APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Eleven Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball alumni continue to play professional baseball at Major League Baseball’s All-Star Break, the official midway point of the baseball season.
The formidable list includes a pair of Governors – the ageless A.J. Ellis and Shawn Kelley playing at the major league level.
Meanwhile, five APSU alums are playing in the minor leagues, with reliever Tyler Rogers continue to wait for his call up from the Triple-A level.
Finally, another four Govs are playing in independent leagues, each seeking to make their way back to affiliated baseball.
A.J. Ellis, San Diego Padres
Ellis entered the 2018 campaign as the third wheel in the Padres catching corps and saw limited action in the season’s first three weeks. But he got hot at the end of April and went on a tear that saw him go 26-for-66 (.393) through June 23rd, boosting his batting average to .337 after a 3-for-3 outing at San Francisco.
While Austin Hedges’ return to the starting role has thrust Ellis back into a back-up role, he continues to be a mentor for the Padres young backstop who has blossomed in his return.
Shawn Kelley, Washington Nationals
Kelley began the year slowly and ultimately landed on the disabled list April 24th but returned in May. After suffering a brief blip in his third outing back from the DL, which pushed his ERA to a season-high 5.63, Kelley rediscovered his dominant form and has allowed only three earned runs in his last 20 appearances, dropping his ERA to 2.54 entering the All-Star break.
Most impressively, he has allowed just three walks and struck out 19 over those 20.1 innings.
Tyler Rogers, Sacramento Rivercats (San Francisco)
The most likely Governor to make the majors next, Rogers was named to the Triple-A All-Star game for a second straight year. Playing this season in a setup role, Rogers has dominated the Pacific Coast League with a 1.70 ERA in 35 appearances, limiting opponents to a .201 batting average while striking out 43 – all those numbers marking career-bests for the submariner, just halfway into the season.
Rogers again pieced together an incredible scoreless inning stretch, going 17 innings over 13 outings without allowing a run, dropping his ERA to 1.57 before the streak ended in June.
Ryne Harper, Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota)
Harper was named to the Southern League’s All-Star game this season and has done well in a setup role for the Lookouts. He was elevated to Triple-A Rochester in mid-April before returning to Double-A Chattanooga where he has been since May 9th. But Harper has made the most of stay with the Lookouts, posting a 2.88 ERA in 20 appearances with five saves.
He has rolled up strikeouts at a furious pace this season, striking out 46 batters in 34.1 innings with only four walks allowed.
Alex Robles , Elizbethton Twins (Minnesota)
Robles’ second season in the minors saw him bounce around early with appearances in Advanced-A Fort Myers and even Double-A Chattanooga. However, he settled in with Rookie-Level Elizabethton of the Appalachian League once its season started in June.
Robles roared out of the games with a 4-for-4 outing in the second game of the Appy League season. As of July 16, Robles owns a modest nine-game hitting streak but has seven multi-hit games in that stretch, including three straight three-hit outings. He is batting .475 (19-for-40) during the streak and owns a .349 batting average at the MLB break.
Michael Costanzo , Princeton Rays (Tampa Bay)
Costanzo received a rude greeting to professional ball in his debut, allowing two runs in 1.1 innings. But six days later he showed the form that saw him rack up over 100 strikeouts in his final season with the Governors, striking out five batters over 2.2 innings.
That was the start of a stretch that has seen Costanzo toss 11.2 innings of scoreless relief since that debut, striking out 16 batters while lowering his ERA to an impressive 1.42 while racking up a win and three saves.
Garrett Giovannelli , Hudson Valley Renegades (Tampa Bay)
Giovannelli was assigned to Short-Season A Hudson Valley for his first professional outing. He has 14 games played through mid-July and continues to show a shrewd eye at the plate with just six strikeouts in 44 at-bats. Giovannelli also continues to nab bases in 2018, picking up four stolen bases with the Renegades.
Matt Reynolds, Lancaster Barnstormers
Reynolds has been a man on a mission this season with the Atlantic League’s Lancaster club, his 16 saves the second most in the league. He pieced together a streak of nine saves in 10 appearances from May 10th-June 9th, including five straight saves to conclude the stretch.
Reynolds has allowed a run in only seven of his 30 appearances this season, recording 27 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched.
Casey Delgado, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Delgado has been a workhorse for the Atlantic League Southern Maryland club, leading the team with 70.1 innings pitched in 13 starts, including a pair of complete games. Those 70.1 innings pitched were 10th most among the league’s pitchers. Delgado has four wins to his credit in 2018 for a Blue Crabs club that recorded 26 wins in the season’s first half.
Jared Carkuff , Chicago Dogs
While we are still waiting for the assured glory of a photo showing Carkuff wearing a hat with a hot dog on it, the Govs alum has been dominating the American Association. In his 16 appearances, he has posted a 1.74 ERA and allowed a run in only four of those appearances.
He has racked up 29 strikeouts against 82 batters faced – an impressive 35 percent strikeout rate – while only walking three. All three of his wins this season have come in his last seven outings.
Garrett Copeland , Gary SouthShore Railcats
Copeland opened his 2018 campaign on a tear in Gary, Indiana with 10 hits in his first six games (.500) batting average) and his average stayed above .300 through the start of June. The start of summer hasn’t been as kind to the Govs switch-hitting alum, though he has a hit in four of his last seven outings at the MLB break.