Longhorns in the MLB — 2011 season progress report

Christian Corona

As the first half of the 2011 MLB season comes to a close, it’s time to look at how the former Longhorns in the MLB have done.

Huston Street, CP, Colorado Rockies — Only Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel has more saves than Street, who has converted 26 of 28 save opportunities this year. Street has cashed in on his last 12 chances to pick up a save, not blowing a save since May 20. He’s enjoying the best season of his career and is likely to break his career high record of 37 saves he set in 2006 with Oakland. Street’s career has been an up-and-down one, and although he’s not an All-Star this year, he has established himself as one of the game’s premier closers.

Drew Stubbs, CF, Cincinnati Reds — In his third season with the Reds, Stubbs has displayed his ability to be a five-tool player, in addition to becoming one of the league’s best center fielders. However, he has shown a propensity toward striking out. On average this season, Stubbs has struck out once every three at-bats and leads the majors with 122 strikeouts. It’s what he does with those other two at-bats that keeps him in the lineup, as he’s banged out 11 home runs and stolen 23 bases while hitting .252.

Sam LeCure, SP/RP, Cincinnati Reds — Stubbs’ teammate in Cincinnati, LeCure has been an outstanding option out of the Reds’ bullpen. He’s made the most of his 19 appearances and 43 innings, posting a 2.72 ERA and a team-leading 0.98 WHIP while even turning in a quality start (six innings pitched, one earned run) April 12 against San Diego.

J.P. Howell, RP, Tampa Bay Rays — Howell had great years in 2008 and 2009, providing solid efforts out of the Tampa Bay bullpen as the Rays advanced to their first World Series in ’08. However, shoulder surgery sidelined Howell for the entire 2010 season, and he has been shaky in his 2011 return, currently possessing a 8.56 ERA.

James Russell, SP/RP, Chicago Cubs — Russell’s 4.60 ERA may not be impressive, but he has shown steady improvement this season. Each month, Russell’s ERA has dropped — from 8.31 in April to 4.58 in May, to 1.64 in June to a spotless 0.00 so far in July. While a couple of Cubs starters were injured, Russell made five spot starts but picked up just one win.

Taylor Teagarden, C, Texas Rangers — Teagarden has only 26 at-bats this season, but has recorded hits in seven of them, good for a .269 batting average. He’s on pace to get only 46 at-bats this season, which would be a career low. Teagarden has spent most of this year in AAA Round Rock, where he’s batting .309 with nine home runs.

Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants — A fifth-round pick, Belt became the first member of the Giants’ 2009 draft class to be called up to the big leagues. Belt was San Francisco’s starting first baseman for most of the first month of the season, hitting .211, but hasn’t had a major league plate appearance since May 31. Still, he has shown enough promise to stay on the Giants’ radar and will likely see playing time at the big league level sometime soon. 

Printed on 7/11/2011 as: Stubbs, Street among former Horns making mark on MLB teams