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Big East in the Big Leagues: Draftbusters

Sure, the NBA Draft is tonight, but Big East Coast in the Big Leagues ain't afraid of no draft. Now gather around all you baseball purists and read of the exploits of Panik, Burawa and the rest of the crew.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

When readers tuned into Big East Coast Bias on Tuesday they wanted one thing and one thing only: Big East in the Big Leagues. Unfortunately, they were served up a big heaping of not Big East in the Big Leagues. That's right, no update on Joe Panik's noble quest to be the best second baseman on the planet, no congratulations to Danny Burawa for getting called to the majors and no horrendous puns about Jason Grilli's last name.

But there was a reason, dear readers. Big East in the Big Leagues did not want to back down from a challenge. While the rest of the yahoos on this site (including myself) have been pumping out NBA Draft coverage this week, everyone knows what pays the bills at BECB*. It's the baseball coverage, specifically the phenomenon that's sweeping the nation: Big East in the Big Leagues. What better way to show off its incredible power then by slaying the might dragon that is the NBA Draft?

Or, this writer just got swamped with other assignments and didn't get around to this feature until today. Naw, let's stick with the first part.

Danny Burawa (St. John's)

Please avert your eyes if you are pure hearted or, in other words, don't root for the Evil Empire. That's right, Mr. Burawa has climbed his way to pole position this week and deservedly so. The righthanded reliever was eating up batters for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, posting a 1.75 ERA in 26 games for the Railriders. With Andrew Miler, among others, on the DL, the Yankees needed some help in the bullpen and they turned to Burawa.

Unfortunately, that is where the good news ends, as Burawa was seriously roughed up in his MLB debut. He let up four runs on three hits, including a home run to J.D. Martinez in a 12-4 loss for the Yankees on June 21. To be fair, Martinez blasted three long balls in the game, so Burawa was far from the only victim.

Joe Panik (St. John's)

It is becoming more and more apparent that Panik will not be getting voted onto the All-Star team. Miami's Dee Gordon is sitting in first place, according to the most recent update, with over five million votes, followed by St. Louis' Kolten Wong, who has a little more than four million. Panik is in third place with nearly 2.5 million. Do not despair #VotePanik faithful. He may not be No. 1 in voting, but he remains No. 1 in our hearts. Plus, there is still an excellent chance that he will be selected to the team by the players, his coach or in the final vote.

Even if the rest of the country is ignoring him, Panik has just kept on hitting. He only posted a .241 batting average since our last check-in, but he hit safely in six of the eight games during that stretch and has failed to reach base on a hit just three times this month. He also showed a bit more pop and discipline over the last week, swatting four doubles and drawing six walks. All in all, his slash line (.303/.372/.458) is still the ideal for a traditional No. 2 hitter.

Max Szczur (Villanova)

The human yo-yo was at it again this week as he was called back up to the big time. Look, we even have photographic evidence that he was in the lineup last night.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BigEastInTheBigLeagues?src=hash">#BigEastInTheBigLeagues</a> CC <a href="https://twitter.com/philneuffer">@philneuffer</a> <a href="http://t.co/lPJc8WvKg4">pic.twitter.com/lPJc8WvKg4</a></p>&mdash; Big East Coast Bias (@becb_sbn) <a href="https://twitter.com/becb_sbn/status/613857504020140032">June 24, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Szczur has had a tough go of it with Chicago this season, in part because of the irregularity with which he has been in the lineup. He went just 6-for-36 with six RBI in his first three tries, but he has done a bit better this time around. He homered in his first game back on Monday and has three hits in 11 at bats (.273) in three games this week. There is still a long way to go before Szczur can tear up his ticket back to Iowa, but he is showing signs that he could stick around.

Pat Neshek (Butler)

The ever consistent Neshek kept on punching the clock out of the Houston bullpen this past week. In four appearances he recorded a pair of holds, which puts him into a tie with the Angels Joe Smith for the most in the majors (19). He also allowed just one run over four innings, good for a 2.25 ERA in that span. His ERA on the season is a strong 2.62. He has made the eighth inning his home, with 20 of his 31 appearances coming in the penultimate inning. He also has not shown much in terms of stamina, with only three multi-inning appearances this season, but that is just fine for A.J. Hinch.

Jason Grilli (Seton Hall)

The month of June has been very, very good to Grilli. Near the end of May it appeared that the 38-year-old was running out gas, both on his heater and in terms of his overall effectiveness. However, he has been exceptional this month, posting five saves and a 0.00 ERA in 10 games. He kept the good times rolling over the last four games, firing four straight shutout appearances, striking out five batters in four innings and driving his ERA down to 2.63. With the hot streak he is on, it is no longer a runaway for Neshek in terms of best reliever among the Big East in the Big Leagues squad.

Amir Garrett (St. John's)

Congratulations are in order for Garrett, who remains one of the most intriguing stars in the minor leagues. Garrett, who is still pitching for the Cincinnati Reds' Class A affiliate in Daytona, was one of three players in the Cincinnati farm system to be named to the All-Star Futures Game. The left-hander is just 2-5 this season, but he has a 3.22 ERA and has been firing bullets at an incredible rate, with 72 strikeouts in 67 innings.

Darin Ruf (Creighton)

Ruf was called back up to Philadelphia on Wednesday, but not really because of something incredible he did. Struggling former star Chase Utley was placed on the DL, making room for Ruf to return less than two weeks after he was optioned in favor of Dominic Brown. Ruf saw some brief action in a 10-2 loss to the Yankees last night, as he came in the eighth inning to spell Maikel Franco at first base.

Pat Venditte (Creighton)

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, Venditte started playing catch this week. He could be throwing off a mound by the weekend and, accoridng to Slusser, it shouldn't be long before he's back on the mound. But don't take my word for it. Take it away, Susan.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Once Venditte starts playing catch, probably wouldn&#39;t be too long before he&#39;s ready to come off DL; he hasn&#39;t missed much time.</p>&mdash; Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) <a href="https://twitter.com/susanslusser/status/613468530353111040">June 23, 2015</a></blockquote>

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That's it for this week. Now go watch the NBA Draft and watch LaDontate Henton and the rest of the Big East prospects find out their future.

*Basketball coverage. Basketball coverage pays the bills.