If Leonard’s statement is correct, than he’s the one setting the lead. Leonard is having an outstanding year for the Panthers, with a .455 batting percentage, along with a team leading 56 RBIs. His Panthers sit at second in the Big East, a spot not many within the conference expected them to be in the pre-season.
“All year, we have been hitting the ball well,” explained Leonard about the team’s performance. “If one guy has a bad at bat, we can pick it up and make it up for the team.”
Deck McGuire has been gaining more and more attention after going undrafted in 2007 out of high school. In addition to last year’s achievements of winning the ACC Pitcher of the Year and being named to multiple All-American teams, McGuire is now being profiled as a possible alternative for the Nationals in the #1 draft position.
Bryce Harper has been slated in that position since the moment he entered Junior College, making him eligible a year early, but Zach Berman of the Washington Post lists McGuire as an alternative. Berman compares McGuire to John Lackey, and gets the opinion of many from University of Virginia, including Brian O’Connor.
(Photo Credit: Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution)
The start of spring training games gives us a chance to check in on some Former College Players and how they are adjusting to pro baseball. Today, we check in on some American League stars and will be checking in on the National League in the coming days.
OF – Colin Curtis, NYY (Arizona State, 4th Round, 2006)
Curtis started off Spring Training strong with a walk-off 3-run homerun against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first game of Spring Training, and has a chance to make the Opening Day roster. His chances depend on the what the Yankees see in Jamie Hoffman, who is currently hitting .125 with only one extra basehit in 16 AB’s. Bleacher Report has a good analysis on Colin’s chances of making the 25-man roster.
One of the things looked over by many College Baseball fans is the education side of the game. MLB.com recently sat down with former Florida Gator and current Cleveland Indians player Matt LaPorta who recently completed his degree in Recreation and Event Planning. LaPorta ended up playing four years of baseball with the Gators but never actually completed his studies.
We continue the list today with number 50 in our countdown with junior LHP Bryan Morgado of Tennessee. He is from Miami Florida where he graduated from Florida Christian High School. His senior season saw him lead the team to a 29-2 overall record and win a state title. He went a competent 9-1 with a 0.76 ERA as a junior in 2005 with 117 strikeouts in 67.1 innings pitched. The Boston Red Sox selected him in the 2006 MLB Draft in the 34th round but he decided to head to Tennessee.
Toby Gerhart has a tough decision coming his way. A star baseball player for Stanford, Gerhart is also making a lot of noise as a running back for the Cardinal football team this season. Gerhart ranks near the top in touchdowns and rushing yards so far this season, with whispers about a chance at the Heisman, but he has also finished the 2009 spring as one of Stanford’s top baseball players.
Justin Milo has made an interesting journey in going from playing hockey and baseball as a high school senior in Minnesota to becoming a minor league player for the Yankees and a forward for the University of Vermont hockey team.
We continue the list today with number 76 in our countdown with Clemson junior outfielder Kyle Parker. He is from Jacksonville Florida and Bartram Trail High School where he played four years of baseball and football. He was named All-State and All-County as a junior as he skipped his senior season of baseball to enroll in the winter of 2008 as he accepted a football scholarship to play for the Tigers.
Andrew Oliver and the NCAA have come to a settlement in their lawsuit for $750,000. Oliver had sued the NCAA for the right to have representation in his MLB contract negotiations out of high school. The NCAA became aware of him using a lawyer and suspended him at the beginning of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Oliver brought the case to court and got an injunction so he could play during the 2009 season. The case continued throughout the season including a judge saying that the NCAA violated the law by not allowing representation of the players.