June 6, 2013
Rice Baseball Returns To Super Regional Action; Owls Play NC State This Weekend In Raleigh
The nationally-ranked Rice baseball team, 44-18 overall and the Conference USA regular season and tournament champion, faces No. 7 ranked NC State (47-14) on the road in Raleigh, N.C., in the super regional round of the NCAA Tournament Friday-Sunday (June 7-9). The start times for the best-of-three series are 4 pm Eastern Time (3 pm Central) each day. The winner of a Super Regional advances to the College World Series starting June 15 in Omaha. The 2013 NCAA tournament field, which started with 64 teams, is now down to just 16 after regional action wrapped up last weekend. Six of the top eight national seeds of the 2013 tournament are still playing and hosting Super Regionals.
All Super Regional Games On ESPN Stations
ESPN and its affiliates are scheduled to broadcast every Super Regional game. Rice's first two Super Regional games (Friday and Saturday) will air on ESPN2. Sunday's game is on ESPNU (if necessary). Tom Hart and analyst Paul Lo Duca have the call from NC State's Doak Field. Last week Rice played all four of its regional games on ESPN3.
Last Week's Winners Advance
Last week Rice jumped into the winner's bracket at the Eugene Regional before winning the title game over No. 8 national seed Oregon on the Ducks' home field by a score of 11-4... NC State showed why it is a regional host, coasting through its bracket with three-straight wins.
Audio Broadcasts - Catch Every Rice Baseball Game On The Web
Every Rice baseball game this season will be broadcast live around the world on the Internet at RiceOwls.com. Tune-in to the pregame show 15 minutes before each game's first pitch. Fans can now listen to the Rice broadcast at the stadium where the team plays via an FM proximity transmitter. Proximity broadcasts for away games will be announced prior to that game. J.P. Heath is in his fifth season as the voice of the Owls.
Postseason Streak Now 19-Straight
Rice baseball's 19-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament is the fourth-longest active streak in the country. Miami (Fla.) made the field for the 41st-consecutive year, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (36) and Cal State Fullerton (22). Rice's 19-straight NCAA Tournament bids is the sixth-longest postseason streak in Division I baseball history.
Conference Titles Streak Reaches 18-Straight
Rice has now won or shared a total of 18-straight conference championships (including either regular season and/or conference tournament titles) dating back to 1996. The streak covers membership in three different leagues beginning with the Southwest Conference (1996), to nine seasons in the Western Athletic Conference (1997-2005) and eight C-USA titles in as many years. The Owls share the 2013 regular season title with co-champion Southern Miss. Rice then went on to win the C-USA Tournament on May 26, defeating the same Southern Miss squad in the title game.
19-Straight 40-Win Seasons
Rice has clinched 19-straight seasons with at least 40 wins. `Forty' wins actually short-changes the feat a little. The Owls have secured at least 41 wins in 18 of the last 19 years.
National Rankings Update Owls Continue To Move Up
Most polls have gone into a holding pattern while the NCAA Tournament is in progress. In the polls that did change, the Owls climbed thanks to the impressive road wins at Oregon. Here's a closer look at the latest national rankings:
Poll This Week Previous
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 13 23
NCBWA 14 15
College Sports Madness -- 13
USA Today/ESPN -- 16
Baseball America -- 20
PerfectGame.com -- 20
Live Stats On GameTracker
Links to live play-by-play text and statistics from every game are posted on RiceOwls.com. Look for the GameTracker links on the Rice Athletics front page, the weekly series preview, the baseball schedule page.
97th Season on the Baseball Diamond
Rice Owl baseball made its debut in the spring of 1913, just one semester after the school (then The Rice Institute) opened its doors for higher education in the fall of 1912. The 2013 season is, however, only the Owls' 97th season playing on the diamond. The school cancelled its baseball season in 1919 and did not field a team for three years (1933-35) during the Great Depression. Rice returned to the diamond in the spring of 1936 and has been playing ever since... The Rice baseball program's all-time record is 1,904 - 1,507 - 9.
