October 4, 2016
A total of 18 Hokies finish their 2016 professional seasons
Four Hokies play in the MLB, two others win titles in minor leagues

BLACKSBURG – With the completion of the 2016 Major League Baseball regular season on Sunday, it closes the books on all former Virginia Tech baseball players playing in the pros for the 2016 calendar year. Below is how 18 Hokies spent their summer in the professional leagues, which includes several being named Mid-Season all-stars and two winning league championship titles.

The list includes four Hokies who saw action in the MLB, which is the most ever in a single season for the school. Also, five more played in Triple-A, which means half of the 18 reached the two highest levels of professional baseball.

The list below is by level – the highest the player reached – and includes those who played independent ball. As always, CLICK HERE to view the Hokies' web page that follows all these players and has links to their professional bios.

Jesse Hahn (Oakland Athletics) – After losing the entire second half of the 2015 season with a right forearm strain, Hahn showed some signs of returning to form. He split time between Oakland and the Nashville Sound. With the A’s, he posted a 2-4 record with a 6.02 ERA. He finished 2016 with an overall record of 3-11 after throwing a total of 113 innings with 69 strikeouts in 24 starts.

Joe Mantiply (Detroit Tigers) – Mantiply excelled while spending part of his season with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens and most of the year in Double-A with the Erie SeaWolves of the Eastern League. He pitched in a total of 61 games, all in relief, and was 4-2 with one save, posted a 2.47 ERA in 51.0 innings with the SeaWolves adding 62 strikeouts. With Toledo, a member of the International League, Mantiply was 1-1 with a 4.32 ERA in seven outings and struck out seven in eight innings. He was called up to the Tigers in September and struck out two in 2.2 innings of work in five appearances.

Chad Pinder (Oakland Athletics) – Oakland Athletics invited non-roster SS Pinder to 2016-spring training. Pinder played the majority of his 2016 season with the Nashville Sounds. He was named Mid-Season All-Star for the second year in row, posting a .258 batting average and a .735 OPS in 107 games with Triple-A Nashville. During his time with Oakland, Pinder batted .235 with a .373 slugging percentage. In the total 129 games played this season, he had 122 hits, including 27 doubles, three triples and 15 home runs, while adding 76 runs scored and 55 RBIs. He played shortstop and second base this season and had 162 putouts, 294 assists and was involved in 50 double plays. Pinder smacked his first Major League home run against the Mariners on Sept. 30, which resulted in tying the game at the top of the sixth.

Ben Rowen (Milwaukee Brewers) – After spending his 2015 season playing for four teams, three of which were in Triple-A, Rowen pitched for two Triple-A teams this year and saw action in four games for the Milwaukee Brewers. He tossed 58.0 innings and struck out 45 while posting a 1.22 WHIP in Triple-A with one save. He tossed a total of 3.0 innings for the Brewers with two strikeouts.

Devin Burke (Colorado Rockies) – A wild 2016 season saw Burke pitch for three different teams ranging from High-A to Triple-A. Spending most of the summer with the Asheville Tourists, he also played with Hartford and the Albuquerque Isotopes. With Albuquerque, he pitched one game in relief and allowed zero earned runs in 1.0 inning and struck out two batters. Overall, including his time in Hartford and Asheville, Burke was 5-6 in 23 games, tossed 88.0 innings, struck out 67 batters and had a 3.48 ERA. When he reached the Double-A level, Burke became the first undrafted Hokie to play at the level and has now pushed that impressive mark to the Triple-A level.

Tim Smalling (Colorado Rockies) – Smalling continues to put up steady numbers each season, as this season he played his entire summer with Triple-A Albuquerque for this second season in a row. He batted .233 in 76 games played while collecting 54 hits, including four doubles, a triple and three home runs. He added 27 RBIs, and crossed the plate 27 times. Smalling spent most of his season playing third and shortstop and tossed out 139 assists in the two positions.

Ronnie Shaban (St. Louis Cardinals) – Shaban spent the majority of his summer with the Springfield Cardinals, appearing in 42 games, all out of the bullpen. He posted an 8-3 record with 10 saves and a 3.11 ERA with them, tossing a total of 55 innings with 40 strikeouts. Shaban also appeared in three games for the Memphis Redbirds in Triple-A, striking out two batters in 3.1 frames. For the entire summer, Shaban had a 2.93 ERA and 10 saves.

