Buccaneers in the ProsJuly 14, 2011
by CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. –Charleston Southern pitchers Stew Brase and Ali Williams are the latest Buccaneer alumni to continue their baseball careers in the professional ranks, as they join Tyler Thornburg and RJ Swindle in the minor leagues. All four hope to follow in the footsteps of former Buc Bobby Parnell, who reached the majors in 2008 by earning a spot on the New York Mets’ roster.
The newest CSU alum to join the professional ranks, Brase boasts an ERA of 0.00 for the Great Falls Voyagers of the Rookie Pioneer League. Brase was signed as a free-agent by his hometown Chicago White Sox in late June and has made five appearances since then. In 5.2 innings pitched, he has given up just two hits and no runs while striking out two batters. The LaGrange Park, Ill., native pitched a career-high 2.0 innings and surrendered just one hit in his most recent appearance against the Helena Brewers on July 9.
Williams spent one season with the Buccaneers after transferring to CSU, and was selected in the 34th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Kansas City Royals. The right handed pitcher has made four appearances for the Arizona Royals of the Arizona Rookie League, including one start. Williams has given up eight hits and four runs, two earned, in 8.2 innings and boasts an ERA of 2.08. His best performance of the season came July 9 against the Arizona Padres as he struck out six batters in 2.1 innings. Williams gave up two hits and one unearned run in his appearance vs. the Padres.
The recently promoted Thornburg has garnered much attention in just his second professional season. This spring, Thornburg was named the sixth best overall prospect and the fourth best pitching prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. He went on to earn a spot in the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game, where he pitched a scoreless inning for the U.S. Futures team. Thornburg has made three appearances for the Brevard County Manatees, the Brewers’ Class A Advanced affiliate of the Florida State League, since being called up in late June. He is 2-1 with an ERA of 2.81 and has given up 10 hits and five earned runs while striking out 20 in three starts. Prior to that Thornburg was 7-0 with an ERA of 1.57 and boasted 96 strikeouts for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. It was recently stated on Baseball Tonight that the Brewers specifically named Thornburg as a player they were not willing to part with in negotiations for the Francisco Rodriguez trade.
However, the K-Rod trade has paved the way for another CSU alum as the New York Mets will now look to RHP Parnell as their closer of the future. In his fourth season with the Mets, Parnell is 2-1 with an ERA of 2.92 and 30 strikeouts in 24.2 IP. In 23 appearances, he has given up just eight earned runs off of 24 hits and boasts an opponent batting average of .250. With just one major league save under his belt, Parnell will most likely split duties with Jason Isringhausen for the time being. Parnell, who played for CSU from 2002-05, had a season-high five strikeouts on June 15 against the Atlanta Braves, throwing 2.0 innings. He has held his opponents scoreless in 16 of 23 appearances and hitless in seven appearances.
Swindle, the first ever Buc to play in a major league game, signed with the Tampa Bay Rays in November of 2009 and is currently playing for the Ray’s Triple A Affiliate the Durham Bulls of the International League. Swindle is 2-0 for the Bulls with an ERA of 3.82. The Vancouver native has made 27 appearances, giving up 25 hits and 14 earned runs. Swindle boasts 33 strikeouts in 33.0 IP and has recorded one save on the season.