Cougar Baseball Notebook

WASHINGTON STATE BASEBALL players have met with mixed results this summer, and that could lead to impressive results for the 2012 Cougars. Does that mean some of the Cougs taken in the MLB Draft could be returning to WSU? Here's the CF.C baseball notebook, complete with comments from coach Donnie Marbut.

Six returning Cougars have been selected to play in summer all-star games.

Obviously, that bodes well for the future, and the Cougars also may benefit from the fact that the top three draft picks off the 2011 team – all eligible to return – and all three drafted high school recruits have yet to sign pro contracts.

"The draft has been good to us," WSU coach Marbut said.

Mind you, Marbut reserves the right to change his opinion by the Aug. 15 deadline for signing drafted players. He's made it clear from the start that he expects to lose No. 1 pitcher Adam Conley to the Florida Marlins, and nothing has changed in that regard.

"They're still a ways apart (on money)," Marbut said, "but I believe by Aug. 15th they'll have something done."

Conley, who has not played this summer, was drafted in the second round last month. Right fielder Derek Jones went to Baltimore in the 13th round, and first baseman Taylor Ard was taken by Boston in the 25th round.

Jones and Ard have hurt their bargaining power by struggling at the plate this summer. Jones is hitting .229 with two homers with Montpelier (Vt.) in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Ard is hitting .205 with two homers or Brewster (Mass.) in the Cape Cod League.

"All signs point to them coming back right now," Marbut said.

Three freshman recruits of WSU were drafted – outfielder Ben Roberts (seventh round, Arizona), pitcher Tanner Chieborad (24th round, Seattle) and pitcher Joe Pistorese (44th round, Chicago White Sox).

"I don't think they're going to sign," Marbut said.

Outfielder Jason Monda, a teammate of Ard at WSU and Brewster, has been selected to play in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game. The contest is set for next Friday at fabled Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.

Monda, who started much of the season as a WSU freshman this year, is third in the Cape Cod League with a .329 batting average. In 22 games, the Brewster leadoff hitter has one homer, 12 RBIs and nine stolen bases in as many tries. "He's special," Marbut summed up.

Adam Nelubowich and Richie Ochoa were tabbed to play in the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game. That affair is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Oregon State's Goss Field.

The versatile Nelubowich is hitting .302 with a league-leading eight home runs in 35 games with Wenatchee. His 23 RBIs rank third.

Ochoa, pitching for Bellingham, is 2-2 with a 1.20 earned run average (second in the league). He's appeared in nine games, made four starts and has 31 strikeouts and just 18 hits allowed in 30 innings.

Outfielder Kyle Johnson and second baseman Tommy Richards, playing together on the Newport (R.I.) Gulls, are set to play in the New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game. The all-stars gather Wednesday in Lynn, Mass. Johnson is fourth in the league in batting at .344, and he has 10 stolen bases in 24 games. Richards is hitting .274 with no homers and five RBIs in 21 games.

Collin Slaybaugh was the starting catcher for the winning team in the Coastal League All-Star Game on Monday. Slaybaugh went 0-for-2 Monday, but he's eighth in the league in hitting at .340 for Martinsville, Va.

Taylor Williams was not selected for the NECBL All-Star Game, but he pitched a perfect inning of relief last month when an NECBL all-star squad beat the U.S. national college team at Fenway Park. Williams (5-1, 2.54), pitching in Keene, N.H., leads the league in wins.

Kellen Camus is 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA with Winchester, Va., in the Valley Baseball League. He's been named the North Division Pitcher of the Week the past two weeks.

Taylor Williams has a 1-2 record and 2.57 ERA with the Nor Cal Pirates, a Chico, Calif., entry in the Far West League. J.D. Leckenby is 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA for Vermont. Trace Tam Sing is hitting .257 for Brewster. Scott Simon, who redshirted as a freshman this year, is 1-0 with a 3.16 ERA at Wenatchee.

Brett Jacobs, who tailed off this season after leading the Cougars in hitting as a freshman in 2009, is apparently going to miss the entire summer due to a recurring wrist injury.

"Our kids are playing as good as our kids have ever played in the summer," Marbut said.

  • Slow starts: All three Cougars who turned pro last month have struggled out of the gate with their Rookie-class teams. Third baseman Matt Argyropoulos is hitting .220 with three homers and seven RBIs in 17 games with Colorado's Pioneer League affiliate in Casper, Wyo. Shortstop Cody Bartlett is batting .207 with no homers and 12 RBIs after 17 games with Baltimore's Appalachian League farm club in Bluefield, W.Va. Bartlett leads the baby Blue Jays with eight errors. Relief pitcher Paris Shewey has a 0-1 record and 9.00 ERA in nine games with Greeneville (Tenn.), Houston's affiliate in the Appalachian League.

  • Matt Way, Philadelphia's fifth-round draft pick two years ago out of WSU, is done for the year. Way has not pitched in a game since back problems sidelined him midway through last season. Marbut said the Phillies shelved Way for the year when a stress fracture in his left (throwing) arm was recently discovered.

  • Cougs rank third: With the recent promotion of Mark Hendrickson to Baltimore, the Cougars have the third-longest active streak (64 years) for colleges sending players to the major leagues. At least one Cougar has played in the majors every year since Cliff Chambers pitched for the Chicago Cubs in 1948. Only USC (73) and Oklahoma (67) have longer active streaks than WSU when it comes to producing big league players. Hendrickson, 37, has spent at least part of the past 10 seasons in the majors. The Orioles sent Hendrickson to Triple-A Norfolk, Va., out of spring training. A former NBA player, Hendrickson was known best at WSU for his basketball exploits. He only played one season of college baseball, going 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in eight games with the 1995 Cougars.

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