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Mustangs in the Pros: Trio of NY-P All-Stars; Hoo is Marlins' BP Catcher

Mustangs in the Pros: Trio of NY-P All-Stars; Hoo is Marlins' BP Catcher


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Three former Cal Poly baseball players have been selected to participate in the 2018 New York-Penn League All-Star Game.

Outfielder Alex McKenna, infielder Kyle Marinconz and pitcher Slater Lee all will play for the North squad against the South tonight in State College, Pa.

McKenna hit .200 over his first 30 professional at-bats at Tri-City, with just one extra-base hit and 11 strikeouts. Then on July 11 he registered his first multi-hit game, versus Williamsport, and momentum swung in his favor. Over his last 18 games, the 20-year-old has recorded eight multi-hit games and is hitting .369 with 14 RBIs, nine runs scored and just nine strikeouts over 65 at-bats.

"It just started to take off here over the last couple of weeks," McKenna said. "I think I've just been seeing the ball well, putting good swings on pitches and trying to do my best to drive the baseball with authority to all fields. That's been my biggest goal in this first year is try and figure out how I'm going to elevate the baseball more and tap into some of the power that I think I have."

Read more on McKenna's late-season surge by Craig Forde of by clicking here.

Marinconz is hitting .264 with three doubles and a pair of triples, knocking in seven runs so far, for the Auburn Doubledays. He was 9-for-22 (.409) during a six-game stretch from August 2-6, including a three-hit contest against State College on August 4.

Pitching for the Vermont Lake Monsters, Lee sports a 2-3 record and 2.13 ERA with five saves, striking out 24 batters over 25 1/3 innings. He has earned all of his saves in the last eight outings and all of his 13 appearances are in relief.

Meanwhile, former Cal Poly catcher Chris Hoo is the 19th ex-Mustang to work his way into the Major Leagues, hired as the bullpen catcher for the Miami Marlins.

Hoo was released by the Marlins' Jupiter Hammerheads on May 28 and has been working for the Marlins in the bullpen since early June.

He follows Dean Treanor, who became the 18th former Mustang to earn a job in the Major Leagues. A pitcher who threw a no-hitter in 1970, Treanor was hired on Dec. 1, 2016, as the Marlins' bullpen coach.

Hoo played on five Minor League teams from 2014-18, compiling a career .213 batting average with 29 doubles, one triple, six home runs and 46 RBI in 264 games. He produced a .305 on-base percentage and .274 slugging percentage.

His best years were with the Double-A Jacksonville Suns and Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League, hitting .274 in 22 games from 2015-18, including a .350 mark in 2017.

A graduate of St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif., Hoo was drafted in the 27th round by Miami in 2014 after hitting .301 at Cal Poly. Named Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a national Gold Glove winner, Hoo led the conference by throwing out 21 runners trying to steal as well as by picking off seven other base runners. He allowed just one passed ball and committed only one error in 516 fielding chances.

Cal Poly claimed its only Big West championship in baseball in 2014 and hosted the NCAA Division I San Luis Obispo Regional, finishing 2-2.

Cal Poly's two Major Leaguers are Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger and St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Bud Norris.

Haniger went 3-for-27 in his first nine games since making his first All-Star appearance July 16 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., but has rebounded in the month of August with a .415 average, going 22 of 53 with eight doubles, one home run and nine RBI.

Haniger garnered his first four-hit game of the year August 9 at Houston with two doubles and a home run and also has nine three-hit games this season. He currently is hitting .279 with 78 RBI, No. 10 in the Major Leagues, and 19 home runs.

Norris has 22 saves in 26 opportunities with a 3-3 record and 3.21 ERA. He gave up just four runs in his last 21 outings (19 innings) before giving up two runs to the Washington Nationals on August 13. This season, Norris has walked just 10 while striking out 59.

The pair of ex-Mustangs in Triple-A are outfielder Nick Torres (Round Rock) along with infielder Mike Miller (Pawtucket). Pitcher Chase Johnson (Richmond), second baseman Mark Mathias (Akron), first baseman Brian Mundell (Hartford), outfielder Zack Zehner (Trenton) and middle infielder Peter Van Gansen (San Antonio) are in Double-A.

After a 1-for-42 slump at Round Rock, Torres has gone 7-for-16 in his last five games with a double to bump the average from .059 to .149.

In his last six starts, Lakewood's Spencer Howard (pictured at top of page) has posted a 5-0 win-loss record and 1.71 ERA with 58 strikeouts over 44 1/3 innings.

Trent Shelton of the Arizona Rookie League's Padres 2 team earned his third win August 12 against the Padres 1 squad, allowing one run and three hits over 4 2/3 innings. He is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA, striking out 32 batters while walking just four.

Follow all former Cal Poly baseball players in the professional ranks by clicking the link at the top of the page.