Head Coach Wayne Graham
Four-time national coach of the year and 2012 College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Graham (Texas, 1970) is in his 22nd season at Rice. The 2013 campaign marks his 33rd year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 997-398 with the Owls (598-145 at home, 307-196 in road games and 92-57 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .715, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .715 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 116 games in a single year... Graham's career record vs. NC State is 0-0... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2013, making 19-straight seasons for Rice to earn an NCAA appearance. The Blue & Gray has advanced into the NCAA tournament in 1995-96-97-98-99-00-01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09-10-11-12-13. The 2003 bid culminated with the Owls' first national championship... Rice played in the 1994-95-96 Southwest Conference tournaments (winning the final league title in `96), won the 1997-98-99 WAC tournaments, shared the 2000 WAC title with San Jose State before winning the 2001-02-03-04-05 titles outright. He won (or shared) C-USA regular season crowns in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and now 2013 as well as the C-USA tournament championships in `06, `07, `09, `11 and `13... Graham was named the WAC Coach of the Year in 1998, `99, `02 and the Co-Coach of the Year in `03. He was named the Keith LeClair C-USA Coach of the Year in `06, his first year in the league, and again in `07, `08, `10 and `11... Rice has seven appearances in the NCAA College World Series under Graham (1997, `99, `02, `03, `06, `07, `08)... Graham has led the Owls to number-one rankings for seven weeks during the 1999 season, for six weeks during the `01 campaign, two weeks in `02, six weeks in 2003 (the last of which established some staying power), three weeks in 2004, 12 weeks in 2006 and five weeks in `07... Graham's San Jacinto Gators dominated the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., in the 1980s, winning five national titles in six years (1985-86-87, 89-90)... The Austin American-Statesman named Graham its SWC Coach of the Year in `95 after he led the Owls to their first NCAA tournament appearance...
Collegiate Baseball was especially cognizant of Graham's efforts at San Jac. He was named the newspaper's Coach of the Decade for all levels in the 1980s after winning those five junior college national titles, and CB tabbed him the NJCAA Coach of the Century... He was named the 2007 Division I college Coach of the Year by FieldTurf... One of the few current collegiate coaches to have played in the major leagues (N.Y. Mets in 1963, Philadelphia in 1964), Graham is aided by assistant coaches Patrick Hallmark (Rice, 1995, Brown College; eighth year), Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; second year) and Scott Shepperd (Concordia, 2007; first year)... On game days Van Hook coaches at third base while Hallmark coaches at first base.
1,571 Wins A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 997 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,571 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,571-511 in a 32-year coaching career that began in 1981.
Rice In The NCAA Tourney
Rice has played 120total games in the NCAA Tournament since 1995, including Regionals, Super Regionals and the College World Series. All of Rice's NCAA Tournament games have been under the direction of Wayne Graham. His (and the program's) record in the "The Dance" is 77-43 (.642).
Some Quick Super Regional/NCAA History
The Owls are in a Super Regional for the tenth time (1999, 2001, `02, `03, `05, `06, `07, `08, `09 and `13). Rice is a combined 13-9 in super regional games. The Owls have been to the College World Series seven times (1997, `99, 2002, `03, `06, `07, `08), including six since the start of the format.
Against The NCAA Field
Prior to the start of regional action the Owls had played five games against four different teams in this year's NCAA Tournament. The Blue & Gray was 1-4 against programs in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field. Rice then went 3-1 in the regional with wins over Oregon and the University of San Francisco.
Take a Closer Look
Rice has another 40-plus-win season, but maybe a closer look at some of the losses is in order. Five of the 18 losses were against elite teams that have advanced to NCAA Regionals. Six of the Owls' 18 losses have been by a single run and two were by two-runs. Also note that two of the team's losses have been in extra innings.
