Boys of Summer: Several former Golden Eagles earn promotions
Aug 06, 2012
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. --- Former Tennessee Tech baseball player
Stephen Pryor has made noise this summer as a member of the Seattle
Mariners and will look to continue the success after a stint on the
Pryor is one of six former Golden Eagles in the major leagues
this year. All have shown flashes of brilliance this season and
many have earned promotions for their hard work. Take a closer look
at the former TTU Golden Eagles:
Stephen Pryor – P - #46
Current Club: Seattle Mariners (MLB)
Stephen Pryor began the year with the Jackson Generals of the
Class AA Southern League and progressed quickly from there. After
amassing a 1.13 ERA over just 11 games, Pryor was called up to the
Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. He spent
less than a month as a Rainier before making his major league debut
with the Seattle Mariners on June 2, 2012 against the Chicago White
In only his fourth MLB appearance, Pryor combined with five
other Mariners for a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on
June 8. Pryor struck out a batter and earned the victory for his
first career win. On the season, he has seven strikeouts in 6.1
innings pitched. He owns a 1.42 ERA and has given up just one
earned run in seven games.
After a stint on the disabled list, Pryor was recalled Tuesday,
July 31. In his first appearance since coming off the DL, he struck
out two batters while allowing no runs in an inning of work against
the New York Yankees on August 3.
In 20 innings as a member of the Triple-A Tacoma Raniers, Pryor
has yet to allow a run and has also struck out 20 batters. During
that time, he also recorded three saves and allowed an incredible
.159 batting average against his opponents.
The Mariners own a 51-59 record this season and sit fourth in
the top-heavy American League West Division. The team has won eight
of its last 10 games.
A.J. Kirby-Jones has spent his third professional season making
a name for himself for the Stockton Ports of the California League.
While batting .248 this year, Kirby-Jones has managed to climb to
the top of several other statistical categories for his team. He
sits in the top three in OBP (.377), homeruns (14), RBIs (52, and
OPS (.816) for the Ports. His team-leading 64 walks have been good
enough to rank him second in the entire California League. In the
spring, Kirby-Jones earned the California League Player of Week
award for the week of April 23, 2012.
In his last 10 games, Kirby-Jones has drawn six walks and driven
in five runs while accumulating a .342 on base percentage. The
Ports are currently 17-26 on the year, but have won six of their
last 10 games.
The next step for Kirby-Jones will be to earn a call-up to the
Double-A Midland RockHounds of the Texas League.
Chad Oberacker – OF – #2
Current Club: Stockton Ports (Advanced
MLB Parent Club: Oakland Athletics
Chad Oberacker joined former TTU teammate A.J. Kirby-Jones on
the Stockton Ports after just 16 games as a member of the Single-A
Burlington Bees. Since the call-up, Oberacker is batting .273 with
a team-leading six triples and 22 stolen bases. He has also tallied
50 runs (3rd on team), 94 hits (3rd), 19
doubles (2nd), and 35 walks (3rd). Despite
not being a power hitter at TTU, Oberacker has shown impressive
numbers in home runs (9) and slugging percentage (.442).
Oberacker has been on a tear over the Ports’ previous 10
games, batting .326 and slugging .587 all while scoring seven runs,
stealing six bases, and roping four doubles. The Ports are
currently 17-26 on the year, but have won six of their last ten
The next step for Oberacker will be to earn a call-up to the
Double-A Midland RockHounds of the Texas League.
Adam Liberatore – P – #34
Current Club: Durham Bulls (Triple-A)
Parent Club: Tampa Bay Rays
Adam Liberatore started the year with the Double-A Montgomery
Biscuits before a mid-July call-up from the Triple-A Durham Bulls.
Since the promotion, Liberatore has been on fire in his seven
appearances with the team. In 6.2 innnings, he hasn’t allowed
a runner to score giving him a 0.00 ERA. He has also struck out
four batters during that time.
Before the call-up, Liberatore earned a 3-4 record as a Biscuit.
His 2.94 ERA came over 52 innings pitched in 33 games. He struck
out 27 during that span.
The Durham Bulls are 55-61 this season in the International
League. They sit third in the South Division standings and are 5-5
in their last 10 contests.
The next step for Liberatore is to earn a possible September
call-up from the Tampa Bay Rays when the MLB rosters expand from 25
to 40 players.
Ryan Dennick – P – #23
Current Club: Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Parent Club: Kansas City Royals
Ryan Dennick spent just six games as a member of the Advanced
Single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks before earning a call-up to the
Northwest Arkansas Naturals of Double-A. Since the call-up, Dennick
has spent time as a starter, reliever, and closer. During his time
as a Natural, he has appeared in 23 games including three starts.
He has put together a 5-4 record and also accumulated four saves.
In 55 innings pitched, he has struck out 47 and held batters to a
.224 average. His ERA sits at 4.42.
The Naturals sit at 13-30 for the season despite being winners
of six of their last 10 games.
The next step for Dennick would be a call-up to the Triple-A
Omaha Storm Chasers of the Pacific Coast League.
Matthew Shepherd – P – #31
Current Club: Eugene Emeralds (Single-A Short
Parent Club: San Diego Padres
Matthew Shepherd was drafted in the 31st round of the
2012 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. He has since made 21
appearances for the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League and
owns a 3.00 ERA to show for it. In just 27 innings pitched,
Shepherd has amassed 32 strikeouts and earned a record of 2-2. He
has made one start, a no-decision, and recorded one save while
allowing batters to only hit .234 against him.
The Emeralds own a 6-7 record but sill sit in second place in
the Northwest League West Division.
The next step for Shepherd will be make the Padres’
Single-A Fort Wayne TinCaps team next spring.