MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Three former Mountaineers have appeared in a Major League Baseball game so far this season.
While a roster limit on pitchers could present the possibility for another Mountaineer to get to the big leagues quicker than expected, the question still remains: who is the next WVU product to get his call to the show.
Here is how all 10 Mountaineers in the Minors have performed over the last month.
Michael Grove – RHP – Los Angeles Dodgers organization
Grove was the latest former Mountaineer to make his MLB debut.
He is just the 12th player born in West Virginia to appear in a game in the big leagues since the start of the century.
Grove has split time this year between Double-A and Triple-A in the minor leagues, as well as two different stints with the major league club.
The Wheeling native is currently with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being recalled on May 28.
Throughout all levels this year, Grove is 0-1 with a 3.05 ERA, and has collected 25 strikeouts through 20.2 innings pitched.
He made starts at three different levels of baseball in the month of May.
It’s unclear, at least publicly, how the Dodgers plan on using Grove in his latest stint in the MLB. As of Tuesday, he was not listed as a probable starter for any of Los Angeles’ upcoming games.
Darius Hill – OF – Chicago Cubs organization
Speaking of moving up the ranks, Darius Hill moved up to the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate on Tuesday.
How did he react?
The 24-year-old went 2-for-5 with one run scored and one run batted in during his Triple-A debut.
That continued what has been a fantastic spring for Hill.
So far this year, the former Mountaineer right fielder is hitting for a .311 average, with seven home runs and 19 RBI, and an OPS of .861.
Hill is currently on a six-game hitting streak, and collected at least one hit in 19 of the 27 games he played in May.
Now, he’s just one level away from playing in “The Show” at Wrigley Field.
Chad Donato – RHP – Houston Astros organization
The month of May was not a kind one to Donato.
His ERA for the month was 6.45, as he surrendered 17 runs over 22.1 innings pitched in five total appearances on the mound.
Donato’s most recent start was his roughest. The right-hander was touched up for six runs on the power of three home runs.
Through nine games this year with Houston’s Triple-A affiliate, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, Donato is 2-3 with a 5.22 ERA with 27 strikeouts.
Paul McIntosh – C – Miami Marlins organization
McIntosh, who went undrafted out of West Virginia, continues to impress those within the Marlins organization.
The power-hitting catcher displayed his power on May 26, when he hit a three-run home run over the fence and into the trees and water beyond the wall in left-center field.
That was after McIntosh missed close to a week near the middle part of the month. Since returning to the lineup, though, he has had at least one hit in four of his six appearances and has launched a pair of homers.
Braden Zarbnisky – RHP – Philadelphia Phillies organization
Even with Darius Hill being moved up to Triple-A, it’s possible that Braden Zarbnisky could be the next West Virginia University product to make his MLB debut.
For now, however, Zarbnisky remains with Philadelphia’s Double-A affiliate in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Zarb appeared in nine games this past month. He only had three scoreless relief appearances, though he only had two appearances in which he gave up two runs or more.
Hitters had more success against him as the weather heated up, but he also saw an uptick in strikeouts.
The native of Marietta, Georgia, will look to keep the latter trend going as the calendar flips to June.
Ivan Gonzalez – C – Chicago White Sox organization
Another former Mountaineer is moving his way up the ladder.
Ivan Gonzalez, who was selected in the eighth rough by Chicago in 2019, advanced from Single-A to High-A on May 24.
With the Single-A Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, Gonzalez hit for a .281 average, with three homers and 13 runs batted in.
He’s still looking for his first hit with the High-A Winston-Salem Dash. However, he’s already been part of one double play defensively.
Gonzalez caught 10 of 36 base stealers at the Single-A level this year.
Kade Strowd – RHP – Baltimore Orioles organization
This former Mountaineer hurler didn’t see the field much in the month of May.
Strowd pitched just twice for the Aberdeen IronBirds, tossing 3.2 innings.
However, he struck out four would-be hitters in just two innings of work on May 8. Six days later, he again showed how good of a strikeout-pitch his curveball can be.
He was placed on the seven-day injured list on May 21, and has yet to be re-activated.
So far this season, Strowd is 2-1 with a 1.13 ERA in eight innings pitched for the Orioles’ High-A affiliate.
Jackson Wolf – LHP – San Diego Padres organization
Wolf lowered his earned run average by nearly a full run in May.
In his most recent start on May 29, the former WVU ace put forth his best performance of the season. He pitched 6.2 innings, allowed just one run on two hits, issued just one walk and recorded 11 strikeouts.
It was an impressive start, and earned him a nod as one of the Players of the Week in the Padres’ minor league system.
Wolf, who struck out 104 hitters as a senior with WVU last year, has recorded six or more strikeouts in six of his nine appearances.
Overall, the 23-year-old lefty is 2-3 with a 3.77 ERA. He has 58 punchouts in 43 innings of work.
Ryan Bergert – RHP – San Diego Padres organization
This 2021 sixth-round draft pick has struggled at the High-A level.
Through nine starts this spring with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, Bergert is 0-5 with a 5.59 ERA.
Opposing batters also hit for a .308 average against him in May.
Madison Jeffrey – RHP – Los Angeles Dodgers organization
The former 15th round pick out of Huntington, West Virginia is in his first year at the Single-A level,
Jeffrey, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher, has appeared in 11 games so far this spring with the Rancho Cucamongo Quakes.
The former Mountaineer owns a 2-1 record with a 5.91 earned run average. He has collected one save and one hold, as well.
Jeffery didn’t allow a hit or a run through his three relief appearances in April. And he didn’t surrender a hit at all through his first six outings of the season.
In total, he has only given up four hits this spring, but has been responsible for eight runs.
Check back at the beginning of each month for an update on these Mountaineers in the Minors.