Jason Grilli (Seton Hall)
It has been a long and winding road for Grilli since he left South Orange. The right-hander has pitched for eight different teams. The high point was no doubt his run from 2011-2014 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, when he recorded 47 saves and posted an ERA of 3.01. He has not been nearly as effective since, as he posted a 3.48 ERA in 40 games after a trade to the Angels last season. He signed with the Atlanta Braves this season and has been the full-time closer, with 11 saves. However, his 5.11 ERA leaves much to be desired in an otherwise decent bullpen.
Darin Ruf (Creighton)
Playing for the last-place Philadelphia Phillies, the former Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year has been relegated to a utility role off the bench. This is his fourth major league season, and it has been far from a memorable one. His slash numbers are are anemic (.208/.262/.377), with each a career low. He has seen time at first and in left field and has three home runs and seven RBI to his credit. He started at first base on Sunday against Arizona and went 2-for-3 with a home run to help Philadelphia to a fifth straight win.
Matt Szczur (Villanova)
That's right, there is a Villanova alumnus in the majors. Even more exciting, Szczur gets to use the #WeAreGood hashtag, since he is on the 40-man roster of the Chicago Cubs. The utility outfielder has played in 18 games this season and batted just .172, while driving in five runs. He appeared in 10-straight games from May 6 to May 15, including a 2-for-7, three RBI effort, one of which was the game-winner, in Friday's 11-10 extra innings win over Pittsburgh. Unfortunately he was optioned to Triple-A Iowa the following morning.
Amir Garrett (St. John's)
Garrett didn't play baseball for St. John's. He played basketball, and was actually a touted recruit for the Red Storm. However, he ended up being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2011 MLB Draft. He has still yet to make his MLB debut, but has spent four years kicking around the minors and is currently an inactive member of the Reds 40-man roster. He is pitching for the Single A Daytona Tortugas currently, where he has a 2.61 ERA in seven starts.
Joe Panik (St. John's)
Panik burst onto the scene during the 2014 postseason, when he was a hero for the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Panik, a left-handed second baseman is an everyday player for the Giants. He has been a solid contact hitter in the order, hitting .279 with a .354 OBP. His power numbers are not particularly impressive (.403 SLG), but that's not what the Giants expect from him. In addition to his hitting, Panik has exhibited an efficient glove, with a perfect fielding percentage and a RF/G of 4.51. Last week, Panik hit .250 with a triple and three runs scored in five games.
Danny Burawa (St. John's)
Like Garrett, Burawa is an inactive member of a 40-man roster, as a pitcher for the New York Yankees. He has been in the minor leagues since 2010 and has pushed his way to Triple-A, where he has been for the past two seasons. In 16 games with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, he has pitched in 16 games with five starts and posted an ERA of 1.71. He pitched out of the bullpen on Sunday and struck out two batters in a scoreless inning during a 5-0 win over the Durham Bulls.
Pat Neshek (Butler)
Neshek is probably having the most fun of anyone n this list. After all, he is playing for the FIRST PLACE HOUSTON ASTROS. No, that is not a typo. Neshek, along with Luke Gregerson, Will Harris, Tony Sipp and Chad Qualls, have helped Houston post the second-best bullpen ERA in MLB (2.15). Neshsek, who is a 34-year-old veteran, has played for five teams and has a 2.93 ERA in 17 games this season, although his FIP is nearly a full run higher (3.87). Neshek is currently riding a streak of nine-straight scoreless appearances, including two shutout innings in two outings against Toronto over the weekend.
Well, that's it for this week. Check in next time as we continue to follow the antics of the Big East in the Big Leagues.