Five Baseball players headed to minor league playoffs
AUSTIN, Texas -- With minor league baseball regular-season action wrapping up across the country, seven players who completed their collegiate career at The University of Texas are headed to the post-season, highlighted by J.P. Howell (Durham Bulls) on the Class AAA level.
In addition to Howell, former Longhorns headed to the playoffs include Seth Johnston (Lake Elsinore Storm) and David Maroul (San Jose Giants) in the Class A California League and Carson Kainer (Dayton Dragons) and Drew Stubbs (Dayton Dragons) in the Class A Midwest League.
Howell, who has seen action with parent club Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2007, is slated to pitch game one of the best-of-five International League Divisional Series against the Toledo Mud Hens on Wednesday. The winner of the series advances to the best-of-five International League Championship Series. Howell ranked fourth in the league with a 3.38 ERA this season and other than an Aug. 16 outing against Indianapolis, he hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in his last 10 starts.
Seth Johnston leads Lake Elsinore into a California League best-of-three playoff against the Inland Empire 66ers on Wednesday. On the season, Johnston hit .292 with 19 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 51 RBI in 95 games.
Also in the California League, David Maroul and the San Jose Giants have a first-round bye and are slated to play the winner of the Visalia Oaks-Modesto Nuts series in a best-of-five divisional playoff. Maroul posted a .221 batting average, with 30 doubles, two triples, 20 home runs and 50 RBI in 118 games during the regular season.
Kainer and Stubbs helped lead the Dayton Dragons into a best-of-three playoff against the South Bend Silver Hawks. The winner of the playoff will battle either the West Michigan Whitecaps or Lansing Lugnuts in a best-of-three divisional series. Kainer batted .280 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 33 RBI in 59 games for the Dragons during the regular season. Stubbs hit .270 with 93 runs, 29 doubles, five triples, 12 home runs, 43 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 129 games. Stubbs led the Midwest League in runs (93) and ranked eighth in doubles (29).
Brad Halsey (Sacramento River Cats) and Matt Goodson (Lancaster JetHawks) have to watch their respective teams play while on the disabled list. The River Cats face the Salt Lake City Bees in a Pacific Coast League (Class AAA) divisional playoff, while the JetHawks await the winner of the Lake Elsinore-Inland Empire playoff in the California League. Halsey and Goodson were both enjoying successful seasons before being shut down by injuries. Halsey was 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA. Goodson was a combined 5-6 in 16 starts between Lancaster and the Portland Sea Dogs (Class AA).
Former Longhorns J.D. Reininger and Gerrit Simpson both made it to playoffs in independent leagues. Reininger's El Paso Diablos lost to the Fort Worth Cats in a best-of-three divisional series in the American Association playoffs. Simpson's Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks are trailing the Calgary Vipers 1-0 in a best-of-five Northern League divisional series.