On the huge list of things we missed thanks to the Pandemic of 2020, summer baseball probably didn’t end up at the top for many people. That said, the normal summer ritual of college players moving out of their dorms and headed to host houses in order to play with wooden bats on small fields along the coast of Massachusetts and all across the southeast was a huge loss. Players lost a year of development in front of scouts, and the missed the reps that come with playing in the grind of a daily league.
So it was with a sigh of relief that UNC announced on Tuesday that several of the members of the Diamond Heels were headed for summer leagues. There’s a new wrinkle to this, however.
As part of the radical minor league restructuring earlier this season, Major League Baseball kicked out over forty teams from their major league affiliation. The restructure also comes with a significantly smaller baseball draft, with the goal mostly being about cutting the number of actual minor leaguers and allowing teams to have their affiliates be in close proximity to the parent club. Sort of. As with anything in baseball, there’s usually an ulterior motive behind the spin, but we’ll slip past that and point out where it’s important in this case. Some leagues are using the opportunity to form their own collegiate summer league, and MLB is going to have its own league that will start play in the summer. The upshot is that there are a lot more opportunities for players to continue to play over the offseason.
So, if you see some cities in this list that make you think “wait, I thought that was a minor league city,” now you know. Your favorite Tar Heel wasn’t drafted early, they are just playing in one of these new wood bat leagues. Considering the lack of...anything...last year, the prospect of cheap family entertainment in these ares should get these new leagues off to a good start.
With college baseball still going, some of these leagues haven’t quite started while others have gotten under way. As we’ve done in the past, we’ll have a weekly update of all the Tar Heels playing summer ball. All the leagues mentioned will have started except for the Cape Cod League, which begins on Sunday, so starting next Wednesday you can catch up to see how your favorite Diamond Heels are doing in the wood bat leagues.
Without any further ado, here’s your players and the leagues they are playing in:
Cape Cod League-Starts June 20th
Johnny Castagnozzi-Chatam Anglers
Shawn Rapp-Cotuit Kettleers
Coastal Plain League-Started May 27th
Patrick Alvarez-Asheboro Copperheads
Cannon Pickell-Asheboro Copperheads
Will Stewart-Asheboro Copperheads
Hunter Stokely-Asheboro Copperheads
Max Riemer-High Point-Thomasville HiToms
Colby Wilkerson-High Point-Thomasville HiToms
Davis Palermo-Holly Springs Salamanders
Will Sanday-Holly Springs Salamanders
Mikey Madej-Holly Springs Salamanders
Tyler Causey-Lexington County Blowfish
Brandon Eike-Tri-City Chili Peppers
Max Alba-Wilmington Sharks
Northwoods League-Started May 31st
Connor Ollio-Madison Mallards
Caleb Cozart-Madison Mallards
Mac Horvath-Rochester Honkers
Tomas Frick-Wisconsin Woodchucks
Appalachian League-Started June 3rd
Eric Grintz-Bluefield Ridge Runners
Ohio Valley League-Started June 4th
Nick James-Full Count Rhythm
Valley League-Started June 5th
Will Schroeder-Front Royal Cardinals