Rice's Primary Starting Pitchers
Three Owls have served as the primary weekend pitchers all season. Here are the three listed alphabetically:
Austin Kubitza was named a second team 2013 preseason All-America selection by the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). This year Kubitza has posted new career highs in wins (8) and strikeouts (126), and he's held opposing hitters to a career-best .188 batting average for 102.1 innings. He has posted some sensational outings, such as: against then No. 1 North Carolina (1 ER, 6.2 IP, 9K in a no-decision), No. 4 Stanford on Opening Day (0 R, 6.0 IP, 12K), at East Carolina (0 R, 7.1 IP, 10K), at crosstown rival Houston (0 R, 7.0 IP, 10K), FIU on the road (2 ER in 6.1 IP, 11K) and at Hawaii (0 R, 7.0 IP, 13K). Kubitza has struck out 10 or more in a game five times in his 16 starts. He averages 11.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings, the second-best mark in the nation among all Division I pitchers. His most-recent outing was also his first in relief in the regional final at Oregon (June 3). The Colleyville, Tex., native worked 2.1 innings where he allowed just one hit while striking out one. Now in the third year of his collegiate career, Kubitza has maintained a 2.32 Rice ERA and he has fanned 301 batters in 282.2 collegiate innings.
A start for John Simms would be his 16th of the season. The junior from The Woodlands, Tex., has held all opposing hitters to a composite .223 batting average with a steady 7.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. In three-consecutive starts last month against Memphis (May 12), Marshall (May 18) and Memphis again (May 25), he allowed just one run on a combined 12 hits in 22.0 total innings. Simms started and pitched 4.0 innings at Oregon on June 2, surrendering four earned runs. He fired the first complete game of his collegiate career, that featured a career-high 12 strikeouts, in the March 12 midweek start against Louisiana Tech. He allowed one run in a predetermined 5.0 innings against Stephen F. Austin, and then had eight strikeouts while pitching into the seventh in the first C-USA weekend at Southern Miss. Simms started and won in the opening series of the season against Stanford, as well as the series finale at Hawaii (Feb. 25). The right-hander has been the losing pitcher at Rice just six times in a staff-high 71 appearances dating back to the spring of 2011.
Sophomore Jordan Stephens has been sound and solid as a member of the Owls' weekend rotation. If you are only as good as your last outing, then consider Stephens had a two-hit complete game shutout with a career-high tying 11 strikeouts against Oregon (June 1) to lift Rice past the Ducks in a winner's-bracket game. The Alvin, Tex., native is 8-4 with a 2.48 ERA. His overall totals include four spot-relief appearances in midweek games, but he has been effective in either role. In his 16 starts Stephens has averaged more than 6.2 innings per outing and held opponents to a composite .212 batting average. In his second start of the season at Hawaii (Feb. 23) he logged what was then the best game of his young Rice career. At Hawaii he pitched the staff's first complete as an Owl, holding the Rainbows to just one run (which was unearned) on four hits while striking out ten - all on the road. On May 4 at UAB Stephens fanned 11 Blazer hitters in just 7.2 innings. He averages 7.6 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and has maintained a 3.3-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. In his inaugural season of Division I baseball in 2012, Stephens caught the coaches' attention in the fall practices and earned the No. 3 starting spot to begin the year. He went on to pitch in 14 games overall and finish fourth on the team with eight starts.
Lemond Sets New Single Season Saves Mark
Sophomore reliever Zech Lemond set the Rice single-season record for saves earlier in the year and has continued to add to his own school mark. He ranks among the NCAA national leaders in saves and is also high among the NCAA Division I leaders in ERA (1.52)... Here are the Rice single-season saves leaders (noting both David Aardsma and Tony Cingrani have gone on to pitch in the major leagues).
1. Zech Lemond, 2013 14
2. David Aardsma 2003 12
Tony Cingrani, 2011 12
In his most recent outing at the Oregon regional, the right-hander stopper from Houston made his first start of the season. He went on to notch his seventh win, tied a career-long 6.2 innings and posted a new career-high in strikeouts with seven.
Did You Know?
The Owls are 33-2 when leading after the sixth inning. Credit some solid late-inning work by the Rice bullpen, including relievers Zech Lemond, Blake Fox, Matt Dittman and Chase McDowell as just a few of the key contributors to the team's success.
Here's Who's Hot
Over the last ten games senior second baseman Christian Stringer is a combined 18-for-38 (.474) with ten walks for a .583 on-base percentage. He has scored ten times in the ten games with a .579 slugging percentage. Stringer followed his selection as the Most Valuable Player of the
C-USA Tournament with selection to the Eugene all-regional team... Freshman center fielder Leon Byrd is hitting .438 over the last ten games (14-for-32). He has drawn five walks and been hit by a pitch four times for a .561 on-base percentage. Byrd also has 11 runs scored, five RBI and two steals in the ten-game stretch... Sophomore shortstop Ford Stainback was named to the all-region team. The Dallas native is hitting .333 over the last five games (8-for-24) with four runs scored.
