June 6, 2013
By Eric DeSalvo
Photo Credit: Steve Saenz, Brad Hand
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The dog days of summer are quickly approaching for 18 former UCF standouts that are currently scattered throughout the country playing professional baseball. Last time we checked in, this crop of Knights was just getting settled following spring training, and many continue to make noise while progressing through the minor league ranks.
After spending all winter and early spring in Orlando rehabbing a shoulder injury, 2004 All-American RHP Matt Fox made his way back into professional ball by starting 2013 with the York Revolution. After making four starts and compiling a 1-0 record and a 1.58 ERA in 17 innings, that was all the New York Mets needed to see as they signed him on May 14 and assigned him to AAA Las Vegas (read about it HERE).
Since joining the 51s, Fox has started four games in the Pacific Coast League and has fired back-to-back quality starts. The former first rounder is looking to reach the MLB ranks for the third time in his career after making appearance in The Show with Minnesota and Boston in 2010.
Tim Bascom continues to serve multiple roles on the Bowie Baysox's pitching staff as he owns a 2.03 ERA in 13 1/3 innings of work so far in 2013. The 2007 fourth-round selection by Baltimore was seen regularly at UCF this past winter (Back From the Pros)
Along with Bascom, five other Knights are at the AA level, including Shane Brown, Jonathan Griffin, Beau Taylor, Caleb Graham and Robert Lara. Of the recent movers in the minor leagues, both Graham (LAA Angles) and Lara (SD Padres) were recently bumped up from high-A ball.
Class A Advanced
Darnell Sweeney continues to make a name for himself at Rancho Cucamonga. The shortstop narrowly missed hitting for the cycle last year at Class A Great Lakes, seeing his ball hit two feet shy of the yellow tape for a cycle-sealing homer. On May 7, the Dodgers' 13th round pick a year ago wouldn't miss this time, completing his first-career cycle with a double down the right field-line in the sixth inning (Read HERE). On the year he has filled up the stat sheet, clubbing 10 doubles, seven triples and six homers with 33 RBI as of June 4.
Right-handed pitcher Danny Winkler has been impressive as well in the California League. A front-line starter for the Modesto Nuts (Colorado Rockies), Winkler owns a stellar 8-2 record with a 2.45 ERA in 12 starts. He currently leads the league as of June 5 in wins, ERA, WHIP (0.89), and ranks second in strikeouts (82).
At the Class A level, former UCF standouts D.J. Hicks and Roman Madrid were both named to the Midwest League All-Star Team on Wednesday. Hicks has been raking for the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Minnesota Twins) while Madrid has been lights out in the closer role for the Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres).
For Hicks, the Altamonte Springs native has been on a recent tear with a .486 batting average in his last 10 games with six doubles, a pair of homers and 14 RBI. On the year, he owns a .299 average with seven dingers and ranks second in the league with 48 RBI.
In 26 games this year, Madrid has relished the role of stopper which is evident by his 5-1 record and 0.32 ERA. Allowing just one earned run in 28 innings, Madrid ranks second in the Midwest League with 11 saves, and opponents are batting just .149 against him.
Follow All Season
For news and numbers on the rest of the Knights in the pros, make sure to click on their names below to see their MiLB pages with up-to-date stats after each game.
Shane Brown - AA Trenton Thunder
Drew Butera - AAA Rochester Red Wngs
Chris Duffy - IND New Jersey Jackals
Jonathan Griffin - AA Mobile BayBears
D.J. Hicks - Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Darnell Sweeney - Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Ronnie Richardson - Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore Storm
Beau Taylor - AA Midland RockHounds
Tim Bascom - AA Bowie Baysox
Chase Bradford - Class A Advanced St. Lucie Mets
Nick Cicio - IND Rockford Aviators
Owen Dew - Class A Advanced Carolina Mudcats
Matt Fox - AAA Las Vegas 51s
Caleb Graham - AA Arkansas Travelers
Robert Lara - AA San Antonio Missions
Roman Madrid - Class A Fort Wayne TinCaps
Joe Rogers - Class A Advanced Lakeland Flying Tigers
Danny Winkler - Class A Advanced Modesto Nuts