Ty Kelly and Kyle Jensen, former teammates at St. Mary’s High, are in their fifth year of pro baseball. Tracy High graduate Steven Ramos is in his fourth year of pro ball, and Jake Cose, another St. Mary’s graduate, is in his third year of playing in the minor leagues.
With the MLB draft Thursday,
June 6, to Saturday, June 9, the Tracy Press takes a look at where these players are today.
Bowie, Md., Baysox (Baltimore Orioles)
Class-AA Eastern League
Ty Kelly played in three different levels of Minor League Baseball last year.
At each level, he’s taken lessons from experienced players on how to stay composed and confident.
“As you move up, they’ve been playing a lot longer. It’s really cool to see how focused they are,” Kelly, 24, said on Monday, June 4.
“You figure out who you are as a player, and how to get better at things you’re already good at,” said Kelly, a
6-foot, 185-pound infielder for the Bowie Baysox.
“The quicker you learn who you are as a player, the quicker you can hone in on your strengths.”
The Baltimore Orioles selected Kelly, a former Tracy Little League all-star and a 2006 graduate of St. Mary’s High in Stockton, during the 13th round of the 2009 draft.
At the time he was a junior at U.C. Davis, where was twice named to the all-Big West Conference list. He finished his college degree while playing with the class-A Aberdeen Ironbirds.
Kelly has proven effective as a leadoff batter. He’s batting .269 this year with 56 base hits, including 18 doubles, and has steadily improved at the plate over the past two weeks.
In 2012, he was the Orioles Minor League Baseball all-star as a utility player after he started the season with the class-A advanced Frederick, Md., Keys, moved up to the Baysox, and finished the season with the class-AAA Norfolk, Va., Tides.
By the end of the year, he led all Orioles Minor League players in base hits, batting .327 with 154 hits, including 11 home runs over 133 games.
Kelly added that he’s learned to appreciate his teams’ fans, as Minor League Baseball draws big crowds in every town where he has played.
“One of the things that adds to it is we’re right in Baltimore’s backyard,” he said. “Orioles fans come to our games and cheer for us.”
Jacksonville, Fla., Suns (Miami Marlins)
Class-AA Southern League
Kyle Jensen took his place as the home run leader in the Southern League with a solo shot in the ninth inning on Wednesday, June 5, against the visiting Mobile, Ala., BayBears.
It was his third home run in as many games this week and his 11th of the season, but it was the only bright spot in the Jacksonville Suns’ 5-1 loss to the BayBears.
Jensen, 25, also doubled on Wednesday as the 6-foot, 3-inch, 247-pound outfielder, the No. 4 batter in the Suns’ lineup, boosts his average to .232, with 45 hits over 56 games this year.
Jensen also hit a two-run shot over the left field fence in the bottom of the eighth inning on Tuesday, June 4, to lead the Suns to a 6-5 win at home over the BayBears, and hit a solo homer in Monday’s 5-2 loss to the BayBears.
The Miami Marlins picked Jensen, a former Tracy Little League all star and a 2006 graduate of St. Mary’s High, in the 12th round of the 2009 draft. He joined the Marlins organization right after his junior year at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, where he was a two-time all-West Coast Conference pick.
Teams that he has played for since joining the Marlins organization include the Phoenix Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League. During the fall 2012 off-season league he batted .330 with five home runs over 23 games and was named one of the league’s top MLB prospects.
Jensen has been with the Suns since the end of the 2011 season. He started that season with the class-A advanced Jupiter, Fla., Hammerheads of the Florida State League, where he batted .309 over 109 games and hit 22 home runs.
Jensen was selected as most-valuable player of the Florida State League in 2011. He went on to hit five more homers for the Suns to lead the Marlins’ minor league teams in home runs (27) for 2011, leading the Marlins to pick him as their organization all-star utility player.
State College, Pa., Spikes (St. Louis Cardinals)
Class-A short season New York-Penn League
Steven Ramos is looking forward to getting back into a regular league season.
Ramos has spent most of this spring with the St. Louis Cardinals’ extended spring training team after he started off the season with the class A Peoria, Ill., Chiefs of the Midwest League.
Ramos said that Minor League Baseball has given him a chance to see different styles and skill levels.
“Going from level to level is awesome. It’s pretty exciting to play against guys you’d never see in college.”
Ramos, 22, is getting ready to play for the State College Spikes, a class-A short season team in the New York-Penn League. Ramos joins the team on June 12 and the Spikes open the short season on June 18 at Medlar Field in University Park, Penn..
The Cardinals training camps followed Ramos’ 2012 season as an outfielder with the Batavia, N.Y., Muckdogs, a class-A short season team that has since transferred over the Miami Marlins.
As leadoff batter for the Muckdogs Ramos, a 6-foot, 160-pound outfielder, averaged .247 at the plate with 65 base hits over 70 games and his 12 stolen bases was the team high.
The Cardinals chose Ramos, a former Tracy Babe Ruth all star and a 2008 graduate of Tracy High, in the 22nd round of the 2010 draft.
He joined the Johnson City, Tenn., Cardinals after two years at Ohlone College in Fremont, including the Renegades team that won the California Community Colleges Athletic Association state title in 2010. That year Ramos led the Renegades in base hits (60) and stolen bases (35).
Even after two successful seasons of college ball Ramos said the transition to pro ball was still a bit of a surprise.
“I struggled my first couple weeks but the hitting coaches are really great.”
Winston-Salem, N.C., Dash (Chicago White Sox)
Class-A advanced Carolina League
Jake Cose endured some of the hard knocks that go along with promotion to the next level of Minor League Baseball.
Cose, a 6-foot, 5-inch 195 pound right-handed pitcher, took a loss in his first game for the class-A advanced Winston-Salem Dash on Monday, June 3. Cose gave up a first-inning bases-loaded triple to the Salem Red Sox, who ended up winning it 5-4, but settled into his game after that.
Cose, 22, got the call to move up to the Dash from the class-A Kannapolis, N.C., Intimidators, after he established himself as one of the leading starting pitchers in the South Atlantic League.
Over 10 games and 57.2 innings this year with the Intimidators, Cose established a 1.72 earned run average, 10th-best in the minor leagues and third-best in the South Atlantic League. The week before he was called up to the Dash he threw 13-strikeouts over six innings in a 7-5 win over the Hickory Crawdads on May 24 in Hickory, N.C.
Greg Cose of Stockton, Jake’s father, said that Minor League Baseball has given his son a chance to be a team leader one season and the new guy the next.
“You’ve got to prove you’re going to be the top dog and dominate at your level,” Greg Cose said. “They give players plenty of opportunity to succeed or fail.”
The Chicago White Sox picked up Cose, a 2009 graduate of St. Mary’s High, and former Tracy Little League all star, in the 27th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.
Cose was an infielder at San Joaquin Delta College in 2011 when his coaches discovered that he could throw a 94-mph fastball, according to recent article by MLB.com.
“That was Jake’s opportunity and he jumped all over it,” Greg Cose said. “At that point he started getting more and more interest (from major league scouts).”
As a relief pitcher for the Mustangs he struck out 27 batters over 35 innings to finish his sophomore year in 2011. Delta College went on to win the California Community Colleges Athletic Association state championship.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.