Coug Baseball: Tracking pros at season's end

JARED PRINCE

FORMER WASHINGTON STATE baseball stars Jared Prince and Jim Murphy headed in opposite directions as their minor league seasons unfolded, but they both wound up on the awards stand at season's end.

Jared Prince was named an all-star outfielder in the Carolina League, and Jim Murphy was the all-star designated hitter in the South Atlantic League.

Prince, a Texas Rangers farmhand, overcame a 4-for-45 start to hit .282 with eight home runs and 72 RBIs in 131 games with the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Pelicans. Prince was voted the team's most valuable player by Myrtle Beach players and the coaching staff.

Murphy, who played first base in the SAL All-Star Game at midseason, tailed off badly in the second half of the season. However, he tied for fifth with 22 home runs and ranked sixth with 35 doubles in 129 games with the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws. He hit .268 in 129 games with Philadelphia's Class A farm club.

All three Cougars who turned pro this summer struggled in the low minors.

Third baseman Matt Argyropoulos hit .136 in 14 games with Tri-City in the short-season Class A Northwest League after batting .217 in 21 games with Casper (Wyo.) in the Rookie-class Pioneer League. Argyropoulos is a Colorado farmhand.

Cody Bartlett, playing shortstop and second base for the Bluefield (W.Va.) Blue Jays, hit .198 in 27 games in the Rookie-class Appalachian League. Bartlett plays in the Toronto farm system.

Relief pitcher Paris Shewey played for Houston's farm club in the Appalachian League in Greeneville, Tenn. Shewey had a 1-5 record, 9.82 ERA and three saves in 20 games.

Mark Hendrickson spent most of the season with Baltimore's AAA affiliate in Norfolk, Va. The lefty reliever went 2-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 24 games in the International League. He was 1-0 with a 5.73 ERA in eight games with the Orioles, who recently designated the 37-year-old veteran for assignment. Another ex-major league pitcher, Eddie Bonine, sat out most of the season with an elbow injury. He finished 3-4 with a 5.16 ERA in 11 games with Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Pa.), Philadelphia's affiliate in the International League.

Travis Webb, who has pitched in the Cincinnati Reds farm system since 2006, blossomed after being transformed into a full-time reliever early this season. He finished with a 1-7 record and 4.41 ERA in 36 games with the Carolina Mudcats of Zebulon, N.C., but he posted a 2.23 ERA out of the bullpen. The left-hander earned a late-season promotion from the AA Southern League to the AAA International League. He pitched a hitless inning in his only appearance with Louisville.

Third baseman Paul Gran, a Florida Marlins prospect, hit .260 with six home runs and 42 RBIs in 95 games with Jacksonville (Fla.) in the Southern League. Matt Oye spent most of the season working out of the bullpen in the AA Texas League. He went 7-4 with a 4.87 ERA in 32 games at Arkansas. He finished a combined 0-3 in brief appearances with Class AAA Salt Lake in the Pacific Coast League and Class A Inland Empire in the California League.

Alex Burg, who saw little action in the first half of the season, wound up hitting .298 with 14 home runs in 72 games with the San Jose (Calif.) Giants in the California League. Burg, a San Francisco farmhand, belted 24 doubles and drove in 45 runs.

Sean Vucinich hit .260 with nine home runs and 51 RBIs in 58 games in the Class A Florida State League. Vucinich, a third baseman in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, played for the Brevard County Manatees in Viera, Fla.

Josh Ashenbrenner played in just 21 games with Class A West Michigan after being held back in extended spring training by the Detroit Tigers. Ashenbrenner played second and third base and hit .295 with no home runs and six RBIs in the Midwest League.

Seth Harvey, a relief pitcher with Milwaukee's farm club in Helena, Mont., put up solid numbers despite having no saves in 15 games. He struck out 41 in 30 1/3 innings and had a 2-1 record and 2.67 ERA in the Pioneer League.

Jesse Hoorelbeke enjoyed another fine season in independent ball (no major league affiliates). The big first baseman-designated hitter batted .295 with 15 homers and 75 RBIs in 94 games with Fargo (N.D.)-Moorhead (Minn.) in the American Association.

Two other minor leaguers produced by WSU, pitcher Matt Way (Philadelphia) and utilityman Michael Weber (Arizona), sat out the season with injuries.

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