July 2, 2002
Two more former Notre Dame baseball players are poised to begin their professional careers, as catcher Paul O’Toole (Lakewood, Ohio) recently signed with the Chicago Cubs as their 21st-round draft selection while fellow graduate Matt Bok (Akron, Ohio) has signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. They join two of their classmates – centerfielder Steve Stanley (2nd-round pick of the Oakland Athletics) and third baseman/catcher Andrew Bushey (15th-round pick of the Colorado Rockies) – in pushing the total of former Notre Dame players currently in professional baseball to 14 (see release later in the week for updates on those players).
It marks just the fourth time since the inception of the Major League draft in 1965 that a Notre Dame senior class has produced four-plus players who have been drafted or signed by Major League clubs in the same year. The 1990 senior class sent four players on to pro ball (1B Frank Jacobs, IF Matt Haas, C Ed Lund and RHP Brian Piotrowicz) while five ND seniors moved to pro ball from both the 1993 team (LHP Chris Michalak, RHPs David Sinnes and Al Walania, OFs Eric Danapilis and Edwin Hartwell) and the 1996 squad (1B George Restovich, OF Rowan Richards, RHPs Craig Allen and Rich Sauget, C Bob Lisanti). No previous senior class has sent as many position players into the professional ranks as the class of 2002 (the above lists do not include other classes that had players drafted and signed as juniors).
O’Toole was slated to report initially to the Mesa Cubs in the Arizona League (rookie level) before moving on to short-season A-ball with the Boise Hawks of the Northwest League (where Bushey currently is playing, with the Tri-City Dust Devils). Bok is headed to the Pioneer League as a member of the rookie-level Great Falls (Mont.) Dodgers.
Notre Dame leftfielder Brian Stavisky – who just completed a stellar junior season after battling back from a pair of injuries – has yet to sign with Oakland. The A’s selected the lefthanded power hitter in the sixth round of the June 4th draft.
O’Toole – a second team all-BIG EAST pick in each of his final two seasons – led the 2002 Irish with 11 home runs (tied for 7th among BIG EAST players) and eight sacrifice flies (2nd-most in ND history) while ranking second on the team in games played (66) and started (65), walks (33, 9th BIG EAST), triples (4, also 4th in the BIG EAST), stolen bases (11), times hit-by-pitch (7) and two-out RBI (15). He also ranked third on the squad in RBI (50, 11th BIG EAST), slugging pct. (.525) and total bases and was fourth on the team in runs scored (48) and batting vs. righthanded pitchers (.333). O’Toole’s other 2002 stats included a .281 batting avg. (61-for-217) and .381 on-base pct., plus 12 doubles, 34 strikeouts, 6 sac. bunts, 12 errors, 10 passed balls and a .973 fielding pct. He threw out 23 of 67 attempted basestealers.
O’Toole enjoyed most of his 2002 success during BIG EAST play, batting .349 in conference action while ranking among the BIG EAST leaders in several categories for conference play, including first in league RBI (30), third in slugging pct. (.709) and total bases (61), fourth in home runs (7) and eighth in doubles (8).
The 6-1, 205-pound lefthanded hitter ranks among Notre Dame’s career top-10 in 11 of 20 categories for position players – with only Eric Danapilis (15), Stanley (13) and Craig Counsell (12) currently ranking in more ND career categories than O’Toole (among position players). His 31 home runs and 54 stolen bases made O’Toole just the second Notre Dame player ever to reach 30 HRs and 30 SBs in his career, joining former teammate Alec Porzel in that distinction (Porzel totaled 37 HRs and 32 SBs while playing left field, second base and shortstop with the Irish).
O’Toole stands second in Irish history for games played (239), third in putouts (1,347), fourth in games started (229) and at-bats (809), sixth in runs (192), stolen bases (54) and times hit-by-pitch (28), seventh in total sacrifices (27), eighth in hits (247), ninth in home runs (31) and 10th in doubles (49). He also finished just outside the ND career top 10 in RBI (12th, 163) and triples (12th, 10). His other career stats include a .305 batting avg., .407 on-base pct., .506 slugging pct., 95 walks, 15 sac. flies and 12 sac. bunts.
Bok – who played his first college season at Georgetown (1999) – made steady progress throughout his three seasons with the Irish, earning third team all-BIG EAST honors as a DH in both 2001 and 2002. He finished sixth on the 2002 team in batting average (.311) while appearing in 62 of 68 games and making 53 starts (mostly at DH, with some at outfield and catcher). His solid gap-hitting produced 14 doubles in 2002 (third-most on the team) while he also ranked second on the squad in leadoff on-base pct. (.548) and runners advanced (30), plus fourth in on-base pct. (.404), two-out batting avg. (.294) and percentage of runners advanced (.570). Bok’s other 2002 stats included 56 hits in 180 at-bats, 36 RBI, 33 runs scored, 3 home runs (two coming in the NCAA Regional round), 2 triples, a .461 slugging pct., 17 walks, 32 strikeouts, 3 sac. flies, 2 sac. bunts, 3 stolen bases, 2 errors and a .972 fielding pct.
The 5-10, 190-pound switch hitter compiled an impressive 7-for-17 batting average as a pinch hitter with the Irish, including 4-for-7 in 2002. The many clutch hits in his final season included a pinch-hit, 11th-inning triple in the opening game of the crucial series vs. BIG EAST contender Virginia Tech (he scored moments later for the 2-1 win).
Bok’s complete four-year collegiate stats include a .290 career batting avg. (145-for-462) in 180 games played (132 starts), with 85 RBI, 85 runs, 6 home runs, 9 triples, 32 doubles, 45 walks, 75 Ks, 24 times hit-by-pitch, 6 sac. flies, 6 sac. bunts and 7 stolen bases.
In his three seasons with the Irish, Bok hit .292 (106-for-363) in 142 games played (108 starts), with 67 RBI, 67 runs, 4 home runs, 6 triples, 24 doubles, 36 walks, 61 Ks, 5 sac. flies, 6 sac. bunts and 4 stolen bases. He ranks eighth in the ND career record book with 19 times hit-by-pitch.