WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Kevin Plawecki's productive stretch since returning to the New York Mets highlights the recent accomplishments by Purdue baseball alumni in pro ball as September call-ups and the Minor League Baseball playoffs arrive.
Entering September, Plawecki (2010-12) is 8-for-22 (.364) with three extra-base hits and three RBI since being recalled from Triple-A on Aug. 19. He has played in 18 games total for the Mets this season. He returned to the big leagues after the Mets chose to let backup catcher René Rivera go to the Chicago Cubs on a waiver claim. Plawecki homered against the Miami Marlins in his Aug. 19 return and even pitched for the second time this season Aug. 29 in Cincinnati. In his scoreless inning of relief, he induced a 6-4-3 double play with the bases loaded and retired former MVP Joey Votto to finish the frame.
Former Purdue pitchers Matt Frawley (2014-16), Jordan Minch (2013-14) and Brad Schreiber (2010-13) all play for MiLB teams that have already clinched postseason berths by winning first-half division titles. The MiLB regular season concludes on Labor Day.
Meanwhile, Josh Lindblom (2007-08) has been pitching well in his return to the Korean Baseball Organization. As part of the Lotte Giants' starting rotation since July 22, Lindblom has helped Lotte (67-56-2) maintain its playoff position as the end of the KBO regular season on Oct. 3 has appeared on the horizon.
Like Plawecki, Cameron Perkins (2010-12) and Nick Wittgren (2011-12) remain on the 40-man rosters of their MLB teams. After making his MLB debut in June and spending all of July with the Philadelphia Phillies, Perkins projects as a likely September call-up. He went back and forth from Philadelphia to Triple-A Lehigh Valley twice in August and has played in 36 big league games this season. Wittgren has pitched in 38 games for the Miami Marlins, but has been on the disabled list with an elbow injury since July 27. The expanded rosters taking effect Sept. 1 would allow him to rejoin the Marlins this month without the club having to make a corresponding move.
In the independent Frontier League, Kyle Wood's Windy City ThunderBolts (50-43) are battling the Evansville Otters (51-42) and Washington Wild Things (50-42) for the two wild-card berths in the playoffs. As of Aug. 31, Windy City is only a half-game behind Washington. The regular season concludes Sunday. For the final weekend series, Windy City hosts the Schaumburg Boomers, who have already clinched the East Division title.
WITTGREN ON THE PURDUE ATHLETICS PODCAST
MINOR LEAGUE PLAYOFFS (ALL RECORDS & STATS AS OF AUG. 31)
Matt Frawley, Tampa Yankees (83-49), Florida State League (Class A Advanced)
Tampa won both the first- and second-half North Division titles. The Dunedin Blue Jays (70-65) will be Tampa's division-series opponent. The three-game series will begin Sept. 5 in Dunedin. Frawley has pitched in 11 games for Tampa since being promoted July 21, compiling a 2.33 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings pitched. For the season, he has compiled a 1.66 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 70 2/3 innings, racking up 74 strikeouts vs. only 12 walks.
Jordan Minch, Myrtle Beach Pelicans (73-63), Carolina League (Class A Advanced)
The Chicago Cubs affiliate is the two-defending Carolina League champion, but Minch missed the playoffs last year due to injury. Myrtle Beach will have home-field advantage in its best-of-five division series, beginning Sept. 6. The Buies Creek Astros (73-62) are the likely opponent. Minch has pitched in 27 games this season, surrendering only 32 hits in 34 1/3 innings.
Brad Schreiber, Lancaster JetHawks (76-60), California League (Class A Advanced)
The Colorado Rockies affiliate is also in position to win the second-half South Division title and will play the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (74-62) in a best-of-five division series, beginning Sept. 6. The team with the best overall record will have home-field advantage. Schreiber has pitched well since signing with the Rockies organization July 26. He has surrendered just eight hits in 13 innings while striking out 16.
MORE ON LINDBLOM IN KOREA
Josh Lindblom put together three consecutive stellar starts for the Lotte Giants in August, working a combined 22 innings of four-run ball in the process. He recorded more strikeouts (15) than hits allowed (11) during that stretch.
The KBO playoffs feature a unique stepladder format. Five teams qualify and the team with the best regular-season record earns a bye to the championship round, the best-of-seven KBO Korean Series. The teams that finish fourth and fifth in the 10-team league have to win three playoff rounds to advance to the Korean Series. The winner of the two-game wild-card round plays the third-place team in a best-of-five series. The second-place team draws the winner in another best-of-five series.
With two weeks of the season remaining, Lotte (67-56-2) has a four-game lead on sixth-place SK Wyverns (64-61-1). Lindblom's team trails the third-place NC Dinos (69-54-1) by two games in the race to avoid the wild-card round. As of Sept. 1, Lotte had won eight of its last 10 games.