After more than two weeks of indecision, catcher Devin Ivany signed with the Montreal Expos Wednesday, according to assistant coach Bryan Peters.
When he slipped to the sixth round (174th overall pick) of the 2004 First Year Player draft, Ivany found himself with a decision: sign with the Expos or come back to USF for his senior season.
He decided to play a season with the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod Baseball League and see what kind of offer the Expos would give him at the end of the summer.
But after one week with his new team, he left the Cape League and came home to sign with the Expos. Ivany left Sunday to join the Vermont Expos, Montreal’s short-season Class A affiliate, Peters said.
“I think that after the emotions settled down he figured out that he was basically ready. There is not another year in college that is going to make him more mature, either mentally of physically, for the most part, so he thinks he is pretty much ready. He’s got his ‘A’ game right now. He didn’t want to go out after his senior year and be 22 years old and go in there and be competing against guys that are that much younger.”
For Ivany, it was more than the slip to the sixth round that made him think twice about plaing professionally. He was the Expos’ second choice at the catcher position, chosen after Miami catcher Erick San Pedro was selected by Montreal in the second round of the draft. After the draft, Ivany said he felt “a little disrespected” being Montreal’s second pick for catcher.
“True, he is in the same organization with San Pedro, but some people talked to him about how prospects get traded in the minor leagues all the time. One of the reasons why the Expos drafted two catchers is because they really need catchers. So, when there is a position of need like that in an organization then (players) are going to get faster advancement and they are going to get a lot of chances and things like that. I think a lot of that started to sink in. And his confidence level in himself and being able to beat out San Pedro and those types of things started to take over in his mind and he thought he was ready and that he could do it,” Peters said. “And we agreed with him. We encourage him and wish him the best, of course.”
Coach Eddie Cardieri added, “I think he is going to catch in the major leagues someday and I look forward to watching him.”
Ivany hit .190 with a double and seven strikeouts in five games in the Cape Cod League. He led USF with 57 RBI last season.
Leslie Slumping: Myron Leslie ended his career as a Bull with one of the hottest bats on the team, but has since cooled off since joining his new team in Canada.
Leslie is playing with the Vancouver Canadians in the Northwest League, the Class A affiliate of the Oakland A’s.
Some players struggle early in the minors, having to make the switch from an aluminum bat to a wooden bat, but Peters doesn’t think that is the case with Leslie.
“I think Myron just went out there and probably tried to show them what he’s got and do a little bit too much — kind of playing out of his role,” Peters said. “He is a real patient hitter and he is real good at waiting for the pitcher to give him a mistake and capitalize on it.”
Leslie used a wooden bat with success last summer in the Cape Cod league.
“When you first get into a new situation and you want to start doing things and showing them who you are and impress somebody you could become a little bit too aggressive and probably do things that he is not accustomed to doing,” Peters said.
Former Bulls second baseman Mike Macaluso hit a triple and a single in his first game with the Auburn Doubledays, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Class A minor league affiliate. His batting average (.125) has struggled since then, though, as he has had to get used to better pitching.
“It’s not like it’s overwhelming and he’s getting overpowered, but day after day he is seeing guys that have good stuff and good control,” Peters said. “So that was a little bit of a wake-up call for him.
“But he feels comfortable and he said he is hitting the ball well; he’s just not getting any hits right now,” he said.
Bulls Shuffle: With Leslie (SS), Macaluso (2B) and Ivany’s (C) departure, USF will have a very different infield next season. Jeff Baisley will still be at third, but other than that not much will be the same. Brian Baisley will start at catcher, opening up first base for Matt McHargue, who was designated hitter much of last season.
Jeremy Brand, who played third last season when Jeff Baisley broke his foot, should start at shortstop. He was originally recruited to play shortstop to fill in when Leslie went pro.
Incoming freshmen with high hopes will look to earn playing time in the infield as well.
Ace High: Casey Hudspeth picked up where he left off last season early this summer. The Freshman All-American is pitching for the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod league and has two starts under his belt.
Hudspeth is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched with the Kettleers.