Gators in Pro Baseball: Bader, Tucker make most of fill-in roles

Harrison Bader
St. Louis Cardinals' Harrison Bader celebrates his two-run home run off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey during a 3-2 win for the Cards on Sunday in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

By Kyle Bennett and Aaron Brand

Harrison Bader blocked out his early season struggles at the plate and hit a two-run blast to the opposite field against the Reds that ended up being the difference as the Cardinals won 3-2 and swept Cincinnati in a four-game series for the first time since 1949. This coming after Bader was sent down to Memphis Triple-A after battling for an Opening Day roster spot in the crowded Cardinals outfield just before the start of the MLB season. The Cardinals’ 2017 minor league player of the year was called up just four games into the season on a move that corresponded with third baseman Jedd Gyorko going down with a hamstring injury. Bader played in 32 games for the Cards last season hitting .235, with 10 RBIs and three home runs in 92 plate appearances.

Around MLB, after a scalding hot start that saw Braves left fielder Preston Tucker hit timely home runs and RBIs with a .370 average over the first two weeks of the season, Tucker cooled off considerably last week. Through Saturday, he hit just .153 with a three-run home run as the lone highlight.
Initially thought to be a placeholder in left field until Atlanta’s top prospect Ronald Acuna got the call, Tucker has played well enough to keep the job for now. The all-time UF leader in RBIs leads the Braves with 12 through 13 games.

(The following is a complete list of major and minor league players who went to UF, listed alphabetically by last name)

MLB Players

Anthony DeSclafani (RHP) — Cincinnati Reds
DeSclafani is on the 60-day disabled list with a left oblique strain.The right hander missed all of 2017 after suffering a UCL sprain, but had a breakthrough season in 2016, when he went 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA and 105 strikeouts for the Reds.

Brian Johnson (RHP) — Boston
Red Sox pitcher Brian Johnson was scheduled to make a home start on Monday against Baltimore, but the game had to be rescheduled due to inclement weather. Johnson started and got a win against the Marlins on April 2, going six innings and allowing just one run. Johnson has come on three times as a reliever for a total of 10 innings with a 2.70 ERA in 2018.

Austin Maddox (RHP) — Boston — DL
Red Sox relief pitcher Austin Maddox is on the 10-day DL as he continues to deal with shoulder inflammation. Maddox has yet to pitch in any game this year after posting good numbers last season, only giving up one run in 17 innings of action.

Darren O’Day (RHP) — Baltimore Orioles
Orioles middle reliever Darren O’Day has given up just one run this season. It happened to be a home run to Toronto’s Curtis Granderson in a tie game that ended up giving Baltimore and O’Day a loss. O’Day has been solid otherwise out of the bullpen for the O’s with three holds and seven Ks through 6.2 innings of work.

Bobby Poyner (LHP) — Boston — DL
Red Sox relief pitcher Bobby Poyner earned a bullpen spot this year as the only left-handed reliever for Boston after spending last year in Double-A Portland. Poyner even picked up his first win after coming on in relief against Tampa Bay on April 5. He is currently on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain against the Yankees in his sixth appearance this season.

Mike Zunino (C) — Seattle Mariners
Mariners catcher Mike Zunino has yet to play this season but is scheduled to catch a few games for High-A Modesto as he rehabs his left oblique in hopes of returning to Seattle’s lineup later this week.

MiLB Players

Peter Alonso (1B) — Binghamton Rumble Ponies (New York Mets Double-A)
Alonso is off to a hot start at Double-A, collecting 10 hits in his first 27 ABs for a .370 average over the first week-plus of the season. Through Saturday, the first baseman is second in the Eastern League with three home runs and tied for seventh with six RBIs.

Shaun Anderson (RHP) — Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants Double-A)
Anderson carries a 3.95 ERA into his third year in the minors and has a 1-1 record so far this year for the Flying Squirrels.

Kevin Chapman (LHP) — Free Agent
Released by the Rochester Red Wings in June of 2017.

Jonathon Crawford (RHP) — Daytona Tortugas (Cincinnati Reds Class A Advanced)
Crawford is on the seven-day disabled list and has yet to pitch this season. The right hander is coming off a rough 2017 in which he started 22 games, going 0-10 with a 5.65 ERA.

Matt den Dekker (LF) — Las Vegas 51s (New York Mets Triple-A)
At Triple-A, den Dekker is hitting .200 with a pair of doubles and a stolen base through eight games. The outfielder has reached the bigs in each of the last five seasons, posting a career .234 average with seven big flies.

Dane Dunning (RHP) — Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox Class A Advanced)
Dunning has shown that he may have the right stuff to move up soon after pitching a no-hitter through six innings in his season debut for the Class A Advanced White Sox affiliate.

Alex Faedo (RHP) — Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit Tigers Class A Advanced)
Faedo opened the minor league season by allowing two solo home runs over five innings in a no decision. He has a 3.60 ERA and 0.40 WHIP.

Nolan Fontana (SS) — Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels Triple-A)
Fontana was optioned to Triple-A on April 7 after spending 10 days in the bigs as a replacement to injured Ian Kinsler. Fontana only appeared as a pinch hitter and failed to get a hit, going 0-for-2.

