36th overall pick in the first round of the 2008 draft. Montgomery is 2-2 with a 1.69 ERA so far this season for the Burlington Bees of the Class A Midwest League. Opposing hitters are batting .200 against Montgomery over 10 starts, and he has allowed nine earned runs on 33 hits to go along with 42 strikeouts.

Michael Hebert — Hebert, a pitcher who was selected in the seventh round of the 2008 draft by the New York Mets, went 2-2 with the GCL Mets in the Rookie Gulf Coast League last season but has not pitched yet this year. Last year, opponents only hit .169 against the right-handed Saugus graduate, and he gave up 15 runs on 11 hits with 19 strikeouts.

Tommy Milone — Drafted in the 10th round in 2008 by the Washington Nationals, the former Saugus and University of Southern California pitcher is 4-4 this season with the Potomac Nationals of the Class A Advanced Carolina League. The left-hander has made nine starts, posting a 3.89 ERA. He whiffed nine on July 1, and followed up that performance with a seven-inning outing in which he only allowed one run to pick up his fourth win.

Travis Babin — Babin was selected in the 16th round of the 2008 draft by the New York Mets, and the right-handed pitcher has thrown nine innings out of the bullpen for the Kingsport Mets, allowing only three runs in eight appearances. He also struck out seven while only walking three.

Steve Susdorf — The former Hart High and Fresno State outfielder was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 19th round of the 2008 draft. He is currently enjoying a strong season for the Clearwater Threshers after being promoted to high A ball. Since the move Susdorf, is hitting .403 for Clearwater with a pair of homers and nine RBIs in 72 at-bats.

Danny Worth — After being picked in the third round by the Detroit Tigers in the 2007 draft, the Valencia High and Pepperdine University product is up to AA ball and hitting .243 in 27 games for the Erie SeaWolves.

John Curtis ­— Curtis was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 14th round of the 2007 draft, and was recently promoted to high A ball. In three games with the Winston Salem Dash, he has a pair of hits and an RBI.

Chris Valaika — The former Hart High and UC Santa Barbara shortstop was drafted in the third round in 2006 by the Cincinnati Reds. Valaika is hitting .231 this season in 72 games with four homers for the Louisville Bats. Last season, Valaika was named the Reds organization’s Minor League Player of the Year.

Casey Mulligan — After being taken by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 22nd round of the 2006 draft, the right-handed pitcher was called up to the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Class A Florida State League earlier this season. The Valencia High School product is 1-2 with a 2.18 ERA over 20 appearances for Palm Beach.

Virgil Hill — Valencia High graduate Virgil Hill was selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft. Hill, who has played at Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar the past two seasons and was taken 189th overall, is currently batting .245 for the GCL Cardinals and already slugged his first homer.

Shane Carlson — After being drafted by the Reds in the 32nd round Carlson already got his first promotion, being called up to Class-A ball where the Stevenson Ranch native is playing with the Sarasota Reds. The infielder already has a pair of RBIs and six hits in his first 18 at bats.

Jared Clark — The Van Nuys native and Valencia grad was taken in the 12th round this year by the Colorado Rockies and has begun his pro career by playing for the Casper Ghosts, hitting .278 with a homer and five RBIs in his first eight games in the minors.

Matt Valaika — Hart graduate and UC Santa Barbara infielder Matt Valaika was chosen by the Cincinnati Reds in the 20th round, but he has yet to play his first game for the organization his brother also plays for.

Kyle Hooper — The former Saugus pitcher was taken by the Pirates in the 28th round, but has not signed with Pittsburgh. He is currently committed to the University of California, Irvine.

Shane Carlson — The Hart alumnus and Stevenson Ranch resident who played his college ball at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was drafted in the 32nd round of this year’s draft by the Reds. He has already gotten his first promotion, getting called up to Class-A ball with the Sarasota Reds where he has already knocked in two runs and picked up six hits in 18 at bats.

Paul Graham Miller — The Master’s College pitcher was 4-2 with a 6.63 ERA in 55 2/3 innings in 2009, and although he is done with his college eligibility, he has yet to appear in a game in 2009.

China McCarney — The former College of the Canyons pitcher was taken in the 33rd round by the  Rays, but he has not yet appeared in a game.

Casey Stevenson — The Saugus graduate and former College of the Canyons infielder was drafted by the Brewers in the 38th round, and has not arrived on the minor league scene as of now.

Brian Hernandez — The Indians selected the former College of the Canyons infielder in the 39th round, but he has yet to make his debut.

Cade Kreuter — The Diamondbacks took Kreuter in the 41st round. As a senior, Kreuter was on the Hart varsity team, but separated his shoulder in the first game of the year and missed the rest of the season. He is committed to play baseball for USC, which is coached by his father and former Major League catcher Chad Kreuter.

Phil Bando — A 45th-round pick of the Angels, Bando recently made his debut for the AZL Angels at Rookie League baseball. He has a pair of RBIs in his first two games and is hitting .333.

Jordan Yallen — The White Sox made Yallen the first Golden Valley player ever to be drafted, but he has already committed to play for Gonzaga next year.


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