June 13, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue baseball alumnus Sean McHugh will begin his professional career with the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Philadelphia Phillies' Class A short season affiliate in the New York-Penn League.
McHugh (2011-14) said he was set to travel to Central Pennsylvania Friday (June 13). Williamsport opens its 2014 season that night with a home game against the State College Spikes (St. Louis Cardinals affiliate). The season-opening four-game series also features games at Penn State's Medlar Field on June 14 and 16. McHugh helped the Boilers sweep PSU at Medlar Field in March 2013. He was selected by the Phillies in the 18th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft June 7.
Purdue's Jordan Minch was also picked this season, going in the 35th round to the Chicago Cubs as a draft-eligible sophomore who turns 21 in mid-July. Minch has reported to the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod League, the premier amateur summer wood bat league in the country. As a draft and follow selection, Minch's performance in the Cape League this summer could dictate whether or not he ends up signing with the Cubs.
Minch has until July 18 to sign a pro contract or decide to return to Purdue for his junior season in 2015. Chicago reportedly signed a couple of its players selected in the Top 10 rounds this season to below slot value signing bonuses, freeing up more money from its allotted pool to offer to other draft picks. How that impacts Minch remains to be seen. He is scheduled to start on the mound Saturday (June 14) in what would be Hyannis' fourth game of the Cape League season.
Brad Schreiber, Kyle Wood and Minch all played in the Cape Cod League last season. After not being drafted, Schreiber ended up signing a free agent minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, forgoing his senior season of college eligibility. He is currently pitching for the Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Class A Midwest League.
The Phillies also drafted a few other notable college players who McHugh and the Boilermakers went up against this season, highlighted by first-round pick Aaron Nola of LSU. Indiana Joey DeNato (19th round), San Diego State's Tim Zier (21st round) and Michigan State's Joel Fisher (23rd round) could also end up as McHugh's teammates in Williamsport at some point this season.
McHugh's Purdue teammate and former roommate Cameron Perkins (2010-12) also played in Williamsport after being drafted by the Phillies in the sixth round of 2012. Perkins was promoted to the Triple-A International League earlier this month. He has reached base safely in each of his first nine games for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, hitting safely in eight of the nine while going 10-for-34 (.294) overall. In his first three games in Triple-A, Perkins faced pitchers like Chien-Ming Wang, Mat Latos and Carlos Marmol. Latos was on a rehab assignment with the Louisville Bats, the Cincinnati Reds' Triple-A affiliate.
Perkins and the IronPigs play a four-game series at the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate) July 6-9.
Kevin Plawecki (2010-12) has continued his strong season with the Binghamton Mets of the Double-A Eastern League. He reached base safely at least twice in seven consecutive games from June 5-11, a stretch highlighted by four consecutive two-hit games. The catcher was 11-for-25 with five walks and only three strikeouts during that stretch. With a .333/.378/.505 slash line, 22 extra-base hits and 40 RBI through 50 games as of June 12, Plawecki figures to be an Eastern League All-Star selection if he doesn't get promoted to Triple-A before the honorees are announced in July.
Former Purdue pitchers Josh Lindblom (2007-08) and Robert Ramer (2010-13) had quality starts for their teams this week. Lindblom worked 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball in the Sacramento River Cats' (Oakland A's affiliate) June 10 win against the Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City Royals affiliate) in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Lindblom struck out six and issued only one walk in his longest outing since April 30.
Ramer is now 5-0 for the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League. In his fourth consecutive quality start, the right-hander worked six innings of one-hit ball June 12 in a win against the Gateway Grizzlies. Ramer struck out nine Thursday and for the season has compiled a 2.07 ERA and 31 strikeouts vs. nine walks in 34 2/3 innings. Evansville has won all six games in which he has taken the mound and is 14-9 overall.
A number of active Boilermakers are off to good starts in their wood bat summer leagues, highlighted by Wood in the Northwoods League. While playing first base for the Lakeshore Chinooks, who are off to an 11-5 start to lead the Southern Division, Wood has reached base safely in each of the first 11 games in which he has batted. He has drawn a walk in nine of those 11 games to go along with a 9-for-35 showing at the plate, adding up to a .458 on-base percentage. The left-hander has also made two appearances on the mound, striking out four over 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.