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Area graduates still going strong in minors

Mark Hazelwood • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Brennan Smith is getting another shot in Double-A.

The 2007 Perkins graduate and pitcher in the minor league system for the Detroit Tigers was recently promoted to the Erie SeaWolves of the Eastern League.

Smith opened the season with High-A Lakeland, and was called up to Erie in early May. But after six tough appearances, the former Bowling Green pitcher was back at Lakeland — and excelled.

In 22 appearances out of the bullpen for the Flying Tigers, Smith was 2-4 with seven saves and a 2.48 ERA. He allowed 10 earned runs on 27 hits, striking out 35 and walking 14 in 36 1/3 innings of work while holding batters to a .208 average.

Smith made his first appearance at Erie in his second stint on Monday at Altoona, and allowed one run and struck out a batter in an inning of work. On Wednesday, Smith pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings and struck out two batters.

Combined at both levels this season, Smith is 2-5 with a 3.45 ERA with seven saves, 46 strikeouts and 16 walks in 47 innings.

The soon-to-be 25-year old was a 33rd round draft pick out of BGSU in the 2010 MLB Draft. In five seasons in the minors at four different levels, Smith is 14-24 with a 3.32 ERA.

Andy Oliver, Indianapolis: The 2006 Vermilion graduate continues to have a strong season for the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 37 appearances for the Indians, Oliver is 1-2 with 13 saves and a 2.08 ERA. He has struck out an impressive 69 batters in just 52 innings of work, allowing 12 earned runs on 36 hits. Batters are hitting just .146 off the International League All-Star, but walks continue to be an issue for the former second round pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, as he's issued 31 free passes this season.

After being drafted by the Tigers out of Oklahoma State, Oliver eventually earned his way into the fifth spot of the Detroit rotation. In seven starts for the Tigers, Oliver was 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA. Unable to secure a spot in the loaded Detroit pitching staff, he was traded to the Pirates for catcher Ramon Cabrera on Dec. 5, 2012.

In five career seasons between Double and Triple-A, Oliver is 28-35 with a 4.09 ERA.

Andrew Chafin, Reno: The 2008 Western Reserve graduate is trying to find his way at the highest level of the minors after a blazing start to the season in Double-A.

The former 43rd overall pick by Arizona in the 2011 MLB Draft, Chafin opened the season at Mobile and was 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA in nine starts for the Double-A Diamondbacks. He struck out 41 batters and walked just 19 while allowing 12 earned runs on 49 hits in 55 innings of work.

That earned the former Kent State standout a promotion to Triple-A Reno in late May, but Chafin is just 4-5 with a 5.57 ERA in 13 starts for the Aces. He has struck out 56 and walked 28 in 72 2/3 innings of work this season, allowing 45 earned runs on 91 hits.

Between the two levels this season, Chafin is 8-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 22 starts.

In his fourth season in the minors, Chafin is 27-20 with a 3.74 ERA at three different levels for his career.

Matt Maloney, Somerset: The 2002 Huron graduate has extended his baseball career in 2014 by signing on with the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League.

The nine-team league in the Northeast region of the United States was founded in 1998, and is the equivalent of Double and Triple-A caliber baseball. Somerset is located in Bridgewater, N.J., about 45 miles southwest of Manhattan.

In 13 starts for Somerset, Maloney is 6-5 with a 3.57 ERA. He's struck out 55 and walked 17 while allowing 34 earned runs on 76 hits in 80 2/3 innings of work.

The former third round pick by Philadelphia in the 2005 MLB Draft did make a brief stint with Louisville this season, where he spent a better portion of his career from 2007-11 with the Cincinnati Reds affiliate.

In his two appearances with the Bats again this season, Maloney allowed 12 earned runs on 25 hits, taking the loss in both starts on May 26 and May 31 before heading back to Somerset.

In his MLB career, Maloney made 31 appearances (11 starts) between Cincinnati and Minnesota, and went 5-9 with a 5.74 ERA. While with Minnesota, Maloney had to undergo Tommy John surgery, and missed the rest of the 2012 season and beyond.

He signed a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox in February of 2013, making 15 appearances with a 3.54 ERA out of the bullpen while his arm recovered for Boston's Low-A and Double-A affiliates.

With minor league teams affiliated with MLB, Maloney owns a 70-47 career record with a 3.43 ERA, and 849 strikeouts in 934 2/3 innings pitched in 174 games.

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