With the Minor League Baseball season now in full swing, former Penn State players can be found in almost every corner of the map. Following the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft, there are now 10 former Nittany Lions in affiliated minor league baseball, all of which are competing at or below the Double-A level.
Jack Anderson – Right-Handed Pitcher – Arkansas Travelers
Penn State relief pitcher (2013-2016)
In his first season at the Double-A level, Anderson has found success primarily as a middle reliever and setup man out of the bullpen. He’s pitched 38.1 innings for the Seattle Mariners’ affiliate, posting a 1.88 ERA and a 3-1 record. A submarine-style pitcher, Anderson helped lead the Travelers to a division title during the first half of the season. He was named a Texas League All-Star, pitching 0.1 innings in the contest on June 25. Over his four-year Minor League Baseball career, Anderson has recorded a 2.34 ERA, an 11-11 record and 12 saves.
Jim Haley– First Baseman – Montgomery Biscuits
Penn State shortstop (2014-2016)
After playing for three of the Tampa Bay Rays’ lower-level affiliates early in his career, Haley was promoted to Double-A earlier this month for the first time. The Pennsylvania native began the season in Class A-Advanced, where he swung a hot stick. As a member of the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Haley batted .281 with eight home runs and 47 RBIs. He was named a Florida State League All-Star, starting the game for the South Division squad. He reached base once in the game on a hit-by-pitch. Since being promoted on July 17, Haley is carrying a .220 batting average through 11 games with Montgomery. Despite the recent slump, Haley is a career .288 hitter.
Sal Biasi – Right-Handed Pitcher – West Virginia Power
Penn State relief pitcher (2015); starting pitcher(2016-2017)
Despite a brief minor league career thus far, Biasi is playing for his third MLB organization in as many seasons. The journeyman began the 2019 campaign as a member of the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, where he tossed three scoreless relief outings. However, the Milwaukee Brewers organization traded their prospect to the Mariners in mid-April. Biasi has since manned the bump for the Power, which also plays at the Class A level. He’s made 26 appearances out of the bullpen, splitting time as a middle reliever and a setup man. He is currently on the injured list, possessing a 5.24 ERA.
Justin Hagenman – Right-Handed Pitcher – Great Lakes Loons
Penn State starting pitcher (2016-2018)
In his second season with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Class A affiliate, Hagenman has developed into a stellar late-inning reliver. The righty has split time between the setup and closer roles, and is a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities this season. Hagenman has posted a dominating 4-1 record with a 2.04 ERA in 2019 and has held opponents to a .199 batting average.
Taylor Lehman – Left-Handed Pitcher – Williamsport Crosscutters
Penn State starting pitcher (2015-2016, 2018); relief pitcher (2017)
Lehman has found success during his second professional season in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. The southpaw has played the majority of the season with Williamsport at the Class A Short Season level, starting four games and making one relief appearance. Lehman was promoted to Class A Lakewood in mid-July, making one start and registering one save. Between the two levels, Lehman possesses a dominant 1.42 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched, and has not allowed a home run this season. It is possible Lehman could pitch at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park once again, as the Crosscutters are set to play the Spikes in State College twice more this season.
Eric Mock – Right-Handed Pitcher – Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Penn State starting pitcher (2017, 2019); relief pitcher (2018)
Mock was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 25th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, and launched his pro career with rookie-level Indians Blue in the Arizona League. The hard-throwing righty was promoted to Class A Short Season Mahoning Valley last week, and has made one relief appearance with the Scrappers. Between the two squads, Mock has made seven appearances out of the bullpen as a long man, hurling his way to a 2.65 ERA. Now in the New York-Penn League, Mock could pitch against former teammate Taylor Lehman when the Scrappers and Crosscutters meet up for a three-game set in late August. The Scrappers will also play at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in mid-August against the Spikes, giving Mock the opportunity to pitch in Happy Valley once again this year.
Toby Welk – Third Baseman – Aberdeen IronBirds
Penn State Berks third baseman (2016-2019)
Welk was selected in the 21st round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles after shattering numerous offensive records at Penn State Berks. The power-hitter has begun his career with the Aberdeen IronBirds at the Class A Short Season level, and is one of three Nittany Lions who currently play in the New York-Penn League. Welk has kickstarted his pro career on an offensive tear, posting a .352 batting average and a .425 on-base percentage through 30 games. He blasted his first professional home run last week against the Lowell Spinners, the lone big fly of his young career. The rookie leads the IronBirds in hits and batting average.
Ryan Sloniger – Catcher – Bluefield Blue Jays
Penn State catcher (2016-2019)
Sloniger was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 38th round of the 2019 draft, and has played the majority of the year with Bluefield at the Rookie Advanced level. The Pennsylvania native was promoted to Class A Short Season in late June, playing seven games with the Vancouver Canadians before returning to Bluefield. Sloniger has started his pro career scorching hot at the dish, slashing his way to a .354 batting average and a .433 on-base percentage. His signature power has translated well to the minor leagues, as he’s swatted five home runs, a double and a triple in 23 games. Sloniger leads Bluefield in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.
Dante Biasi – Left-Handed Pitcher – Burlington Royals
Penn State starting pitcher (2017-2019)
The younger brother of Sal Biasi, Dante was drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals and launched his professional career this summer at the Rookie Advanced level. With 16 innings pitched as a long reliever, the southpaw possesses a 2.81 ERA and has held opponents to a .186 batting average.
Eli Nabholz – Right-Handed Pitcher – Brewers Gold
Penn State starting pitcher (2016)
After transferring from Penn State to Division II Millersville, Nabholz was selected in the 38th round of this year’s draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s playing for the Brewers’ Arizona League affiliate this summer and is having an up-and-down season. The righty has pitched 23.1 innings in five starts and three relief appearances in rookie ball, recording a 5.40 ERA.