June 26, 2002
Former Notre Dame third baseman/catcher Andrew Bushey (Boardman, Ohio) has signed with the Colorado Rockies organization and began his pro career Tuesday night as a member of the Tri-City Dust Devils, a short-season A-level team that competes in the Northwest League and is located in Kennewick, Wash.
The 5-10, 190-pound lefthanded hitter made his pro debut in a 1-0, 11-inning home loss to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, batting 0-for-4 as the designated hitter, with a walk and a strikeout while hitting in the No. 7 spot.
Former Notre Dame catcher Paul O’Toole has yet to formally sign with the Chicago Cubs (who drafted him in the 21st round) while leftfielder Brian Stavisky remains in negotiations with the Oakland A’s, who drafted the junior lefthanded power hitter in the sixth round (Stavisky has one year of eligibility remaining is he elects not to sign). Former ND centerfielder Steve Stanley also made his pro debut on Tuesday night with the Modesto A’s of the high-A California League, batting 0-for-3 with two walks from the leadoff spot.
Bushey, the 15th-round draft pick of the Rockies, played mostly third base during his college career but also saw some time behind the plate in his final two seasons. The Rockies have expressed an interest in trying Bushey at catcher, where he started 10 games for the Irish in 2001 and 14 in 2002 (he would have played more games behind the plate in ’02, if not for the season-ending injuries suffered by freshman shortstops Matt Macri and Matt Edwards). The two-year ND captain also caught 12 games with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2001 (before electing to have surgery on his non-throwing shoulder) and gained additional experience behind the plate during Notre Dame’s 2001 fall season.
A second-team Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-American, Bushey graduated with a 3.43 cumulative grade-point average as a finance major, after posting his third Dean’s List semester with a 3.75 GPA in the 2002 spring semester.
Bushey – a first team all-BIG EAST Conference selection in 2001 and a third-teamer in ’02 – was Notre Dame’s 2002 team leader in RBI (59), doubles (19, 6th among BIG EAST players), total sacrifices (17, an ND record) and runners advanced (41), also ranking second on the team in sacrifice flies (7) and third in home runs (6), sacrifice bunts (10) and batting with the bases loaded (.667, 6-for-9). He ranked fourth on the team in six other categories, including: batting avg. (.323), slugging pct. (.496), hits (73), total bases (112), games started (63) and batting with runners in scoring position (.366, nearly 50 points above his overall batting avg.).
Bushey’s 12 doubles during the BIG EAST regular season ranked fourth among the conference’s players. His other overall season stats included 44 runs in 63 games played, plus 22 walks, 22 strikeouts, one triple, three times hit-by-pitch, one stolen base, a .380 on-base pct. And only 11 errors in 221 fielding chances (.950 fielding pct.).
His 54 career doubles rank fourth in the ND record book, with Bushey also ranked among the Irish career leaders in games started (6th, 222), total sacrifices (6th, 30), fielding assists (7th, 437), at-bats (8th, 777) and games played (8th, 223). A .304 career hitter at ND, Bushey’s 236 hits finished seven shy of cracking the Irish career top-10. His other career stats included 124 runs scored, 129 RBI, an equal number of walks and Ks (73; with an average of 10.6 ABs per K), 11 home runs, six triples, 12 times hit-by-pitch, 14 sac. bunts, 16 sac. flies, seven stolen bases and a .942 fielding pct. (46 errors in 741 chances, with an average of 4.9 games per E).
The Northwest League’s East Division includes Tri City, plus the Boise Hawks, the Spokane Indians and the Yakima Bears. The four West Division teams include Salem-Keizer, the Everett Aquasox, the Eugene Emeralds and the Vancouver Canadians (where Stanley was slated to play before a last-minute promotion to Modesto).
Several former ND players recently have played in the current Northwest League cities, including: RHP Danny Tamayo (Spokane), DH/1B Jeff Wagner (Boise) and 1B Jeff Felker (Eugene).
O’Toole and Bushey could be reunited soon in the Northwest League, as the Cubs’ short-season A club now is based in Boise (previously in Eugene).
UPDATED NOTRE DRAFT / PRO BASEBALL NOTES (June 26)
Four Notre Dame position players were selected on June 4 in the 2002 Major League draft, led by a pair of Oakland Athletics draftees (senior CF Steve Stanley in the 2nd round and junior LF Brian Stavisky in the 6th) … senior 3B/C Andrew Bushey then was the 15th-round pick of the Colorado Rockies and senior C Paul O’Toole went to the Chicago Cubs in the 21st round … here’s some notes on the 2002 draft’s significance:
* Stanley was the 67th overall pick and the 27th U.S. college player selected … he was the ninth outfielder drafted and the third college OF selected, just behind Jeremy Reed of Long Beach State (59th) and Fred Lewis of Southern University (66th).
