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Sun Devils in the Majors: 2008 Retrospective

Taking a look at how our ASU Alumni performed this year in the major leagues and what the future might hold for them.

We will look at any player that played significant time on their parent club and will try to do this in a sort of alphabetical order type thing.

Willie Bloomquist, Seattle Mariners, 3rd Round, 95th Overall of 1999 Draft, Utility:
71 G, 165 AB, 32 R, 46 H, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 25BB/29SO, 14SB/3CS, .279avg/.377obp/.285slg(!)/.662 OPS

Bloomquist, super utility man for the Mariners, is entering his final year with the Mariners and neither he nor the fans seem to want him to return. Epitomizing the "gritty white guy" sterotype, Bloomquist played decent defense and showed solid baserunning ability. He also had a really weird season. He had his career high in OPS, AVG and OBP, and his career low in XBH and SLG. Nothing more than a 25th man, Bloomquist will probably find interest in the NL - some team that loves players like him like STL. As a mariners fan I can safely say I hate Willie. He went hundreds of at bats without an XBH and thinks he is better than he is. Go away.

Travis Buck, Oakland Athletics, 1st Round, 36th Overall of 2005 Draft, RF:
38 G, 155 AB, 16 R, 35 H, 9 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 11BB/38SO, 1SB/0CS, .226avg/.291obp/.423slg/.723 OPS

The 2007 Baseball America #1 organizational prospect in the Athletic's franchise, Buck was called up midway through last year and put together some very solid numbers (.850ops in 82 games). His 2008 season was riddled with injury and inconsistency. Turning 25 in November, Buck will enter 2009 as the A's starting right fielder, I assume, and should put up solid numbers. He had a monster September (.367 avg, 4 HR, 1.089 OPS) and had gobs of potential. I would be excited as an A's fan.

Brooks Conrad, Oakland Athletics, 8th Round, 236th Overall of 2001 Draft, 3B:
6 G, 19 AB, 0 R, 3 H, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0BB/9SO, .158avg/.158obp/.211slg/.368 ops

Originally drafted by the Houston Astros out of ASU, Conrad made his MLB debut after being picked up by the A's after the 2006 season. Finally cracking the bigs in his age 28 season after a productive minor league career (993 G, .814 OPS, 142 career HR) he will most likely not make a big league roster again. Congrats to Brooks, however, at finally getting a taste of the big leagues.

Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers, 2nd Round, 62nd Overall of 2001 Draft, RF:
141 G, 525 AB, 90 R, 160 H, 38 2B, 5 3B, 20 HR, 77 RBI, 59BB/88SO, 6SB/3CS, .305 AVG/ .375 OBP/ .510 AVG/ .885 OPS

Wow, nice year Andre. An extremely underrated player, in my opinion, Ethier cranked out 63 XBH, set career highs in nearly every offense category, and played a solid RF. Ethier seems to be an exception to Billy Beane's trading policies and was shipped off for Milton Bradley, who was then shipped off for reliever Andrew Brown. I would rather have Ethier, who will turn 27 shortly after the start of his 2009 season and will look to add upon a great 2008.

Jeff Larish, Detroit Tigers, 5th Round, 150th Overall of 2005 Draft, 1B/3B:
41G, 103AB, 12R, 27H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 7BB/33SO, .262 AVG / .309 OBP / .379 SLG / .688 OPS

Larish made his MLB debut in 2008 after entering the season as the Tigers' 6th ranked organizational prospect by Baseball America after hitting 21 HRs in AAA last season. 26 this fall, Larish is in an interesting position. After playing first his entire minor league career, Detroit has been testing Larish at 3B because they would love if he could play there, since his bat would fit well. He has not shown a whole lot, but hasnt had much time to acclimate himself to the position. It would be ideal if the Tigers' $150 million dollar man could play the position they hired him to play, but he has not been able to.

Paul Lo Duca, Florida Marlins, 25th Round, 690th Overall of 1993 Draft, C:
67 G, 173 AB, 16 R, 42 H, 9 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 15 RBI, 15BB/11SO, .243 AVG / .321 OBP, / .295 SLG / .616 SLG

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the walking corpse of Paul Lo Duca. Lo Duca was absolute garbage this year, unable to stay healthy, unable to hit for power, and unable to play the bases, Lo Duca should call it quits. Having proved everyone wrong, that he was capable of being a solid MLB player after slipping to the 25th round, Lo Duca will be 37 years old at the start of the 2009 season and really does not have much left to offer MLB clubs. His career year in 2001 (.320 average, 25 HR, 90 RBI, .917 OPS) will always be remembered, as will his fiery temperment and his incendiary comments.

Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox, 2nd Round, 65th Overall of 2004 Draft, 2B:
157 G, 653 AB, 118 R, 213 H, 54 2B (!), 2 3B, 17 HR, 83 RBI, 50BB/52SO, 20SB/1CS, .326 AVG / .376 OBP / .493 SLG / .869 OPS

Pedroia, the 6th ranked organizational prospect for the Red Sox, and the 77th ranked prospect in MLB heading into his debut season in 2007, had never hit more than 9 HRs at any of his stops in the minors or at ASU, had never hit more than 39 2Bs, had never stolen more than 9 bases.... the list goes on. An absolute career year, Pedroia has put himself among consideration for the MVP award. A stud at ASU, Pedroia has turned himself into one of the best, if not the best, 2B in all of baseball. A fantastic BB/SO ratio, 213 hits, 73 XBH (!), 20 stolen bases with only 1 CS... Pedroia is ASU baseball.

Dennis Sarfate, Baltimore Orioles, 9th Round, 268th Overall of 2001 Draft, RP:
57 G / 4 GS, 79.2 IP, 86 SO / 62 BB, 4 W - 3 L, 4.74 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 3 HLD, 0SV/2BLSV

Sarfate was barely a Sun Devil, and is barely a MLB pitcher. While not having that bad of an ERA, Sarfate is like many of the Orioles pitchers: tons of stuff, not any command. Striking out an impressive 86 in 79 innings, he also walked over 60 batters. His whip was terrible, and he was unable to turn into a starting pitcher without imploding, running up pitch counts into the 90s through 4 innings, and getting injured shortly after. Sarfate can be a capable MLB reliever if he can find his command, but the SP route is a failed effort.

This are all the major Sun Devils I could think of, if you have some more that played in 2008, let me know and I will do a writeup on them. I did not count Jon Switzer and Chris Duffy because they did not play in the major leagues in 2008.

Obviously, judging from when these players were drafted, our program has evolved a lot in the last 10 years. Only 2 players from the 1990s, versus 6 from the 2000s. 3 of which were from the 2001 draft. This number of active major leagues will start going up even further as some of the more recent draft picks from ASU develop further. GO SUN DEVILS!