Baseball Players in the Pros

Daniel Descalso  | Infielder  |  2005-07  |  San Carlos, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MLB Bio | @DanielDescalso

Daniel Descalso, the second Aggie to ever reach the major leagues and the first to win a World Series ring, was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the third round of the 2007 MLB draft following his junior season at UC Davis. As the 18th pick of the third round and No. 112 overall, he is the second highest draft pick in school history.

After a four-year minor league career, in which he hit .276 in 425 games with 94 doubles, 16 triples and 27 home runs, Descalso made his debut with the Cardinals on Sept. 20, 2010. He posted nine hits in 34 at-bats in limited action that season before earning a permanent role with the big league club in 2011.

Descalso hit .264 in 148 games with the Cardinals in 2011, with 20 doubles, three triples, one home run, 35 runs scored and 28 RBIs. He earned a spot on the postseason roster as part of a middle infield rotation with Rafael Furcal, Nick Punto and Ryan Theriot. Descalso came through in the clutch during a 10-9, 11-inning win over the Rangers in game six of the World Series. Following a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the eighth inning, he singled and scored in the 10th inning, in which the Cardinals scored two runs to tie the game and continue extra innings. St. Louis was down 3-2 in the series before claiming both game six and seven to win the World Series.

Descalso once again found himself earning regular playing time with the Cardinals in 2012, hitting .227 in 143 games with 10 doubles, seven triples, four home runs, 41 runs scored and 26 RBIs. Once again he was called upon in the postseason, going 11-for-47 with two doubles, two home runs, nine runs scored and six RBIs. In the deciding game five of the NLDS against Washington, Descalso went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, a double, a home run and three RBIs as the Cardinals beat the Nationals, 9-7, and advanced to the NLCS before falling in seven games to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

In 2013, Descalso is once again back with the Cardinals and he hit his first career grand slam on May 22. (See the video to the right.)

Before becoming the Aggies' second-highest draft pick, Descalso hit a team-best .397 as a junior in 2007, with 22 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 53 runs scored and 44 RBIs. He also lead paced the Aggies with a .474 on-base percentage. He was named first team all-West Region, becoming the first Aggie to ever earn that honor.

He was also a two-time first team all-Div. I Independent selection. (The Aggies transitioned from Div. II to Div. I in 2004 and played an independent schedule until joining the Big West in 2008.)

Descalso hit a team-high .320 as a freshman before hitting .284 as a sophomore.

Descalso's Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) G AVG. R RBI
2007 (Minors) 66 .268 29 31
2008 (Minors) 124 .252 63 54
2009 (Minors) 119 .299 69 68
2010 (Minors) 116 .282 86 71
2010 (MLB) 11 .265 6 4
2011 (MLB) 148 .264 35 28
2012 (MLB) 143 .227 41 26
Descalso's UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)     G AVG. R RBI
2005 (Fr.) 56 .320 31 38
2006 (So.) 43 .284 31 17
2007 (Jr.) 56 .397 53 44

Bryan Evans  |  RHP  |  2006-08  |  Tesoro, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio

Bryan Evans was selected in the 14th round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Florida Marlins following his junior season.

Evans is playing with the double-A Jacksonville Suns in 2013.

In 2008, Evans split time between short-season single-A and regular single-A. In 2009 the Tesoro, Calif., native posted a 3.97 ERA in 37 appearances for the single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers before earning a call-up to advanced single-A Jupiter at the end of the season. In 2010, Evans played with Greensboro, Jupiter and Jacksonville.

In 2011, Evans shined with a sterling 1.99 ERA in 90.1 innings over 25 appearances and 11 starts at Jacksonville. In 2012, he made 27 starts in 29 appearances for Jacksonville, with a 4.66 ERA and 7-8 record in a career-high 135.1 innings pitched.

As a junior at UC Davis in 2008, he posted a 3-3 record with a 4.91 ERA in 12 starts over 19 appearances with 71 strikeouts and 25 walks. He was a second-team all-Div. I Independent selection following his sophomore season when he went 5-5 with a 5.28 ERA in 11 starts over 15 appearances with 57 strikeouts and two complete games. He became the first-ever player to earn all-Independent Pitcher of the Week honors three consecutive times (4/24, 5/1, 5/8) as he won four straight starts in the span.

