A look into the four UConn players drafted into the MLB in 2011

Houston Astros' George Springer rounds the bases after hitting a leadoff home run off Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Ariel Miranda during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Houston Astros' George Springer rounds the bases after hitting a leadoff home run off Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Ariel Miranda during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

The new MLB season is upon us. UConn has a small crop of players that opened the year on opening day rosters and one more knocking on the door in Triple-A. All four were drafted in 2011 after the UConn team made it to the Super Regionals during the 2011 NCAA baseball tournament. In the Super Regionals they lost to the eventual champion, South Carolina.

The best player from that 2011 team and the best UConn player currently in the majors is George Springer, who is currently batting leadoff for the Houston Astros. Springer is off to a blistering start this season, leading the majors in home runs through the first week with four. The New Britain, Connecticut native was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft by the Astros and is entering his fourth year with the big league club. Springer also has the longest stretch of consecutive games played in the majors with 194 games played in a row.

Springer’s former teammate Matt Barnes was chosen eight picks later in the 2011 draft by the Boston Red Sox. Barnes spent most of his minor league career as a starter until he was converted to a reliever during a big league call-up in 2014. Barnes has pitched 3.2 innings so far this year and has yet to surrender a run. So far this season Barnes has been the eighth inning setup man for the Red Sox.

In the second round of the 2011 draft, Nick Ahmed was drafted by the Atlanta Braves. The shortstop was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a six-player trade before he could reach the majors. Since the trade, Ahmed received his big league call up in 2014 and has played shortstop and a backup infielder role for the Diamondbacks. So far this season he has mostly served as a pinch hitter and late inning replacement for the Diamondbacks, but has started in two of their six games, hitting .300 on the year with one extra base hit.

While these three make up the only UConn players active in the major leagues, John Andreoli is currently in Triple-A for the Chicago Cubs. Andreoli was drafted in the 17th round by the Cubs in 2011 and played a full season in Triple-A last year hitting .256 and scoring 96 runs, third-most in the Pacific Coast League. Andreoli has been playing well in Triple-A but may have a hard time breaking through onto the loaded roster the Cubs have. Andreoli was invited to spring training this year but was sent back to the minor leagues afterwards. This spring Andreoli also played in the World Baseball Classic, where he hit three home runs in four games and batted .316 for Team Italy.


Jacob Marsalisi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jacob.marsalisi@uconn.edu.