* Stanley is the 4th-higest-drafted player in ND baseball history, the program’s 2nd-highest drafted senior and 2nd-highest drafted position player … the top three all-time ND draft picks are catcher Ken Plesha (17th overall, Chicago White Sox, 1965) and the RHP tandem of Brad Lidge (17th, Houston Astros, 1998) and Aaron Heilman (31st overall pick by Minnesota Twins in 2000, returned for senior season and drafted in 2001 by New York Mets with 18th pick of 1st round).
* Stanley and Stavisky became the first ND teammates ever drafted in the first six rounds while no previous Irish team had produced four players all drafted in the first 21 rounds (the 2001 squad had four in the first 33 rounds).
* Three ND seniors have been picked in the same draft just twice previously: 1993 classmates LHP Chris Michalak (12th rd, Oakland), RHP David Sinnes (19th, Toronto) and OF Eric Danapilis (23rd, Detroit) and the 2001 trio of RHPs Heilman (1st, N.Y. Mets), Danny Tamayo (10th, Kansas City) and SS Alec Porzel (13th, Boston).
* Stanley and Stavisky followed Michalak as the second and third ND players ever drafted by Oakland (Michalak has pitched in the Major Leagues with Arizona, Toronto and Texas).
* Bushey is hoping to follow the path of ND’s only previous Colorado draft pick, infielder Craig Counsell (’92) … Counsell was a successful minor-leaguer for six seasons before being called up to the Rockies in 1997 and traded days later to the Florida Marlins (where he was the starting 2B and a World Series hero for the triumphant Marlins) … Counsell later played for the L.A. Dodgers before moving to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he was the starting 2B for another World Series champion in 2001.
* O’Toole is the sixth ND player to be drafted or signed as a free agent by the Cubs, including previous Irish catchers Bob Lisanti (1996 free agent) and Mike Amrhein (10th rd, 1997; currently playing for double-A West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx) … 1B Jeff Felker and RHP John Corbin both were free-agent signees of the Cubs in 2000 while Stavisky was a 33rd-round pick of the Cubs in 2001 (he remains the only non-senior ever drafted or signed by the Cubs).
* Stavisky has been drafted twice previously – by the Montreal Expos in 1999 (12th round) and by the Cubs in the 33rd round of 2001 … Stanley, Bushey and O’Toole all were undrafted out of high school … both O’Toole (48th rd, San Francisco Giants) and Stanley (50th rd, Florida Marlins) were late-round picks in 2002.
* Stanley and Stavisky (188th pick) were the highest-drafted outfielders from the same team … Val Majewski of Rutgers (3rd rd, 76th overall pick of Baltimore Orioles) actually gave the BIG EAST Conference three outfielders that were picked in the first six rounds (no other conference can match the BIG EAST with three OFs drafted that high).
* The BIG EAST also produced three highly-drafted pitchers: Virginia Tech LHP Joe Saunders (12th overall, Anaheim), Rutgers RHP Bobby Brownlie (21st overall, Cubs) and Villanova RHP Brian Slocum (63rd overall, Cleveland) … again, no other conference could match that level of high draft picks among pitchers.
* The BIG EAST’s total of four players selected in the first two rounds was second only to the ACC’s five … there also was plenty of representation from the Midwest region among the top picks … in fact, five players from Indiana colleges alone were among the top 67 selections: Ball State RHP Brian Bullington (1st overall pick) and BSU lefthander Luke Hagerty (32nd), Purdue RHP Chadd Blasko (36th), Evansville RHP Steve Obenchain (37th) and Stanley.
* Just four players in the 2002 College World Series were drafted higher than Stanley: South Carolina SS Drew Meyer (10th overall, Rangers), Clemson SS Khalil Greene (13th, Padres), Stanford RHP Jeremy Guthrie (22nd, Indians) and Clemson 1B Michael Johnson (54th, Padres).
* In addition to Stanley and Stavisky, just two other CWS outfielders were picked in the first six rounds: Stanford’s Jason Cooper (82nd, Indians) and Georgia Tech’s Jason Perry (176th, Blue Jays).