Aug. 13, 2010
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Six former members of the Marshall University baseball team are currently competing professionally, five of which are playing in the minor leagues. Kevin Shackelford and Tyler Gatrell are both pitching in the Arizona Rookie League, while Ryan Kiel is working out of the bullpen in the Rookie Appalachian League. Both Shackelford (21st round) and Kiel (37th round) were selected in the 2010 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, while Gatrell was signed as a free agent.
Right-handed pitchers Dan Straily and Steve Blevins are taking the mound in Class A for the Oakland A's and Minnesota Twins respectably. Straily is pitching in his first full season at the professional level, while Blevins is in the midst of his second full season in the Twins organization.
Brendan Murphy, a 2007 MU graduate, is playing infield for the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League (Independent) in his third season.
Kevin Shackelford | RHP | Arizona League Brewers | Rookie League | Milwaukee Brewers
Shackelford was a 21st round selection of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers as a right-handed pitcher. The Charlotte, N.C., native has posted a 1-1 record with a 7.92 ERA in 10 total appearances. After struggling out of the AZL Brewers bullpen, Shackelford was moved to the rotation where he has thrived. In four starts he owns a 1-0 record along with a 1.59 ERA and holding opponents to a .167 batting average against him. As a starter he has collected 13 strikeouts to just three free passes. In his last start against the AZL Cubs, Shackelford earned his first professional victory. The tall righty worked 5.0 innings, surrendering just one earned run on three hits with a pair of punch outs.
Ryan Kiel | LHP | Pulaski Mariners | Rookie Appalachian League | Seattle Mariners
Former Herd lefty Ryan Kiel was picked by the Seattle Mariners in the 37th round of the MLB Draft and is currently on the Pulaski Mariners of the Rookie Appalachian League. In 11 total relief outings, Kiel owns a 1-1 record, 4.42 ERA along with 22 strikeouts and one save in 16.1 frames on the hill. The southpaw picked up his first professional save by firing three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with a trio of strikeouts.
Tyler Gatrell | RHP | Arizona League Royals | Rookie League | Kansas City Royals
Gatrell has been nothing short of spectacular in his first professional season in Rookie League for the Kansas City Royals. The former MU relief pitcher has served as the AZL Royals closer, notching nine saves in 16 total relief appearances. Gatrell has accumulated a miniscule 1.69 ERA and has registered 28 strikeouts in only 16.0 innings. He has held right-handed batters to .156 batting clip, with a 0.69 ERA and has fanned 23 in 13 stanzas. He was signed by Kansas City as a free agent.
Dan Straily | RHP | Kane County Cougars | Class A Midwest League | Oakland Athletics
In his first full season of professional baseball, Straily has tallied an 8-7 record and 4.73 ERA in 23 starts for the Kane County Cougars of the Oakland A's Class A affiliate. Straily is averaging better than a strikeout-per-inning, collecting 121 punch outs in 118.0 frames. He seems to enjoy pitching at home versus on the road, as he owns a 3-3 record with a 2.81 ERA in 10 starts. Straily was a 24th round pick by Oakland in the 2009 MLB Draft.
Steve Blevins | RHP | Fort Myers Miracle | Class A Advanced Florida State League | Minnesota Twins
Blevins has been a quality arm out of the Fort Myers Miracle bullpen in his second full season in the minors. At Class A in the Florida State League, Blevins has made an appearance out of the bullpen 29 times, accumulating a 3-4 record, 4.70 ERA and three saves. Similar to Straily, Blevins also enjoys pitching at home as he owns a 3-1 record and 2.82 ERA. In his two seasons in the minors, Blevins sits at 5-4 with a 4.55 ERA and nine career saves. He was selected in the 21st round of the 2008 MLB Draft by Minnesota.
Brendan Murphy | INF | Kalamazoo Kings | Frontier League | Independent League
Murphy is playing his third season for the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League (Independent). The infielder has clubbed six homers, scored 23 runs, clubbed 39 RBI and laced 14 doubles. In Murphy's first season (2008) with the Kings he was awarded the Frontier League's Rookie of the Year.