Wed Aug 22 05:48pm EDT
With the Major League Baseball season nearing its home stretch, the Cal baseball program currently has five former standouts currently seeing extensive action in The Show - John Baker (San Diego Padres), Brennan Boesch (Detroit Tigers), David Cooper (Toronto Blue Jays), Allen Craig (St. Louis Cardinals) and Brett Jackson (Chicago Cubs). The Bears also have former first-round pick Brandon Morrow (Toronto Blue Jays), on the disabled list, but is on the mend.
Craig, who was a do-everything infielder/outfielder for coach David Esquer from 2003-06, is still shining in 2012 after playing a huge part in the Cardinals winning the 2011 World Series. Craig, recently the cover feature in St. Louis' game program, is batting .309 with 26 doubles, 18 home runs and 62 RBI this summer. He now has a .299 career average with 48 doubles, 33 home runs and 120 RBI in three seasons with the Cardinals.
Baker (2000-02), who has come back from elbow surgery that limited him to 16 games in 2011, is now batting .244 with seven doubles and 11 RBI in 52 games for the Padres, while Boesch (2004-06) is batting .247 with 20 doubles, a triple, 11 home runs and 48 for the Tigers.
Two of the younger Bears in the Big Leagues -- former teammates David Cooper (2007-08) and Brett Jackson (2007-09) -- are making their marks in the Major Leagues. Cooper was called up in July by the Blue Jays and has flashed a hot bat, hitting .297 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 11 RBI in 44 games. He helped engineer an extra-inning win Aug. 13 when he drove home the game-winning run with a single to right field in the 11th inning in a 3-2 victory over the White Sox.
Jackson made his Major League debut Aug. 5 for the Cubs and went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles versus the Dodgers. He has since hit two doubles, a triple and had his first Big League home run August 18. Both Cooper (2008) and Jackson (2009) were first round draft picks under Esquer.
Cal baseball is also represented by 18 players in the Minor Leagues, including recent standouts Tony Renda,Chadd Krist, Erik Johnson, Marcus Semien, Dixon Anderson, Matt Flemer, Danny Oh and Mitch Delfino - all members of the Bears' 2011 College World Series squad.
Another member of Cal's 2011 CWS team, junior catcher Andrew Knapp, had a fine summer playing in the prestigious Cape Cod League for the Chatham Anglers. Knapp batted .293 with 13 doubles, eight home runs and 29 RBI in 40 games. He had led the Northwoods League in hitting in 2011, batting .500 with five home runs and 33 RBI.
Two other members of the 2013 Bears played well this summer - sophomore infielder Chris Paul for St. Cloud (Minn.) and sophomore right-handed junior college transfer Dylan Nelson for Rochester of the Northwoods League. Paul batted .271 in 42 games and led the Northwoods League with 20 doubles, along with six triples, a home run and 26 RBI. Nelson, who will be a sophomore in the spring after transferring from College of San Mateo, had 39 strikeouts in 32.0 innings for the Honkers.
The schedule for the 2013 Cal baseball team is still being finalized, but the Bears will be hosting exciting Pac-12 series versus USC, Oregon, Washington State, Arizona State and Stanford. Baseball fans should also be on the lookout for the announcement of the dates of Cal baseball's two special events - the annual Alumni Game and the second annual Fanfest.