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Cal Baseball in the Pros - Midseason Updates

With this week being the MLB All-Star break (slightly past the half way point), let's take a look at how the former Golden Bears are faring in the Big League (and minor leagues) this season.

Golden Bears are in charge of both the Reds (Cal Hall of Famer Bryan Price) and the A's (Bob Melvin).
Golden Bears are in charge of both the Reds (Cal Hall of Famer Bryan Price) and the A's (Bob Melvin).
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

At the start of the 2014 MLB season, Cal was tied for 4th out of all the colleges for having the most alum on the Major League roster with 8 (and at one point as many as 9). Injuries/retirement/ineffectiveness have set in and knock the Golden Bears back down a few notches, but it is still quite amazing to note that so many Big Leaguers have went through Berkeley on their way to The Show.

You can find the full list of all-time Golden Bears who have made it to the Big League here, a list of 61 players that includes familiar name like Jeff Kent and one Jerry Goff (father of Jared Goff).

Tyson Ross (SP, San Diego Padres)

Let's start with the 2014 All-Star (he did not enter the Midseason Classic on Tuesday) who is arguably the most successful former Cal Player this season. Drafted in the 2nd round of 2008 by the A's, this has been a breakout year for Tyson Ross in his second year with the Padres (coincidentally, Tyson's younger brother Joe Ross, who did not atend college, is also a top prospect for the Padres). At the All-Star break, Ross has a 2.85 ERA (3.07 xFIP - expected fielding independent pitching - due to a slightly high 2.98 BB/9) with a very nice WHIP of 1.18, and a 7-10 record (for those who cares about wins and losses). His WAR of 1.7 has already exceed any of his previous season to date. What is especially encouraging has been Tyson's ability to raise his K/9 steadily over his career. It also certainly does not hurt that he is keeping his HR/9 low, thanks in part to playing his home games in the spacious PETCO Park.

More recently, Tyson had a great outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This is also the season where he got his first MLB shutout (against the Cincinnati Reds, which is one of two MLB teams with a Golden Bear at the helm).

Allen Craig (RF/1B/LF, St. Louis Cardinals)

The 2013 All-Star have had a rough year, with a slash line of .244/.293/.355 (for Batting Average/On Base Average/Slugging Average) with just 7 homers and 34 RBI (after starting the year being touted as a fantasy starter even in mixed leagues). He has also recently lost playing time to the top hitting prospect in all of baseball in OF Oscar Taveras. Craig's past success has been due to his very high BABIP (batting average for ball in play) which is sometimes associated by Sabrematerian as an indicator of luck. A fall from 0.368 to 0.285 has highly suppressed Craig's offensive output. His All-Star status last year has been earned by his "clutchness" in batting with runners in scoring position (not to mention his ability to do so during the Cardinals' World Series run in 2011. With the Cardinals having a surplus of 1B (Matt Adams) and OF, there are some murmur of Allen Craig being available via trade (Craig is signed to a $31 million - 5 year contract through 2017).

He has also made some nice defensive play like this one.

Brandon Morrow (SP, Toronto Blue Jays) - INJURED (torn tendon sheath in right hand)

With the Toronto Blue Jays being a contender for the first time in awhile, Brandon Morrow (1st round, 5th overall pick in 2006) may play a big role down the stretch, provided that he can recover from a finger injury that was at one time thought to cost him the season.

Morrow is expected to resume throwing TODAY, with a timeline of being ready in early August.

At the tail end of a 3 year, $21 million deal, Morrow needs to show that he can stay healthy to earn a big contract in the free agency market. Always have great stuff, Morrow has struggled throughout his career. Despite being able to get nearly a K per inning, Morrow's 2014 season has been plagued by a ridiculous high BABIP (so he was extremely unlucky), resulting in a very high ERA (5.93) over a more reasonable xFIP (4.17).

John Baker (C, Chicago Cubs)

One of the few veterans on an otherwise young and rebuilding team, John Baker is your "veteran presence" guy on the Cubs this year.

With his catching pedigree, it would not be a surprise if Baker ends up becoming a baseball coach or even a manager. That segues us into the two Golden Bears that are leading teams

Bob Melvin (Manager, Oakland A's)

The 2007 NL and 2012 AL Manager of the Year should probably make room for another award in his trophy case. Leader of the team with the best record (59-36 for a 0.621 record), Melvin and his team got a recent big boost with the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to strengthen that rotation.

Bryan Price (Manager, Cincinnati Reds)

Brand new to the job of being a MLB manager only this season, previous pitching coach Bryan Price is having an up and down season so far with the Reds. The Reds are currently at 51-44 which puts them in the mix for the NL Central and the two wild card spot. Nevertheless, Price kind of struggled early in the year with the whole replay challenge thing.

He also had an interesting move of calling a team meeting during the middle of the game.

