Wausau, WI - June 30th, 2010 (PRESS RELEASE) - As the 2010 MLB and MiLB seasons roll on, it's time for an update on the Wisconsin Woodchucks alumni littered across professional baseball. As many as seven former Woodchucks have seen time in the Major Leagues this season, with a couple more waiting for their chance in AAA.
The most prominent of all ‘Chucks Alumni currently in the Majors, the Tampa Bay Rays' All-Star Ben Zobrist, is having a solid if not spectacular year once again. In 74 games, Zobrist has a .293 BA, a .376 OBP, 12 stolen bases, and 40 RBI- all while playing plus defense at several different positions.
Casey Janssen has been hurling for the Toronto Blue Jays since 2006, and has found some success in the bullpen thus far on the season. Through 33.1 innings pitched, Janssen is 4-0 and has struck out 33 batters on the season- one for every inning pitched.
Mark Lowe, a valued Seattle Mariners' righty reliever, pitched well over his first eleven appearances this season posting a 3.48 ERA. However, Lowe's season ended prematurely on May 3rd, as he was placed on the DL to undergo lower back surgery.
Madison native Pat Neshek has recovered from Tommy John surgery, which kept him out of action for the duration of the 2009 season. However, the sidearmed righty will now have to fight his way back to the Twins from their minor league system. The four-year MLB veteran began the 2010 season with the Twins, but injured his throwing hand in an early appearance prompting a DL stint, followed by an option to AAA. Neshek should find his time short in the minors however, as he has consistently mowed down his opposition in all but one minor league appearance.
Antigo native Justin Berg made the Cubs roster out of spring training, and made 14 appearances before being shipped back down to AAA Iowa, presumably to fine tune his control. Odds are Justin will be back in a Chicago Cubs uniform before long, as he is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA 20.2 innings pitched for the Iowa Cubs.
Jay Buente got a cup of tea with the Florida Marlins earlier this season, making appearances in four games before being sent back to AAA New Orleans. It appears that Buente's numbers aren't the problem, as he is pitching quite well for the New Orleans Zephyrs, so it should only be a matter of time for Buente to get a second chance.
Former Chicago White Sox first round pick Lance Broadway has found his way to the Toronto Blue Jays' AAA affiliate, where he will look to prove his worth to a talented Jay's pitching corps.
Daniel Descalso, a 23-year-old second basemen already in AAA ball, is making a name for himself as a top prospect in the St Louis Cardinals organization. After being invited to Major League spring training, Descalso would bat .500 playing with the big boys at second base. Playing a premium defensive position, Descalso looks poised for a call-up with a .274 BA, a .357 OBP, 52 RBI, and a 36:30 BB:SO ratio.
MiLB A and Rookie ball teems with Woodchucks alums, and with 16 ‘Chucks being drafted this spring, a new crop of Woodchucks will get a chance to see their Major League dreams come to fruition.
Courtesy: Wisconsin Woodchucks