Previous Outing: Owls Win Oregon Regional Late Monday Night
EUGENE, Ore. - Facing possible elimination in a one-game championship final, the Rice baseball team came up with one of its best performances of the year Monday night to defeat No. 9 ranked Oregon on the road 11-4, claim the Eugene Regional title and advance to next week's Super Regional round of 16... Rice responded to Sunday night's 11-0 shutout by the same nationally-seeded Oregon team by exploding for eleven runs on 15 hits in the winner-take-all showdown. As a result the Owls, now 44-18 overall, advance to the Super Regionals for the tenth time since the NCAA adopted the format in 1999. The Blue & Gray next meet ACC power NC State at 3 pm (Central Time) on Friday (June 7). The winner of the best-of-three Super Regional series advances to Omaha to compete in the College World Series... Prior to the game Rice head coach Wayne Graham made a series of moves to keep the team's season alive, and all of them seemed to come up big. Career saves leader Zech Lemond and Friday night starter>Austin Kubitza switched their more-familiar for the first time all season. Lemond tied a career-long 6.2 innings and set a new career-high with seven strikeouts. Kubitza fired the final 2.1 scoreless frames to keep the Ducks in check... An in-game injury to regular starting catcher Geoff Perrott on Sunday forced Graham to pick a new receiver for Monday in the team's most important game of the year. Calling on 33 years of collegiate coaching experience (with the last 22 at Rice) Graham went with true freshman Hunter Kopycinski to make just his sixth career start, and his first behind the plate since April 9. The rookie from Houston's Saint Thomas High proceeded to have an eye-opening 4-for-5 night that included four runs batted-in and a triple to the wall in center field... Eight different Owls in the lineup all had a base hit and each of the first seven batters in the order scored at least one run. Rice got off to a hot start in the top of the first inning. Christian Stringer doubled down the right field line and Keenan Cook walked. Shane Hoelscher followed with a long blast over the centerfielder's head to the deepest part of Oregon's PK Park. Stringer and Cook scored easily as Hoelscher hustled to third, but a Duck fielding error on the play allowed Hoelscher to pick up the final 90 feet and score for a quick 3-0 lead... Rice's defense in the bottom of the frame, however, was not its best and Oregon was able to cut the lead to one. The Owls failed to catch a high infield pop-up that crossed over from sharp sunlight to the stadium's shadows creeping diagonally across the infield. That baserunner went on to score, and the Ducks soon added another when Rice had trouble solving a run-down on a grounder where men were on first and second base... It was still 3-2 at that point with a lot of baseball left to play, but the Owls came right back with two runs on a pair of hits in the second followed by another two runs on three hits in the third. Oregon fought back for a run in the bottom of third to make score 7-3, but Lemond found a groove after that. The sophomore right-hander from Houston retired 10-of-11 with four strikeouts during the middle three innings. In the Rice fifth, Kopycinski singled-home fellow freshman Leon Byrd for an 8-4 advantage... Lemond worked into the seventh, where Oregon rallied for its final run of the night on an RBI single by Tyler Baumgartner. Rice made the move to Kubitza out of the bullpen that effectively ended the threat. The only scoring left was done by the Owls, who capped out the top of the ninth with three final runs in an 11-4 final... Rice tallied double-digit hits for the 28th time this season. Oregon had nine hits overall. The Ducks' season came to an end at 48-16... The Owls were well-represented on the All-Regional team as selected by attending members of the media. The Blue & Gray led the way with five honorees including sophomore pitcher>Jordan Stephens as the Most Valuable Player. Stephens fired a two-hit shutout at the Ducks on Saturday night that sent Rice to the winner's bracket. The All-NCAA Eugene Regional honorees included:
C Reid Clary, South Dakota State
1B Ryon Healy, Oregon
2B Christian Stringer, Rice
SS Ford Stainback, Rice
3B Shane Hoelscher, Rice
OF Tyler Baumgartner, Oregon
OF Leon Byrd, Rice
OF Justin Maffei, San Francisco
UT Scott Heineman, Oregon
P Cole Irvin, Oregon
P>Jordan Stephens, Rice
MVP>Jordan Stephens, Rice
All C-USA Tournament: Owls Win Automatic Bid To The Dance
The 2013 C-USA All-Tournament Honorees: C: Keaton Aldridge, Memphis; Infielders: Shane Hoelscher, Rice, Zach Houchins, East Carolina, Justin Montemayor, Houston, Christian Stringer, Rice; Outfielders: Blake Brown, Southern Miss, Leon Byrd, Rice , Dillon Day, Southern Miss; DH Drew Reynolds, East Carolina; Pitchers: Jake Drehoff, Southern Miss,>Austin Kubitza, Rice,>John Simms, Rice,>Jordan Stephens, Rice.
