Trevecca Nazarene University

Former Trojans find success

(This article was published in the September 2013 issue of TrevEchoes - written by Tyler Comer.)

Trevecca Nazarene University doesn’t currently have any players on a Major League Baseball roster, yet.

PJ Francescon and Craig Stem are currently working their way through the various levels of the Minors.

Francescon, a 40th round pick of the Chicago Cubs, drafted in 2011, is currently playing for the AA Tennessee Smokies. While Stem, a 15th round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers, also drafted in 2011, is currently playing for the A+ Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

Francescon spent three years in A+ ball posting an 8-10 record as a starting pitcher with a 4.15 earned run average. Francescon spent this year in AA transitioning from being a starter to coming out of the bullpen posting a 1-0 record with a 4.55 earned run average. Francescon was also named the Cubs Minor League pitcher of the month in May of 2012.

“It’s a huge difference and something I’m not used to,” Francescon said about the promotion to AA. “A starter has 4 days to prepare for an outing, and you know when and where that outing is taking place. Whereas relieving, I have to be ready physically and mentally just about every day incase I get the call.”

Stem spent two years in A ball posting a 1-0 record with 18 saves and a 1.07 earned run average. The past two years Stem has spent time in A+, a step above A ball, where he posted a 1-2 record with 3 saves and a 7.82 earned run average.

“The talent difference between A ball and A+ ball is small, but it requires a lot of adjustments,” Stem said. “The hitters are a bit more patient, disciplined and tend to capitalize on your mistakes more, and the strike zone is a little smaller and a lot more consistent.”

Although the two have gone onto to be successful baseball players, they haven’t forgotten what playing at Trevecca has done for them.

“My experience at Trevecca was and is huge for my baseball career,” Stem said. “I got a lot of exposure to scouts because of the location in a big city like Nashville. I also had some talented teammates on that team in 2011 that scouts wanted to see also, giving them more incentive to come out.”

Stem still works out with the Trojans baseball team during his offseason.

“I would say a big thing I took away from my time playing at Trevecca was the ability to be a good teammate and to not take anything for granted,” Francescon said.