Big Green baseball players in the big leagues seek success

by Max Zhuang | 3/27/16 6:16pm

The Big Green’s active players drafted by Major League Baseball since 2010 still have a shot to not only make it to the show, but star in it. For the players, making it from the minors and into the major leagues is the ultimate job promotion. Without further ado, here are my previews for upcoming profile features.Kyle Hendricks ’12: If you take away only one name and face, it should definitely be Kyle Hendricks. Drafted in 2011 during the eighth round by the Texas Rangers, he’s been one of the top flight talents the Big Green has sent to the majors in the past decade. Currently as a bottom of the rotation right-handed pitcher with promise for the Chicago Cubs, he continues to build on his early career success since his 2014 debut. He finished his rookie year with a 2.46 ERA in 80 innings pitched and a 3.95 ERA in 180 innings of work last year. This Spring Training, in 19 innings pitched, Hendricks has only allowed four runs (1.89 ERA) and a slick strikeout to walk ratio of 19 to 2. At this point in his career, I would most definitely advise hopping onto the Hendricks bandwagon and wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitching in the World Series this year.Chris O’Dowd ’13:Drafted just a year after Hendricks, during the 23rd round in 2012 by the San Diego Padres, O’Dowd currently plays catcher for the Double-A team the Mississippi Braves, an affiliate of the MLB parent club the Atlanta Braves. The son of Dan O’Dowd, the former longtime General Manager of the Colorado Rockies, O’Dowd has mostly spent his time as a professional baseball player bouncing around in the minor leagues. Despite showing flashes of potential such as during his 2015 campaign where he batted .304 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 79 at-bats in Double-A, O’Dowd hasn’t been without trouble as he received an 80 game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance and therefore violating baseball’s minor league drug prevention and treatment program.Joe Sclafani ’12:Selected in the 14th round of the 2012 draft by the Houston Astros, Sclafani has proven himself to be a strong infield and utility player for the team. After his strong play last year in Double-A and Triple-A where he excelled in an utility role and batted .292 in 233 minor league at-bats, Sclafani was recently invited to Spring Training as one of 19 other non-roster invitees.Cole Sulser ’12:Sulser, another right-handed pitcher, joined professional baseball when the Cleveland Indians drafted him in the 25th round of the 2013 draft. He was derailed by injury last season, and Sulser’s last pitch in the minors came September of 2014 for the Akron RubberDucks, the Indians’ Double-A affiliate. Although Sulser has a challenging road ahead to pitch in the majors, he’s not unfamiliar with the process of coming back from serious injury. During his time at Dartmouth, he came back strong from Tommy John surgery and into the school’s baseball record books.Michael Johnson ’13:Currently a southpaw relief pitcher, Johnson was drafted in the 14th round of the 2013 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Johnson’s career as a minor leaguer has been excellent as he sports a 2.63 ERA in 116 total innings. Recently assigned onto the Dodgers 40-man roster, Johnson currently plays for their Class A-Advanced affiliate the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.Mitch Horacek ’14: Also a lefty pitcher in a Class A-Advanced affiliate, the Frederick Keys, of his MLB organization, the Baltimore Orioles. Horacek was taken in the 9th round of the 2013 draft. Even though Horacek’s 4.90 ERA in 154 innings last season may not have been pristine, he showed off his talent by leading his league in strikeouts with 146.