Cal's Mark Canha is a standout for the Triple A New Orleans Zephyrs.

Golden Bears Performing Well in Minor Leagues

20 former Cal players, all coached by David Esquer, are in the thick of their seasons.
By Cal Athletics on Fri, August 15, 2014

BERKELEY – Twenty former Golden Bear baseball players, who all came under the tutelage of Cal head coach David Esquer, are in the thick of their minor league seasons this summer. A small sampling of the Bears excelling in their respective organization’s farm systems include first baseman Mark Canha, catcher Charlie Cutler, right-hander Joey Donofrio, second baseman Tony Renda and third baseman Mitch Delfino.

Canha (2008-10) is batting .309 with 17 home runs and an impressive 69 RBI for the Miami Marlins’ Triple A New Orleans Zephyrs. Cutler (2007-08) is hitting .310 with five home runs and 41 RBI for the Tennessee Smokies – the Double A affiliate for the Chicago Cubs. Donofrio, who lettered at Cal in 2012, is currently sporting a 3-3 record, nine saves and a 1.06 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 42.1 innings for the Springfield (Mo.) affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Renda and Delfino (2010-12), both member of the Bears’ 2011 College World Series squad, are performing well at the High Single A level. Second baseman Renda, the 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year who was drafted in the second round by the Washington Nationals, is hitting .300 for the Potomac Nationals with 20 doubles, three triples and 43 RBI. Meanwhile, third baseman Delfino is thriving for the local San Jose Giants, batting .293 with 10 home runs and 68 RBI.

Included in the Bears’ minor league ranks are six players – first baseman David Cooper, third baseman Josh Satin, outfielder Brett Jackson, outfielder Jeff Kobernus, right-hander Erik Johnson and shortstop Marcus Semien – who have all seen action in the Major Leagues. Cooper (2007-08) is now in Triple A for the Cleveland Indians, batting .270 with six home runs and 23 RBI for the Columbus Clippers. Satin (2005-08) is hitting .292 with nine home runs and 43 RBI for the New York Mets’ Triple A affiliate Las Vegas 51s.

Jackson and Kobernus, who played for Esquer from 2007-09, have each seen time in the Major Leagues. Jackson, a first round draft pick, was just traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Arizona Diamonbacks after playing this summer for the Iowa Cubs (.210, five home runs, 20 RBI). Kobernus, a second round pick of the Washington Nationals, is hitting .250 with a home run and 17 RBI for the National’s Triple A Syracuse Chiefs.

Johnson and Semien, two more standouts from Cal’s 2011 College World Series squad, saw action with the Chicago White Sox at the end of the 2013 season and the beginning of the 2014 campaign. Both are now with the White Sox Triple A affiliate Charlotte Knights with Johnson sporting a 5-7 record with a 6.73 ERA and 63 strikeouts, and Semien hitting .244 with 10 home runs and 41 RBI.

Another Cal player who was a key performer during the Bears’ 2011 CWS run, Matt Flemer, is the workhorse of the Colorado Rockies High A affiliate Modesto Nuts. Right-hander Flemer is 10-9 with a 5.21 ERA and has an impressive 100 strikeouts in 133.0 innings.

A complete list of Cal’s minor leaguers and how they are performing at this point of the summer is listed below –


2014 Cal Minor Leaguers

Player                                   Year Drafted     Organization                     Level/Stats

David Cooper                      2008                           Cleveland Indians           AAA/.270, 6 HR, 23 RBI for Columbus Clippers

Charlie Cutler                      2008                                   Chicago Cubs           AA/.310, 5 HR, 41 RBI for Tennessee Smokies

Josh Satin                            2008                                New York Mets           AAA/.292, 9 HR, 43 RBI for Las Vegas 51s  

Michael Brady                     2009                         Los Angeles Angels           AAA/0-2, 2 SV, 7.01 ERA, 21 K’s for Salt Lake Bees  

Brett Jackson                      2009                 Arizona Diamondbacks           AAA/.210, 5 HR, 20 RBI for Iowa Cubs (just traded)

Jeff Kobernus                     2009                   Washington Nationals           AAA/.250, HR, 17 RBI for Syracuse Chiefs

Blake Smith                        2009                      Los Angeles Dodgers           AA/0-4, 2 SV, 4.18 ERA, 27 K’s for Chattanooga

Mark Canha                        2010                                 Miami Marlins           AAA/.309, 17 HR, 69 RBI for New Orleans Zephyrs

Erik Johnson                       2011                          Chicago White Sox           AAA/5-7, 6.73 ERA, 63 K’s for Charlotte Knights

Marcus Semien                  2011                          Chicago White Sox           AAA/.244, 10 HR, 41 RBI for Charlotte Knights

Mitch Delfino                      2012                     San Francisco Giants           High A/.293, 10 HR, 68 RBI for San Jose Giants

Joey Donofrio                      2012                          St. Louis Cardinals           AA/3-3, 9 SV, 1.06 ERA, 54 K’s for Springfield

Matt Flemer                        2012                           Colorado Rockies           High A/10-9, 5.21 ERA, 100 K’s for Modesto Nuts

Danny Oh                             2012                         New York Yankees           High A/.264, 17 RBI for Tampa Yankees

Tony Renda                         2012                   Washington Nationals           High A/.300, 43 RBI for Potomac Nationals

Andrew Knapp                     2013                     Philadelphia Phillies           A/.278, 4 HR, 21 RBI for Lakewood BlueClaws

Derek Campbell                  2014                     Philadelphia Phillies           SS A/.249, 2 HR, 11 RBI for Williamsport

Trevor Hildenberger            2014                     Minnesota Twins                 R/0-4, 8 SV, 2.66 ERA, 24 K’s for GCL Twins

Michael Theofanopoulos   2014                     Minnesota Twins                 R/1-2, 4.60 ERA, 18 K’s for GCL Twins

Kyle Porter                            2014                     Miami Marlins                      R/1-1, 5.40 ERA, 18 K’s for GCL Marlins


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