Hoffman Highlights Ex-Cats at All-Star Break

July 13, 2009

TUCSON, Ariz. – The 2009 baseball season has been highly successful for many former Arizona baseball players, including the promotion of five Wildcats to Major League debuts, while a handful of other players have turned in sensational seasons across the varying ranks of professional ball.

While younger players such as Trevor Crowe, Mark Melancon, Brad Mills, Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth each have made their debuts in the first half of the season, a long-time MLB veteran – Trevor Hoffman – will represent the Milwaukee Brewers at this week’s festivities for All-Star Game 2009 in St. Louis.

Hoffman, a former shortstop at Arizona, is MLB’s all-time saves leader with 573. It will be the seventh All-Star appearance for Hoffman, who has 20 saves in 22 chances and is 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA this year.

Hoffman is not the only Wildcat who will be participating in All-Star festivities this week as Jordan Brown has been selected to represent the Clippers in the Triple-A All Star Game on July 15th in Portland, Oregon. Brown is turning in his best season as a professional, batting .326 (3rd in International League) with 10 HR and 40 RBI in 74 games. His 22 doubles are second in the league and .524 slugging percentage ranks third.

Here are some notes on other former Wildcats in the professional ranks:

-          Former Co-Pac-10 Player of the Year Trevor Crowe made his MLB debut for the Cleveland Indians on April 9 at Texas. He has since played 30 games for the Indians, but is currently reassigned with the Columbus Clippers in Triple-A. A recent feature on the Columbus Clippers Web site profiled Crowe and spoke to him about his decision to attend the University of Arizona prior to turning professional. Below are a few quotes from the story, which can be read in its entirety here.

'I wanted to go straight into baseball after high school,' Crowe, a native of Portland, Ore., said. 'But after evaluating my choices, I felt it would be best for me to spend three years at a major Division I university, get that experience, and start my professional career at 21 (years-old) instead of 18.'

'The College World Series was a major thrill for me - it's one of the highlights of my baseball career so far,' Crowe said. 'It's tough to take in when you get there because you work so hard to get to that event in your life you just want to keep on winning and playing well.'

'I'm definitely glad I went to school,' Crowe, who studied communications at Arizona, said. 'Not just for the baseball aspect of it but also for the life development because being older, you are more equipped to handle the ups and downs of pro ball.'

-          Dwight Childs, drafted in the 18th Round of this year’s MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Cleveland Indians, signed with his club in June and reported to Mahoning Valley Scrappers. On July 8, he was promoted to Triple-A Columbus where he has yet to appear in a game. But, he has joined Crowe and Brown to give the Columbus clubhouse a Wildcat family feel. Interestingly, it was nearly a quartet of Wildcats in Columbus, but on July 2 the Indians traded John Meloan to the Tampa Bay Rays, where his assigned to Triple-A Durham.

-          Jon Gaston, a 2008 All-Pac-10 honoree and 7th Round selection by the Houston Astros a year ago, has turned in an All-Star season in the Class-A Advanced California League with the Lancaster JetHawks. Gaston, who has twice been named the League’s Player of the Week this season, was selected to the 2009 Carolina-California League all-star game in late June. Gaston blasted a walk-off home run to straightaway center field in the bottom of the 10th inning to provide the winning margin in the game, and he has continued his outstanding play into July as he currently is hitting .303 with 20 home runs, a .630 slugging percentage and an astounding 1.016 on-base plus slugging percentage.

-          2005 draftee Chris Frey (11th Round, Rockies) has moved up the ranks nicely. Now with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in Triple-A, Frey is hitting .268 with three homers, four triples and seven doubles in 74 games.

-          A second former Wildcat, T.J. Steele, is also having an exceptional season playing with Gaston and the JetHawks. Steele, also a 2008 All-Pac-10 player and 4th Round selection by the Astros, is hitting .351 with five home runs, 37 RBI and a .575 slugging percentage this year for the JetHawks.

-          Another 2008 draftee, Colt Sedbrook, has drawn notice in the Cardinals organization. After being drafted in the 22nd Round last summer, Sedbrook went on to earn Baseball America Short-Season All-Star honors after hitting .305 with two homers, 38 runs scored, 33 RBIs and 13 steals in 71 games with Class A Short-Season Batavia of the New York-Penn League. Recently, he was promoted to the Springfield Cardinals of the Double-A Texas League.

-          A pair of 2008 draftees, Mike Colla and Eric Berger, are enjoying successful season with their respective Class-A Advanced organizations. Colla, a 14th Round pick last summer by the Pirates, is 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA while limiting opposing hitters to a .221 clip as a reliever for the Lynchburg Hillcats in the Carolina League. Berger, an 8th Round pick by the A’s, has made 17 starts, earning a 7-6 record despite an impressive 2.31 ERA and 2.22 opposing batting average for the Kinston Indians in the Carolina League.

-          2009 draftee Dillon Baird, the Pac-10 Batting Champion, signed with Angels in June and has continued his hot hitting for the Orem Owlz of the Rookie Pioneer League. Baird is hitting .344 through nine games.

-          2009 seniors Brad Glenn (22nd Round – Bluejays, Auburn Doubledays), Cory Burns (8th Round – Indians, Mahoning Valley Scrappers) and Preston Guilmet (9th Round – Indians, Mahoning Valley Scrappers) each have begun their Class-A Short Seasons. A fourth senior, Hunter Pace, who was not selected in the draft, was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays and is currently playing for the GCL Rays in the Rookie Gulf Coast League.

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