Baseball's World Series is over and the San Fransisco Giants prevailed over Kansas City thanks to Madison Bumgarner and one of the best pitching performances in World Series history. After dominant starts in World Series Games 1 and 5, MadBum entered in the fifth inning of Game 7 hoping to lock down the Royals' offense and protect San Francisco's one-run lead.
It was everything you could ask for in a World Series, but I am a college sports guy so I kind of tuned out when Steve Geltz and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays played their last game of the season.
This was the first year where I really focused on former UB baseball players as they worked their way through the Major League Farm system.
|New Brighton * (AA)
|Ceder Rapids (A)
|Fort Meyers (A+)
|Cedar Rapids (A)
Tyler Mautner - Minnesota Twins - Elizabethtown (Rookie)
During his junior season at UB Mautner led the Bulls in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, hits, runs batted in, doubles and home runs while splitting time at first and third base. I was really looking forward to what his senior year might bring but in baseball, more than most sports, the younger you are when drafted the better.
Younger players can demand a higher signing bonus because they still have options. If you wait until you are a senior the clubs have you over a barrel.
Mautner was picked in the 14th round last year. Playing baseball was his dream so the young man from Sherrill, New York picked up and moved to Elizabethtown, the rookie league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
Had a pretty painful slump midway through the season but bounced back to help the Twins in game one of their championship series. On the year he batted .210 with 5 home runs and 25 RBIs. His play hopefully earned him a trip to Ceder Rapids, the A-league affiliate of Minnesota.
Mike Burke - Baltimore Orioles - GCL Orioles (Rookie) / Aberdeen (A - Short)
Burke was drafted by the O's following a record-setting career at New York State University. Burke was a huge part of a turnaround in the baseball culture at Buffalo. During UB's first 11 seasons in the MAC the Bulls never had a winning conference record. Over Burke's last two seasons UB went 32-20. 13 of those wins are credited to Burke on the hill.
He was also a solid batter and shortstop: In 2013 he batted 324 with three home runs and 20 RBIs.
The right-handed hurler started with the O's rookie squad in the Gulf Coast League. As the year wound down he was promoted to Aberdeen, a short-season A team. In five appearances he earned a win and a save, holding the opposition scoreless each time.
Burke managed a win, a save, and an under-3 ERA through in the Gulf Coast Rookie League and was promoted to Aberdeen in August.
The Iron Birds, the Orioles A short-season squad, also got a win and a save from Burke. The right hander from Cleveland pitched 5 scoreless relief innings over the course of three games.
Next season it's likely that Burke starts off with Delmarva which is classified as a low-A squad, or with Frederick Keys the "High A" affiliate of the O's.
Jason Kanzer - Minnesota Twins - Ceder Rapids (A) / Fort Meyers (A+).
Kanzler's senior year at UB was 2013. He was named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year after batting .330 with 12 home runs, 53 runs batted in. Overall the senior was ranked among the top ten in nine different offensive categories.
That was enough to get him drafted by the Twins. He spent that season in the Gulf Coast league playing rookie ball. This past season he began play with Cedar Rapids where his play at the plate - and his mustache - made him a fan favorite.
Kanzler was with the Kernels that he was promoted mid season to Fort Meyers. The Miracle won the Florida State league and Kanzler was a huge factor. He hit well the whole series, including a grand slam in Game Two, but his game Four heroics that got him the most attention.
Kanzler became a hero to Fort Myers fans when he came to the plate in the top of eleventh with one out. Kanzler belted a home run which gave the Miracle a 4-2 lead and delivered the Miracle's first FSL crown in 29 years.
I would not be surprised to see him start the year in Fort Meyers again but there is a chance that he may be promoted to AA Cedar Rapids.
Tom Murphy - Colorado Rockies - Tulsa (AA)
Murphy helped bring UB within a half game of the MAC regular season title in 2012. The junior was drafted in the 4th round by Colorado and decided to forgo his senior year at Buffalo.
He quickly tore through the "A" system. As a rookie in 2012 he batted .288 and hit six home runs for the Tri-City Dust Devils. After Tri-City he moved to high-A ball for the Asheville Tourists where he was named a Topps Class A All-Star.
Before 2013 was over Murphy moved up to the AA Tulsa Drillers and through 20 games he hit .290 with 3 home runs. This season however saw Murphy get injured in May, missing the rest of the year.
Given he is in recovery mode Murphy should play for the Rockies new AA farm team in New Brighton next season or maybe even go down to Asheville to tune up after a long recovery.
Steve Geltz - Tampa Bay - Durham (AAA) / Tamps Bay
In 2008 Geltz signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as an undrafted free agent. He was first called up to the majors in August 2012. He was traded to the Rays for Dane De la Rosa on March 27, 2013 and spent all of last year with Durham, going 5-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 41 relief appearances.
This season Geltz was 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA and 19 when he tested positive for a recreational drug. Being that it was his second career offense the pitcher was suspended for 50 games, missing the bulk of his season.
He came back in August and pitched strong enough to get called up to the bigs. He pitched short relief in 11 games with an ERA of 3.38.