HARRISONBURG, Va., June 21, 2011 - With recent James Madison draftees Jake Lowery and David Herbek making successful pro debuts, it's time to take a look at how all of the former Diamond Dukes are faring in the ranks of professional baseball.
Matt Browning (2007-10), a 2010 draft pick by the Seattle Mariners, is currently hitting .234 (22-94) through 25 games for the Clinton LumberKings of the Class A Midwest League. He has five doubles, two home runs, 13 RBIs and nine runs scored. Browning also played five games for the High Desert Mavericks in the Class A Advanced California League.
First baseman Steven Caseres (2007-08) signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Royals in the offseason. He played seven games for the Kane County Cougars in the Class A Midwest League and eight games for the Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks in the Class A Advanced Carolina League before recently being released.
The Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League season began Friday with second baseman Michael Fabiaschi (2007-10) suited up for the Vermont Lake Monsters. In two games he is 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two walks. Fabiaschi was drafted in 2010 by the Oakland Athletics.
Fresh off his All-Regional performance in Chapel Hill, outfielder Alex Foltz (2007-11) signed one week later on June 13 with the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League. He is batting .243 (9-37) through nine games with two doubles.
David Herbek (2008-11) made his professional debut Monday, June 20 as the starting shortstop for the Great Falls (Mont.) Voyagers of the Rookie Pioneer League. After grounding out in his first two at bats, he drew a walk, was hit by a pitch and then hit a solo home run with two outs in the ninth to cap a 9-4 road win at the Billings Mustangs. Herbek was drafted June 7 in the 15th round by the Chicago White Sox.
(updated June 27) Kurt Houck (2005-09) is in his first season with the McAllen Thunder of the independent North American League. He has made six starts to date while ranking second in the 10-team league with 40 strikeouts compared to 16 walks. He is ninth in the league with a 3.74 ERA and 13th with 33 2/3 innings pitched while possessing a 2-3 record.
Hit by a barrage of injuries since his standout collegiate career, Kellen Kulbacki (2005-07) was released by the San Diego Padres in the offseason and signed with the Lake Erie Crushers of the independent Frontier League. Through 27 games, he is hitting .240 with four doubles, two home runs and 12 walks.
Drafted in the fourth round by the Cleveland Indians on June 7, Jake Lowery (2009-11) made his pro debut on Friday, June 17 with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League. He has hit cleanup all four games so far, two at designated hitter and two at catcher, while hitting .400 (6-15) with two doubles, five RBIs and two walks. While the season is less than a week old, the JMU season record holder already ranks third in the league in RBIs.
Brent Metheny (2000-03) is in his first season with the Edmonton Capitals of the independent North American Baseball League. He is hitting .384 through 24 games with 10 doubles, five home runs and a team-high 27 RBIs.
Left-hander Dan Meyer (2000-02) was released by the Florida Marlins in the offseason, signed with Philadelphia and was granted a release to pursue an opportunity with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is assigned to the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians of the International League. However, Meyer is currently on the seven-day disabled list after posting a 7.45 ERA in 14 appearances to start the season.
Right-hander Kevin Munson (2008-10) is currently part of the bullpen for the Visalia Rawhide of the Class A Advanced California League. Drafted in 2010 in the fourth round by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Munson is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 20 appearances. Over 25 2/3 innings, he is holding opponents to a .253 batting average with 30 strikeouts.
After struggling in the early part of the season with the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, Ryan Reid (2005-06) received a call up to the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) of the Triple-A International League and has flourished. He holds a 3.58 ERA in 15 appearances over 27 2/3 innings with 21 strikeouts compared to eight walks. He made one spot start, allowing one run over five innings against Columbus on the same night JMU was preparing to begin play next door in the Chapel Hill NCAA Regional.
Travis Risser (2004-05) set the JMU season saves record, later surpassed by Munson, before then transferring to Coastal Carolina. He is currently teaming with Kulbacki as a pitcher for the Lake Erie Crushers of the independent Frontier League. He has a 6.00 ERA and 1-4 record over 30 innings pitched and nine total appearances.
After a late call-up to Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2010, Davis Stoneburner (2004-07) is putting together another solid campaign with the Frisco RoughRiders of the Double-A Texas League. A 2007 draft pick by the Texas Rangers, Stoneburner is hitting .288 with nine doubles, three triples, four home runs, 30 runs scored, 22 RBIs and nine steals through 48 games.
Rich Thompson (1998-2000) is roaming the outfield for the fourth straight season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies in the International League. The Reading, Pa. native is hitting .259 with five doubles, a triple, two home runs, 35 runs scored and 23 walks. His 21 stolen bases rank second in the league.
A veteran of 10 years as a Minor League manager, Lorenzo Bundy (1978-1981) is in his first season at the helm of the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. However, currently he is serving as third base coach for the Dodgers while Tim Wallach is on a personal leave of absence.
Rob Mummau (1990-93) is back for his second season as manager of the Pulaski Mariners of the Rookie Appalachian League. Mummau was also the skipper for the 2009 season.