Justin Wright (St. Louis Cardinals) – Wright saw action in both Double-A and Triple-A for the Cardinals organization, spending his time with Memphis (AAA) and Springfield (AA). Overall, he appeared in 47 games out of the bullpen, threw 52 innings and struck out 41 batters. He had a 5.02 ERA. His numbers for the Memphis Redbirds in the Pacific Coast League, included a 4.30 ERA in 23 innings with 20 strikeouts.

Mark Zagunis (Chicago Cubs) – Zagunis spent his summer between Iowa with the Cubs and Tennessee with the Smokies and put together a solid season. Overall, he played in 101 games, had a .288 average, a .384 on base percentage and a .469 slugging percentage. He pounded out 103 hits, of which 25 were doubles, five were triples and he hit 10 home runs. Zagunis added 49 RBIs, scored 61 runs, walked 52 times and stole five bases. He also added 10 outfield assists in the field. He was named the Mid-Season All-Star. He broke his foot in July and was sidelined for the rest of the year.

Tyler Horan (San Francisco Giants) – Horan spent his entire summer playing for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, appearing in 93 games. His raised his batting average more than 50 points to.265 and he slugged a .460, an improvement from last season’s .392. Overall, Horan had 76 hits, including 12 doubles, four triples and 12 home runs, scored 43 runs and knocked in 36. Horan also had four outfield assists, and has 19 for his pro career.

Brad Markey (Chicago Cubs) – Markey spent his season with the Tennessee Smokies in Double-A. In 26 games, he started 23 times with a 3.17 ERA in 130.2 innings, while striking out 65 hitters. He had a 1.33 WHIP and opponents batted .259 against him. Markey was the recipient of the Mid-Season All-Star for the Southern League. Overall, Markey ended the season with an 8-7 record.

Eddie Campbell (Seattle Mariners) – After splitting his 2015 season between the Clinton Lumberjacks and the Bakersfield Blaze, Campbell spent his entire 2016 season with the High-A Bakersfield Blaze. In 25 starts, he had an 11-9 record and tossed a total of 139.2 innings. Campbell posted a 5.74 ERA with 117 strikeouts.

Sean Keselica (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Keselica spent his season in nearby West Virginia, playing for the West Virginia Power and tossed one game with the Bradenton Marauders. On the mound, Keselica appeared in 25 games, all out of the bullpen and posted a 2-1 record with a 1.38 ERA. He struck out 55 batters in 52.0 innings and was 2-for-2 on save opportunities. He was a member of the Florida State League Title winning Marauders.

Alex Perez (Minnesota Twins) – Playing a total of 87 games, Perez split his time with the Fort Myers Miracle and the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He posted an overall .247 average and a .641 OPS in the 2016 season. Overall, he played in 69 games with the Miracle where he batted .242 with a .345 on-base percentage. He had 48 hits, including six doubles and added 16 RBIs to his totals. Perez scored 21 runs. With the Kernels Perez had 16 hits including one double and one triple and 10 RBIs, and batted.262. He also handed out 155 assists and was part of 57 double plays from his second-base position committing only five errors all season.

Brendon Hayden (Philadelphia Phillies) – After playing a short season for the Williamsport Crosscutters and helped them to the postseason in 2015, Hayden spent his 2016 season with the Lakewood BlueClaws. For the season, he batted .254 with a .303 slugging percentage. He had 58 hits, including seven doubles and two triples. Hayden added 12 RBIs and 19 runs scored and fielded at a .991 clip, playing his normal first-base position. During the season, Hayden had been placed on the 7-day disabled list multiple times for various injuries.

Saige Jenco (Los Angeles Dodgers) – After playing for Tech in the spring, Jenco started his rookie season with the Ogden Raptors and finished in Single-A with the Great Lake Loons. Jenco played a total of 56 games playing a combination of left, right, and centerfield. Jenco batted an impressive .390 for his rookie season with the Raptors and .288 with the Loons, averaging his season at .308. With 65 hits, Jenco had 13 doubles, four triples and one home run. He brought home 17 and had 39 runs himself. He also stole 22 bases, 17 with Great Lakes, and only committed one error all season. He was a member of the Midwest League Title winning Loons.

Jake Joyce – Joyce pitched in 33 games for the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League, all in relief. He posted a 7-3 record with one save, tossed 42 innings, struck out 64 and finished with a 2.35 ERA.

Johnny Morales– Morales played in 65 games for the River City Rascals, helping the team to the championship series of the Frontier League. He batted .281 with 71 hits, including 11 doubles, two triples and three home runs, scored 45 runs and added 26 RBIs. Morales chipped in seven hits and batted.219 during the playoffs.

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