Evans' Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2008 (Minors) 13-12 3-6 6.95 32
2009 (Minors) 40-6 3-7 4.21 80
2010 (Minors) 30-21 7-9 4.01 103
2011 (Minors) 25-11 8-2 1.99 70
2012 (Minors) 29-27 7-8 4.66 97
Evans' UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)      AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2006 (Fr.) 17-12 3-10 5.25 50
2007 (So.) 15-11 5-5 5.28 57
2008 (Jr.) 19-12 3-3 4.91 71

Justin Fitzgerald  |  RHP  |  2005-08  |  Cloverdale, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio  |  @jfitzgerald31

Justin Fitzgerlad was taken in the 11th round of the 2008 MLB draft by the San Francisco Giants after playing four seasons with the Aggies.

This year, in his sixth season of professional baseball, Fitzgerald is with the triple-A Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League. 

Fitzgerald has posted a sub-4.00 ERA in each season after being drafted and, as of June 7, 2013, sports a 1.42 ERA and 3-0 record in six starts for the Grizzlies.

In his first season of pro ball in 2008, Fitzgerald made a brief appearance in the Arizona rookie league before posting a 3.86 ERA in 14 appearances for the short season single-A Salem-Kizer Volcanoes. The following season, in 2009, Fitzgerald was promoted to single-A where we went 2-2 with a 3.70 ERA in 39 relief apperances for the Augusta GreenJackets.

He continued his ascent through the Giants' system in 2010, when he was moved to the starting rotation with the advanced single-A San Jose Giants. He recorded a 3.45 ERA and a 10-6 record in 25 starts that season and was promoted to double-A the following year. In 2011 and 2012, Fitzgerald pitched for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, tallying a 3.51 ERA in his first year and a 3.22 ERA in the second. He struck out 241 batters in 310 innings over the last two years. 

He was named an all-star in both 2010 and 2011.

Fitzgerald's pro success is par for the course as he shined with the Aggies as well. In his senior season, the big right-hander posted a 3.24 ERA and a school-record 15 saves as UC Davis' closer. He struck out 35 batters while walking just five in 33.1 innings. His 19 career saves is also a school record and Fitzgerald ranks No. 5 all-time in school history with 64 apperances.

Fitzgerald's Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2008 (Minors) 17-0 1-0 3.86 19
2009 (Minors) 39-0 2-2 3.70 63
2010 (Minors) 26-25 10-6 3.45 116
2011 (Minors) 27-27 9-9 3.51 111
2012 (Minors) 28-28 7-8 3.22 130
Fitzgerald's UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)      W-L Saves ERA Ks
2005 (Fr.) 1-3 1 6.75 14
2006 (So.) 1-0 0 4.70 18
2007 (Jr.) 1-4 3 4.96 16
2008 (Sr.) 3-2 15 3.25 36

Eddie Gamboa  |  RHP  |  2004-08  |  Merced, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio  |  Knuckleball Gives Gamboa New Life - MiLB.com

Eddie Gamboa was taken in the 21st round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles after a five-year UC Davis career.

In 2013, he is playing with the Bowie Baysox of the double-A Eastern League.

He threw a no-hitter with five strikeouts on June 30, 2013 (Video below to the right) after losing a no-hitter in the eighth inning in his previous start.

Gamboa made his professional debut in 2008 but really made a name for himself within the organization in 2009. While playing at all three levels of single-A, Gamboa posted a perfect 11-0 record with a sparkling 1.08 ERA in 83.2 innings over 39 relief appearances. He struck out 75 batters while walking just 17. The right-hander was moved to the starting rotation in 2010 and has posted sub-4.00 ERAs in each of the last three seasons.

This year, in an effort to break through to triple-A, Gamboa added the knuckleball to his arsenal after working with the legendary Phil Niekro during spring training. (See story link from MiLB.com above.) 

In college, Gamboa was part of the Aggies' three-man rotation, along with Bryan Evans and Brad McAtee in 2008, when UC Davis advanced to the NCAA Tournament after a 35-24 season in its first year of Div. I and Big West competition.

Gamboa redshirted his first season with the Aggies and missed the 2006 season, his sophomore year, due to injury. He served as a reliever in his first two active seasons but was moved to the rotation as a senior in 2008 and posted a 7-3 record with a 2.61 ERA in 14 starts. 