Daniel Gibson (LHP) — Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks Triple-A)
Gibson is currently on the 7-day DL and has never been called up to the big leagues despite pitching for five years in the minors. He seems to be destined to stay in the minors after puting up good numbers in AA but saw his ERA increase greatly when promoted to AAA.

Taylor Gushue (C) — Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals Double-A)
Gushue carried a .231 batting average coming into his fifth year as a minor league player and is hitting below that number so far this season.

Dalton Guthrie (SS) — Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies Class A)
Blueclaws shortstop Dalton Guthrie has five hits through 20 at bats this season with a .304 OBS.

Eric Hanhold (RHP) — Binghamton Rumble Ponies — (New York Mets Double-A)
Rumble Ponies starter Eric Hanhold joined Binghamton (same team as Tim Tebow and Peter Alonso) after he was acquired in August of last year in a trade with the Brewers. In his first start with the team, he allowed one earned run and struck out seven to earn the win and reportedly reached 99 mph with his fastball.

Mark Kolozsvary (C) — Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds Class A)
Kolozsvary is hitting .167 with seven strikeouts in 18 at bats through the first five games of the season.

Taylor Lewis (RHP) — Free agent
Lewis was released by the Atlanta Braves’ Class-A affiliate Rome Braves on Jan. 8.

Johnny Magliozzi (RHP) — Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets Class A Short Season)
Magliozzi threw two innings in his first appearance of the season, allowing two hits, a walk and a run while striking out three.

Richie Martin (SS) — Stockton Ports (Oakland A’s Class A Advanced)
Martin has yet to appear in a game this season. The shortstop hit .234 in 109 games last season.

Scott Moss (LHP) — Daytona Tortugas (Cincinnati Reds Class A Advanced)
Pitcher Scott Moss has won one of his two starts this season for the Tortugas after winning 13 games last season for the Dayton Dragons.

A.J. Puk (LHP) — Stockton Ports (Oakland A’s Class A Advanced)
A promising Spring Training campaign ended in anguish for the former Gators ace as Puk was recommended for Tommy John surgery by the renowned Dr. James Andrews. Prior to the injury, Puk was having a great spring, and was even in consideration for the A’s fifth rotation spot. The 22-year-old lefty posted a 3.38 ERA with seven Ks in 10 2/3 innings of work, including not allowing an earned run in his first three appearances.

Ryan Raburn (OF) — Free agent
Raburn was released by the Washington Nationals on March 24 after being in the majors for 12 years.

Buddy Reed (CF) — Lake Elsinore Storm (San Diego Padres Class A Advanced)
Reed is hitting .200 with three stolen bases in four tries through eight games.

Mike Rivera (C) — Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians Class A)
Rivera’s second pro season has started slow, as the former UF backstop is hitting just .045 through seven games. While the hits haven’t fallen (just one, a double) Rivera has drawn eight walks to hold a respectable .300 OBP.

Paco Rodriguez (LHP) — Free agent
Rodriguez elected to become a free agent after the Orioles assigned him to their Triple-A affiliate in October. The southpaw hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015.

Frank Rubio (RHP) — Augusta GreenJackets (San Francisco Giants Class A)
Rubio has appeared in three games, tossing 6 1/3 innings while giving up eight hits, two walks and a hit batter en route to two earned runs. He has a 2.84 ERA with eight Ks and a save.

Justin Shafer (RHP) — New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays Double-A)
Fisher Cats pitcher Justin Shafer has been in the minors for four seasons and has started this season well, already earning a win in a relief role.

Logan Shore (RHP) — Stockton Ports (Oakland A’s Class A Advanced)
Shore has not pitched yet in 2018. In 2017, Shore started 17 games, posting a 3.68 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.

Kirby Snead (LHP) — Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays Class A Advanced)
Snead has appeared in three games, throwing three innings with four strikeouts and one earned run allowed for a 3.00 ERA.

Tim Tebow (LF) — Binghamton Rumble Ponies (New York Mets Double-A)
Tebow has struck out 13 times in 25 at bats this year and is batting .200 with one home run and three RBIs on five hits.

Josh Tobias (2B) — Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox Double-A)
Sea Dogs infielder Josh Tobias is entering his fourth season in the minors and his second stint with Portland. Teams have moved Tobias around on defense, playing primarily at second and third with starts in left field too. So far this season, he is hitting better than his previous time at a Double-A club.

Casey Turgeon (3B) — Free agent
Turgeon was released by the St. Louis Cardinals in August after five seasons with the club’s minor league affiliates.

Danny Young (LHP) — New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays Double-A)
Young has allowed five hits and one earned run through five innings of work this season.


Red Sox pitcher Austin Maddox (10-day DL)
Red Sox pitcher Brian Johnson
Red Sox pitcher Bobby Poyner
Orioles pitcher Darren O’Day
Mariners catcher Mike Zunino (10-day DL)
Braves outfielder Preston Tucker



Angels infielder Nolan Fontana


    • You can look up the stats for any minor league player at I looked up Faedo and Rivera last night, my son wondered how they were doing, and saw Rivera’s .045 average and that Faedo had made a second start, giving up one earned run in 5.1 innings.