Aug. 8, 2007
While former LMU standouts Billy Traber (LMU 1998-2000) and C.J. Wilson (2001) are currently pitching for Major League clubs, the Lions are well represented among the Minor League ranks as well. Several Lions are enjoying tremendous professional seasons in 2007, and LMU may soon have even more representatives in the big leagues.
Outfielder Chris Pettit (2003-06) has put together an impressive year in 2007. Pettit, a 2006 draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, has batted .358 with nine home runs, 46 RBI, and 11 stolen bases since being promoted to the Class-A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. For the season, Pettit has a .351 batting average, 39 doubles, 18 home runs, 87 RBI, 28 stolen bases, and a 1.044 on-base plus slugging percentage. In a season marked by great consistency, Pettit has been on fire as of late. He is batting .432 in his last 10 games, and was recently named to Baseball America's weekly Prospect Hot Sheet.
Former LMU right-hander Jeff Stevens (2003-05) is also enjoying a productive season in the Cleveland Indians farm system. Stevens, a 2005 draft selection of the Cincinnati Reds, was promoted to the Double-A Akron Aeros earlier in the season. Since then, he is 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA in 26 appearances. For the 2007 season, Stevens has pitched 74.2 innings in relief, accumulating a record of 6-3. He has a 2.53 ERA, 88 strikeouts, and opponents are batting just .180 against him.
Right-hander Brad Meyers (2005-07), who finished his LMU career just months ago by earning a complete game victory over Portland, has continued his high level of play as a pro. Meyers was a fifth round selection of the Washington Nationals in this year's draft, and was promoted to the Class-A Hagerstown Suns in July. In two starts for the Suns, Meyers is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He has given up just four hits in 9.2 innings. Meyers has yet to allow a run in his professional career, and in 18.2 scoreless innings in 2007, he is holding opponents to a .094 batting average.
Infielder Eric Farris (2005-07) has been red hot for his new team, the Class-A Helena Brewers. Farris, the Lions' leading hitter in 2007, was a fourth round draft choice of the Milwaukee Brewers after enjoying three outstanding years at LMU. For the season, he is batting .284 in 38 games with eight doubles, 18 RBI, and 13 stolen bases. However, like Pettit, Farris has been especially hot lately, batting .381 in his last 10 games, and .480 over the last five.
After a productive senior season at LMU, outfielder DeAndre Miller (2006-07) has continued to display his ability to get on base for the Class-A Orem Owls. Miller was a 24th round selection of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in this year's draft. In 31 games for Orem, Miller has an on-base percentage of .425. He has 30 walks, 28 runs scored, and seven stolen bases.
St. Louis 2006 draft pick Kyle Mura (2003-06), primarily a position player during his tenure at LMU, has been made exclusively into a pitcher. So far, Mura has enjoyed tremendous success in his young career. For the Class-A Swing of the Quad Cities, an affiliate of the Cardinals, Mura is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA and two saves in 33 appearances. He has recorded 34 strikeouts in 42.0 innings pitched, and opponents are batting just .184 against him.
Right-hander Josh Muecke (2001-03) has been impressive as of late for the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The 2003 fifth round draft pick struggled to get things going in 2007, not earning his first win until June 12. However, in his last eight starts, Muecke is 5-2 with a 3.11 ERA. For the season, he has made 26 appearances and 11 starts, compiling a 6-5 record and a 4.20 ERA in 96.1 innings pitched. After working through several jams and protecting a five-run lead to earn his third win, Corpus Christi manager Dave Clark recently praised Muecke in a story that appeared in MiLB.com's Texas League Notebook. "That's how it's supposed to be done," Clark said. "Pitch to contact and let your defense do what they're supposed to do. He has a plan and now he's learning to go about carrying out that plan."
Josh Whitesell (2001-03), a 2003 draft pick, is really showing off his power in 2007. Whitesell was named an EAS Midseason All-star as a member of the Harrisburg Senators, the Double-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. In 100 games for Harrisburg, Whitesell is batting .284 with 17 doubles, 19 home runs, 61 RBI, and a .415 on-base percentage.
After pitching one scoreless inning in his Major League debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 20, Michael Schultz (1998-00) has put together a productive season for the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders. Schultz, a second round draft pick in 2000, is 3-3 with a 3.79 ERA in 43 appearances.
Finally, former LMU outfielder James Cooper (2003-05) is batting .269 since being promoted to the Class-A Charleston Riverdogs. In 36 games for Charleston, he has eight doubles and a .358 on-base percentage. Cooper was drafted in 2005 by the New York Yankees, and is batting .264 for the 2007 season.