Sunday, October 1 2023

Jul. 1—Just a handful of ex-Illinois baseball players are still active in the MLB system. Staff writer Scott Richey takes a look at how they’re faring this season:

Michael Massey

Massey took advantage of some unvaccinated teammates in 2022 to make his MLB debut with the Kansas City Royals, and the 6-foot, 195-pound college and minor league Gold Glove second baseman basically hasn’t been sent down since. Massey’s second season in The Show has been up-and-down at the plate. He hit .176 in April, .319 in May and back to .118 in June, compiling a .217 season average to go with four home runs and 20 RBI, and he only has an .OPS of .594. The 25-year-old Palos Park native, though, is perfect in the field with zero errors in 186 chances. He’s currently on the 10-day injured list with a hand injury and hasn’t played since June 14.

Nate Lavender

Lavender jumped from Class AA to Class AAA in May with a call-up to the Syracuse Mets. The 6-2, 210-pound left-hander has been just as effective out of the bullpen in the International League as he was with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in the Eastern League. Entering Friday night’s game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the 23-year-old Hudson native is 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA with two saves and two holds in 14 appearances at Syracuse and boasts 24 strikeouts to 11 walks in 152/3 innings.

Garrett Acton

Acton opened the season with the Oakland Athletics, made his MLB debut May 14 and appeared in six games in relief with a 12.71 ERA and five strikeouts in 52/3 innings. The 25-year-old right-hander and Naperville native was optioned back to the Class AAA Las Vegas Aviators on May 29 and placed on the seven-day injured list June 14. At Las Vegas, he was 5-2 with three saves, a 5.59 ERA, 33 strikeouts and 11 walks in 21 games out of the bullpen.


Joey Gerber

Gerber was placed on the 60-day injured list March 31 by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and is out for the season. It’s the latest in a series of injuries that have plagued Gerber’s professional career. The 26-year-old right-hander also missed the entire 2021 season after microdiscectomy surgery on his back. Those injury issues ultimately led to his release by the Seattle Mariners before he was signed last summer as a free agent by the New York Yankees. He last pitched a single inning June 11, 2022, for the Mariners in the Arizona Complex League.

Andy Fisher

Fisher is in his second season with the Class AA Chattanooga Lookouts, as he continues his climb up the Cincinnati Reds organization. And year two in the Southern League has been a good one for the 6-1, 185-pound left-handed reliever. The 27-year-old Fisher has made 26 appearances out of the Lookouts’ bullpen and has a 2-0 record and one save to go with a 3.90 ERA — his best since his debut season at two lower levels. Fisher has also logged 31 strikeouts and 12 walks in 272/3 innings entering Friday night’s game against the Tennessee Smokies.


Andrew Hoffmann

Hoffmann is back with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals — the Class AA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals — after landing in Springdale, Ark., following a midseason trade last July from the Atlanta Braves. But it’s been a rough season for the 6-5, 210-pound native of Joliet. Hoffmann has started 13 games for the Travelers and is 2-5 with a 6.28 ERA, a .302 batting average against, 61 strikeouts and 27 walks in 612/3 innings.

Ty Weber

Weber’s third season in the minors has gone much like his first two, with multiple stops in the San Francisco Giants system. The 6-4, 220-pound right-handed reliever played at three levels in 2021, four in 2022 and two so far this year. Weber got a short call-up in early May to the Class AAA Sacramento River Cats — throwing five innings of relief in consecutive appearances (1.80 ERA) — but he’s spent the bulk of the year with the High Class A Eugene Emeralds. Weber is 3-2 with a 10.08 ERA, 16 strikeouts and 12 walks in 272/3 innings at Eugene.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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