Drew Muren has not gotten into a major league exhibition game yet although one would have to believe it was a thrill when the lanky righthander got invited to wear an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform for a day this week.
You see, Muren has made such giant strides from the days in 2008-2011 when he was mostly a position player for Cal State Northridge and perhaps even more from his American Association days as an outfielder almost exclusively as recently as ’14-’15.
One would think the odds against this Poway, Calif., native making it to the major leagues as a position player were gigantic when he was drafted by Houston six years ago. The Astros did not select him until the 670th spot overall, and neither his college or early minor league days saw either power or excessive speed or a high average. The signs had to be there.
But players normally go where the opportunity is so Muren usually was in center field for his 178 American Association games played largely for Gary SouthShore or Fargo-Moorhead with a short time in Sioux Falls. He did hit .311 for Gary in ’14 with a career-high seven homers, and the 6-foot-6 Muren stole a career-best 19 bases in a full season at Fargo two summers ago.
Not enough in either case to make the major leagues seem right around the corner.
Enter Arizona last season and a combination of 38 pitching appearances between Low and High-A and a pit stop at Triple-A Reno and the big-league radar lit up. Muren was a combined 0-5 with four saves and a workable 4.39 earned run average, but he finally had some eye-popping stats. Sixty-one strikeouts in 41 innings with only 20 walks and 38 hits will get attention.
Could a future major league career be emerging?
Major League Count Climbs to 21
The American Association can now count 21 of its former players who have worn major league uniforms already in this young spring training season. Added to the 15 who are “regulars” in major league camps by virtue of their coveted 40-man roster spots or non-roster invitee status, another six have been given at least a one-day trip from minor league camp to be in the parent club’s uniform.
It is not much of a surprise that first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor (Laredo) has been given an early look by his new Atlanta organization because of the right-handed-hitter’s power potential. He has had a single in two at-bats during two appearances. Right-hander Cody Satterwhite (Sioux City) also changed organizations, joining Baltimore, where he gave up one run in his initial inning.
Another Sioux City product, infielder Ryan Court, has gotten to wear a Boston uniform, Fargo lefty Brandon Mann has been with Oakland and Lincoln righthander Clayton Cook with Texas, where he got two outs without any damage against him. Court and Mann have not made any major league appearances.
Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site, has a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, and his book, “The Passion of Baseball”, was introduced in October.