Gamboa's Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2008 (Minors) 12-12 1-7 3.63 41
2009 (Minors) 39-0 11-0 1.08 75
2010 (Minors) 36-11 7-5 3.75 83
2011 (Minors) 23-9 2-6 2.90 59
2012 (Minors) 29-17 10-5 3.61 86
Gamboa's UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)       AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2005 (RFr.) 22-4 2-2 3.39 41
2007 (Jr.) 18-1 4-1 3.25 29
2008 (Sr.) 15-14 7-3 2.61 66

Marco Grifantini  |  RHP  |  2007-08  |  Redding, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio

After two years with the Aggies, Marco Grifantini played four seasons for Cariparma Parma of the Italian Baseball League before signing with the Toronto Blue Jays prior to the 2013 season.

He is currently playing with the Dunedin Blue Jays in the advanced single-A Florida State League. 

Grifantini made 53 appearances over four seasons in the Italian Baseball League after finishing his career at UC Davis in 2008.

A Feather River College transfer, Grifantini made 12 apperances as a junior with a 8.36 ERA over 14.0 innings with 12 strikeouts and eight walks.

He exploded on the scene as a senior, however, posting a 2.89 ERA in 18.2 relief innings. He struck out 20 batters and walked nine. 

Grifantini's UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)      AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2007 (Jr.) 12-0 0-1 8.36 12
2008 (Sr.) 18-0 1-0 2.89 20

Jake Jefferies  |  Catcher  |  2006-08  |  Merced, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio  |  @Jake_Jefferies

Jake Jefferies was taken in the third round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Rays after his junior season at UC Davis.

As the first pick of the third round and the No. 78 pick overall, he is the highest ever draft pick in program history.

In 2013, Jefferies is in the Miami Marlins organization, playing with the New Orleans Zephyrs of the triple-A Pacific Coast League. He was traded by the Rays to the Marlins in 2011 for major league reliever Burke Badenhop.

Jefferies was a star with the Aggies. He was named Big West Conference Co-Player of the Year after his junior season in 2008 after hitting .387 with 20 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 47 runs scored and a team-high 54 RBIs. He struck out just 11 times in 248 at-bats that season with a .524 slugging percentage and a .444 on-base percentage.

He was a semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes Award (nation's top player) and the Johnny Bench Award (nation's top catcher) as a junior.

He his .302 with 13 doubles and 34 RBIs as a sophomore, striking out just 13 times in 192 at-bats.

Jefferies' Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) G AVG. R RBI
2008 (Minors) 66 .315 32 41
2009 (Minors) 116 .261 54 50
2010 (Minors) 102 .215 31 30
2011 (Minors) 65 .238 21 32
2012 (Minors) 48 .223 19 15
Jefferies' UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)     G AVG. R RBI
2006 (Fr.) 20 .237 4 4
2007 (So.) 52 .302 20 34
2008 (Jr.) 58 .387 47 54

Scott Kalush  |  Catcher  |  2009-12  |  San Mateo, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio

Scott Kalush was taken in the 39th round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles after a four-year career with the Aggies.

Kalush is with the Aberdeen IronBirds of the short-season single-A New York-Penn League. 

Kalush hit .138 in his first season of professional ball in 2012, with 94 at-bats over 35 games. He posted a .283 on-base percentage after taking 18 walks. 

While with the Aggies, Kalush was a mainstay behind the plate after taking over the starting role as a sophomore. He started 138 games at catcher over his final three seasons at UC Davis.

Kalush posted career-highs in both RBIs (24) and runs (18) while hitting .241 in 175 at-bats as a senior. He struck out just 17 times that year while drawing 17 walks. He allowed just four passed balls and threw out 17 of 36 base stealers.

Kalush's Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) G AVG. R RBI
2012 (Minors) 35 .138 7 5
Kalush's UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)        G AVG. R RBI
2009 (Fr.) 32 .276 7 9
2010 (So.) 48 .270 18 23
2011 (Jr.) 41 .198 11 20
2012 (Sr.) 54 .241 18 24

Ty Kelly  |  Infielder  |  2008-09  |  Tracy, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio  |  @tykelly11

Ty Kelly was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB draft after a two-year career at UC Davis.

This season, in his fifth season of professional baseball, Kelly is playing third base with the Bowie Baysox of the double-A Eastern League. He is teammates with former Aggie Eddie Gamboa.

