As the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup seemingly draw to a close, so does the part of the year where sports are most interesting. Until football season starts again, the only team sports we have left are baseball and soccer, and networks are still figuring out how to broadcast the MLS. This leaves us with MLB. Baseball, while it’s a fine sport, it isn’t quite as exciting as the team sports it’s standing in for. The pros also don’t have the particular appeal of college sports. How, then, do we college fans stay engaged with the sports world during summer? We find ways to take our college fandom into the professional world! Here is your quick guide to finding Diamond Heels in MLB:
Matt Harvey, P New York Mets (2008-2010): Harvey is coming off an off year that ended in shoulder surgery, and came into this year hoping to regain the form that established him as one of baseball’s brighter young stars. He has struggled the past few weeks, but started out strong and certainly has potential to return to form. Harvey went 22-7 at UNC and is in the school’s top 10 for career wins and strikeouts.
Chris Iannetta, C Arizona Diamonbacks (2002-2004): The veteran catcher, now on his fourth MLB team, signed a one-year deal with Arizona and has been batting decently with a 0.218 batting average. Iannetta was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, awarded to the best collegiate catcher, in his junior year at UNC.
Andrew Miller, P Cleveland Indians (2004-2006): Undoubtedly the highest-profile player on this list, Miller’s outstanding run in the 2016 season (including being an All-Star and winning ALCS MVP honors) as a reliever for first the New York Yankees, and then the Indians put him in the national spotlight, if he wasn’t there already after being the AL Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2015. He looks to continue that form this year, and has a paltry 0.33 ERA. At UNC, he was one of the best collegiate players in the country by his junior year. His accolades included the Roger Clemens Award, 2x 2nd-Team All-America, 1x 1st-Team All America, and being named Baseball America’s Player of the Year award.
Mike Morin, P Los Angeles Angels (2010-2012): The pitcher has struggled this year, but looks for a fresh start after a stint on the DL. Morin set the single-season saves record at UNC with 19 his junior year.
Kyle Seager, 3B Seattle Mariners (2007-2009): The former All-star has been batting well this season with a .258 batting average as well as holding down the 3rd base position. Seager had a career .353 batting average at UNC, and was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award in his junior year.
Adam Warren, P New York Yankees (2006-2009): The reliever has found his way back to New York after leaving for the Cubs for a year, and has been pitching well in short spurts when called upon. Warren was an academic All-American and a consistent member of the All-ACC Honor Roll while at UNC.
Let’s revisit this list when the playoffs start, and hope it doesn’t change!