As the Major League Baseball season starts to take shape in the month of April, let’s take a look in at how some former UConn Huskies are doing in “The Show.”
Currently, George Spring of the Houston Astros is the best ex-UConn player in the league. Springer, the 11th pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, is in his third season and is starting to look like the player he was projected to be.
He appeared in 102 games last season and sported a .276/.367/.459 slash line with 16 home runs and 16 steals for a wild card team. He also developed into one of the premier defensive players in the American League. His 2016 has not quite gotten off to an ideal start, but he has slugged three home runs in his first 13 games. The Astros are middling at just 5-8, but with their collection of young talent, they should rebound. Keep your eyes on Springer as he rebounds.
Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed has been turning heads around the league so far during this short season. Known more for his stellar play in the field, Ahmed has shown an uptick in his offensive production. He’s cranked three home runs in 14 games, way ahead of his pace from a year ago when he hit just nine over the course of 134 games. The former second overall pick took some time to develop in the minors before coming up in 2014, but he has developed into an elite defensive shortstop. Fangraphs ranked him as the third best candidate for the Gold Glove in 2015. He’s already submitted some Web Gems through the first two weeks.
Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Matt Barnes, UConn class of 2011, has already appeared in five games. He’s sporting a 3.38 ERA and has recorded seven strikeouts. Manager John Farrell has been using the former 1st round pick as his sixth inning man and Barnes has been a solid, but unspectacular piece of the bullpen. A major key for Barnes to get more difficult assignments will be his ability to avoid walking batters, which has been his career bugaboo. His K/BB ratio is higher than his career average, 3.4 to 3.0, so he needs to find better command of his arsenal.
Elan-Paolo DeCarlo is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering men's basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @ElanDeCarlo.