Kelly hit .265 with 31 runs and 18 RBIs in his first season with the Orioles' organization but had his best season yet last year while splitting time at single-A, double-A and triple-A. Kelly hit .327 in a career-high 133 games with 74 runs, 70 RBIs, 29 doubles, two triples and 11 home runs. He posted a .425 on-base percentage and slugged .467 for an .892 OPS. Kelly led all Orioles farmhands in total bases in 2012 and he was a minor-league all-star in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Kelly, who transfered to UC Davis after playing his freshman year at Loyola Marymount, shined with the Aggies as a sophomore. Kelly led the team with a .397 batting average and a .527 slugging percentage. He tallied 94 hits in 237 at-bats with 17 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 55 runs and 39 RBIs. He made just nine errors while playing mostly at third. He was named to the Stanford All-Region team in the NCAA Tournament after posting eight hits in three games.

After his standout sophomore season, Kelly was named to the Brooks Wallace Player of the Year watch list in 2009 and was a third team Ping! Preseason All-American. He hit .307 in his junior season with a team-high 40 RBIs. 

Kelly's Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) G AVG. R RBI
2009 (Minors) 61 .265 31 18
2010 (Minors) 129 .259 68 58
2011 (Minors) 120 .274 63 46
2012 (Minors) 133 .327 74 70
Kelly's UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)     G AVG. R RBI
2008 (So.) 58 .397 55 39
2008 (Jr.) 55 .307 30 40

Tyler LaTorre  |  Catcher  |  2002-06  |  Santa Cruz, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio  |  @tylerlatorre

Tyler LaTorre was signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Francisco Giants on May 29, 2006 after a five-year UC Davis career.

In his eighth season of professional baseball, LaTorre is playing with the triple-A Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League in 2013. He is teammates with former Aggie Justin Fitzgerald.

LaTorre's best season in the minors came in 2007, when he hit a career-high .316 in 31 games with 19 runs and 11 RBIs for the short-season single-A Salem-Kiser Volcanoes. He saw his most playing time in 2010, getting a career-high 255 at-bats in a career-high 81 games with the double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels. He made his first appearance in triple-A in 2011 and has been with the Grizzlies ever since. LaTorre hit .270 last year in 2012, with 15 runs and 15 RBIs in 43 games.

With the Aggies, LaTorre redshirted as a freshman in 2002 before appearing in 30 games and making 18 starts as a redshirt freshman in 2003. He hit .333 in his first active season and earned all-tournament accolades that year at the NCAA West Regional, going 5-for-13 with two runs in three games.

He started 44 of 49 games as a sophomore in 2004, splitting time between left field and catcher. He hit .329 that year with 39 runs, 14 doubles, four home runs and 33 RBIs. 

LaTorre made 51 starts in 53 appearances as a junior, hitting .276 with 22 runs, 10 doubles, two homers and 18 RBIs. LaTorre helped the Aggies' pitching staff post an impressive 3.96 team ERA in 2005. 

LaTorre exploded in his senior season, hitting a team-high and career-best .363 with 37 runs and 32 RBIs. He drew a team-best 28 walks and led the Aggies with a .451 on-base percentage. He even made four appearances on the mound in 2006, tossing 9.1 total innings with a 1.94 ERA. 

LaTorre's Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) G AVG. R RBI
2006 (Minors) 21 .188 8 5
2007 (Minors) 31 .316 19 11
2008 (Minors) 45 .253 9 8
2009 (Minors) 69 .265 27 24
2010 (Minors) 81 .204 27 20
2011 (Minors) 58 .262 17 25
2012 (Minors) 43 .270 15 15
LaTorre's UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)       G AVG. R RBI
2003 (RFr.) 30 .333 7 5
2004 (So.) 49 .329 39 33
2005 (Jr.) 53 .276 22 18
2006 (Sr.) 49 .363 37 32

Scott Lyman  |  RHP/DH  |  2009-11  |  Alamo, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio  |  @Stlyman12

Scott Lyman was taken by the Miami Marlins in the 10th round of the 2011 MLB draft after a three-year UC Davis career.

Lyman was both a pitcher and a hitter with the Aggies, but is currently working as a starting pitcher for the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the single-A Atlantic League. 

He made just four appearances in 2011, his first year of professional baseball, but started 13 games over 16 appearances in 2012. He posted a 5.30 ERA and 3-6 record in 74.2 innings pitched with the Grasshoppers.

Lyman was strictly a pitcher in his freshman season at UC Davis, going 0-5 with a 6.41 ERA and two saves. 

He went 5-6 as a starter for the Aggies in 2010 as a sophomore, but really excelled at the plate. Lyman was a Big West Conference honorable mention selection after hitting .356 with 39 runs, 19 doubles, five home runs and 40 RBIs.

