CLARKSVILLE – With its record draft class reporting to summer leagues, Austin Peay State University’s baseball team now claims a record 14 former student-athletes playing professional baseball.
The Governors saw a record five players selected in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player draft in June. Each of the five signed a professional contract and reported to leagues across the country.
Pitcher Lee Ridenhour was assigned to the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Philadelphia Phillies Class A short-season league team. In addition the four remaining members of the 2013 Draft Class were assigned to their respective team’s rookie league teams in Arizona or Florida.
Ridenhour has made two appearances for Williamsport in his first week with the team, including two scoreless innings, Sunday. Infielder Craig Massoni also has made two appearances for the Giants’ Arizona League squad and is 3-for-7 with two walks. Infielder Reed Harper has appeared once for the Braves’ Gulf Coast League team and also recorded his first professional hit.
Pitcher Tyler Rogers (AZL Giants) and infielder Jordan Hankins (AZL Cubs) have reported to their teams in Arizona but have not been assigned to an official roster.
That quintet will look to follow in the footsteps of the Govs three active major league players: catcher A.J. Ellis and relief pitchers Shawn Kelley and Matt Reynolds.
Ellis, a 2003 draftee, began the season as the Los Angeles Dodgers No. 1 catcher. He recently returned to action following a stint on the 15-day disabled list and is batting .252 with 14 RBI in 49 games played this season.
Kelley, a 2007 draftee, was traded to the New York Yankees during the offseason and is piecing together an impressive campaign. In 27 games, he has struck out 43 batters – two shy of his career best in the majors (45 in 44.1 innings at Seattle last season) – in just 27.2 innings, accumulating a 3-0 record and 4.55 ERA.
Reynolds, also a 2007 draftee, was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the winner and also has made an impact with his new club. Prior to an injury that placed him on the 15-day disabled list, he had amassed 23 strikeouts in 27.1 innings pitched. Reynolds has two saves and a 1.98 ERA in 30 relief appearances this season.
Pitcher George Sherrill, a 1999 free-agent signee, began the season at Triple-A with the Omaha Stormchasers – a Kansas City Royals affiliate. He has made 20 appearances this season and has 29 strikeouts in 20.2 innings pitched.
All three members of the 2011 Draft class remain active in the minor leagues. Pitchers Ryne Harper and Jack Snodgrass are both at the Double-AA level and pitcher Jeremy Dobbs is one step behind at the Advanced-A level.
Ryne Harper has posted a 4-2 record with four saves and a 2.49 ERA in 16 relief appearances for the Mississippi Braves. Snodgrass has an impressive 6-3 record and 2.82 ERA in 13 starts with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Dobbs moved up the Advanced-A High Desert Mavericks during the season and has responded with a 2-0 record and 1.35 ERA in 11 relief appearances with his new club.
In addition, two former Governors have begun their professional careers in independent leagues. Pitcher Casey Delgado signed a free-agent contract with the Frontier Greys of the Frontier League. Infielder Greg Bachman is playing with the Fort Worth Cats of the United Baseball League.
Delgado has made two appearances with the Frontier Greys, including a start at Evansville, Saturday. He has not allowed an earned run in 4.2 innings, and struck out five batters. Bachman is batting .278 with 24 RBI in 30 games this season and has had the opportunity to bat behind former Major Leaguer Jose Canseco at times this season.