Oct. 12, 2006
Los Angeles, Calif. - Three Lions will be among the professional players selected to participate in the prestigious Arizona Fall League (AFL) this month. Mike Schultz (1998-2000) will play for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Josh Whitesell (2001-2003) is with the Peoria Saguaros, and Stephen Kahn (2003-2005) will suit up for the Peoria Javelinas.
LMU is one of just seven schools to send three or more players to the 2006 AFL. Texas, Miami, Rice, Clemson, LSU, and South Carolina join the Lions in that elite group.
Schultz, a member of three-straight West Coast Conference Championships teams, spent 2006 with the Class AAA Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona Diamondbacks). There, registered an ERA of 3.17 with 41 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings of work. Schultz joined the Diamondbacks following the 2000 MLB Draft when he was selected in the second round.
Whitesell, who led the Lions in home runs and RBI in 2003, hit .264 with 19 home runs and 56 RBI for the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals Class AA) in 2006. Whitesell joined the professional ranks back in 2001, when the Montreal Expos drafted him in the sixth round of the MLB Draft.
The 2004 WCC Pitcher of the Year, Kahn registered 33 strikeouts in 39 innings of work for the San Antonio Missions (Seattle Mariners Class AA). The Mariners drafted Kahn in the fifth round of the 2005 MLB Draft, making him the highest WCC player selected that season.
The six-team league, owned and operated by MLB is in its 15th season. The schedule consists of 97 games.
The players selected for the AFL are considered to be on the fast track to the major league. Players are selected for the AFL each August, when the MLB teams hold a position draft, sending players from Class AAA and AA. Each team may also send one Class A player.
The statistics prove the AFL has played a significant role in predicting future major league success. Baseball America notes that since the AFL's inaugural season in 1992, 1,225 Fall League alumni went on to the big leagues, with 94 of those making at least one all-star appearance. The 2006 MLB All-Star teams featured 25 AFL alumni. As of the midway mark of the 2006 minor league season, 46 2005 AFL alumni had already reached the big leagues.