Baseball Update: Former Lobos Grinding In The Pros
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/12/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 12, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M - The University of New Mexico baseball program is currently well represented in professional baseball leagues all around the country. There are currently 17 former Lobos enjoying success in pro baseball. All are at different levels in their playing careers, ranging from the rookie leagues all the way to the MLB.

Since the Lobos did not have anyone from the 2011 squad get drafted, a benefit directly related to having a young team, the most recent Lobos to be drafted were from the 2010 team: Rafael Neda (Milwaukee Brewers), Justin Howard (Pittsburgh Pirates), Ryan Honeycutt (San Francisco Giants), Kenny Toves (Florida Marlins) and Willy Kesler (Seattle Mariners). Edwin Carl picked up a late free agent contract with the Kansas City Royals as well.

Here’s a look at how each of the former Lobos playing pro ball are doing:

Rafael Neda ('10) - Drafted by Milwaukee Brewers in the 10th round (309 overall). Neda has spent the majority of his season playing for the Helena Brewers of the Pioneer League. He also put in time for Brevard County (Class A Advanced), where he batted .222 in three games.

AT UNM: Picked up six different All-America awards during his prestigious Lobo career, with the last one coming in his junior season when he was named to the Louisville Slugger All-American team. Neda was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America, Baseball America Freshman All-America, Pro-Line Athletic Freshman All-America, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Freshman All-America and Ping!Baseball Freshman All-America teams in 2008. Finished his final season as a Lobo with a .362 batting average to go along with a team high 11 home runs.

Ryan Honeycutt ('10) - Selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 41st Round (1248th overall). Currently playing outfield for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Class A short-season). Honeycutt has played in 21 games as a reserve for the Volcanoes.

AT UNM: The Las Cruces native finished his final season as a Lobo with a .353 batting average, 78 hits, 11 doubles, 55 RBIs and six home runs. In 2009, Honeycutt hit .406 and at one point in the season led the country in batting average. In his two-year career, Honeycutt compiled an average of .378 in 107 games played for the Lobos.

Justin Howard ('10) - Drafted by the Pittsburg Pirates in the 24th round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft a couple days after tearing his PCL. Currently Howard is playing in the Class A South Atlantic League for the West Virginia Power. In 104 games, Howard is batting .253 with 52 RBIs and 30 doubles.

"I'm hitting it well, but I have a lot of work to do in the off-season." Howard said in reference to his young career in the pros.

AT UNM: Howard had an incredible final season as a Lobo, finishing the season as the nation's top hitter with a batting average of .456. He was named to the Louisville Slugger All-American Team in his senior season as well as being named to the 2010 Louisville Slugger All-American team and the All-Mountain West Conference team.

Kenny Toves ('10) – The Carlsbad native left UNM upon completion of his junior year after he was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 21st round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft. He began the 2011 season playing for the Jamestown Jammers in the New York Penn League, where he gave up zero runs in his nine appearances. Toves climbed up as high as the Class A Advanced Florida State League, where he played one game for the Jupiter Hammerheads in the Marlins system. Toves has also played in six games for his current team, the Greensborough Grasshoppers (Class A South Atlantic League), posting a 1-0 record with a 6.75 ERA.

AT UNM: Toves had a very nice career as a Lobo. As a sophomore, Toves went 2-0 in 19 appearances with three starts, striking out 25 in 29 innings. In his final season, Toves went 5-2 with a 4.59 ERA in 21 appearances and 11 starts.

Edwin Carl ('10) - Was a late free agent signee with the Kansas City Royals after the 2010 MLB draft. Carl has spent the entire 2011 season playing for the Idaho Falls Chukars of the Rookie Pioneer League, posting a record of 1-1 with a 1.75 ERA in 15 appearances.

AT UNM: Had a very nice senior season, posting a 5-2 record in 26 appearances as a reliever. Recorded a very solid 49 strikeouts in 45.2 innings of work. As a junior he made 16 appearances (eight starts), compiling a 2-1 record while striking out 30 in 40.1 innings of work.

Cameron Monger ('08) – Was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 29th round of the ’08 draft. Played for the Padres Arizona league team in ’09 and the Idaho Falls Chukars in ’10, where he batted .288 in 14 games. He is currently playing for an Independent team called the Worcester Tornadoes in the Canadian-American Association.

AT UNM: Served as the Lobos' biggest speed threat off the bench entering 21 games as a pinch-runner. He appeared in 40 games overall with three starts in the outfield and was a perfect 9-for-9 on stolen bases while posting a .314 batting average.

Willy Kesler ('10) – Spent the 2010 season with the Everett AquaSox (Class A Short-Season), where he went 3-2 with a 1.47 ERA. Kesler began the 2011 season playing for the Clinton Lumberkings and currently finds himself on the High Desert Mavericks roster (Class A Advanced California League). Kesler went 1-0 with a 1.45 ERA in eight appearances for the Lumberkings and is 4-2 with a 4.00 ERA in 18 appearances for the Mavericks.

