Half Way There: A Mid-Season Look at Estranged Friars

We’ve reached the half way point of the 2008 MLB season. I think that’s just cause to take a look at some of the seasons that former Fort Wayne Wizards are producing thus far. First up, the Estranged Friars. These former Wizards are no longer playing in the Padres organization but are still active in Minor League Baseball.

  • 2002
    • Cassel, Jack (Astros AAA): The former Wizards pitcher has spent 2008 up and down between Triple A and the MLB level. He’s been at Triple-A Round Rock since June 1, and currently is on the disabled list. Interesting trivia: Cassel’s brother, Matt, is a backup quarterback for the New England Patriots and his brother, Justin, is a pitcher in the Chicago White Sox organization.
    • Knott, Jon (Phillies AAA): The former Wizards outfielder is currently with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs as they enjoy their inaugural season. He’s put together a .295 batting average with 8 home runs, 35 runs batted and scoring 29 runs over 190 at-bats.
    • Trzesniak, Nick (Tigers AAA): The former first round pick of the Padres (51st overall)in 1999 made it as high as AAA-Portland with the Friars before they released him in 2005. Since that time, the catcher has sojourned to Texas, to Florida, to Detroit, back to Texas, and currently is back in Detroit organization with Toledo. He’s got a .224 average with 3 dingers and 16 RBI’s over 32 games. He is currently on the disabled list.
  • 2003
    • Cruz, Luis (Pirates AA): Playing for the Altoona Curve, Luis Cruz is hitting .263 with 3 home runs and 34 runs batted in over 274 at-bats. He’s struck out just 23 times despite only drawing 14 walks.
    • David Freese (Cardinals AAA): Thanks to David Freese, the Cubs were able to sign Jim Edmonds after the Padres released him. An odd way to pull a three team trade, but the Cubs are happy with how it worked out. Freese has spent the 2008 season at Triple-A Memphis where he is hitting .265 over 75 games with 12 home runs, 42 runs batted in and 22 walks. Maybe the Cubs would have taken him too; he’s hitting .426 in day games.
    • Guzman, Freddy (Tigers AAA): Guzman is another former Padres prospect who is getting renewed life in the Tigers organization. Guzman (who has appeared at the MLB level) is hitting .275 with 3 home runs and 22 RBIs over 77 games. He’s scored 69 runs and stolen 20 bases on the season that has seen him split time between Toledo (his current club) and Erie.
    • Hamilton, Clayton (Rangers AA): Following a promotion to AA Frisco, Hamilton has had a rough go of things. He’s appeared in 3 games, taken two losses and has a 27.00 ERA. He’s given up 9 runs, 6 of them earned in just two innings pitched. This follows on the heals of a 1-1 performance and 3.13 ERA at High-A. So maybe he’ll settle in.
    • Huber, Jon (Mariners AAA): He’ appeared in 29 games and has a bloated 6.03 ERA over 37.1 innings pitched. He’s struck out 27 and walked 13 for the Tacoma Rainiers.
    • Jones, Kennard (Orioles AA): The outfielder has a .257 batting average with 1 home run, 16 RBI’s and 6 stolen bases on the season.
    • Pauley, David (Red Sox AAA): He had a taste of MLB action in 2006 and finally got back for a bit this year. On the season at Pawtucket, Pauley is 10-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 16 starts. He’s struck out 59 and walked 26 while allowing 35 earned runs. He is on Boston’s 40-man roster and likely will see more MLB action before the season is up.
    • Thayer, Dale (Rays AAA): Playing in his second season with the storied Durham Bulls, the relief pitcher is putting together a solid season and is on the Triple-A All Star Roster (I’ll be there and I’ll get pictures). He’s got a 1.48 ERA with 1 win and 9 saves over 33 games. In 42.2 innings pitched, he has 53 K’s to just 14 walks. If the Rays continue to have bumps and bruises in their pitching staff, we might see him make his debut before the year is out. The Rays acquired him as the PTBNL in the deal that sent Russell Branyon to the Padres in 2006.
  • 2004
    • Bonine, Eddie (Tigers MLB): Made his Major League debut on June 14 and looked pretty solid until today. For more info on Bonine, see my earlier post.
    • Bonvechio, Bret (White Sox A): After toiling in the indy circuit, he’s back with a MLB organization and playing at Class-A Charlotte for the Chicago White Sox. For more on Bonvechio, see my earlier post.
    • Chick, Travis (Mariners AA): Pitching for the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, Chick has compiled a 4.72 ERA with a 2-4 record over 21 games; five of them starts. He’s struck out 47 and walked 28 over 61 innings pitched. Chick was drafted by the Marlins in 2002 and traded to the Padres in 2004, who traded him and Justin Germano to the Reds for Joe Randa in 2005. The Reds then traded Chick to the Mariners in 2006 in the deal that Eddie Guardado to Cincinnati. (Germano, also a former Wizard was later picked up off waivers from the Phillies, who traded Rheal Cormier to the Reds for him.)
    • Ciriaco, Juan (Giants A+): The shortstop is hitting just .176 with 15 hits, six RBI’s and five runs over 36 games for Class-A San Jose.
    • Kottaras, George (Red Sox AAA): The former Wizards catcher is hitting .233 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI’s over 253 at-bats for Pawtucket, his second season at Triple-A. He came into the Red Sox organization in 2006 as the PTBNL that sent David Wells to San Diego.
    • Rosales, Leo (Diamondbacks MLB): Leo Rosales made his MLB debut earlier this season. For more on Rosales, see my earlier post.
    • Wells, Jared (Mariners AAA): Wells was the first former Wizards player to debut in 2008. However, he was sent down to Triple-A Portland a short while later before being traded to the Mariners for Cha Seung Baek. He has since remained at Triple-A.
  • 2006
    • Burke, Kyler (Cubs A). Haven’t heard much from this once promising prospect. After being traded to the Cubs in the Rob Bowen deal that also sent Michael Barrett to the Padres, Burke has pretty much dropped off the radar. He is currently playing in Class-A Short-Season Northwest League for the Boise Hawks. He has a less than stellar .139 average in 36 at-bats.
    • Link, John (White Sox AA): With the Birmingham Barons, Link is 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 31 strike-outs over 32 innings pitched; all of them in relief, where he has picked up 22 saves on the season. The White Sox acquired Link from the Padres last year for Rob Mackowiak.
    • Ramirez, Yordany (Astros AAA): Ramirez was an interesting signing by the Astros in the off-season that enabled Houston to make a trade with the Atlanta Braves to acquire Oscar Villarreal for center fielder Josh Anderson. On the season, he’s hitting .229 in 73 games with the Round Rock Express. He has 4 home runs, 25 RBI’s and 15 stolen bases.
  • 2007
    • Pickett, Justin (Rangers A): Wizards fans didn’t see much of the catcher since he appeared in just two games. He was released by the Padres in spring training this year and signed by the Rangers, where he’s split time between Clinton of the Midwest League and Spokane of the Class A Short-Season Northwest League. Though he has appeared in just 18 games, he’s hitting .359 with 3 home runs and 19 RBI’s in 64 total at-bats. His 6 walks has help to inch his OBP up to .429. More on Pickett here.

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