FotF: Chukars Check-In Part 2 (The New Blood)

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As I mentioned last week there are several players getting their professional careers underway in Idaho Falls this summer. My original plan last week was to cover these players – and the rest of the current Chukars roster – in one column. However by the time I had done my intro and write ups of Darian Sandford and Henry Moreno I was already at about 1,600 words and it became clear I needed to break things up into multiple parts.

Which brings us to today and part 2 of the Chukars Check-In. This time around I will actually touch on the 5 NDFA’s (non-drafted free agents) who joined the Royals organization this summer as well as the 8 players currently in Idaho Falls that were drafted in June. There is a 14th player that is new to the Kansas City system this year (and playing for the Chukars) who is included, but he actually made his professional debut in 2009.

The Outlier

OF Runey Davis is that 14th player and he’s a bit different than the other 13 players given that he’s not a rookie. He was drafted by the Pirates in the 11th round of the 2007 draft but instead went to the University of Texas and then transferred to Howard JC (Texas). Two years later the Cubs selected him in the 12th round of the 2009 draft and signed him. After 6 games with the AZL Cubs, he spent the bulk of his season with the Boise Hawks in the Northwest League and hit 0.246/.325/.361 in 53 games between the two stops. He returned to Boise to start the 2010 season but was released on July 8th after hitting 0.174/.191/.391 in 14 games.

The Kansas City Royals stepped in and signed him to a contract at the beginning of March. It appears to have been a shrewd move and the Cubs may have given up just a tad early. Now 22 years old, Davis is hitting 0.366/.469/.622 with 13 XBH in 24 games with the Chukars. Perhaps most encouraging is his improved SO-to-BB rate. After accumulating just 18 BB to go with 85 SO in the Cubs organization, Davis has already drawn 16 walks and struck out just 26 times with the Chukars.

The Non-Drafted Free Agents

OF Chris Elder (22) hit 0.326/.425/.562 as a senior for Oral Roberts University and was an alternate on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. Though he wasn’t selected in the draft, he stood out with Team USA this summer and did enough to get the Royals attention. He signed in the first week of July and made his Chukars debut on July 15th. Elder has only played 5 games in Idaho Falls but he’s off to a great start with a 0.438/.550/.688 line in 5 G and 16 AB.

RHP Cody Fassold (22) was surely elated when college teammates Zach Arneson and Tyler Barrett were drafted in the 9th and 20th rounds respectively. However, Fassold who threw 59.2 IP with a 3.32 ERA, 62 SO and 34 BB for Lewis-Clark State College this past season went undrafted. He may have been disappointed his name didn’t get called but he didn’t have long to wait before landing a contract as the Royals signed him on June 9th. He appeared in one game with the AZL Royals and threw 3.0 shutout innings before joining the Chukars. So far he has a 0.00 ERA, 1.034 WHIP and 11.2 SO/9 in 9.2 IP with Idaho Falls.

OF Justin Fradejas (22) was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 35th round of the 2010 draft but chose to transfer to Auburn University instead of signing. He hit 0.316/.381/.419 in 215 AB with the Tigers this spring and signed with the Royals on June 27th. Through 10 games with Idaho Falls he’s hit 0.308/.455/.462 with a 5-to-7 BB-to SO rate.

RHP Nathan Johnson (22) attended and pitched for Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. He signed with the Royals on June 13th and made 7 appearances (11.1 IP) with the AZL Royals before being assigned to Idaho Falls on July 10th. With the Chukars he has a 6.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 7.5 SO/9 in 6.0 IP.

C Tyler Smith (22) played for Arkansas State University and signed with the Royals as a NDFA on June 10th. He played his first game with the Burlington Royals on June 27th and went 0-4 before being assigned to Idaho Falls the following day. In 9 games as a Chukar he’s hitting 0.050/.174/.050 with 3 BB and 12 SO.

Draft Selections

Now that we’ve reached the section of players who were drafted by the Royals in June, it’s time for the lightning round.

RHP Kellen Moen (23) – 7th round selection out of the University of Oregon – Signed on June 13th

6 G (4 GS), 20.1 IP, 7.08 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 11.5 SO/9 and 3.5 BB/9

RHP Aaron Brooks (21) – 9th round selection out of Cal State San Bernardino – Signed on June 8th

6 G (4 GS), 27.0 IP, 4.67 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 7.7 SO/9 and 0.7 BB/9

1B Richard Espy (Dean) (21) – 15th round selection out of UCLA – Signed on June 13th

0.311/.393/.519, 10 2B, 4 HR, 10 BB and 30 SO in 122 PA

LHP David Middendorf (22) – 22nd round selection out of Northern Kentucky University – Signed on June 10th

8 G, 15.0 IP, 6.60 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 7.8 SO/9 and 3.6 BB/9

C Lance Harper (21) – 23rd round selection out of Scottsdale CC – Signed on June 10th

0.222/.222/.278, 1 2B, 0 BB, 3 SO in 18 PA

RHP Spencer Patton (23) – 24th round selection out of Southern Illinois University – Signed on June 13th

7 G (2 GS), 19.2 IP, 5.03 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 12.4 SO/9 and 4.1 BB/9

3B Mark Threlkeld (21) – 25th round selection out of Louisiana Tech University – Signed on June 10th

0.255/.302/.367, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 BB and 33 SO in 106 PA

OF Tyler Chism (22) – 43rd round selection out of Gonzaga University – Signed on June 10th

0.273/.377/.436, 4 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 10 BB and 19 SO in 130 PA

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Tags: Aaron Brooks Chris Elder David Middendorf Idaho Falls Chukars Justin Fradejas Kansas City Royals Kellen Moen Lance Harper Mark Threlkeld Nathan Johnson Richard Espy Runey Davis Spencer Patton Tyler Chism Tyler Smith

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