"I've learned a lot this season and have been working hard to improve my change-up with the help of my pitching coach." Kesler said.

AT UNM: Began his Lobo career going 4-0 with a 1.90 ERA before being sidelined by an emergency appendectomy and then needing season-ending Tommy John surgery nearly a month later. He came back strong in his senior season going 6-3 in 16 starts, notching three complete games with one shutout. Also recorded 97 strikeouts in 101 innings pitched.

Cole White ('09) – White has been in the minor leagues for three seasons now (2009-11) in the Kansas City Royals farm system. White is currently playing for the Kane County Cougars (Class A Midwest League) and is 1-0 with a 5.63 ERA in six appearances.

AT UNM: White led the team in relief appearances (27) and innings pitched out of the bullpen (38.2) during his junior seasons. He ranked second in the Mountain West in games in relief. He also posted a 3-2 record with a 2.33 ERA, which was the second best on the team.

Brian Cavazos-Galvez ('09) – Was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009. He had a breakout season with Class A Great Lakes Loons, as he burst onto the scene batting .318 with 77 RBIs and 43 stolen bases. Cavazos-Galvez is currently playing in the outfield for the Dodgers’ Double A affiliate, the Chattanooga Lookouts. In 94 games for the Lookouts, Cavazos-Galvez is batting .263 with 39 RBIs, 42 runs scored and 12 stolen bases.

"Personally, I guess I’ve just been working on being well-rounded to keep the power-hitting up but also keep the speed with the stolen bases. I think I can make myself more valuable as a player in the organization in being able to do different aspects of the game well," Cavazos-Galvez said.

AT UNM: One of the most talented players to come out of UNM, Cavazos-Galvez earned All-Mountain West First Team honors in his junior and senior seasons. He was named to the ABCA All-Midwest Region First Team as a senior. He finished fourth on the UNM career slugging percentage list at .686, and led the team as well as the MWC with a .737 clip in 2009. In 2009, he finished first on the team and in the MW in total bases with 160 and led the team with 15 home runs, which was second in the MW. He also ranked in the top 10 in six other MW offensive categories (63 RBI-second, 64 runs scored-tied for second, seven triples-tied for third, 17 stolen bases-fourth, 85 hits-tied for fourth, .392 batting average-fifth)

John Hesketh ('09) - Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 20th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. Hesketh is currently playing for the High Desert Mavericks (Class A Advanced) and is teammates with former Lobo Willy Kesler. Hesketh is 1-2 in eight appearances for the Mavericks thus far.

AT UNM: During Hesketh’s Lobo career, he was named to the All-MW First Team as a starting pitcher as well as to the Academic All-MW team in his senior season. He emerged as the Lobos' top starter, compiling a 6-4 record with a 3.45 ERA in 15 games started. He finished with the 89th best ERA nationally.

"The year I had to find a happy medium on how to get prepared between starts. More is not necessarily better; you just have to be smart about it." Hesketh said.

Mike Brownstein ('09) – Has split time between Brevard County (Class A Advanced), where fellow Lobo Rafael Neda has spent time, and his current team, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Class A Midwest League). Brownstein is batting .287 with 17 RBIs for the Timber Rattlers.

AT UNM: Brownstein was named the 2009 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. He earned Louisville Slugger All-American honors, picked up ABCA All-Midwest Region First Team and ABCA Second Team All-American honors, and collected All Ping! Baseball honors. He started every game of his Lobo career for a mark of 116 consecutive starts. He finished his senior season first in the conference and the team in three offensive categories (72 runs scored, 101 hits, 11 triples) and tied for first in the MW with 23 doubles. Nationally he was ranked first with 11 triples and eighth in hits, just 10 short from the top spot.

Bobby LaFromboise ('08) – Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the eighth round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft. He is currently playing for the Jackson Generals (Southern League Double A affiliate). LaFromboise has a 3.60 ERA with a 2-2 record for the Generals.

AT UNM: Was named to the Mountain West Conference second team. LaFromboise tied for the most wins on the team with a 6-3 record, starting 12 games with 13 overall appearances. He recorded a team-high 63 strikeouts in 81.1 innings pitched, posting a 3.98 ERA

Scott Gracey ('08) – Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 15th round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft. The Albuquerque native began the season with the Lansing Lugnuts (Class A Midwest League), compiling a record of 4-1 with a 1.44 ERA in 15 appearances. Gracey was promoted to Dunedin (Class A Advanced), where he has 29 Strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings of work.

