Triton Baseball in the Professional Ranks
LA JOLLA, Calif. - It's time to take our annual look at the current whereabouts of former University of California San Diego Tritons in professional baseball.
Guido Knudson was with the Indianapolis (Ind.) Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, before unfortunately being released this past Friday, June 17. His next destination was undetermined at press time. Knudson, a right-hander and San Diego native out of Bonita Vista High School who pitched for the Tritons from 2008-11, was 1-2 with a 3.08 ERA over 19 relief appearances and 26.1 innings. He had 22 strikeouts against 13 walks, with a 1.10 WHIP and opponents batting just .178. (Update: Knudson was signed to a minor-league contract by the Seattle Mariners on July 3, and assigned to the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers the same day.)
Tim Shibuya, like Knudson a right-hander for the Tritons from 2008-11 and the program's all-time leader in wins (40), innings (423.2) and strikeouts (324), is in Double-A with the Tulsa (Okla.) Drillers in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He is 0-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 2016 over 11 appearances, six of them starts, and 38.2 innings. Shibuya has 21 strikeouts and seven walks. He was released by the Minnesota Twins, the organization that drafted him in 2011, on March 28, before being signed by the Dodgers on April 22. Shibuya was assigned to the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers and made his debut the very next day (3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO). On May 3, he was sent to Tulsa.
Justin Donatella is with the Arizona Diamondbacks' Class A Kane County Cougars in Geneva, Ill. He is 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA in his 13 starts and 65.2 innings pitched, with 50 strikeouts and 11 walks. Donatella made his season debut on April 11 and went six strong innings in a combined shutout (9-0) with two teammates, scattering two singles and a hit-by-pitch while fanning four. He then threw six more shutout frames in his second start for another winning decision (5 H, 0 BB, 6 SO) on April 16. Following a third triumphant outing of six scoreless innings on April 27 (3 H, BB, 6 SO), which lowered his season ERA to a miniscule 0.39, Donatella was named on May 2 as the D-backs' organizational Minor League Pitcher of the Month for April. He was also the Cougars' Player of the Month, having been selected the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week after his initial week with the club, April 11-17. On June 7, the 21-year-old right-hander out of Saugus was chosen to the MWL All-Star Game, which will be contested this Tuesday, June 21, at Perfect Game Field in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, beginning at 5:05 p.m. PT. Donatella will represent the Western All-Stars. (Update: Donatella retired all three batters he faced on a popout, groundout and swinging strikeout during a perfect fifth inning at the MWL All-Star Game, and after two more quality starts for Kane County, both wins, was promoted to the A Advanced Visalia Rawhide on July 7, marking his return to California.)
Knudson and Donatella combined for 20.0 shutout innings to begin the season before Donatella finally surrendered a run in the second frame of his third start on April 21.
Richard Seigel (2012-13) is in his third season in the independent Frontier League. After spending two years with the Gateway Grizzlies in Sauget, Ill., as Gateway's first-round selection in the league's 2014 draft, he is now with the Florence (Ky.) Freedom. Seigel primarily has hit in the cleanup position for Florence, playing first base, left field and right field. He is hitting a team-best .314 (22-for-70) over 19 games played with seven runs, five doubles, five RBI and eight walks. (Update: Seigel was traded from the Freedom to fellow Frontier club Lake Erie Crushers in Avon, Ohio, on July 4.)
Dillon Moyer, who started all 50 games at shortstop for the Tritons in 2013, began the season back with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Class A Advanced affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but was placed on the seven-day disabled list on April 7. On June 16, he was assigned to the Ogden (Utah) Raptors. Moyer has yet to make an appearance in 2016.
Alon Leichman, a right-handed pitcher, wrapped up his three-year Triton career in May after completing his undergraduate degree in March as a history major. He is currently coaching in the renowned Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in Yarmouth Port, Mass. He expects to eventually join up once again with the national team of his native Israel for the upcoming World Baseball Classic Qualifier 4, to be held in Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 22-25. The modified double-elimination tournament will also feature Brazil, Great Britain and Pakistan, and takes place at MCU Park, home of the minor-league Brooklyn Cyclones. The winner earns the right to become the 16th and final entrant into the next WBC in March of 2017. Click here for more information.
Vance Albitz (2007-10), arguably the greatest shortstop in program history who served as an assistant coach with former club Memphis (Tenn.) Redbirds in 2015, is out of baseball.
Please email Doga Gur at firstname.lastname@example.org with any omissions on this list.
ALON LEICHMAN, RHP