Professional seasons wrapped up for 14 Hokies

BLACKSBURG - With the Major League Baseball postseason winding down, it’s a great opportunity to look back at the 14 Hokies who saw action during the 2017 professional baseball season – either in the MLB or in the minor leagues.

Below is how they spent their summer as three of them won league championship titles – including Sean Keselica, who finished his third straight season hoisting a trophy. The list also includes three Hokies who played in the Majors and three more that reached as high as the Triple-A level.

The list below is by level (alphabetically) and a Hokie is located under the highest level attained during the 2017 season. 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) – Hahn started the season with the Nashville Sounds, the AAA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. In six games, five of which he started, Hahn went 2-0 with a 4.32 ERA. Hahn had two stints with the team during the season, pitching in a total of 25 innings with 18 strikeouts and a .289 opponents’ batting average. In April, Hahn was called up by the A’s, however, he was then placed on the 10-day disabled list in late May. Returning to the team in June, Hahn was there for a month until going back to Nashville in July. In 14 games with the Athletics, Hahn started 13 games and posted a 3-6 record and a 5.30 ERA. In 69.2 innings pitched, Hahn had 55 strikeouts and .283 opponents’ batting average.

Chad Pinder (Oakland Athletics) – Pinder started the season with AAA affiliate of the Athletics, the Nashville Sounds. Pinder played 17 games with the team recording a .266 batting average with 17 hits, two were doubles, one triple, and one home run. On April 16, Pinder was called up to the Oakland Athletics, his second stint with the team. In 87 games, Pinder posted a .238 batting average with 42 RBI and 36 runs scored. Of Pinder’s 67 hits, 15 were doubles, one triple, and 15 home runs. His 16 career home runs in the Majors is already second all-time among Hokies, just 88 behind Franklin Stubbs (1984-1995), who hit 104 in his career.

Mark Zagunis (Chicago Cubs) – Zagunis started the year with the Iowa Cubs, the AAA affiliate for Cubs, and posted a .267 batting average with 13 home runs, a career high, and 55 RBI with the team. Playing in 97 games, Zagunis had a .404 on-base percentage and. 455 slugging percentage with 88 hits, 59 runs scored, 21 doubles and 70 walks. The third-round pick of the Cubs in 2014, made his MLB debut on June 22 and played in seven games for the team and registering an RBI – in his debut at Miami. He also drew four walks and stole two bases while in Chicago.


Joe Mantiply (New York Yankees) – Playing for the AAA affiliate of the Yankees, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Mantiply pitched in 35 games and posted a 6-5 record with one save and a 2.83 ERA. In 70 innings pitched, Mantiply had 62 strikeouts, .264 opponents’ batting average and a 1.29 WHIP.

Brad Markey (Chicago Cubs) – Starting the season with the AA affiliate of the Cubs, the Tennessee Smokies, Markey posted a 2-1 record with one save and a 3.08 ERA. In 34 games, Markey started twice, and pitched a total of 61.1 innings and struck out 59 and held a .261 opponents’ batting average. On August 11, Markey was called up to AAA Iowa Cubs, where he posted a 0-1 record and a 2.04 ERA. In six games, Markey started one and pitched a total of 17.2 innings, had 14 strikeouts, a .212 batting average and a 0.85 WHIP.

Ben Rowen (New York Mets) – On December 15, 2016, the New York Mets signed Rowen to a Minor-League contract. After getting invited to spring training, Rowen was assigned to the AAA Las Vegas 51s. In 54 games, Rowen posted a 3-3 record with a 4.41 ERA. In 63.1 innings pitched, Rowen had 52 strikeouts, seven more than last season, a .315 opponents’ batting average and a 1.47 WHIP.


Tyler Horan (San Francisco Giants) – Playing for the AA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Horan played in 33 games, posted a .218 average with a .279 on-base percentage. Of Horan 78 hits, he had three doubles, one triple and a home run with nine RBIs.

