Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 6, 2012

Stanford draftees are getting pro careers under way

Paly grad Pederson hits three homers in minor league game

by Dean McArdle

It has been almost a month since the Major League Baseball Draft, and Stanford's crop of draftees are beginning their new careers in the minor leagues.

Supplemental first round draft pick Stephen Piscotty has played four games with the St. Louis Cardinals' Single-A affiliate, Quad Cities (IA) River Bandits, and is hitting .167.

Piscotty has been reunited with his former Stanford teammate Colin Walsh, who is currently in the top three in the Midwest League in home runs (16-2nd), RBI (64-1st), and average (.317-3rd).

Kenny Diekroeger, Stanford's shortstop from this past season and Menlo School graduate, was sent to the Kansas City Royals' Rookie League affiliate, Burlington (NC) Royals. Through nine games with the team, Diekroeger is hitting .244 with three home runs.

Catcher Eric Smith has caught fire early in his professional career. Smith is currently hitting .391 through 11 games with the LA Dodgers' Rookie League affiliate, Ogden (UT) Raptors.

The Detroit Tigers sent their ninth-round draft pick, Stanford's Jake Stewart, to Class A Short-Season ball in the New York-Penn League. Stewart is hitting .118 through four games with the Connecticut Tigers.

Brett Mooneyham, Stanford's Saturday starter this season, has yet to pitch in the Minor Leagues, but has been assigned to the Auburn (NY) Doubledays of the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League.

Meanwhile, former Palo Alto High standout Joc Pederson made Minor League headlines recently by slugging three home runs in a single game for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Pederson is hitting .286 for the Class A Advanced Dodgers affiliate.

Pederson tied a franchise mark with his three homers, setting the pace for a 17-4 Quakes' win over the High Desert Mavericks on Sunday afternoon. Pederson, who had two home runs in his first 51 games, homered in Saturday night's loss at Lancaster, then swatted three round-trippers in his first three at-bats on Sunday, giving him six on the year.

B.J. Boyd, who just graduated from Paly, is playing for the Oakland A's Arizona Rookie League team. He was batting .333 in eight games with nine hits, three RBI and eight stolen bases. He had three hits and two RBI in his debut on June 20.

In other baseball news:

Stanford left fielder and running back Tyler Gaffney signed a professional baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday after announcing his intention to do so on Friday.

The Pirates selected Gaffney in the 24th round of the June Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

"Every athlete dreams of the opportunities that I have been afforded, first at Stanford, and now with Pittsburgh," said Gaffney. "Every day of the last three years has prepared me for the chance to compete professionally, and I cannot thank enough the coaches and professors who have worked with me.

"I am especially indebted to Coach Harbaugh and Coach Marquess for inviting me to join the Stanford family, and to Coach Shaw for continuing to allow me the opportunity to play the two sports I love. I look toward returning to Stanford during my off-season to complete my degree."

Gaffney will return to Stanford to complete his degree in sociology.

"I thank the Pittsburgh organization for providing me this opportunity and I am excited to begin my professional career."

Gaffney was named an honorable mention All Pac-10 player in both of his first two baseball seasons on The Farm. However, the left fielder had a disappointing junior campaign, hitting .245 with 17 RBI. He finished his three-year baseball career with a .301 average, eight home runs and 76 RBI.

A running back on the football team, Gaffney rushed for 449 yards on 74 carries in 2011. Gaffney ranked second in rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns for the Cardinal this season, while leading the running back core in yards per carry. He finished his career with 815 rushing yards in 156 attempts, with 12 touchdowns, in 35 games.

He could have returned to school for another year of both sports had he not signed with the Pirates.

Of the even Stanford players who were drafted, only first-round pick Mark Appel has yet to sign. He was selected by the Pirates with the No. 8 overall pick.

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