An update on former Diamond Heels taking minor league stage
From the rookie leagues, all the way up to Triple-A, there are numerous former North Carolina baseball players competing across the various levels of Minor League Baseball. Here’s a look at how some Diamond Heels of the past are faring in the minors this season.
Drafted 15th overall in this year’s draft, Bukauskas made one start for the Gulf Coast League (rookie-level) Astros before moving to the Single-A Tri-City Valleycats, where he has started twice. As Houston’s fifth-best prospect per MLB.com, Bukauskas has a 2.70 ERA through three minor league appearances.
Warmoth, UNC’s starting shortstop in 2017, has handled his transition to the professional stage well thus far. After playing six games with the GCL Blue Jays, he moved to the Single-A Vancouver Canadians, and he's batted .340 with 12 extra-base hits since then. MLB.com has him ranked as the fourth-best prospect in the Blue Jays system.
The Raleigh native seems to be comfortable playing for the nearby Greensboro Grasshoppers at the Single-A level. He's batting .326, while stealing 14 bases through 43 games.
In his first full season of professional baseball after being drafted in 2016, the outfielder has split time between the Oakland Athletics' farm Single-A and Double-A farm teams. Thus far, he has impressed at the plate. In 123 total games between the two levels, Ramirez is batting .314 with 11 home runs and has an on-base percentage of .411.
One year after posting an 8.31 ERA, Bogucki has found more success on the mound with Single-A Hagerstown Suns in 2017, posting 3.74 ERA with three wins over 45.2 innings of work. He was drafted by the Washington Nationals organization in 2016.
Gallen is rated the 13th best prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization according to MLB.com, and his performance this season shows why. Drafted in 2016, the right-handed slinger started the season with the Single-A Palm Beach Cardinals. He was later called up to Double-A Springfield Cardinals and then made three starts with Triple-A Memphis Redbirds in June and July.
Currently back with Springfield, Gallen holds a combined 2.89 ERA across the three levels.
The relief pitcher who was drafted in 2016 is with the Single-A State College Spikes and has 25 strikeouts in 23 innings of work there, to go along with a 2.74 ERA.
The outfielder has spent the entirety of the 2016 season in Single-A with the Stockton Ports. He is currently hitting .235 with 12 home runs after being drafted in 2015 by the Oakland Athletics.
The Gastonia native has spent all of 2017 with the Single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, and he has made 21 relief appearances with a 2-0 record and a 3.49 ERA.
After being drafted in 2015 by the Boston Red Sox organization, Kelley was promoted from the Single-A Salem Red Sox to the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs on July 4, and he has a 4.43 ERA in 12 games of relief since then.
One of several former Tar Heels in the Houston Astros organization, Thornton has made 18 of his 21 starts this season with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzles after being drafted in 2015. Between Fresno and the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, he’s 7-6 with a 5.52 ERA.
After spending the 2015-16 season on the Tampa Bay Rays' Single-A farm team, Russell has spent the entirety of the season with the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, batting .244 while serving as a utility man in the field, having played at first base, second base, third base, shortstop and both corner outfield positions.
The Tarboro native has been with the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits since June, and he's 4-of-5 with a 3.07 ERA and 52 strikeouts through 12 games (11 starts) between Montgomery and the Single-A Charlotte (Fla.) Stone Crabs. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2014.
The former third-round pick in 2013 was called up to the Triple-A Fresno Grizzles from Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in mid-July, but he holds a 6.37 ERA through six appearances (five starts) since then.
As the seventh-best prospect in the Houston Astros organization according to MLB.com, the first baseman made his major league debut in 2016. The infielder has appeared twice for the Astros in 2017, but he is currently on the 10-day disabled list with a facial fracture.
In 79 games with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzles this season, Moran has hit .308 with 18 home runs and has an OPS of .916.
Stallings, a catcher, has appeared twice for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, but he has spent the bulk of his time with Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate, hitting .269 with 24 RBIs.
Orlan reached Double-A for the first time in his career this season since being drafted in 2012, but he’s currently with the Washington Nationals' Single-A affiliate, where he’s pitched 21.2 innings with a 3.74 ERA.
The relief pitcher has bounced back and forth between the Los Angeles Angels and the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees this season. In 18 games with Salt Lake, he has a 3.09 ERA — a much better mark than his 6.91 ERA with the Angels. Morin was drafted in 2012.
Drafted 30th overall by the Twins six years ago, Michael is the middle of his fourth consecutive season at the Double-A level, and he's hit .269 in 84 games with the Chattanooga Lookouts. He has primarily played center field, with occasional spells at second base.
Moran, the brother of Colin Moran, was signed to a minor league deal by the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 14, and he holds a 1.35 ERA through 14 games with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers. The lefty was drafted in 2009.
The former second-overall pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2009 has spent the entirety of the 2017 season with the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees in the Los Angeles Angels organization, one year after playing 28 games for the New York Yankees. Through 102 games, he’s batting .254 with five home runs and 51 RBIs.
Federowicz, who made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011, is in his first year with the San Francisco Giants system. He has hit .290 with nine home runs in 71 games at the Triple-A. The 30-year-old catcher played two games with the Giants in April.
Wooten made his MLB debut with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2014, but he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015. Currently with the Cincinnati Reds, Wooten is on the 60-day disabled list and hasn’t pitched since May 11.
The former first-round pick in 2006 hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013, and he was signed to a minor league deal by the New York Mets on June 11 after being released by the St. Louis Cardinals organization. In one appearance with the GCL Mets on July 2, he gave up four runs in 0.2 innings.