Sep 3, 2013
Boilers in Pro Ball
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Three Purdue baseball alumni are members of Minor League Baseball teams that qualified for the playoffs in their respective leagues, beginning the postseason this week (Sept. 4-8).
Dan Black and Lance Breedlove helped their MiLB teams earn playoff berths. Additionally, Kevin Plawecki was recently elevated to the Double-A level where he's expected to be in uniform for the Binghamton Mets as they compete in the Eastern League playoffs.
Black (2007-09) was a key middle of the lineup run producer all season for the Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox affiliate) of the Double-A Southern League. He finished the regular season batting .290 with 28 doubles, 17 home runs, 83 RBI and 91 walks. He ranked second in the Southern League in on-base percentage (.411) and RBI and was named a league all-star in July. The Barons won the Northern Division first-half title and finished the season with a 77-63 overall record. Birmingham will take on the Tennessee Smokies in the first round of the Southern League playoffs, with the best-of-five series getting underway Sept. 5 in Alabama.
Breedlove (2011-12) appeared in 26 games for the West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate) of the Class A South Atlantic League. He recorded 36 strikeouts vs. 10 walks in 34 2/3 innings pitched. The Power won the Northern Division second-half title and finished the season with a division-best 82-58 overall record. West Virginia takes on the Hagerstown Suns in a best-of-three first round series, which begins Sept. 4 in Charleston.
Nick Wittgren (2011-12) and Plawecki (2010-12) were both elevated from the High A Florida State League to the Double-A level in the final week of the MiLB season. It's unclear if Plawecki will be on the active roster for the Eastern League playoffs with the Binghamton Mets, which takes on the Trenton Thunder in a best-of-five series beginning Sept. 4 in New Jersey. Binghamton won the Eastern Division with a league-best record of 86-55.
Earlier this season, Plawecki helped the Savannah Sand Gnats win the Southern Division first-half title to clinch a playoff spot in the South Atlantic League. He was promoted to High A after playing in the SAL All-Star Game in June. The 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year finished the regular season batting .305 with 38 doubles, 80 RBI and a .390 on-base percentage.
Barrett Serrato (2009-12) and Wittgren were both part of teams that had a chance to make the playoffs in their respective leagues entering the final weekend of the MiLB season (Aug. 30-Sept. 2) before coming up short. Serrato spent much of his second season of pro ball playing for the Spokane Indians (Texas Rangers affiliate) of the Class A Northwest League.
After leading the Florida State League in saves (25) and being selected a postseason all-star, Wittgren was promoted to the Double-A Southern League for the final week of the season. He appeared in four games for the Jacksonville Suns (Miami Marlins affiliate), working four hitless innings of relief and closing out a Sept. 1 victory. Cameron Perkins (2010-12) and Wittgren were both selected as all-stars in the Florida State League in June.
Wittgren had a 0.77 ERA and 0.89 WHIP to go along with his 26 saves this season. He surrendered only 42 hits in 58 1/3 inning pitched.
Matt Bischoff (2007-10) finished the season on the roster of the Triple-A Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles), but did not appear in a game after being elevated from the Double-A Bowie Baysox in late August.
Black and Plawecki will each be part of first-round playoff series that will pit affiliates of MLB intra-city rivals against each other. Black's team, a White Sox affiliate, will take on the Chicago Cubs' Double-A affiliate. Plawecki and the Binghamton Mets' first-round opponent is a Yankees affiliate.
Twelve Purdue baseball alumni were active at the Minor League level this season.
Minor League Baseball Playoff Info Featuring Purdue Alumni
Purdue Alumnus: Dan Black >>> MiLB Player Page
Years at Purdue: 2007-09
Current Minor League Team (MLB Affiliation): Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox)
League (Playoff Teams): Double-A Southern League
First Round Opponent (MLB Affiliation): Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs)
Series Length & Dates: Best of Five -- Sept 5-6 at Birmingham, Sept. 7-9 at Tennessee
Potential Championship Series Opponents (Dates): Mobile BayBears or Mississippi Braves (Sept. 10-14)
Purdue Alumnus: Lance Breedlove >>> MiLB Player Page
Years at Purdue: 2011-12
Current Minor League Team (MLB Affiliation): West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates)
League (Playoff Teams): Class A South Atlantic League
First Round Opponent (MLB Affiliation): Hagerstown Suns (Washington Nationals)
Series Length & Dates: Best of Three -- Sept. 4 at West Virginia, Sept. 6-7 at Hagerstown
Potential Championship Series Opponents (Dates): Augusta GreenJackets or Savannah Sand Gnats (Sept. 9-13)
Purdue Alumnus: Kevin Plawecki >>> MiLB Player Page
Years at Purdue: 2010-12
Current Minor League Team (MLB Affiliation): Binghamton Mets (New York Mets)
League (Playoff Teams): Double-A Eastern League
First Round Opponent (MLB Affiliation): Trenton Thunder (New York Yankees)
Series Length & Dates: Best of Five -- Sept. 4-5 at Trenton, Sept. 6-8 at Binghamton
Potential Championship Series Opponents (Dates): Harrisburg Senators or Erie SeaWolves (Sept. 10-14)