Baseball

Mocs In the Pros: All-Star Break Update

Matt Joyce of the Tampa Bay Rays is one of 10 Mocs playing professional baseball.Matt Joyce of the Tampa Bay Rays is one of 10 Mocs playing professional baseball.

LAKELAND - Ten former Florida Southern Moccasins have continued their success on the diamond as Major League Baseball has reached its annual All-Star Break.

Among the 10 former Moccasins playing professional baseball, one of them is in the majors at the All-Star Break, while three others are playing in Triple A, one is in Double A, one is in Advanced A, two are in Single A and two others are at the Rookie level.

The one major leaguer is Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Matt Joyce. Joyce, who is in his sixth major league season, comes into the second half of the MLB season hitting 270 with 70 hits, 33 runs scored, 17 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 39 RBIs. In addition, he has drawn 35 walks, has a .352 on-base percentage and a .425 slugging percentage. Over his last 10 games heading into the All-Star Break, Joyce hit .333 as he has had 13 hits, scored seven runs, hit four home runs, including his third career multi-homer game at Baltimore on June 29. In that same game, Joyce also tied a Tampa Bay franchise record with five hits in six at-bats and also had 12 total bases. 

Joyce and Rays, who are currently 44-53 overall in the AL East standings and are 9.5 games behind division leading Baltimore, open the second-half of the major league season with a three-game series beginning on Friday at Minnesota.   

Among the former Mocs in Triple A are longtime major league veteran pitcher Brett Tomko. Tomko, who pitched for 10 major league teams in 15 seasons and has a 100-103 career record in the majors, is currently pitching for the Colorado Sky Sox, who are the Triple A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. On the season, Tomko, who began the season in Triple A with the Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City), has a 2-2 record and a 6.26 ERA in seven starts with the Sky Sox. Overall on the year, he is 6-5 with a 4.70 ERA in 16 appearances and 15 starts. He has thrown a total of 74.2 innings on the season and has allowed 90 hits, 39 earned runs, walked 25 and struck out 51. Colorado is the ninth different Pacific Coast League team (Triple A) Tomko has played for in his professional career after being drafted in the second round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds.  

Another former Moccasin in Triple A is pitcher Gus Schlosser. Schlosser, who began the 2014 season on the Atlanta Braves 25-man opening day roster and made his major league debut with a 14 pitch outing against the Milwaukee Brewers on March 31, is currently serving as a starter for the Gwinnett Braves of the International League. Since being sent down to Gwinnett from Atlanta, Schlosser has compiled a 5-5 record and a 4.00 ERA in 14 appearances and 12 starts. He appeared in 10 games out of the bullpen for the Braves as he compiled an 0-1 record and a 4.50 ERA. In 74.1 innings of work in Triple A, Schlosser, who was a 17th round selection in the 2011 MLB Draft, has allowed 67 hits, 35 runs (33 earned runs), walked 32 and struck out 50. In his minor league career, Schlosser has compiled a 27-18 career record and has a 3.01 ERA. In 87 appearances, including 64 starts, he has thrown one complete game and one shutout and has recorded a save. In 409.2 innings of work, he has walked just 114 batters and struck out 332 and has a 7.3 strikeout per nine inning ratio and a 2.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The third Moc playing currently in Triple A is catcher Jeff Howell, who is playing for the Syracuse (N.Y.) Chiefs of the International League. Syracuse is the Triple A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Howell, who was a 10th round selection by Kansas City in the 2005 MLB Draft, is hitting .222 in 19 games with the Chiefs. He is currently on the 7-day disabled list. Howell, who has played for 10 different minor league teams in three different organizations, has spent the entire 2014 campaign in Syracuse after splitting time last season between Syracuse (13 games) and Double A Harrisburg (30 games). In 561 career minor league games, Howell, who was a member of FSC's 2005 Division II National Championship team, has recorded 484 hits, 214 runs and has hit 34 home runs.

Michael Snyder, who is currently playing for the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League. The Travelers are the Double A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. Snyder, who has been a postseason All-Star in his first two professional seasons, has played in 26 games for the Travelers this season. He was injured in late April and returned the Arkansas line-up on July 5 after playing five games in the Arizona Rookie League. On the season, he has recorded 17 hits, scored six runs, hit four doubles, one home run and has had six RBIs in Double A. Last season playing for Single A Advanced Inland Empire, Snyder, who was a 23rd round selection by the Angels in the 2011 MLB Draft, hit .280 in 137 games and recorded 148 hits, scored 70 runs, had 32 doubles, six triples, had 25 home runs and 92 RBIs. He was named the California League Player of the Week on July 15, 2013 and was also named a California League Postseason All-Star last season.

