Gems on the Diamond
As the Major League Baseball season makes the turn toward the second half of the year — notably, with former Stetson star Jacob DeGrom having pitched in the July 9 MLB All-Star Game — the minor leagues are dotted with other former Hatters who are working their way toward the dream of someday playing in The Bigs.
Here is a look at how those Hatters from yesteryear, listed alphabetically, are doing this summer. (Another version of this article was originally published June 30 on GoHatters.com.)
Logan Gilbert – Modesto Nuts (Class A Advanced) – California League
The highest drafted player in Stetson history wasted no time in making his first move up the organizational ladder for the Mariners, earning promotion from West Virginia in the South Atlantic League to Modesto after just five starts. He has done nothing to indicate that move was unwarranted since arriving in California, posting a 4-2 record for the Nuts with a 2.15 ERA in his first 10 starts. Over 50.1 innings for the Nuts he had 58 strikeouts, which gave him a total of 94 Ks over 73 innings this summer.
Joey Gonzalez – Quad Cities River Bandits (Class A) – Midwest League
A 28th round selection of the Astros last summer, Gonzalez has continued the good work he did as a junior for the Hatters on the mound this summer. Out of the bullpen for the River Bandits (Davenport, Iowa), Gonzalez had a 2-1 record with one save and a 2.45 ERA in 11 games. He pitched in five games early in the year for the Class A Advanced Fayetteville Woodpeckers, going 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA. Combined, he was 2-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 16 games, with 36 strikeouts in 36.1 innings of work.
Mitchell Jordan – Stockton Ports (Class A Advanced) – California League
After having a strong 2018 season in Wisconsin, Jordan his holding his own on the mound in the hitter-friendly California League. In his first 16 appearances, including 14 starts, Jordan had a 6-4 record with a 4.59 ERA. In 84.1 innings he had 85 strikeouts. After allowing just nine home runs in 25 outings at Beloit last year, he had surrendered 16 so far this summer, but was holding opposing batters to a .262 average.
Patrick Mazeika – Binghamton Ruble Ponies (Class AA) – Eastern League
Playing almost exclusively as a catcher, the eighth round selection of the New York Mets (2015) is spending his second summer in Binghamton. Mazeika, who is now 25 years old, has improved his hitting this summer. He has posted a slash line (Avg./OBP/Slugging) of .254/.322/424 through 64 games. He had already surpassed his 2018 season totals for doubles (16) and RBI (43) and his eight homers was one shy of his 2018 total.
Ben Onyshko – West Virginia Power (Class A) – South Atlantic League
A 24th round selection by Seattle last summer, Onyshko is having a good season in Charleston. The left-hander had appeared in 21 games this year, all in relief, posting a 2-0 record with a 3.40 ERA in 39.2 innings of work with 45 strikeouts. One of those two wins came on April 15 in a game against the Lakewood Blue Claws, when he worked two innings of relief in a game that was started by Gilbert for the Power and Jack Perkins for the BlueClaws.
Vlad Nunez – AZL White Sox (Rookie) – Arizona League
After signing as a free agent following a strong senior season, Nunez had appeared in four games, all in relief, for his Arizona Rookie League squad. In seven innings, he allowed three runs on seven hits with 11 strikeouts.
Jack Perkins – Lakewood BlueClaws (Class A) – South Atlantic League
Unfortunately for Perkins, that game on April 15 against Gilbert, Onyshko and the Power is the last time he has pitched this year. He had just three appearances, two starts, before going on the injured list. He is 0-1 with a 2.53 ERA with 16 strikeouts in just 10.2 innings of work. As the calendar turned to July, Perkins was back throwing and expecting to face live hitters soon, with a return to active duty some time later in the month.
Mitchell Senger – GCL Mets (Rookie) – Gulf Coast League
After making two appearances in Roanoke in the Appalachian League, the 24th round selection of the Mets was sent back to Port St. Lucie. In his two games as a professional, Senger struggled with his control, walking eight in just one-third of an inning.
Walker Sheller – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Class A Advanced) – Carolina League
A ninth round selection by Kansas City in 2016, Sheller opened the 2019 campaign with the Class AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals. After making 13 appearances for the Naturals, all in relief, with an 0-2 record and one save with a 9.00 ERA, Sheller was placed on the injured list on June 3. He was activated on June 27 and sent back to Wilmington for a rehab assignment.
Mike Spooner – Greenville Reds (Rookie Advanced) – Appalachian League
After signing as a free agent last summer and spending the season splitting time between Billings and Dayton, Spooner had to wait until after the 2019 draft (in earlier June) to get assigned to Greenville, where he had played in five games. He collected two hits in 15 at bats with a double and two runs batted in.
Vance Vizcaino – Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA) – Eastern League
Vizcaino is spending his first season in the Eastern League with the Colorado Rockies’ affiliate after being released by Kansas City in the spring. An 11th round selection in 2016, Vizcaino posted a slash of .219/.305/.400 while adjusting to play at the AA level. While his average was not where he’d like, he had 10 extra-base hits in just 34 games played with four doubles, three triples and three homers, with 13 RBI.
Brooks Wilson – Florida Fire Frogs (Class A Advanced) – Florida State League
No former Hatter is easier to see play than Wilson, a seventh round selection of the Braves last summer. Wilson had appeared in 13 games for the Fire Frogs, earning a win while posting a 1.44 ERA. In his second start, he pitched five shutout innings, allowing one hit with five strikeouts. He also threw an inning in the league All-Star game on June 15, recording a pair of strikeouts in a perfect frame. He had 25 strikeouts in his first 28.2 innings of work on the mound.
Editor’s note: For more about Stetson Athletics, visit GoHatters.com.