June 21, 2013
Boilers in Pro Ball
| Loomis Feature
PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Purdue baseball alumnus Kevin Plawecki was promoted to the Class A Advanced Florida State League this week after playing in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game Tuesday, and he made an immediate impact for his new team Thursday.
Plawecki (2010-12) joined the St. Lucie Mets and connected for a three-run homer in his first at-bat Thursday in a win at Palm Beach (Cardinals affiliate). He finished the night 2-for-5 with four RBI, driving in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the seventh inning.
Plawecki joins his fellow 2012 Purdue draftees Cameron Perkins (2010-12) and Nick Wittgren (2011-12) in the Florida State League. Perkins and Wittgren were both selected as FSL All-Star earlier this month. Wittgren closed out an 8-1 win for the South All-Stars June 15, striking out two of the four batters he faced in the ninth inning. Perkins has been sidelined since May 31 with a broken arm.
Plawecki could face Wittgren when St. Lucie and the Jupiter Hammerheads (Marlins affiliate) play July 3-5 or six times in August. Perkins should be back in the lineup when his Clearwater Threshers (Phillies affiliate) host Plawecki's team for a four-game series Aug. 2-5.
Plawecki was the starting catcher and cleanup hitter for the South All-Stars in the rain-shortened South Atlantic League All-Star Game June 18 in Lakewood, N.J. The night before, he accounted for 245 points to help the South team win the SAL's Celebrity Hitting Contest. Former big leaguers Dwight Gooden and Matt Stairs were among his celebrity teammates.
Plawecki helped lead the Savannah Sand Gnats (43-26) to the first-half Southern Division title, assuring them of a SAL playoff berth in September. He joins a St. Lucie team that finished in second place in the South Division of the Florida State League during the first half of the season. Plawecki batted .314 with 31 extra-base hits and 43 RBI for Savannah to earn his promotion to High-A. As of June 20, he was leading the SAL with 24 doubles.
In his first relief appearance of the second half, Wittgren earned his FSL-leading 14th save of the season. More impressive though are his ERA (0.82), WHIP (0.91) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.5) through June 20. Perkins was batting .339 with 25 extra-base hits and 31 RBI at the time of his injury.
Another Purdue alumnus enjoying a strong season out of the bullpen is lefty Andy Loomis (2007-08). While pitching for the Norfolk Tides (Orioles affiliate) at the Triple-A level, he has emerged as one of his team's most consistent relievers. Before suffering a loss during an extended relief appearance June 19, he had not surrendered an earned run over eight appearances since returning to Triple-A in mid-May. Loomis has compiled a 1.33 ERA and .174 batting average against in 20 1/3 innings for Norfolk.
Like Plawecki, Dan Black (2007-09) also helped his team win a first-half division title. Black's Birmingham Barons (White Sox affiliate) assured themselves of a playoff berth in the Double-A Southern League by winning the North Division first-half title with a 44-26 record. As a regular first baseman and designated hitter, Black is third in the Southern League with 45 RBI and 43 walks as of June 20. He's batting .286 with 21 extra-base hits.
Barrett Serrato (2009-12), Eric Charles (2008-12) and Lance Breedlove (2011-12) are set to resume their seasons in their second years of pro ball. Serrato played one game for the Frisco RoughRigers (Rangers affiliate) in the Double-A Texas League before being reassigned to the Spokane Indians. Currently on a rehab assignment in the Arizona League, he had a two-run double in his first game June 20. Charles is also on a rehab assignment for the Padres' affiliate in the Arizona League.
Breedlove was recently assigned to the Jamestown Jammers (Pirates affiliate) in the New York-Penn League. He worked two innings of scoreless relief in his team debut (June 17).
Finally, Josh Lindblom (2007-08) recently made three starts for the Texas Rangers. After putting together a quality start in a June 10 no-decision against Cleveland (6 IP, 3 R, 6 K) in which he retired the final 10 batters he faced, he also gave the Rangers a chance to win June 15 vs. Toronto (6 IP, 4 R, 0 BB, 2 K) and June 20 vs. Oakland (5 IP, 2 R, 2 K). Texas rallied to win the June 20 game with the A's to take 3-of-4 in the series between the top two teams in the American League West.
After the June 20 game, Lindblom was optioned back to Triple-A Round Rock. The Rangers were ready to activate first baseman Mitch Moreland off the disabled list. Often times starting pitchers with available options (the ability to be sent down without clearing waivers) are the players that have to give up their spot on the 25-man roster when an injured veteran returns to lineup. Lefty Martin Perez was called up from Triple-A to take Lindblom's spot in the rotation for now. Perez is scheduled to start Saturday at St. Louis.
Lindblom has excelled at the Triple-A level this year, where he is candidate to be selected for the All-Star Game. The Lafayette native is 6-0 with a 2.04 ERA and 43 strikeouts in his 10 appearances for Round Rock.