April 7, 2011
By Shawn Sell
While the 2011 college baseball season is in full swing, the professional ranks are just getting started and across the nation, the University of Cincinnati is well represented. Once again headlining the list is Boston Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis. While Youkilis has already realized his Major League dream, several other former Bearcats are working their way up through the minor league ranks, including three who will start the season just one step shy of "The Show."
As the minor league season gets underway this week, former Bearcats Ryan Baker, Tony Campana and Josh Harrison have all received promotions to their organization's Triple-A club, the top level of minor league baseball. Here is a capsule look at former Bearcats playing in the pro ranks.
C Ryan Baker, now in his fourth year as a New York Yankees farmhand, will begin the season on the disabled list with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Baker split time between the Class A Tampa Yankees and Double-A Trenton Thunder last season.
OF Tony Campana will take his talents (and speed) to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs for the start of the 2011 season. Drafted out of UC in 13th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs, Campana was a Southern League All-Star last season with the Tennessee Smokies and finished second in the league in batting, average, hits and stolen bases. He was also cited as the "Best Hustler" in the Southern League.
1B Lance Durham will start on the disabled list with the Class A Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League this season. Durham, a 14th round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2009 MLB Draft, hit nine home runs and drove in 35 runs last season, playing for the Class A Short-Season Auburn Doubledays.
LHP Brian Garman, who earned a save for the MLB Milwaukee Brewers in Spring Training, will open the 2011 season as a member of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League. Garman enjoyed a stellar professional rookie campaign last year, ranking fourth in the Pioneer League with nine saves, while also closing out the Helena Brewers league championship clinching victory.
INF Josh Harrison, ranked by Baseball America as the 30th best prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates' farm system, kicks off 2011 with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians of the International League. Ranked among the Eastern League leaders in a myriad of offensive categories last season, Harrison was an EL All-Star and his team's Unsung Hero Award winner.
C Jimmy Jacquot played last season with the Class A Short Season Everett AquaSox, clubbing four home runs in 37 games and helping his team grab the Northwest League title. Jacquot will likely being his 2011 season later this year in the Chicago White Sox organization.
LHP Kevin Johnson earned a promotion to the Class A Hickory Crawdads of the South Atlantic League for the start of 2011. After being drafted in the 42nd round by the Texas Rangers last season, Johnson turned in a sparkling 1.24 ERA in 18 appearances for the Spokane Indians as a rookie.
LHP Dan Osterbrock is back with the Class A Fort Myers Miracle of the Florida State League as 2011 gets underway. After tossing a no-hitter for the Beloit Snappers last May, Osterbrock was promoted to Fort Myers where he ended up leading the league with a 2.73 ERA in 18 starts.
1B Logan Parker is headed back to the Gateway Grizzlies of the independent Frontier League next month. Last season with the Grizzlies, Parker led the league in doubles and was named to the Frontier League All-Star Game.
INF Mike Spina, fresh off a 23 home run performance last season, begins 2011 as a member of the Midland RockHounds of the Double-A Texas League. A former 11th round draft pick of the Oakland A's, Spina was among the league leaders in home runs, RBI and walks last season with the Class A Stockton Ports.
INF Kevin Youkilis is in his sixth season with the Boston Red Sox. Youkilis holds a career batting average of .293 with 112 home runs in 796 career MLB games.