Professional baseball players rise and fall, sometimes at the whim of a new general manager or because their skills are more appreciated by a scout who might believe in them.
Former West Virginia University infielder/outfielder Tyler Kuhn hasn’t “gotten there” just yet. But his chances have improved now that he has been traded to the Arizona organization.
After showing his wares while playing for the Mountaineers, Kuhn was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2008. He was taken in the 15th round. And not many 15h round draftees ever surface in the major leagues.
Kuhn was 21 years old.
The White Sox sent him to Great Falls in the Class A Pioneer League to begin his career. A middle infielder, Kuhn wasn’t expected to provide home runs or a bushel of RBIs. His first year, Kuhn played second base, shortstop, and even one game at third base. In 62 games, Kuhn batted .375. Chicago had to be impressed with his 46 RBIs.
In 2009, Kuhn went to the South Atlantic League and played for the Kannapolis Intimidators, where in 58 games he hit .299. In July of 2009 he was elevated to Winston-Salem of the Carolina League. He batted .281 in 68 games to close out the 2009 season.
He was introduced to left field but played mostly at second base.
It was off to the Class AA Birmingham Barons of the Southern League for all of the 2010 season. Kuhn had 435 plate appearances and finished the season with a .279 batting average and 50 RBIs. Again, he was positioned at second base and in left field.
The 2011 season had Kuhn back in Birmingham to begin the year. His batting average there was .a robust .341 and he drove in 55 runs in 107 games. The White Sox advanced him to Charlotte of the Class AAA International League for the last 23 games of that summer. While at Charlotte, Kuhn batted .297.
When the 2012 season began in April, Kuhn was 25 years old. Back at Charlotte, he would stay for 103 games and 449 plate appearances. His batting average was .273 when last week he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kuhn reported to the Reno Aces of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.
Now he has to wait for the major league rosters to be expanded on Sept. 1 or he might be summoned to the big leagues even before then.
Kuhn needs to get his foot in the door when it is cracked. And he needs to produce when he will be evaluated by Arizona’s front office, many scouts, and on-field personnel. Arizona is not a pennant contender . . . and it is looking for different players than the ones that have it mired in the back of the National League West chase.
Back in the east, former WVU pitcher David Carpenter has been called back to the major leagues.
Carpenter, whose ERA soared to over six runs per game while pitching in middle relief with Houston, was demoted to Class AAA before being traded to Toronto.
The Blue Jays sent Carpenter to Class AAA Las Vegas where he spent about two weeks. When the Blue Jays had infielder Brett Lawrie go on the disabled list they recalled Carpenter. His record in eight games at Las Vegas showed an 0-1 record but a 1.93 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 9.1 innings of relief pitching.
Carpenter was a catcher at WVU. He never pitched an inning. But he was converted to a pitcher once his minor league days began.
Another former WVU catcher, Tobias Streich, was also converted to a pitcher by the Minnesota Twins organization. Streich spent some time in extended spring training in Florida with the Twins before he was eventually released by that team.