AT UNM: In his final season as a Lobo, Gracey collected All-Mountain West Conference second team honors and was named a MW All-Academic Honoree. He played and started all 58 games, serving as the Lobos' primary shortstop with occasional appearances as a relief pitcher. Gracey compiled a.332 batting average, which was good enough for fourth best on the team. He also drove in 43 runs, scored 35 and doubled 12 times.

Stephen Smith ('08) – Signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008. Currently playing for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Class A Advanced California League). Has compiled a 3-5 record with a 4.02 ERA in 53 2/3 innings of work.

AT UNM: In his senior season at UNM he posted a 5-2 record in 14 appearances and 13 games started with an ERA of 5.01. Smith started, and won, a 3-2 decision over TCU in the Mountain West Conference Tournament on May 22, earning UNM its first appearance in the league's tournament championship game. He struck out eight batters in that game, working 8.2 innings, with two runs, one earned, on seven hits, earning himself a spot on the MW All-Tournament Team

Jordan Pacheco ('07) – Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the ninth round of the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. Pacheco has steadily risen up through the Rockies farm system and is currently playing for Triple A affiliate Colorado Springs Sky Sox. The Sky Sox catcher is currently batting .277 with 41 RBIs in 77 games played. Rumor has it Pacheco may be called up to the Rockies towards the end of the season to get some time in at the big league level.

"I'm still working on my catching skills physically and mentally as well as pretty much trying to get better every day at the plate and behind it." Pacheco said in reference to making a position change to catcher upon his arrival to pro ball.

AT UNM: Pacheco was named the MW Player of the Year in his final season as a Lobo in 2007. He was honored on the Louisville Slugger and All-Ping! All-America teams. Pacheco ranked in the top-50 in the nation among all Division I baseball players in walks (27th, 0.78 pg), runs (31st, 1.15 pg), batting average (44th, .397) and doubles (44th, 0.38 pg). He also led the MW in on-base percentage (.511), runs (63), doubles (21) and walks (43).

Danny Ray Herrera ('06) – The 5-6 left-handed relief pitcher was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2006 and has played in the major leagues for the Cincinnati Reds (2008-10) and most recently with the Milwaukee Brewers (2011). D-Ray, as he is so affectionately called by his former Lobo teammates and coaches, was traded from the Reds to the Brewers during the 2011 season. Before the trade, Herrera was playing for Triple A Louisville, where he had a 3.86 ERA in 18 2/3 innings pitched. After the trade, he appeared in 17 games for Nashville, where he compiled a 1.97 ERA in 32 innings pitched. Herrera just made his way back to the bigs recently, appearing in two games for the first-place Brewers, as the club makes a push for the playoffs out of the central division.

AT UNM: Herrera was honored on the Louisville Slugger All-America team, All-MW team and MW All-Tournament team in his final year at UNM. He garnered a portion of the MW Pitcher of the Year honor, sharing it with TCU's Jake Arrietta. He ranked 11th nationally in wins (10) and 31st in ERA (2.24). Herrera led the MW in ERA (2.24), innings pitched (128.1) and games started (17), and was second in wins (10) and fewest home runs allowed (4), as well as third in opposing batting average (.238).

Matt Young ('04) – During the Atlanta Braves spring camp this 2011 season, Young was locked in a battle with fellow out fielder Joe Mather-claimed off waivers from St. Louis in November. Before spring training started, Mather was expected to make the team as a backup at the corner outfield and infield positions. When Mather hit just .145 during the spring, it opened the door for Young. Young took full advantage, finishing spring ball batting .255 with five RBIs, seven runs scored and an on base percentage of .368. Young made the Braves as the team's fourth outfielder, in turn satisfying a boyhood dream of playing in the majors. Young played in 20 games for the Braves this season batting .208 with four runs scored before being optioned down to Triple A Gwinnett, where he is currently playing. Young is batting .275 with 15 doubles and 50 runs since being optioned to Gwinnett.

"It was all kind of a blur," Young said about finding out he made the big league club. "Skip called me into the office, but I don't remember what he said exactly. I just kind of had my head down and was smiling the whole time.

"Everyone gets their time," Young said. "I happened to be an undrafted free agent, so I had to grind it out. It's more satisfying to me now that I'm here."

AT UNM: As a freshman Young led the MW in on-base percentage (.498) and tied for the lead in walks with 42. He was the team leader in runs (64), hit-by-pitch (9) and stolen bases (17). He also reached base safely in all but one game during the 2002 season. As a sophomore in 2003, Young led the MW in walks with 54 and runs with 76. He batted .320 with one homer, 25 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. He was also a solid defensive player, boasting a .975 fielding percentage with 22 assists. In his final season as a junior in 2004, Young hit for the second-best average in his career at .381. He led the nation in triples with 12 and became the fifth player in UNM history to record 200 hits and 200 runs for his career. He also led the team in runs (60), triples (12), walks (37), stolen bases (16) and tied for the team lead in sacrifice hits (4).