Formerly in the Big League earlier this year

Brennan Boesch (OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, currently in AAA Salt Lake City)

After a brief stint at the beginning of the season with the Angels, Boesch is currently playing in AAA Salt Lake City. He is hitting a solid .317/.358/.570 so he should get the call whenever an opportunity arises. The former Tigers and Yankees has bounced around a bit in recent year after making his debut with the TIgers 2010 and hitting 14 and 16 homers in two partial seasons.

Xavier Nady (OF, Padres/Mariners, currently a free agent)

The X-man was recently released from the Mariners' organization.

It's not clear whether this was a choice made by the team or by Nady in pursuit of a better situation. Nady should be able to find a big league bench job as a right handed bat against lefties.

Earlier this season, Nady had this following game-winning hit for the San Diego Padres (who originally drafted him and allow him to be one of those rare players to make their MLB debut before any time in the minor leagues) against the Washington Nationals.

Josh Satin (INF, New York Mets, currently in AAA Las Vegas)

Satin got some chance to showcase himself for the lowly Mets this year (breaking Spring Training with the Mets), but was only able to put up a slash line of  .107/.265/.179. He does have a slash line of .308/.402/.430 in AAA, so he should be given another shot to prove that he is not just a AAAA type of player.

Marcus Semien (2B/SS/3B/OF, Chicago White Sox, currently in AAA Charlotte)

Member of that special College World Series run team, Semien made his MLB debut late last year and opened this year on the big league roster. He got the chance to be a starter for the Pale Hose but struggled to hit after a decent start. Semien was optioned to AAA after hitting .218/.287/.327. After struggling down in the minors in June, Marcus has rebounded with a .333/.429/.604 batting line, two home runs, seven doubles and 15 RBI through 12 games. Most importantly, he has shown the ability to play all the infield and outfield position so that he will surely get more Big League opportunity later, likely in the 2nd half of this season.

Erik Johnson (SP,  Chicago White Sox, currently in AAA Charlotte)

Also opening the year with the parent club, Erik Johnson got 5 starts for the White Sox before being optioned, with an ERA of 6.46 and WHIP of 1.77. Unfortunately for Erik, the struggle has continued down in AAA.

From the Chicago Sun-Times, "I don't see the games; you see the numbers,'' manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘You have people that are watching, and you get reports on him, but when you just see the numbers, it does make you scratch your head because you know he has talent. We've seen it. We've seen it up here, so to get that combination back where he has the confidence, the location, the ability to do it, that's when you get that call back up."

Conor Jackson (1B/OF, last of the Baltimore Orioles AAA team)

Conor Jackson has retired from baseball earlier this season. The 7 year Big League veteran and former 1st round pick (19th overall) last played in The Show back in 2011 and ends his career with 52 homers, 295 RBIs and a career hitting line of 0.271/0.351/0.407. Jackson was drafted and made his debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He also played for the A's and Red Sox.

Down on the Farm

Tony Renda (2B, Washington Nationals, currently with the A+ Potomac)

After being a Sally (South Atlantic) League All-Star in 2013, Renda's 2014 production is still quite consistent if not worthy of being a Carolina League All-Star. The 2011 Pac-12 Player of the Year is hitting .294/.369/.366 to further showcase his great hitting and getting on-base ability despite little to no power. Block Renda in the Nationals is one near MLB All-Star in Anthony Rendon. Renda and the Golden Bears, of course, ended Rendon's collegiate career at Rice during the Bears' improbable run to Omaha for the College World Series.

Andrew Knapp (C, Philadelphia Phillies organization)

Knapp is out for the season after Tommy John surgery back in December. The 2013 2nd round pick is still expected to possibly move up the chain quickly in an otherwise barren Phillies farm.

Brett Jackson (OF, Chicago Cubs, currently in AAA Iowa)

The former 1st round pick has lost plenty of luster as a baseball prospect. After a brief cup of coffee back in 2012, Jackson has stopped hitting (merely .214/.303/.387 in AAA). Originally thought to possess both power and speed, Jackson needs to reverse the trend of his last several years for another shot at the Big League.

David Cooper (1B/DH, Cleveland Indians, currently in AAA Indianapolis)

Another Golden Bears who have already made a Big League debut (with the Blue Jays), Cooper is having an injury (shoulder strain) plagued season in AAA.

Derek Campbell (INF, Philadelphia Phillies, currently in A- Williamsport)

Just signed after being selected in the 2014 draft, Derek Campbell is hitting a robust .330/.380/.530 with 2 homers in 26 games for the short-season lower A league.

Kyle Porter (SP, Miami Marlins, currently with Golf Coast League Marlins)

Kyle Porter has also made his pro debut with the Marlins' rookie league team after being drafted this year. The very early numbers has not been pretty, but it is also very very small sample size.