Wade Kirkland, who was a 11th round selection in the 2010 MLB Draft by the Oakland A's, is currently playing shortstop for the Stockton Ports of the Class A Advanced California League. On the season, Kirkland has played in 46 games and is hitting .253 as he has recorded 40 hits, scored 17 runs, hit 12 doubles, three home runs and has had 16 RBIs in 158 at-bats. He has an on-base percentage of .306 and a slugging percentage of .386. In his four-plus seasons in the minors, Kirkland has played in 366 games and has recorded 312 hits, scored 164 runs and has had 79 doubles, six triples and 20 home runs. Along with playing 46 games this season with Stockton, he played two games earlier this season with Oakland's Triple A affiliate in Sacramento.

Daniel Tillman, who was a second round selection (81st overall pick) of the Los Angeles Angels in the 2010 MLB Draft, is currently pitching in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization with its Class A Advanced affiliate Rancho Cucamonga. Tillman, who advanced to Double A Arkansas last season in the Angels organization before being released during spring training this year, has made 20 appearances out of the bullpen for Rancho Cucamonga. In 28 innings of work, he has posted a 2-0 record and a 5.46 ERA as he has allowed 28 hits, 20 runs (17 earned runs), while walking 15 and striking out 25. Over his last 10 outings, Tillman is 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA and has struck out 10 batters and walked just two. In four-plus professional seasons, Tillman, who has made a total of 131 appearances on the mound at four different levels, has a career record of 13-13 and a career ERA of 4.07. In addition, he has recorded 32 saves, including 10 as a rookie playing with Orem (Utah) in 2010. In 203.1 career innings of work, Tillman has allowed 159 hits, 110 runs (92 earned runs), while walking 113 and striking out 229. He has a career 10.1 strikeouts-per-nine inning ratio and a career 2.03 strikeouts-to-walk ratio.

Austin Chubb, who was a 21st round selection in the 2012 MLB by the Washington Nationals, is currently a back-up catcher for the Hagerstown Suns of the Class A South Atlantic League. He began the 2014 season playing with Hagerstown, before being sent to play three games with the Auburn Doubledays of the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League and then he returned to Hagerstown on June 30. In five games with Hagerstown this season, Chubb is hitting .262 as he has recorded five hits, scored four runs, hit two doubles, one home run and has had three RBIs in 19 at-bats. While playing three games with Auburn, Chubb hit .286 as he had two hits and scored three runs in seven at-bats and recorded two RBIs. In his two-plus year professional career, Chubb has played in 63 games and has recorded 42 hits, scored 18 runs, hit 11 doubles, three home runs and has had 23 RBIs.

The final two Mocs in the professional ranks are outfielder Keith Curcio and first baseman Trey Vavra, who were drafted in the 2014 MLB Draft that was conducted this past June.

Curcio, who was a junior in 2014 for the Mocs, was picked in the sixth round (193rd overall selection) of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves. Curcio is currently on the 60-day disabled list after suffering a season-ending foot injury just eight games into his tenure with the Class A Rome Braves. In eight games with Rome, Curcio, who began his professional career with the Rookie Appalachian League Danville Braves, was hitting .316 as he had recorded six hits, scored four runs, hit two doubles, one home run and had 5 RBIs in 19 at-bats. He hit his first professional home run against Charleston on July 4 and had a three-hit game against Savannah in his Rome debut. Prior to playing in Rome, Curcio played eight games in Danville and was hitting .259 as he had recorded seven hits, scored six runs, hit two doubles and had four RBIs in 27 at-bats. In 16 career games, Curcio is hitting .283 as he has recorded 13 hits, scored 10 runs, hit four doubles, one home run and has had 9 RBIs.

Vavra, who was a senior in 2014 for the Mocs, was picked in the 33rd round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins. He is currently playing for the Twins rookie level affiliate, the Elizabethton Twins of the Appalachian League. In 16 games with Elizabethton, Vavra is hitting .310 as he has recorded 18 hits, scored 11 runs, hit five doubles, one triple and hit his first professional home run on July 12 at Danville. In addition, he has recorded 11 RBIs, has 28 total bases and has drawn seven walks and has a .483 slugging percentage. Over his last 10 games, Vavra is hitting .333 as he has had 11 hits, scored eight runs, hit two doubles, one home run and had 3 RBIs. During the current streak, he has had three 2-hit games, including recording two hits and scoring three runs against the Johnson City Cardinals.

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