Solid In C-USA Regular Season Action
Since its first Conference USA baseball campaign in the spring of 2006, Rice's regular-season record in C-USA league games is 148-46 (.763).
Ratterree & Lemond Headline Rice's All-Conference Honorees
HOUSTON - Michael Ratterree and Zech Lemond headlined a list of Owl baseball award winners the conference office announced on May 21... A total of six Owl players were recognized for their success on the diamond the day before taking the field in C-USA's annual week-long championship tournament. All the award winners were selected on a vote of the conference's head coaches, sports information directors and a media representative who cover each program... Houston natives Lemond (P) and Ratterree (OF) were named to the C-USA first team. Michael Aquino (DH), Keenan Cook (OF), Geoff Perrott (C) and Ford Stainback (INF) earned second team all-conference. Rice rookie Blake Fox (P/INF) was named to the league's all-freshman team squad... Ratterree may have moved to his third different playing position (RF) in as many years, but the senior remained the same respected power hitter he has been during his four-year collegiate career. The standout led the Owls and ranked among the best in C-USA in home runs (9), runs scored (47), walks (43), OB% (.413), stolen bases (12) and sacrifice flies (7) for the full season. He was tied for third on the team with 18 multi-hit games, and also second on the squad in multi-RBI games (10). Ratterree had a sensational second half of the season and reached base in 20-straight games during one stretch... Lemond took over as the stopper to begin his second year with the program and went on to set a new school record for saves in a single season with 14. He finished as the C-USA co-leader for saves in league-only games with eight. In conference action the sophomore right-hander maintained an 0.67 league ERA, held opponents to a .179 batting average, and posted 32 strikeouts in 30.0 league innings. He eclipsed Rice's single season saves record that was held by eventual major leaguers David Aardsma and Tony Cingrani... Aquino is a junior designated hitter who leads the Owls in slugging percentage (.525) and doubles (13), shares the team lead in hits (72), and is second in batting average (.323), home runs (8) and RBI (43). The Woodlands, Tex., native owns a team-high 23 games with two or more hits to go along with a team-best 12 games with two or more RBI. In his usual spot as the Owls' clean-up hitter, Aquino bats a steady .322 with runners on base. He reached base in 21-straight games during one stretch... Cook was named a second team honoree after starting 54 of Rice's 57 games, all in the outfield. He was the team batting leader in C-USA league games (.352), but also had a team-best seven sacrifice bunts against the conference foes. The Woodlands, Tex., native is tied for third on the team with 19 multi-hit games and he collected three hits in a game four times. Cook currently ranks among the NCAA leaders with seven defensive assists from his spot in left field... Perrott is the Owls' regular starting catcher who, in addition to steady offensive production all season, has the responsibility of calling the pitches during games. In 50 starts behind the plate, the Kingwood, Tex., native ranks among the best in the conference in throwing out runners attempting to steal a base (25 times CS). On the offensive side Perrott owns 13 games with two or more hits and he has driven-in two or more runs in a game five times. He reached base in 10-straight games during one stretch... Stainback is the only player to start all 58 games for the nationally-ranked Owls, making all his starts at shortstop. The Dallas native has collected two or more hits in a game 20 times, including a career-best five hits in a road game at future C-USA foe FIU. He enters the NCAA Regional with an active streak of reaching base 41 consecutive times, but he is also a steady fielder who has turned or started 44 of the Rice's 67 double plays... Fox made a key contribution to the C-USA regular season champions as both a left-handed pitcher and first baseman in his debut season at the collegiate level. On the mound he is a perfect 6-0 with a 2.95 ERA in 19 appearances, including two occasions where he worked his way into starting assignments. As a left-handed hitting first baseman, the versatile freshman had eight hits with four RBI in 12 starts... Regular season co-champion Rice had the most first & second all-conference selections with six, while East Carolina was next with five. Fellow co-champion Southern Miss was the only school to place three players on the first team. Seven of the league's nine teams had at least one representative on the first unit. Houston led the way with four selections to the all-freshman team, which included at least one player from six schools.
