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Photo credit: Lewis West

APSU baseball delivers players to pros

AJ Ellis, Matt Reynolds and Shawn Kelley are just a few APSU baseball players that have played in the major leagues.

The very first APSU alumni to play in the major leagues was Jimmy Stewart, who was signed as an amateur free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 1961.

Nicknamed “Stew,” Stewart did not play his first game until 1963. During his MLB career, he played in 13 games with 11 hits for the Cubs.

Since Stewart’s career, many APSU players have gone on to play in the MLB.

Greg Tubbs, Jamie Walker and George Sherill are just a few people that have made an MLB career for themselves after graduating from APSU.

The earliest APSU draftee that still plays in the major leagues is Los Angeles Dodgers catcher AJ Ellis.

Ellis, whom the Dodgers picked up in the 18th round of the 2003 MLB draft, was the catcher for Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter in 2014.

During his eight years playing for the Dodgers, Ellis has scored 35 home runs and 178 runs batted in, with 358 hits total. He is signed with the Dodgers through the end of the 2016 season at the age of 34.

The next two major league players from APSU, pitchers Shawn Kelley and Matt Reynolds, were signed during the same draft as Ellis.

Kelley was drafted in the 13th round by the Seattle Mariners while Reynolds was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 20th round.

Kelley made his MLB debut for the Mariners in 2009, allowing one hit in one inning with two strikeouts.

In his career, Kelley is even in wins and losses at 19, with a career ERA of 3.67. Over 289 games played, he has allowed 254 hits and 323 strikeouts.

Kelley was signed to the Washington Nationals in December 2015 at the age of 31.

Reynolds made his debut in 2010 for the Rockies, allowing 10 hits, two home runs and 17 strikeouts in that season.

After playing over 260 games for the Rockies, Reynolds was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012.

Reynolds recorded 23 strike outs in the 2013 season in 30 appearances for the Diamondbacks. Reynolds suffered an injury and had to have Tommy John surgery which made him sit out the entire 2014 season on the DL.

In 18 plate appearances in 2015, Reynolds had a 4.61 ERA with a second season best .259 batting average.

The Diamondbacks have signed a one year deal for the 2016 season with Reynolds.

In recent years, many APSU players have been drafted but serve for their respective teams in the minor leagues.

Reed and Ryne Harper are two shining prospects in the Atlanta Braves organization.

Tyler Rogers, Jordan Hankins, Lee Ridenhour, Reed Harper and Craig Massoni were all drafted in 2013, when APSU lost to Indiana in the NCAA baseball championship regional.

Current APSU players are looking to follow in their footsteps and are looking to win another OVC Championship.

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