Oct. 5, 2017
Ryan Lidge (above) made his professional debut in the New York Yankees' organization after being drafted in the 20th round.
By Ben Auwaerter
Long after the conclusion of the University of Notre Dame baseball season, plenty of Fighting Irish alumni played on through the summer for various Minor League Baseball teams. From breakout seasons to all-star appearances, eleven Irish players made major impacts in the minor leagues this season.
Brad Bass, RHP
- Bass was selected in the seventh round of the 2017 draft by the Detroit Tigers organization and was assigned to play Class-A Short Season baseball with the Connecticut Tigers.
- In seven games, six of which were starts, Bass pitched to an ERA of 3.00. The righty struck out 18 batters in 21.0 innings en route to a solid 1-2 campaign.
Brandon Bielak, RHP
- The Houston Astros organization selected Bielak in the 11th round of the 2017 draft. During his first professional assignment in the Gulf Coast League, Bielak tossed 4.1 scoreless innings in relief.
- Bielak was promoted to play the season’s final 12 games with the Tri-City Valley Cats (Class-A Short Season). He continued to dazzle at this level, starting four times and surrendering only three earned runs in 29.1 innings. Bielak finished the season with a combined ERA of 0.92.
Cavan Biggio, Second Base
- In his second professional season, Biggio spent the entire year with the Dunedin Blue Jays (Class-A Advanced). He opened the season strong, sporting a .263 batting average and a .364 on-base percentage through the end of May. His efforts were rewarded with a spot in the Florida State League All-Star game.
- He concluded the season with a slash line of .233/.342/.363. The same great eye that Biggio exhibited at Notre Dame was on display all year long, as the second baseman amassed 13 multi-walk games.
Sean Guenther, LHP
- The Miami Marlins organization selected Guenther in the 7th round of the 2017 draft. The southpaw began his professional career with three scoreless outings.
- Guenther started all nine games he appeared in after a promotion to the Batavia Muckdogs (Class-A Short Season). At this level, he recorded an ERA of 3.83 and struck out 33 batters in 40.0 IP.
Joe Hudson, Catcher
- The former Irish backstop spent the entirety of his fifth professional season with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds). He opened up the season as a solid contributor on offense and defense, securing a spot in the Southern League All-Star game.
- Hudson slashed .171/.268/.253 in 75 games. The catcher exhibited a great arm from behind the plate, throwing out 23 runners in 50 stolen base attempts.
Torii Hunter Jr., Outfielder
- Though Hunter Jr., was drafted in 2016 by the Los Angeles Angels organization, the outfielder got his first professional at-bats during the 2017 season (Hunter Jr. spent the fall of 2016 on campus, playing for the Irish football team).
- In 52 games with the Orem Owlz (Rookie League), Hunter Jr. impressed at the plate, sporting a slash line of .352/.432/.441. He also excelled on the base paths, stealing 13 bases in 15 attempts.
Eric Jagielo, First Base
- Jagielo, a fifth-year professional, continued his ascension through the minor league this season. The first baseman spent 61 games with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) before being promoted to the Triple-A Louisville Bats for 42 games towards the season’s end.
- Though he batted just .204 on the year, Jagielo exhibited excellent plate discipline. With 45 walks on the year, he sported an on-base percentage of .323.
Ryan Lidge, Catcher
- The New York Yankees organization selected Lidge in the 20th round of the 2017 draft. The catcher was assigned to the Pulaski Yankees (Rookie League) for his first professional stint. After seven games, Lidge was promoted to Class-A Charleston RiverDogs.
- Lidge slashed an impressive .313/.452/.328 over 23 games. At the Class-A level specifically, Lidge brandished an eye-popping on-base percentage of .500 (in 16 games).
Evy Ruibal, RHP
- Ruibal was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in the 16th round of the 2017 draft. Playing for the AZL Dodgers (Arizona League), Ruibal began his professional career with six consecutive outings without an earned run allowed.
- The right-handed pitcher was promoted to the Great Lake Loons (Class-A), where he extended his scoreless streak one more game, before permitting his first earned run. Ruibal closed the season with an ERA of 3.10 across two levels.
Dan Slania, RHP
- This season, Slania made his major league debut with the San Francisco Giants. The right-handed pitcher’s debut came with the same team that drafted him four years earlier in the fifth round.
- Slania made 25 starts in the minor leagues across Triple-A and Double-A, running a 5.41 ERA. On June 30th, Slania made his MLB debut, tossing one scoreless inning in relief. The outing was Slania’s sole major league appearance on the year, but expect to see him in the big leagues again soon.
Peter Solomon, RHP
- In the 4th round of the 2017 draft, Solomon was selected by the Houston Astros organization.
- The right-hander saw action in only one game this season, playing with the GCL Astros (Rookie League). In the outing, Solomon held the opponent hitless over 1.0 inning.
Ben Auwaerter '19 is a student writer for Fighting Irish Media. The Alumni Hall resident is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business, majoring in finance, with a double major of English in the College of Arts & Letters.