Former Horned Frogs Set To Begin Minor League Campaigns

Josh Elander

April 8, 2013

Fourteen former TCU baseball players look to continue their baseball careers as the 2013 minor league season gets underway.

Horned Frogs beginning the 2013 campaign in Triple-A are Sam Demel, Bryan Holaday and Chad Huffman. All three of them have seen MLB action in their careers.

Matt Curry and Greg Holle are the only TCU representatives in Double-A.

Single-A Horned Frogs include Jason Coats, Josh Elander, Taylor Featherston, Jerome Pena, Matt Purke, Kyle Von Tunglen, and Kyle Winkler.

Rookie league alumni are Kevin Allen and Kaleb Merck.

Demel, a former third-round pick of the Oakland Athletics, was claimed by the New York Yankees after being placed on waivers by the Houston Astros in spring training. He has appeared in 72 Major League games from 2010-12 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, compiling a 4.95 ERA with two saves.

Holaday returns to the Toledo Mud Hens' as their everyday catcher. He was 3-for-12 with the Detroit Tigers last year in his only timeaway from Toledo.

After signing with the Cardinals in the off-season, Huffman is off to a hot start for the Memphis Redbirds, hitting .500 in his first three games for the St. Louis Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate. In his only stint in the big leagues, he played nine games for the Yankees in 2010. Huffman is a call-up away from again being teammates with former Horned Frog Matt Carpenter. The duo were high school teammates at Elkins High School in Sugar Land, before playing two seasons (2005-06) together at TCU.

Curry saw brief action with the Pittsburgh Pirates' Triple-A affiliate last year, going 2-for-5 as an Indianapolis Indian. He will begin the season with the Altoona Curve, where he spent much of 2011 and almost all of 2012. Last year, Curry hit .285 with 34 doubles and 11 home runs.

Holle had a solid season last year at the Single-A Advanced level and currently has a save and three strikeouts in three innings for the Milwaukee Brewers' Double-A squad, the Huntsville Stars. He had a 3.94 ERA in 2012 with five saves and recorded 19 in 2011.

TCU baseball has its highest representation in Single-A with seven players in the league.

Taylor Featherston and Kyle Von Tungeln, who were Horned Frogs from 2010-11, are teammates again with the Asheville Tourists of the Colorado Rockies' organization. Jason Coats, Josh Elander, Jerome Pena, Matt Purke and Kyle Winkler will also begin their campaigns at the A level.

Featherston hit .299 with 12 homers for Asheville last year, while also stealing 15 bases. The former fifth-round draft pick was also ranked the 15th-best shortstop prospect in that 2011 draft class.

Von Tungeln is 4-for-17 (.235) in his first four games for the Tourists. He also has four steals after having seven in 44 games in 2012 with the Short Season Class-A Tri-City Dust Devils.

Coats is making his professional debut this season after signing with the Chicago White Sox this past January. He was a late sign after spending the summer and fall recovering from an injury. Coats will start his career with the White Sox's Class A affiliate in Kannapolis.

Elander is off to a hot start for the Rome Braves, hitting .353 with a home run in his first four contests. He hit .260 last summer for Atlanta's Rookie League affiliate in Danville, Va., including four homers and two triples.

Pena recorded two hits in his only game so far with the 2013 Frederick Keys, the Baltimore Orioles' Class-A Advanced affiliate. He hit .288 last year with three home runs for three different farm teams in the Orioles system. He closed the year with Frederick, hitting at a .308 clip in the last 20 games of the season.

Purke opens the season on the disable list following offseason shoulder surgery. Once cleared, he will join the Nationals' Class-A Advanced squad in Hagerstown.

Winkler returns to Visalia in 2013. In his first full year as a professional, Winkle was 3-1 in 31 relief appearances. The property of the Arizona D'Backs, Winkler will begin his transition to a starting role in Visalia this season.

Allen will start his 2013 campaign where he left off last year with the Idaho Falls Chukars, the Kansas City Royals' Rookie League affiliate. Last season, Allen was 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA in 28 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. He also recorded six saves and had 30 strikeouts.

Merck will begin the season with the Elizabethton Twins. He was 3-2 with a 4.07 ERA in 16 games last year for the Minnesota Twins' Rookie League squad, while also saving two games. Merck fanned 28 in 24 1/3 innings in his first season of pro ball.



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