He hit .250 with 16 runs and 18 RBIs as a junior but improved as a pitcher, posting a 3-6 record and a 4.64 ERA in 15 starts. He struck out 67 batters while walking 44.

Lyman's Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2011 (Minors) 4-0 0-0 2.45 3
2012 (Minors) 16-13 3-7 5.68 65
Lyman's UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)       AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2009 (Fr.) 13-4 0-5 6.41 26
2010 (So.) 14-14 5-6 6.50 61
2011 (Jr.) 15-15 3-6 4.64 67

David Popkins  |  Outfielder/RHP  |  2009-12  |  San Diego, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio  |  @David_Popkins

David Popkins was signed as an undrafted free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 after a four-year career at UC Davis.

In 2013, he is playing with the Palm Beach Cardinals of the advanced single-A Florida State League after starting out the season with the regular single-A Peoria Chiefs. 

In 2012, his first season of professional baseball, Popkins hit .288 while splitting time between the rookie Gulf Coast League and the short-season single-A New York-Penn League. He scored 17 runs and drove in 17 more while tallying a .372 on-base percentage. 

Popkins played sparingly with the Aggies as a freshman in 2009 but took not only the team, but the Big West Conference, by storm in his standout sophomore season.

In 2010, Popkins was a first team all-league choice after leading the Aggies in batting average (.388) and RBIs (43). His .388 batting average was the third best in the Big West. 

Popkins once again was a first team all-Big West selection after leading the Aggies with a .321 batting average and 23 RBIs. He was also masterful on the mound, posting a 1.37 ERA in 13 relief apperances and 19.2 innings. Popkins earned all-West Region honors after his junior campaign.

Popkins pitched 70.2 total innings in his career but did not see the mound in 2012. He hit .276 in his senior season with 35 runs, 10 doubles, five homers and 18 RBIs. Popkins paced the Aggies with a .420 on-base percentage after leading the team with 29 walks and 18 HBP.

Popkins' Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) G AVG. R RBI
2012 (Minors) 44 .288 17 17
Popkins' UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)      G AVG. R RBI
2009 (Fr.) 11 .111 0 0
2010 (So.) 51 .388 40 43
2011 (Jr.) 54 .321 22 23
2012 (Sr.) 50 .276 35 18

Dayne Quist  |  LHP  |  2009-12  |  Santa Cruz, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | Frontier League Bio 

Dayne Quist signed as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012 following a four-year UC Davis career.

He made 11 rookie league appearances in his first season of professional baseball, posting a 2.55 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 17.2 innings pitched. Despite his solid number, he was released, and this season he is playing for the Southern Illinois Miners of the Independent Frontier League.

Thus far in 2013, Quist has a 2-0 record with a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 innings over eight relief appearances. He has eight strikeouts and five walks.

Quist wrapped up his UC Davis career with a stellar season season in 2012. The left-hander posted a career-best 3.15 ERA over 12 starts and 13 appearances. He struck out 85 batters while walking just 13 in 85.2 innings. He recorded three complete games, including two shutouts. He won a career-high seven games during his sophomore season in 2010.

Quist's Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2012 (Minors) 11-0 1-2 2.55 17
Quist's UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)       AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2009 (Fr.) 17-8 2-6 5.48 32
2010 (So.) 15-14 7-4 5.57 79
2011 (Jr.) 14-11 2-7 5.14 64
2012 (Sr.) 13-12 6-3 3.15 85

Joe Biagini  |  RHP  |  2011  |  Santa Clara, Calif.
UC Davis Bio | MiLB Bio

Right-handed pitcher Joe Biagini was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the 26th round of the 2011 MLB draft after his redshirt sophomore season, his first and only with the Aggies.

In 2013, Biagini is playing with the single-A Augusta GreenJackets of the South Atlantic League. 

Last year, in his first season of pro ball, Biagini split time between short season and single-A, posting a 5.42 ERA in 21 starts and 23 overall appearances. He struck out 99 batters in 93 innings pitched, while walking 47.

After redshirting and playing one year at the College of San Mateo, Biagini was used out of the bullpen with the Aggies in 2011. He made 13 appearances for UC Davis, going 3-1 with a 7.47 ERA.

Biagini's Pro Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Level) AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2012 (Minors) 23-21 2-8 5.42 99
Biagini's UC Davis Year-By-Year Stats
Year (Cl.)       AP-GS W-L ERA Ks
2011 (So.) 13-0 3-1 7.47 18