Teams are starting to settle in to the MLB season. Sure, there is still roughly 80 percent to go, but at this point Spring Training rust has worn away and players are getting into a groove. Several former UConn baseball players have major roles for their squads. Here is how they did over the season’s first month.
Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox aren’t winning, especially juxtaposed with their dominant 2018-2019 season. In fact, they are on pace to finish the month under .500, but no one is pinning that on Barnes. He has taken over the closer role, and in 11.1 innings pitched, he is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.38 (a career best) and one save. He has been worth 0.4 WAR according to Baseball Reference, and his WHIP (.882) and H/9 (5.6) are career lows, while his strikeouts per nine, important for relievers, is at 18.3, another career best. His last appearance was on April 27, pitching a perfect ninth inning in a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks
Ahmed has always been known for his glove rather than his bat, winning the 2018 Gold Glove at his position. Still, he is hitting .257 in 109 at-bats and has an on-base percentage of .303, both career bests. He has two stolen bases and a triple to his name as well. No one would misplace him in a murderer’s row of hitters, but his consistency in the field and improvement at the dish have allowed the Diamondbacks to get off to a 16-13 start. Considering the team lost standouts like AJ Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt last year, Ahmed’s familiarity will be a major component for the D-Backs all season.
George Springer, Houston Astros
It’s year six for Springer, enough to qualify him as a veteran of sorts at this point. The two-time all star has improved upon his numbers from last year and is batting .270 (up from .265) with a .541 slugging percentage (career high) and 22 RBI. A strong athlete who mans Center Field for the ‘Stros, he has also hit eight home runs already, and Baseball Reference pegs him for 1.0 WAR. Houston fields a talented squad alongside him, and the team is off to a 17-11 start, putting them first in the American League West.
Scott Oberg, Colorado Rockies
The 29-year-old Oberg has been pitching with the Rockies and their hitter-friendly ballpark for five years now. It’s still early, but Oberg has some good stuff going right now. In 13.2 innings, he has an ERA of 1.32 and given up seven hits and two runs. He also has 12 strikeouts and is posting career best metrics in WHIP (.951) and H/9 (4.6). He hasn’t appeared since April 26, when he pitched a perfect inning and in his last six outings only allowed two hits and one walk. The Rockies are 13-15 and No. 4 in the National League West.
Matt Barresi is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.