The Pitcher's Best Friend
In 62 games the Owls have turned 70 double plays, one of the highest
totals in the nation. A sensational 3-6-3 double play gave the Owls a huge lift in the winner's bracket game of the Oregon regional.
Rice 15th In Average Home Attendance
After 32 games at Reckling Park, Rice averaged more than 3,200 fans per contest. The Owls are 15th in the nation in average home attendance. Here are the latest national attendance leaders (by home average).
1. LSU 10,954
2. Arkansas 8,335
3. Ole Miss 7,996
4. Mississippi State 7,617
5. South Carolina 7,445
6. Texas 5,793
7. Clemson 4,751
8. Florida State 4,611
9. Texas A&M 4,523
10. Creighton 4,041
11. TCU 3,570
12. Florida 3,511
13. Hawaii 3,357
14. Alabama 3,262
15. Rice 3,252
Rice Also 16th In Total Home Attendance
Rice baseball has drawn more than 97,500 fans for 32 home games. That's also the 16th highest attendance total in the country.
The Long Haul
Rice's 2-0 win in 17 innings at Hawaii on February 22 is tied for the third-longest game in C-USA history. It was the most innings played since Cincinnati and Kentucky played 17 in 1999. Here's a look at the longest contests in the league by the number of innings:
22.0 Houston vs. Baylor 2-21-99
21.0 Memphis vs. Evansville 3-7-99
17.0 Cincinnati vs. Kentucky 5-5-99
17.0 Rice vs. Hawaii 2-22-13
16.0 UCF vs. Monmouth 3-9-08
16.0 Houston vs. Memphis 4-23-06
16.0 Cincinnati vs. USF 4-22-00
Rice Since 1999
Using the 1999 season as the starting point (the year the NCAA expanded the postseason tournament field to 64 teams with the current Super Regional format), Rice baseball has maintained one of the nation's top win percentages over the last 14 years. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999 to 2012. These totals do NOT include games played in 2013:
Team Wins-Loses-Ties (Pct.)
Florida State 701-244-1 (.742)
Rice 676-240-0 (.738)
Coastal Carolina 615-253-0 (.709)
North Carolina 635-262-1 (.708)
Oral Roberts 599-249-0 (.706)
Texas 644-269-1 (.705)
South Carolina 661-281-0 (.702)
Arizona State 567-244-1 (.699)
Cal State Fullerton 615-265-0 (.699)
Miami 601-269-3 (.690)
Wichita State 633-301-0 (.678)
Georgia Tech 589-281-1 (.677)
LSU 605-294-5 (.672)
Stanford 568-292-2 (.660)
Tulane 570-295-2 (.659)
Nebraska 562-291-2 (.658)
Clemson 601-316-1 (.655)
East Carolina 555-295-1 (.653)
Notre Dame 542-298-5 (.644)
Florida 564-320-2 (.638)
Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion dynamo out there, Rice is 20-7 in its all-white uniforms, 4-3 in the pinstripes, 8-5 in all-gray, 6-1 in blue tops with white pants and 6-2 in blue tops with gray pants.
Owls In "The Show" This Season
The Owls' list of major league players for 2013 includes Lance Berkman (Rangers), Tony Cingrani (Reds), Philip Humber (Astros), Paul Janish (Braves), Matt Langwell (Indians), Lucas Luetge (Mariners), Jeff Niemann (Rays), Anthony Rendon (Nationals) and Joe Savery (Phillies).