All of Clemson’s pro baseball alumni have concluded their seasons, and a football bye week feels like the perfect time to recap those seasons. This will come at you in several parts, broken up by levels on the MLB organizational ladder, because there are 25 former Tigers who have played in the professional ranks. Today, we continue with a look at the players who finished 2016 at the AAA level in part two…
Jason Berken, Toronto Blue Jays
Berken was bumped up to AAA Buffalo in early August and functioned as a long reliever and spot starter for the remainder of the minor league season. That was similar to his role for AA New Hampshire, as well. Once he was promoted to AAA, Berken went 0-2 with a 5.88 ERA in six appearances, including two starts. His numbers in AA were slightly better: 2-7, 4.41 ERA in 79.2 innings over 23 appearances. Berken didn’t record a win after June 15th this season, and the 32-year-old seems to be on the downside of his career.
Daniel Gossett, Oakland Athletics
One of the fastest risers in the A’s organization, Gossett made his debut for AAA Nashville on August 30th. He only made two starts, but it seems apparent that he won’t be knocked back down when 2017 rolls around. In those two starts, Gossett was 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings of work. During a meteoric 2016 campaign that began at high-A Stockton and detoured through AA Midland for 16 starts, the right-hander posted a 10-6 record with a 2.69 ERA, walking 41 and striking out 151 in 153.2 innings. All of his ratios got better during his second full professional season, a major reason why Gossett has risen into the top 20 on Oakland’s prospect lists.
Will Lamb, Chicago White Sox
Lamb continued to struggle in his first season with AAA Charlotte, replicating the uneven performance that commenced when he was first bumped up to that level in 2015 after posting outstanding AA numbers for about a season and a half. In 39 appearances, Lamb earned a 4-2 record and a 5.47 ERA in 54.1 innings pitched. His 7.0 K/9 rate was the worst of his career, but his walk and hit rates were also down a bit. Lamb was utilized at the end of blowouts, finishing 19 games without earning a single save.
Daniel Moskos, San Diego Padres
After spending a season playing independent ball in 2015, Moskos joined the Padres’ AAA affiliate in El Paso and posted decent numbers—especially for a 30-year-old lefty specialist looking to mount one final push to the major leagues. He had a 5-2 record in 2016 with a 3.39 ERA in 53 appearances spanning 61 innings of work. Moskos has spent much of his pro career pitching to contact, and he didn’t deviate from that formula this season. His work with runners on base and his handedness could get him another year to try to advance once again.
Ben Paulsen, Colorado Rockies
After spending 116 games in the big leagues a season ago, Paulsen appeared in twice as many games with AAA Albuquerque (78) as he did with the Rockies (39) in 2016. After some early struggles following his demotion in mid-May, the corner utility player hit over .300 in July to post a .278/.331/.434 slash line for the Isotopes, contributing 28 extra-base hits in 288 at-bats. That slash line is close to his typical pro season, but he could only manage to hit .217/.258/.304 in Denver. He spent a couple of weeks back up with the big club in mid-August, but he only had three hits in 26 at-bats before being sent back down.