Sean Keselica (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Playing for the AA affiliate of the Pirates, the Altoona Curve, Keselica posted a 4-2 record with a 3.54 ERA. In 42 games played, three of which he started, he tossed a total of 73.2 innings and struck out 72, had a .245 opponents’ batting average and a 1.44 WHIP. Keselica also recorded three saves and allowed only two home runs during the season. In the postseason, the Curve bested the Trenton Thunder in three straight games to claim their second Eastern League championship in franchise history as they were just the third EL team to sweep all six of their playoff games. For Keselica, his 2017 title is the third of his professional career – also winning one last year with the Bradenton Marauders (Florida State League Class-A Advanced) and the 2015 West Virginia Power (New York Penn League Class-A Short Season). The picture above shows the five players, including Keselica (far right), that have pulled off this three-championship in a row feat.

Alex Perez (Minnesota Twins) – Perez started the season with the single A (Advanced) affiliate of the Twins, the Fort Myers Miracle. In 56 games with the team, Perez had a .252 batting average with .707 on-base percentage. Of his 51 hits, seven were doubles and he had 15 RBI and was walked 26 times. On June 23, Perez was assigned to the AA Chattanooga Lookouts, where he had .272 batting average and a .395 on-base percentage. In 40 games with the team, Perez recorded 34 hits, five of those hits were doubles, and 11 RBIs. In the postseason, Chattanooga won a five-game series against Montgomery, 3-2, and due to Hurricane Irma, shared the Southern League Championship title with Pensacola, as the championship series was cancelled.

SINGLE-A (Full Season)

Saige Jenco (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Playing for the Single-A affiliate for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Great Lakes Loons, Jenco played in 90 games with the team posting a .242 batting average. Jenco posted 71 hits, 16 of which were doubles, 6 triples, and 4 home runs. Jenco had 28 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.

Kit Scheetz (Houston Astros) – A three-team summer started in the Gulf Coast League for Scheetz in the Astros organization. He pitched in two games, throwing a total of 6.1 innings, allowed only four hits and struck out 13 while opponents hit .130 against him. On July 11, Scheetz was called up to the Single A (short) Tri-City ValleyCats where he pitched in six games posted a 2.91 ERA and a 0-3 record. Scheetz had 24 strikeouts and 1.25 WHIP in 21.2 innings pitched. On August 12, Scheetz was called up to the Single A (Full Season) Quad Cities River Bandits. With the River Bandits, Scheetz had a 2-0 record with a 0.95 ERA. In 19 innings pitched, Scheetz posted 16 strikeouts and a 0.89 WHIP. In the postseason, he helped Quad City to the Midwest League title as the team swept the Fort Wayne TinCaps in the championship series. In the semifinals, Scheetz struck out a professional career-high nine batters to advance the River Bandits to the championship series.

SINGLE-A (Short Season)

Ryan Tufts (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Tufts started the season in the Arizona Rookie League with the Diamondbacks, batting .242 with two RBI in 10 games for the team. After signing a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks, Tufts was assigned to the Single-A Hillsboro Hops. With the team, Tufts had a .214 batting average and a .303 on-base percentage. In 12 games with the team he scored four runs scored, had two doubles, seven walks, and four RBI.


Aaron McGarity (New York Yankees) – Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 15th round of this year’s MLB draft, McGarity was assigned to Rookie Gulf Coast League Yankees East. McGarity made one start, pitched in seven total games and posted a 2-2 record with a 2.18 ERA. In the 20.2 innings pitch, McGarity had 27 strikeouts and allowed a .244 opponents’ batting average. McGarity’s season did end early as he was placed on the 60-day disabled list at the end of the season.

Packy Naughton (Cincinnati Reds) – On June 18, Naughton signed a contract with the Cincinnati Reds, after being selected in the ninth round of the draft, and was assigned to Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League. Starting 12 of his 14 games, Naughton had a 3-3 record and a 3.15 ERA. In 60 innings pitched, Naughton had 63 strikeouts and a .256 opponents’ batting.

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